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Posts Tagged ‘World Championship’

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Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 9.45.32 AMIn an interesting bit of offshore racing news dropped today, ORC announced that the first-ever Offshore Racing World Championship will take place in the Netherlands in 2018 under a joint IRC/ORC scheme.  It’s a fascinating conclusion (subject to change, of course) to a conflict that nearly came to blows at World Sailing’s Annual Conference in Barcelona late last year.  Our own reporter watched Stan Honey scold the IRC and ORC representatives and send them off without their supper to work out their issues, and it seems they’ve reached that agreement to try to mend offshore wounds and bring handicap ocean racers together.

We all know the sport has been in trouble for a long time, and with a few noteable exceptions, handicap racing is struggling harder than any other sector to stem its losses, which result as much from unhappiness with handicap rules and complicated, competing ratings systems.  That’s why we applaud the ORC and IRC brass for putting aside their self-interest and doing right by the sport for once. Now, if the boatbuilders and classes would just follow their lead, we might start getting somewhere!

Here’s the Worlds site, and here’s the ORC release. Max Ranchi photo of the last ORC Worlds.

 

February 9th, 2017 by admin

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It’s just two weeks into registration, and with 182 entries on the official list, the 2017 Moth Worlds has already broken the all-time fleet size record! Earlybird entries closed on Tuesday with sailors from 25 countries registered for the event to be held at the Fraglia vela Malcesine in late July.  Thanks to an off-year for the Olympics and the rapid growth of the wide world of foiling, the record lineup features a daunting who’s who of top sailors.  Thanks to Class Prez Scott Babbage for the reminder, and credit to Thierry Martinez/2012 Moth Worlds for the photo from the last time the Moths hit the World’s Best Sailing Lake.

At the top of the list is the Olympic Laser shoot out, with reigning Moth World Champion, 2008 Gold Medallist and Artemis Racing helmsman Paul Goodison (GBR) going up against 2012 Gold Medallist and Oracle Team USA tactician Tom Slingsby (AUS) and 2016 Gold Medallist Tom Burton (AUS).

2016 Laser Radial Olympic Silver Medallist and 2014 Women’s Moth World Champion Annalise Murphy (IRL) leads the charge in the growing women’s fleet against reigning champion Wakako Tabata (JPN) and 2013 Women’s Champion Emma Gravare (SWE).

Among the past champions, 2009 & 2013 Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (USA) makes a comeback to the class after taking time out to compete in the Nacra 17 at the Rio Olympics. Also making a return after Olympic and Americas Cup commitments, dual medallist Iain Jensen (AUS) will be looking to improve on his top 10 result in 2015.

Despite, or perhaps due to the venue, over 30 Australian entrants will make the journey, lining up against a large British contingent. New Moth countries Argentina, Ireland and Finland are well represented, alongside competitors from growing fleets in Poland, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, Canada and Bermuda.

Taking it to the Olympians will be the Moth regulars including 2012 World Champion and current Australian Champion Josh McKnight (AUS). McKnight will debut a new Australian built Moth for the event against the dominant Mach2 and Exocet designs. Also pushing the development envelope is 2015 and 2016 Amlin International and Volvo Ocean Racer Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), who will surely be among the favourites based on recent form. 2016 European Champion Mike Lennon (GBR) will also debut a new design, the Lennon PP Moth designed by David Hollom and built by White Formula in the UK. Not short of innovative ideas, winner of the 2013 Mini Transat Benoit Marie (FRA) returns with a new boat for the event.

Alongside Marie is a large European contingent, with 3 time Moth European Champion Arnaud Psarofagis (SUI) taking a break from his responsibilities as helmsman on the Alinghi Extreme Series GC32 to return to the Moth. Not to be taken lightly, the local Italian fleet will be out in force, lead by 3 time Olympian and Artemis Racing helmsman Francesco Bruni (ITA). 

6 months is still a long time in a Moth, but with entry numbers rapidly approaching 200, anticipation will be building for what will be the largest Moth World Championship ever. Follow the event progress here or find MothWorlds on FaceBook & Twitter.

 

 

February 3rd, 2017 by admin

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From 13 to 18 years old, this Mudratz Racing-produced crew is the youngest-ever Melges 24 Worlds team.  They’re also fun, smart, and great at telling their story, and we enjoyed chatting with them on the eve of the final day of the biggest sailing event of their young lives.  Enjoy this uplifting 20 minute Skype chat with the future of the sport of sailing, with lessons for anyone who cares where we go over the next 50 years in sailing.

 

December 3rd, 2016 by admin

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It’s not going all that well for the current Melges 24 World Champion (while the US 470 team is showing the rest of the fleet their asses aboard Conor Clarke’s ultra-fast Embarr). Here’s the midweek report from Chris Rast’s EFG Bank team (thanks to Swiss Performance Sailing). Pierrick Contin photo with full galleries, interviews, and live video that’s so bad it’s fun to watch – all here.

Sailboat racing is a funny thing. You can feel so prepared for the first day of racing and still fall short. The EFG Sailing Team did not have such a great day out on the water. We had a few problems downwind and at times didn’t find the fastest upwind mode. Nevertheless, no one on the team gave up and we stayed focused until the finish of the last race of the day.

