Bermuda Slammed By Category 3 Hurricane

Started in 1991, Grand Prix Sailor is a racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine ( Fabian hammered the island archipelago of Bermuda on Friday with large waves, and winds reportedly gusting as high as 170 miles per hour. Four people, including two police constables, were lost when a portion of the Castle Harbour causeway, which connects the airport and the town of St. George's to the rest of the islands, was washed away during the height of the storm. Reports from the Royal Gazette website,, tell of "roofs ripped from homes, trees stripped bare or uprooted and lying across lawns," and boats "ripped from moorings and flung up onto nearby islands." Bermuda's biggest hotel, the Fairmont Southampton, suffered heavy damage and will be closed for two weeks, but the airport is expected to open later Monday afternoon. Not only is Bermuda a favorite destination for ocean racers from the United States every year (Newport Bermuda on even years, Marion Bermuda on odd years), but the 22-square-mile island chain is also where the world's top match racers meet every October to race for the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Investors Guaranty. This year's event, scheduled for Oct. 18-26, looks to be only slightly affected by the damage. "The Club itself survived, and the marina is intact," said Royal Bermuda YC Vice Commodore Jane Correia Monday. "We lost two floating docks, the 420 dock, and part of the Opti rack, but apart from that, you wouldn't know a hurricane had hit the yacht club. We lost five IODs, and we're making them a priority and trying to get them repaired, as we still intend to go ahead with the Gold Cup. We think it's very important to run that event, not only for the community, but to show that it's 'business in usual' in Bermuda."While Vice Commodore Correia was upbeat about the minimal damage to the RBYC, she described a scene of utter devastation elsewhere in Bermuda: "There are roads that look as though they've been through an earthquake. The causeway to St. George's is destroyed but usable, and the airport is virtually destroyed. The runway was unharmed and flights are starting to land but the U.S. pre-clearance facility [where American tourists go through U.S. Customs and Immigration before leaving Bermuda. -Eds] is wiped out. Bermuda Harbour Radio lost all their instruments, including a brand-new satellite communications dish and the docks at the Dinghy Club in Hamilton are wiped out. We sustained steady winds of over one hundred miles an hour but the weather people here in Bermuda recorded a gust of 170." Correia went on to say that the Bermuda Regiment had gotten most of the main roads cleared, hundreds of lineman from power companies in the Caribbean and the United States were on the way to help restore power, a cargo ship with supplies had docked Monday morning, and that at least one cargo flight a day would be arriving with needed supplies. "This community will be stronger because of this," said Correia. "Everybody is pulling together. Something like this really shakes everybody up and takes them out of the 'Oh woe is me' situation and really makes everybody concentrate on what's important in life."-Tony BessingerSAILING WORLD LARCHMONT NOOD REGATTA"We rounded the leeward mark just in front of Conundrum," said Damian Emery, skipper of the J/105 Eclipse, "but we needed five boats between us to beat them for the series." The regatta leader before the race, Joerg Esdorn's Kincsem, had opened the door for both boats on the first beat and eventually struggled to a 16th place finish. On the long, lopsided last beat up-current, first one boat passed Conundrum on the left, then three more on the right. Then, just before the finish, the breeze backed to the southeast, and another boat came slipping along to the finish line under spinnaker to give Emery and crew the last point they needed. "Somehow all the cards fell into place," said Emery, shaking his head.That's the way the Sailing World NOOD regatta at Larchmont YC ended up on Sunday, and tough as it was to have yet another, shortened, light-air race on the J/105 course, it was even tougher for the other 12 classes, none of which finished a race and several of which didn't even start. The breeze hovered in the 3- to 4-knot range from the southwest and never came in with any strength. So the results from Saturday's racing became the final. Unfortunately, for those classes that didn't begin racing on Friday, the series consisted of only one or two races.The J/27s, which sailed three days, counted the event as their North American championship, which was won by Doug Davies' Amethyst, of Stony Brook, N.Y. Davies is a past champion (2000) and class treasurer. In other championship action, Paul Jeka's Santana team, from Elizabeth, N.J., picked up the Soverel 33 Nationals title with four firsts and a third. At the same time, on the strength of their two firsts on Saturday, they earned the Hall Spars & Rigging Boat of the Day Award. The J/30 East Coast Championship went to Joe McCann's Paddy Wagon, of Glen Cove, N.Y., which won the only race sailed (the series started Saturday). Al Constants, of Locust Valley, N.Y., won the one-race series for the J/24 Long Island Sound Championship on Blitz, and Mark Ewing's Riot, from Glencoe, Ill., handily won the 5-race Farr 40 East Coasts.