In this issue:
Volvo Ocean Race, – Miami – leg 7 , where are they now,
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup,
Russell Coutts talks to international press about crewing and sailing an AC45 and why a multihull was chosen – recorded by Zerogradinord here,
TVNZ link page for Venice AC 45 regatta here,
Sail-World UK – latest issue here,
Photo PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO LIES IN WAIT AS CRUCIAL LEG 7 BEGINS
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet headed out of Miami and straight towards a tropical storm on Sunday after making a slow start to Leg 7, potentially one of the most critical stages of the 39,000 nautical mile marathon.
With a gentle breeze blowing off Miami’s famous South Beach it was Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, winners of Saturday’s PORTMIAMI In-Port Race, who lead around the six-mile course, although by the time of the 1900 position report overall leaders Team Telefónica held the slimmest of advantages.
The boats were headed out into the North Atlantic where the first major obstacle they will face will be Tropical Storm Alberto, the first of the 2012 hurricane season, lying off the east coast of the United States and holding winds of up to 45 knots at its centre
Abu Dhabi claimed their third win of the in-port series on Saturday, while Groupama took a strong second to pile more pressure on overall race leaders Team Telefónica.
While Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi cemented their reputation as formidable in-shore contenders and took six points for the victory in the 10-leg, 8.2 nautical mile PORTMIAMI In-Port Race, French team Groupama scored a valuable five.
That took them to within seven points of Telefónica, who trailed in last after apparently hitting a mark and being forced to make a penalty turn.
In an incredible finish PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG finished third by edging out CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand within metres of the finish line, to finish just nine seconds ahead.
Team Sanya finished fifth to score two points, while Team Telefónica scored just one point for sixth place, making them wide open to attacks from their opponents on the overall leaderboard with 165 points.
“That was a pretty strange race,” Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker said. “I have to say our crew work got us back in the race. It feels great. We’ve had a tough time.
“The last in-port race we had no training time, this time we made an effort to have two training days and it paid off.
“We made a good start which is always a good help, and for sure our crew work was very good and that makes a big difference.”
PUMA and Sanya led off the line at the pin end followed closely by Groupama and Abu Dhabi who opted for self-confident port-start with speed, leaving CAMPER struggling under a smaller jib, raising questions of a problem.
On the first beat parallel to Miami Beach it was Telefónica who stamped their intent early, picking a near perfect lay-line and leading around the top mark. Abu Dhabi rounded just six seconds behind, followed by Groupama, Sanya, CAMPER and PUMA, who struggled on to hold course.
Groupama made their move under spinnaker, rolling Abu Dhabi by the second mark in the 10 to 15 knot breeze. The French team continued their charge on a short and sharp reach to take the lead, followed by Telefónica, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, CAMPER and PUMA, just one minute and 20 seconds behind.
Telefónica continued to struggle and were overtaken by Abu Dhabi, who took second place on the third leg. In a desperate bid, Telefónica and CAMPER made a bold split from the fleet, heading offshore as the breeze continued to moderate.
The move proved a major fail, costing Telefónica another position, with Sanya edging ahead into third place at the fifth mark. Meanwhile, Franck Cammas’ men continued their domination extending their lead over Ian Walker’s crew to almost one minute.
As spinnakers were again popped on leg 6, positions came under threat and intensified at the congested mark rounding, where Telefónica were forced to do a penalty turn for hitting the mark.
After a quickfire short reach, Groupama solidified their lead, followed by Abu Dhabi, while the remainder of the fleet continued a messy scrap. But the race wasn’t over yet, as the breeze lightened a shortened course was called and Abu Dhabi took the lead and held it to the end.
The sailors and shore crews are now turning their sights on the final preparations for the 3,500 nm Leg 7 race from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal starting on Sunday.
AMERICA’S CUP, RUSSELL COUTTS MEETS INTERNATIONAL MEDIA
Venice – Oracle Team USA‘ CEO, Russell Coutts, meets the international media in Venice and talks about America’s Cup, AC72, AC45, RedBull
For the first time in the history of the America’s Cup, young, talented sailors have a clear pathway towards competing for one of the most prestigious trophies in sport. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, launched today with ceremonies in Venice, Italy and San Francisco, USA, opens the door for young sailors to gain the experience they need to contribute to a Cup team.
“I think this is one of the most exciting developments in the America’s Cup in a very long time,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who became the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup at age 30 in 2010.
“Breaking into the America’s Cup is hard. I was very fortunate when I was 19 to get a break with the Young Australia team, which allowed me to get into the game and get noticed. But this is going to give many more young sailors the same type of opportunity. We are talking about literally turning tradition on its head by opening up the America’s Cup to younger sailors, rather than it being closed off and difficult to get a foot in the door.”
Racing will take place in the same high performance, wing-sailed AC45 catamarans currently used in the America’s Cup World Series. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is scheduled for August/September 2013, in San Francisco, during the heart of the 34th America’s Cup racing season.
Red Bull has a long tradition in giving wings to young talent, athletes or even whole disciplines. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is opening up the highest level of sailing to young people – on new catamarans that are extreme performance machines
Photos © ACEA 2012/ Gilles Martin-Raget