Designing The Future
While final preparations and team announcements continue for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, the event's leadership team are working in parallel to map out the race's future. The edition after this one, the 14th, will be contested in brand new One Design racing yachts designed by France's Guillaume Verdier and built under the direction of the Persico boatyard in Italy, race organisers announced today.
Verdier has joined the Volvo Ocean Race Design Team and is currently working with the race on the crucial issue of whether the new boat will be a monohull or multihull. The final decision on the proposed designs will be announced on 18 May at an event in Gothenburg, the home of the race's owners and title sponsors Volvo.
Verdier is the 'quiet' achiever who has been involved in most of the leading designs right across the sport in recent years - from giant multihulls like Gitana's Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, to be launched in July, through Team New Zealand's current America's Cup flying multihulls to maxi-monohulls like Comanche, and the leading Vendee Globe IMOCA 60 foiling projects such as Hugo Boss and Banque Populaire VIII.
The monohull-multihull question is just one of a series of key decisions that will be finalised in the coming weeks and announced at the 18 May event in Gothenburg, Sweden. Together, the announcements will form the most radical shake-up of the Volvo Ocean Race since it began life in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
"Conceived in 2011, the current fleet of boats was built to be competitive for two editions," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner. "We need to move now on the future boats to keep all our options open on boat type and design.
On the decision to award Persico the lead role in the building of the boats, rather than the Consortium approach used for the Volvo Ocean 65s, Nick Bice, the race's Chief Technical Development Officer, said: "The Consortium did some good work last time around to produce such matched boats, but we prefer to contract this time with a single builder, who in turn will undoubtedly sub-contract a number of other builders around the world to achieve the build in time and to budget. Persico have been a strong partner over these past few years, and we are delighted to be working with them again."
Spithill Wary Of Team New Zealand's Radical Catamaran
Team New Zealand have their opponents guessing with their late arrival to Bermuda.
Their absence has created an air of anticipation and kept their rivals guessing, including Australian Spithill who is seeking a third consecutive America's Cup at the helm of the ultra-rich American syndicate.
"We haven't seen New Zealand. We have a lot of people down there watching them [practice], but until you get that boat next to you, we don't know," Spithill told luxury lifestyle magazine Town & Country in an America's Cup preview article.
Spithill was initially sceptical when Team New Zealand unveiled their move to have cycling pedestals replace the traditional arm-powered grinding stations to fuel the systems to operate the massive wingsail and foils.
He felt the extra power generated would be compensated by the time lost moving "cyclists" from one hull to the other in manoeuvres.
But the Kiwis have continually refined those systems, believing there is no difference in moving their crew around the boat.
Team New Zealand have purposely timed their arrival late, happy to work on their development at home unlike last time when they revealed their foiling abilities too early, allowing teams to copy them and Oracle to eventually outdo them.
Team New Zealand believe their radical pedal approach will be too complex for opponents to replicate at this late stage.
After an incredibly busy winter of regattas, there's no let up at the Yacht Club de Monaco which hosts two regattas that have never been organised before in the Principality, starting tomorrow: J/70 European Match Race Tour and Act 1 of the M32 Mediterranean Series.
YCM is organising a stage of the European Match Race circuit on J/70s made available by the Club. A reminder that with 17 boats flying the flag in the Monaco J/70 Class Association, the Principality has one of the most active and largest fleets in Europe.
Among 8 European teams this weekend, two are representing Monaco: Pierrik Devic associated with Max Bulley and Philippe Buchard alongside François Brenac.
A two-time French Match Racing Champion, the experience of François Brenac will be key but they face stiff competition against an international field, notably the Austrian team led by Max Trippolt, four-time Austrian champion in this discipline.
Adding to the spectacle on the water, a fleet of seven M32s will be competing in Act 1 of their Mediterranean circuit after a busy winter season that included several appearances in the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series. These 9.68m all-carbon one-design catamarans are designed to engage the public in an intense format that is easy to follow with several back-to-back races of 15 minutes each day. The public can watch the show from the main harbour wall (depending on weather conditions).
Among the favourites is the YCM's own Guido Miani (Team Neverland), sailing on home waters, who finished 2nd in the 2016/2017 Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series season after 25 races. He will be firing on all cylinders to set the pace at this first stage of the M32 Mediterranean Series.
