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  • With Speedboat and ICAP Leopard lining up to attempt the west to east transatlantic record, the issue over powered winches raises its head once again.

  •  Strong rumours here in Subic Bay, the Philippines that the Neil Pryde's Welbourne 53 "Hi Fi" is seriously for sale.

  • Groupama3 ended their Jules Verne in wonderful style! A terrific little party after crossing the finish late Saturday, while moored off Camaret in the dark and rain:

  • Who would have ever believed it?

    There has been an initiation of hostilities between... wait for it, this is good: Seahorse and Scuttlebutt!

  • Who would have ever believed it?

    There has been an initiation of hostilities between... wait for it, this is good: Seahorse and Scuttlebutt!

  • Am I the only person getting annoyed by the commentry for the LV Trophy event in Auckland?

  • Following on from John Kostecki's 'triple slam' - he, unless anyone knows otherwise is the first person to have won the Volvo Ocean Race, the America's Cup and won an Olympic medal (alas not a gold

  •  Can anyone enlighten me as to why Banque Populaire have not set off on a Jules Verne trophy attempt?

  • Hello all,

  • Hello all,

    Latest Posts

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    • I think the issue here is why allow powered winches in the first place?  It is said that they add to innovation in the sailing world as many think that "man-power" is one of the current limitations in terms of boat speed - if they were mandated we would see bigger and badder offshore boats (think Dogzilla in an offshore guise).  You could on the other hand argue that they prevent an "arms race" for records.

      However Mari Cha IV was innovative (mainly in its rig configuration and sheer size) and didn't use powered winches.  And it wasn't cheap...

    • n/a
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    • Another bit of gossip was in Matt Sheahan's blog Thursday:

      "... the chatter that was doing the rounds faster than a group email, was the rumour that the base of the Auld Mug had been adjusted since the GGYC victory so that the engraving showing Alinghi's last two victories couldn't be seen when viewed from the front.... Cheeky!"

      This is perhaps not so much a wicked rumor, as a public service announcement for the benefit of any Kiwi sailors who aren't able to read ?

      And naturally someone turned the base around, before installing it at the GGYC, where there would not be enough space to perform such an operation - One of the more delightful things about Valencia, from the point of view of GGYC Commodore Marcus Young, was that onboard the Snapper (37m Sunseeker) he could finally enjoy standing headroom.

      That leaves the question of just who may have performed this alleged 'adjustment' to the Cup's base. The main suspects include Coutts, Ellison, and certainly Ehman; and don't forget that Troublé also had opportunity as well as motive... he could have done it, if he got help from Onorato!

      But it can't be denied that Marcus Young is the guiltiest-looking of the bunch. He looks horribly guilty, in every photograph ever taken.

      Sheahan also mentions that "... it also sounds like that the official rights for the future America's Cup have yet to be passed over..."

      Which sounds consistent with this excerpt from what SNG's Fred Meyer wrote on 5th March, to BMW Oracle's Melinda Erkelens:
      "To facilitate bringing our disputes to an end and the transfer of the Cup, I reiterate that SNG stands ready to withdraw its challenges to the Deed- compliance of GGYC’s boat, and to exchange a mutual release regarding all claims arising out of the 33rd America’s Cup and all prior Cups."

      For the litigiously-minded, there is still hope! But I see the SNG isn't showing any concern for being bankrupted just yet, they are going ahead with a large expansion of their busy harbor.

      GGYC, who hardly have parking space, much less a harbor, should be so lucky!

    • Don't read this if you've had your fill of opinions regarding the 33rd America's Cup!

      In my case, during the amazing preparations for that event, I was sufficiently interested by what was cooking in Switzerland, to even now be wondering what sort of reactions they had in the aftermath.

      The Swiss team and media kept their remarks relatively brief after the event; the Winter Olympics quickly seized all the limelight. Over time however, there will be revelations about the nearest equivalent to dueling 'Manhattan-Projects" that's ever been seen, in boat-racing.

      Switzerland's multihulls magazine went online yesterday with their most recent issue. On the cover is a view of USA 17 sailing away, with the headline "The Wing of Victory". Here's my translation of the accompanying editorial - if anyone has remarks on the translation, please feel free to correct!