So what do you we do now? WE FIGHT! It has been only three races and we have another nine races to go. Anything can happen in this fleet and the forecast is for lighter wind over the next few days.

The winners of the day were Conor Clarke and his stellar crew including Dave Hughes and Stu McNay. They were the fastest and smartest boat how there. They are closely followed by Airforce One with Bora Gulari on the helm and Jonathan McKee on Tactics. We are looking forward to applying some of our learnings to tomorrow’s racing.

Time for a good night sleep and dream of better day.

Title inspiration thanks to Migos.

 

December 1st, 2016 by admin

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Perhaps no sailing team in the world is inspiring more young racers than the Mystic River Mudratz.  Full of Anarchists and driven by some very clever industry-insider parents, the New England-based youth sailing initiative continues to give anyone who sees them hope for the future.  But now, their hope for competing at the Melges 24 Worlds may be in jeopardy, and if there was ever a cause that deserved your help, this is it.  Here’s a note from one of those co-founding parents:

“You will never forget the day you break your first rig” were the words of encouragement from world-renowned pro sailor and Race Officer Anderson Reggio.  Unfortunately for our team of youth sailors… it happened on the very last day of practice!  After a full season that started back in May, the kids were finally getting the art of blow-through-jibes while ‘sending it’ off of waves in 18-22 knots last Saturday.  We had a foiling UFO and Waszp in town for demos that morning, and the kids were inspired to just go faster and faster…  the day could not have been going any better, until…BANG!

With the Melges 24 Worlds under 30 days away, our boat probably cannot be fixed in that time.  These kids have scratched and clawed their way to respectability with over 20 days of racing and 40 days of practices.  As guest coach Charlie Enright shared with them one night this past July “The hardest thing about big events – is getting to the starting line”.

We have fundraised relentlessly to cover travel costs and even lined up a final tune-up in Miami with former Rolex Sailor of the Year Stephanie Roble.  These kids have worked so hard and are dying to become bright future members of our adult sailing community.   Does anyone have a Melges 24 they would consider chartering to us?

The Mudratz are celebrating our three year anniversary while all this is going on.  If you are interested to see what this team is about check out the video here.  If you don’t have a spare Melges 24 lying around, PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING OUR TEAM TO HELP US GET BACK ON THE LINE!

October 30th, 2016 by admin

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After a very strong Marstrand finale to the inaugural World Match Racing Tour,  our friends in M32 World have been extremely quiet, with no firm announcements for the 2016/17 WMRT season other than a teaser telling us there would indeed be another million on offer for the winner of the series. This week, we found out what they’ve been up to: First, and as you can see by the titillating video above, they’ve gotten International Class status from ISAF and the inaugural M32 World Championship will be sailed on the Devil’s Island immediately after the Tour finale in Marstrand.  While future M32 Worlds will be qualified events, this first year is first-come, first-served, and capped at 25 boats, so get registered now.

Far more importantly, M32 World announced that the Volvo Ocean Race will now feature the M32 cat for Pro-Am and guest racing at 8 of the VOR Stopovers. Each boat will be branded like one of the teams and sailed over the course of the stopover, allowing non-stop sailing action for spectators and VIP/hospitality guests.  Instead of a two days of in-port and pro-am racing, those eight stopovers will now be full of racing action – a move that pleases both VOR, the teams, and the local vendors while increasing the crossover between long time circumnavigators and inshore cat racers.

 

 

October 14th, 2016 by admin

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We thought we were going to be focusing on the Etchells Worlds IJ granting the Event Chairman redress for two different UFD scores, but as we were writing that one up, something way better came up for our monthly look at protests and sailors behaving badly.  And it’s a hell of a story.

Julian Fernandez Neckelmann dominated the J/70 Worlds last year with his Flojito and has continued in other big events, and with two of the winningest one-design pros of the past decade as his crew and Ed Adams coaching, Julian ain’t playin’ – he’s in this one for real. But after six races at St. Franny’s Big Boat Series, a much lower-budget team – Joel Ronning’s Catapult - sat tied with Neckelmann in the same water they’ll be racing next week at Worlds.

That’s when Neckelmann – a lawyer, we think – decided he needed to find out more about the stainless hoop you see above in Ronning’s cockpit.  We were told by several people he asked them about it, and several told him they thought it was legal, and even suggested against protesting it.  When Neckelmann saw Catapult tactician John Kostecki on the dock, Neckelmann told him he didn’t think the roll bar was kosher, and Kostecki, ever the communicator, said ‘Protest me.”  Neckelmann did exactly that, and that’s where it gets good.

The Jury asked why Catapult had a non-OEM part on the boat, and Joel calmly explained that bar was installed to assist him from moving from side to side during tacks and gybes.  He also explained that the J/70 rules allow installation of such a device for people with physical disabilities, and that both the plans and photos of the finished part had been signed off by the J/70 Technical Committee and Adminstrator as required by the Class Rules.