-John BurnhamResults:ÉE CLAIREFONTAINESince 1990, Trophée Clairefontaine regatta organizers have invited eight sailors from different disciplines of yacht racing to compete against one another in front of a stadium full of spectators in Trinité-sur-mer, France. This year, Michel Desjoyeaux, Loïck Peyron Ernesto Bertarelli, Rolland Jourdain, Bertrand Pacé, Laurent Bourgnon, Ellen MacArthur, and Bernard Stamm were chosen to sail the 25-foot one-design catamarans used for the event.Defending champion Peyron, who is a six-time winner of the event, was ahead by 1 point going into the final race of the two-day series, but was forced to do a 360 after committing a foul, which allowed Michel Desjoyeaux to finish second and clinch the overall title. Peyron ended the series in second, while Bertarelli, clawed back from a tough first day to place third overall. http://www.tropheeclairefontaine.comVOLVO OCEAN RACEVolvo Ocean Race organizers released today the details of the new Volvo Ocean 70 Rule. Here's an excerpt of the rule's "explanation": The entire explanation is posted at and Volvo Ocean 70Q - Why make the boats any bigger?A - Faster boats are generally more comfortable to sail and live aboard. Bigger boats are usually faster too. A small increase in length means a proportional increase by the square in sail area and by the cube when it comes to volume. This means that the power from the rig increases rapidly with length, as does the volume available to create more comfortable living space.Q - How will the new boats compare with the Volvo 60s?A - At 21.5m the new boats will be 2m longer but as much as 1000kg lighter. The Volvo Open 70 will carry up to 60 percent more sail area downwind in the spinnaker alone. The mast will be 4m taller, the boom a metre longer and the mainsail 28 per cent bigger than on the 60s.Q - How much quicker will the new boats be?A - Expert predictions suggest that the new boats would be 21 days quicker around the world than the Volvo 60s if they were to sail the same course. An improvement of 18 percent.Q - How fast will the Volvo Open 70's have to travel to achieve this?A - The current 24-hour record set by Illbruck in the last race stands at 484 miles. Most of the Volvo Open 70 boats in the fleet should be able to beat this and achieve 500-mile days. To do this they will need to maintain an average speed of just under 21 knots. This will mean peak boat speeds of around 35 knots. Q - Apart from increasing the length and the sail area of the new boats, are there other changes in the rule that will contribute to the increase in performance?A - The new boats will be more powerful because they will be proportionally lighter. Non-metallic rigging is now allowed for the standing rigging, (the stays that support the mast) which could save as much as 100kg in weight aloft. Canting keels are now allowed and provide a more efficient means of reducing the heeling. Sailing the boat more upright develops more power.Q - What will the new hulls be constructed from?A - Carbon fiber will be allowed in the construction of the hull and deck. Previously carbon was prohibited and the previous VO60s were constructed from aramid and glass fibre sandwich laminates. The new laminates will also be sandwich construction using a foam and/or Nomex core.Q - What will a Volvo Open 70 weigh?A - The hull, deck and rig will weigh approximately 6,800kg. The keel fin and bulb will weigh 5,700Kg making an all up total weight of 12,500kg. Q - Will the interiors of the boats be different?A - Apart from more space for less crew, the new rules specify minimum bunk sizes as well as a minimum of 10 individual berths. Fewer crew means more emphasis on crew comfort and safety below decks. Galleys will be better positioned and equipped. A navigation station separate from the media station will be required under the new rules and the toilet facilities will be improved. Ed.'s note: Newport, R.I.-based designers T.J. Perrotti and Geoff Van Gorkom present their interpretations of the Volvo Ocean 70 Rule in the October issue of Sailing World, on newsstands soon.AMERICA'S CUPOne of the five finalists in the "Who gets the America's Cup races" reality show got bad news on Friday. Palma de Mallorca, one of two sites in Spain to be chosen, was dropped from the list. "Both Palma and Valencia are worthy candidates but we have had to decide which of the two offered the best chances of progressing to the final stages," said Michel Bonnefous, CEO of AC Management on Friday. "We believe that Valencia offers this potential." This leaves Lisbon, Portugal, Marseilles, France, Naples, Italy, and Valencia, Spain in the running for the 2007 America's Cup. The final decision as to which city gets the privilege (and income) from America's Cup will be announced before December 15, 2003. In other Cup news, Oracle and Alinghi will go at it again in San Francisco Sept. 15-20 for the Moët Cup. Chris Dickson will skipper Oracle/BMW Racing, with Gavin Brady on the helm. San Francisco local John Kostecki recently joined the Oracle/BMW Racing afterguard and should be aboard for the event.Jochen Schuemann, Alinghi's sport director, will be the skipper for the Moët Cup and Brad Butterworth will act as tactician. The Alinghi team will feature many of the crew that were on board for the America's Cup victory including Josh Belsky, Curtis Blewett, and Francesco Rapetti. Russell Coutts will not be sailing with the team but will be in San Francisco by the end of the event to "support the team