Solo Concarneau - Guy Cotten Trophy
The 37 Figaro Beneteau 2 started this Thursday April 6 at 15:08 in summer conditions on the Solo Concarneau - Guy Cotten Trophy 2017. For this second event of the French Elite Racing Championship, solo sailors will have to deal with Varied conditions, worthy of spring, with many transitions to be managed on the course of 270 nautical miles of this 41st edition.
After a few hours of racing, Yann Elies led the fleet ahead of Gildas Mahe and Nicolas Lunven. The progress of the boats is to be followed on the updated map every 15 minutes.
UNICEF Team In Clipper Round The World Yacht Race
Unicef, the world's leading children's organisation, will once again have a team entry in the 40,000-nautical mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, one of the planet's toughest endurance challenges, which starts this August.
The cost of the team entry has been donated by the race organisers to Unicef UK, the Official Clipper Race Charity. The 2017-18 Race will mark the second consecutive edition that the organisation has been gifted one of the event's twelve 70-foot yachts, which will represent Unicef and its work to make a safer world for children as the teams race around the planet.
Clipper Race CEO and co-founder William Ward said: "As the Clipper Race approaches its twenty-first year of operation, I feel very fortunate to be in the position where I can gift the cost of a team entry to our official charity partner, Unicef, to support its vital work around the world.
"Just like the race and its intrepid crew and partners, Unicef has a truly global reach, working around the world to save the lives of the most vulnerable children, work that myself and the crew got to see first-hand during the last race edition. Not only do I hope that we can raise more funds and exceed our previous £323,000 total raised but that together we can continue to positively impact the lives of more children in danger."
Approximately 700 crew members from more than 40 nationalities will participate in the Clipper 2017-18 Race and fundraising to help keep more of the world's most vulnerable children safe from danger has already begun, with an increased target of £400,000 set by the Clipper Race organisers.
Scugnizza Rule 69 Case
Jury decision is now posted on
Stephen 'Sparky' Park has been presented with a boats.com/YJA Special Award for services to the sport of sailing. The award was presented by Barry Pickthall, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists' Association and former Chairman Bob Fisher at a lunch held at the Royal Southern YC this week.
Park has been the RYA's Olympic Team Manager for the last four Olympiads and led Britain's world-beating sailors to amass an unprecedented 23 Olympic and Paralympic medals during this period.
Olympic sailing medalists Giles Scott, Iain Percy and Paul Goodison all sent video messages from Bermuda where they are training to compete in the America's Cup starting on May 26, and Helena Lucas, who won Gold and Bronze medals under Park's management at successive Paralympic Games, was equally effusive during the lunch.
Park has been recruited to lead Britain's Olympic cycling team where he will introduce some of the coaching methods developed during his time in sailing.
Specialist sailing apparel manufacturer Zhik has been selected by team AkzoNobel as its official technical clothing partner for the upcoming edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
AkzoNobel is the world's leading manufacturer of the organic peroxides that are used as essential ingredients to produce the type of hi-tech fabrics that feature in Zhik's products.
Commented Zhik CEO, David Crow: "We are extremely excited to partner with such an innovative and forward-thinking company as AkzoNobel for the Volvo Ocean Race. Our world class, hi-tech performance yachting gear, combined with AkzoNobel's drive for innovation and its winning culture, mean this is sure to be a superb partnership."
Bart Milczarczyk, global head of design at Zhik, said the opportunity to collaborate with the team AkzoNobel sailors made the partnership all the more unique and innovative.
Founded in 2003 Zhik's range of wetsuits and dinghy gear completely changed the design approach for performance clothing and have been rapidly adopted by sailors across the globe.
Since then, Zhik have taken the same 'clean sheet' approach and are pushing strongly into the yachting apparel from coastal cruising to extreme ocean range, and also into paddling and watersports.
It's the start of an exciting new era for Discovery Yachts with a management-led buyout headed by the Managing Director Sean Langdon, following the retirement of the company's founder and Chairman John Charnley.
The new team heading up the highly-respected British luxury cruiser brand, are looking to build on the company's successes. Discovery have ambitious plans to expand the current range with the launch of a new 48ft luxury cruising yacht in early 2018 as well as adding another brand into the mix for the Discovery Group.
Discovery Yachts has seen a promising start to 2017 and so far this year has secured £2.3 million in new orders
Sean Langdon has been Managing Director of Discovery Yachts since August 2016 during which time he has worked closely with John Charnley on the succession of this highly sought-after brand. Sean has a long association with the marine industry and recently spent three years as the Sales & Marketing Director for a well-known European production yacht brand.