      (this is not gossip really, but since it's a story from the SNG support boat, perhaps it almost qualifies)


      The Flight of the Cup

      Valencia, Sunday 14. February 2010, 17hrs15.

      The end of the upwind first leg in the second race of the 33rd America's Cup. On board the boat for supporters of the Société Nautique de Genève, all the passengers have their eyes fixed to the screens which transmit the duel, moment by moment. The atmosphere is one of hope, since Alinghi is leading the race after a starting procedure which was certainly far from the dream conditions of the Swiss contingent, and in spite of a penalty. The tension has reached a crescendo, literally as well as figuratively; on the two maxi multihulls the load alarms provide the rhythm on board.

      The wind picks up. At the helm of Alinghi, confronting James Spithill, Loïck Peyron drives with finesse this boat which he knows to the tips of his fingers. The option of "right of way" has permitted Alinghi to delve ahead, but the big black trimaran keeps coming, inexorably. The meters pass by bringing Oracle steadily closer. Suddenly, as though to protect itself from this attack, the red protest flag is raised on Alinghi which isn't leading by more than 250 meters.

      The defender of the Cup deploys (the flag), because the racecourse was not quite cleared during the start procedure. A procedure begun barely a quarter-hour before the time limit, in debatable conditions, with a swell particular to this time of year. 17hrs17. The American trimaran tacks, it is now on port tack on the layline leading to the buoy. The two boats advance one against the other in the quest for the Holy Grail. Alinghi V is ahead, on starboard. On board the spectator boat the Alinghi Friends expect the Swiss boat to force USA 17 to tack... Suspense.

      The lead Alinghi once had is now just a memory and there is still this penalty. The two boats approach each other, Alinghi is still ahead. Confronted with the race broadcast's graphic map, the faces of the spectators are clenched on board the ex-"Lady Alinghi". BMW Oracle is on the layline and Alinghi passes ahead. They in turn have to tack, a tack that is slow enough, but moreover far too late! Larry Ellison's trimaran passes unrelentingly in their lee... The game is decided, on board the SNG supporter boat, hope gives way to disillusion, an icy disillusion here off Valencia on this St. Valentine's Day. The Cup is about to leave Europe by the stroke of a wing...

      At the windward mark, the black American eagle leads by 28 seconds, then offwind the combination of rigid wing and genaker allows them to reach speeds of up to 33 knots. On board, Larry Ellison is carrying the Cup back home, being the first challenger to wrest it away in an America's Cup run under the (default rules of the) original "Deed of Gift".

      At 18hrs31, the American challenge wins. On board the SNG boat, a fan of the Alinghi team, seized by emotion, bursts out at us: "That's it... they have flown off from us with the Cup, and in both senses* of the term!" A trophy which was finally contested on the water, as Ernesto wished, but not to a good result... So a question remains: Who has actually returned the Cup to the United States? The court of New York, the rough waters of Valencia, or the technology and sailing team skills of Oracle?
      That's just how it is, America will always be a sweet melting pot...

      Nicolas Peitrequin

      *(to fly off with/steal)


    • What is the latest fashion statement at VPLP ?

      According to this excerpt from 'Tillerman's' blog:

      "... I wrote a post pointing out that the real credit for the win should be given to the "nerds" who had designed the monster trimaran that won the cup. I couldn't resist pricking the over-inflated balloon of American pride in the win by pointing out that many of The Nerds Who Won The America's Cup were not actually American but.... yikes.... French!!! In particular I highlighted the roles of Vincent Lauriot Prévost and Marc Van Peteghem, the two principals in the multihull design firm VPLP.

      "Today I received an email from Katrina Kelshall at VPLP saying that they had had a good laugh over my post, and that they weren't ashamed to be called nerds. To prove the point, she attached a couple of photos of what Team VPLP were wearing in Valencia for the Cup: "90 x 90 Dare 2 B Square T-shirts". Get it?"


    • America's Cup 34; The Movie !

      For the 34th Cup in San Francisco there's already a great initial soundtrack and plot summary.