At this point, our sources differ on what exactly happened, but a credible one has Neckelmann next asking Ronning, “How disabled are you that you need this bar?”

Ronning then reaches down, unstraps a buckle, pulls his carbon-fiber prosthetic leg off, and slams it on the table in front of god and everyone, shouting “Is this disabled enough for you?”

A differing account says Neckelmann asked why he wasn’t allowed to have the same bar installed on his boat.   Ronning pulled off the leg and slammed it on the table, telling Neckelmann to “Saw off one of your legs and you’ve got it.”

Regardless of which version is true, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous, and sends an awful message to disabled sailors in open classes: Fuck you and your problem.  We certainly know the history that makes top J/70 teams so nervous about cheaters, but handling a protest poorly risks not only pissing off your fleet, but it can earn you new enemies you can’t afford on the course.

We note that Neckelmann has always been a straight talker with us, and was always ethical when we’ve spectated or raced against him.  He told us in an email that he never knew Ronning had any disability until that protest hearing, let alone a carbon-fiber leg; this isn’t that far-fetched given that Ronning is proud of the fact that so few people can tell he has an artificial leg.   Still, we struggle with it, because Neckelmann poached his pros director from the Catapult team.  Bill Hardesty and Willem Van Waay both worked for Ronning on his A-Scow and J/70 for some time and they knew him well;  if Bill and Creature let their boss protest an amputee without telling him about it – well, that’s a great story too. (And speaking of stories, we are hearing about Hardesty’s questionable behavior at Mission Bay Yacht Club a few weeks ago. – ed)

We don’t think Neckelmann is some kind of anti-disabled sailing nutbag, but he’s a fierce competitor, and as he wrote us yesterday, “Some people in good faith and others in bad faith are playing with modifications.  If these moves are legal we want to do them, if they are not, we want nobody else to do them.”  That’s fair.  But protesting a heavy metal bar in a bad place when people told you it was legal…it’s your right, but it’s stupid.

The reality is that Neckelmann’s protest was probably a shot across Ronning’s bow and an attempt to get into the head of a team that can clearly challenge for the world title – a team that already has plenty of bad blood with the reigning world champion.  Top pros play head games because sometimes, they work.  But this one seems to have backfired, and Neckelmann and Hardesty haven’t made any friends with their move; many think they also made their class and the BBS look like shit.

One other thing it did?  It made us pretty excited to watch how steamy this rivalry gets next week in the Berkley Circle.  Nothing fires up interest like a battle before the war.  You can read a full Worlds Preview at the J/70 Facebook Page here.

 

September 22nd, 2016 by admin

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Pacific Yankee learned why you don’t fuck around with John Kostecki in a pre-start match race today when they threw away a three-point lead over Pinta going into the final race of the 56-boat Melges 20 Worlds, ultimately losing by 7 to the Michael Illbruck-helmed boat.  Watch Illbruck/Kostecki/Michetti manhandle the boat owner and his paid crew of Morgan Reeser/Charlie Smythe in the start above (with commentary by the inimitable Mauro Melandri).

This makes (we think) Federico Michetti the first man to own World Championships in all three Melges sportboats. We’ll be talking with Federico soon ab0ut his accomplishment and the imminent arrival of the Melges 40 for the SA Podcast soon…

You can head over to Livestream to watch the other race clips from Scarlino and the live prizegiving, which will air in an hour or two.  Emanuele Savoini took the Corinthian crown.

 

August 28th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

We’ve had a lot of fun commentating and following the World Match Racing Tour this year, but things have just gotten a hell of a lot more serious at the World Championship Finale in stunning Marstrand.  It’s not surprising – with 1.2 million on the line, including a single million-dollar cash bonus to the winning team, much of the camaraderie is gone, and it’s been replaced with determination and steely stares between both rivals and (former) friends.

The breeze is on (as it always is here), the bikinis are out, and you’ve got a front row seat for all the action as commentated by double match race World Champ Simon Shaw, Rolex US Sailor of the Year Steph Roble, and the big bald bastard himself.  Get your match on!

 

July 4th, 2016 by admin

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Big Pimpin’

Check out the video from the 3rd event of Italy’s Alcatel J/70 Cup for a slightly long but beautifully produced story of sportboat racing in Sardinia.  More from our old friend and Italian J/70 Class Prez Vittorio:

Quite frankly, we had a truly fantastic week-end with great racing conditions, outstanding hospitality by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (with a social event every night!), and lots of beachside fun for our accompanying friends and families. It was probably the best event organised by the J/70 ITALIAN CLASS so far (results here).

The week-end was also a live test for next year’s J/70 Worlds (Sept 12-16, 2017). We are already working to prepare another great event for you (all of the above plus simplified logistics, group discounts on ferry boat transportation, hotels, food and entertainment). We will present the full program of next year’s event during the Italian Night that we plan to host at the St. Francis Yacht Club in September during the 2016 J/70 Worlds in San Francisco. You are already invited to participate!

We are confident to have all the ingredients to host a great event next year which will be key in further growing the J/70 Class in the Med. CAN’T MISS PORTO CERVO 2017 !

 

June 16th, 2016 by admin

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