Dual Olympian and three time World Champion sailor Sarah Ogilvie (nee Blanck) has been appointed to the Australian Sailing Board and will join the Athletes Commission as the Board representative.
Recognised as an exceptional dinghy sailor, Sarah competed at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 finishing fourth in both; she won three World Championships and numerous Australian and State Championship titles. Sarah was co-Captain of the Australian Sailing Team in 2008 and has been recognised as Sailor of the Year and Australian Junior Athlete of the Year.
Sarah's term as an Appointed Director runs until the Annual General Meeting in October 2018 and was agreed at the Australian Sailing Board meeting held on 5 April 2017.
Kim Andersen, World Sailing President, welcomed IOC President Thomas Bach and Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti to Aarhus - the Sailing Capital of Denmark - at the ASOIF annual dinner for the International Federations at the SportAccord Convention on Monday 3 April.
The ASOIF dinner, jointly hosted by World Sailing, world governing body of the sport, allows senior officials from the international federations of Olympic sports to network and share best practice in advance of the SportAccord Convention.
Overlooking the racing areas that will be used at the Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships, the evening held a sailing theme. Guests were welcomed to the venue, the Varna Palace, with the Nacra 17, fitted with the foiling configuration, and the Danish 49erFX that won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on display, allowing officials to view the equipment first hand.
Meanwhile on the water, Danish kitesurfers, 49er sailors and RS:X competitors put on a demonstration directly in front of the venue.
World Sailing released its new strategic positioning at the end of 2016 putting sport, nature and technology at its core. The stronger and contemporary brand identity came to life on the evening with insightful literature and technology in action displays, showcasing innovation within the sport.
The positioning resonated well with sailors, coaches, sailing fans and sports fans and attendees on the evening that included Pavel Kolobkov, Russian Minister of Sport and IOC Members Alexander Zhukov, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Sergey Bubka gained further insight into World Sailing with a showing of the governing body's brand film.
Click here to view - www.sailing.org/tv/41067.php#.WOM3dI4lFZI
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.
* From Adrian Morgan:
We sorely miss Magnus and his perceptive take on all things sailing, so sharpen your quill. My point was simply this, and it's worth repeating. I am not decrying those who champion the new America's Cup boats, the spectacle or the speed - it is the future and like your nine year old son, we must embrace it (like Brexit) - but to call four guys bulked up to pump handles or spin pedals the best or even the greatest sailors is to traduce all those such as Armel, Alex, Francois etc. "The sheer physicality is on another level...", says Magnus.
For sure, but the others are fully rounded sailors, who employ skills in sail trimming, navigation, weather lore, helmsmanship, reefing, sail changing, storm tactics and all the other skills required to make a sailor, let alone the greatest or best sailor. I hate hyperbole. One thing I do agree on: the lack of real drama, versus the anodyne, highly controlled drip feed of mundane information.
* From John Burnie:
Jock Wishart challenged - so I should probably respond.
Bosham - in the Optimist fleet. The boat had white topsides and the underwater surfaces were yellow. It had a name - just on the waterline - but it was quite difficult to see or read the odd letters. When the boat was capsized and inverted you could clearly read "Sunny Side Op".
* From Euan Ross:
The Great Sound of silence
The America's Cup conversation has been immeasurably poorer since Magnus absentmindedly chewed on the business-end of his pen, while musing on yet another salvo of entertaining invective. We can live with cats; I've had a few little ones.
That's not really the issue any more; even if the latest crop of round-the-World record breakers have buggered the 'wow factor' by making tea and washing their socks at comparable speeds off Cape Horn. But, if Magnus fired up his old blog now, he would soon run out of juicy gossip to dissect.
In past times, World-class BS sparked genuine outrage. Now we are simply outraged by a Defender who has effectively shut down the competitors' dialogue on pain of God-knows-what.
A raft of draconian measures has been engineered to sanitise the "news" as it trickles out of the ironically named 'Great Sound'.
And, unfortunately, as far as the repeated boast that the crucial differences between each team's foil sections and wing control systems are only revealed to the "expert eye"; well, of course, they are not really apparent to anyone.
Nothing to see here folks, move along.
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The Last Word
The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it. -- Bill Nye