from a chase boat."LITTLE AMERICA'S CUP NEWSEngineers Australia has recognized the radical wing-sailed catamaran developed by Australian Catamaran Challenge in the 2003 Western Australian Engineering Excellence Awards. "It's a huge boost for the campaign," said Syndicate Coordinator Ian Jenkins. "We won our category and the judges tell us that we were runner-up for the overall prize. It is great recognition for everyone involved in the project.""I'm stoked," said Damien Smith, Project Naval Architect and designer of the radical machine, "A few blokes just took out a major engineering award with a back shed project, how Australian is that?"The award's judges were impressed by the innovative design and construction solutions developed for the project. The unique vessel has successfully completed its first round of sea trials and is currently being upgraded at the team's Fremantle workshop.The ultimate goal for the award winning design is an event known as "The Little Americas Cup" which will be sailed in Newport, R. I. in 2004. Australian Catamaran Challenge syndicate will race against previous winner Steve Clark's Cogito and the British Invictus team to decide who can build the fastest sailing boat on the planet. http://www.lacaustralia.comRONSTAN BRIDGE-TO-BRIDGE RACEThe Ronstan Bridge-to-Bridge course record was blown away by professional boardsailor Micah Buzianis with a time of 16m:29s. Micah shaved one minute, 35 seconds off the previous record.The Ronstan B to B race pits 18-foot skiffs, formula sailboards, and kitesurfers against each other on a 5.7 nautical mile downwind course from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge. Buzianis' average speed over the course was 21 knots. In second place and only 12 seconds behind Buzianis was 18-foot skiff RMW Marine (Robert Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Sam Gardner) with a time of 16m:41s. In third place, kitesurfer Anthony Chavez 17m:5s. Full results are available at http://www.stfyc.comBIG BOAT SERIESSt. Francis YC's vaunted Big Boat Series, presented by Rolex, begins this Thursday, and should provide plenty of action for sailors and spectators alike. The racing takes place within viewing range of Pier 39 and the Marina District, with courses between Treasure Island and the Golden Gate Bridge, and finish lines set off the St. Francis YC.Current Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Massimo Mezzaroma has shipped his Nerone in for the series, and will be competing against other top Farr 40s, including Jim Richardson's Barking Mad, the 2002 Big Boat Series champion, which will have Terry Hutchinson aboard calling tactics. Peter Isler will be aboard Brack Druker's Revolution, and Philippe Kahn's Pegasus team will be rejoining the class after winning the Barn Door Transpac trophy earlier this year aboard their 77-foot sled.In addition to the Farr 40s, other one-design classes racing at BBS will include Express 37s, J/120s, J/105s, Beneteau 40,7s, and the 1D35s. Also racing will be Team Oracle/BMWs ACC boats, USA 76, and USA 71, getting in a bit of practice before the Moët Cup.One of the larger boats in BBS this year will be a visitor from the East Coast, Marco Birch's Talisman, a 53-foot Farr-designed IMS racer/cruiser. Talisman will be racing under Americap II, along with several Transpac 52s, including Charles Barnett's new Bakewell/White -designed Braveheart. Other TP52s racing include, Rosebud, Alta Vita, Yassou, and Flash. http://www.stfyc.orgCOLLEGE SAILING UPSETWashington College set the bar this weekend scoring 140 points at Yale's annual season-opening collegiate regatta, the Harry Anderson Trophy. Both the A division and B division of Washington's team came in second in their divisions, which gave them the edge over Tufts and Harvard, which placed second and third, respectively.Mike Buckley and Halle Ricker sailed in A division for Washington, moving up from fourth to second in their division with consistent sailing in the bigger breeze on Sunday afternoon. In the B division, Colin Robertson and Jen Hanley held on to second after leading their division on Saturday.Conditions each day were warm and sunny, with a light northerly breeze each morning that died out in the early afternoon, when the southwest sea breeze filled in at 8 to 12 knots. Sunday afternoon's final sets saw some heavy crews in action, as the swells grew and the races moved further outside Yale's cove in Branford, Conn.For the complete exclusive on-site report from Amory Loring, don't forget to check out SW's exclusive preseason predictions and preseason rankings REGATTA"It was really shifty. It wasn't uncommon to have 40-degree shifts on the course. You couldn't ever say you were securely in front or stuck in the back. There was a lot of opportunity to pass on the shifts. It's really good racing here."The sailing site in phenomenal. The venue itself is pretty much complete. It's huge, it's about a quarter of mile walk form where our boats were to the athletes lounge."U.S. Yngling sailor Joan Touchette who, along with skipper Hannah Swett and forward crew Melissa Purdy, finished second in the Pre-Olympic Regatta in Athens. For results from this regatta, where the U.S. scored two silver medals,;=2Grand Prix Sailor is compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you'd like to subscribe, see Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (, Dave Reed (, Stuart Streuli (, John Burnham (