      For the casting, James Spithill is obviously in the leading role steering - and doesn't he look the part!
      A compact version of USA 17 would (sigh) look good there too, wouldn't it?
      And the other guys... they would have to be Gavin Brady and Vincenzo Onorato, the scoundrels!

      The first three minutes of this (turn up the music), is it not a good example of the close-up suspense the sport of sailing needs to capture, to grow in popularity ?

      Think I'm kidding?


      Over Easter I was in deep seclusion, and it always does wonders.

      Far away, communing with nature. No electricity, no internet, no plumbing, for a week - I know it sounds like a little boat trip but it wasn't;
      I could indulge in better food and drink than that usually allows!

      Plenty of time for introspection, and the most excellent ideas have a habit of cropping up, whenever I'm compelled to think for more than five minutes without interruption...

      A few days ago I was then very happy when it suddenly dawned on me ~exactly~ how to make the 34th America's Cup more interesting!
      It's a cottage industry, to come up with ideas for this at the moment.

      Some ~have~ already suggested that all members of each team should be nationals... but I don't think that is nearly bold enough.

      The rules should also stipulate that all team members be related by blood, or marriage!

      Or both!

      ... Would that pose enough of a challenge for the Kiwi contingent?

      I'm already getting tired of reading about all these professional match-racers. What we need is more match-making!

      It should offer a welcome new area of focus for the yachting press, and finally allow yachting to establish itself in the tabloids !


    • Bertarelli is ready to sail again.

      He's back from a sensible break after the AC33, and given an interview to Jean-Guy Python.

      Some of his statements are similar to what he said immediately after the Cup, being very proud of Alinghi's record, and the overall level of improvements in Swiss sailing. He was disappointed with the 2 1/2 years of court battles, where he says the Americans had a native advantage (my words), but is proud of having put up resistance to what he saw as unsportsmanlike intimidation.

      He expresses regret that Valencia will not host the AC34, in spite of Ellison having seemed to once promise it would remain there; But his main regret is that Alinghi 5 did not have conditions to use their Code Zero in the races - it being their most effective sail, which they'd been able to use 3 out of 4 days in the warmer smoother conditions in RAK.

      "On our return to Switzerland we had a mourning for the America's Cup, it was important. Each sailor had need for a pause, to regain energy and take stock, find who is with you and who isn't."

      Now he says he'll turn the page, without closing the book. Decision 35 racing is about to resume, and they are considering the main ocean races; the Multi One Design 70, the Audi MedCup, Oman 100, and Volvo Ocean Race. "We are looking at our options to find what allows us to best exploit our assets and potential."

      As he said in February, he's waiting to hear the details before committing to the next America's Cup, and thinks it strange that Ellison/Coutts, who were once so critical of Alinghi's plans, need so much time to present their supposedly better alternative. "They are keeping everyone waiting, and during this time are recruiting the best elements, notably from Alinghi. Unfortunately one can't secure a hundred people, without knowing when and for what one might employ them.... if the game is fair and there will be strong challengers and the rules are clear, then Alinghi will again compete."

      Question: "Have you and Russell Coutts buried the hatchet?"

      Answer: "In Valencia after their victory, I shook the hand of Russell Coutts, and Larry Ellison, and I did not have a hatchet in the other hand."

      That we never got to see racing with that Code Zero is indeed a terrible pity.

    • VOR conjecture

      Thanks for that. Other than the antipodean posse retiring to their giant mansions down under, I haven't heard of a masse Alinghi exodus from Valencia, so it sounds like something is still ticking along there and I see our respected colleague Richard Gladwell is joing the dots between Alnighi and the mysterious VOR campaign out of Abu Dhabi. For Ernesto I would imagine that it is a choice between keeping the team together and getting some sponsorship which would mean Volvo and ultimately a return to the Cup or whether he wants to put his personal desires first - which means multihulls, the MOD70/The Race, as well as the perennial D35s. Alinghi with a bespoke bit of kit in The Race would be pretty damned cool. Personally I like my TeamOrigin do the VOR idea because I know Moose would give his eye teeth to do it, but suspect Sir Keith Mills wouldn't be overwhelmed at the prospect of forking out for it, unless a corporate backer could be found. Perhaps the perfect vehicle to gel the BA-Iberia merger?!