Grand Prix Sailor’s Monday Morning Digest

GroupAma Capsizes and is Struck by Another Open 60 Tri

And They’re Off
The Route du Rhum, which began on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the class, has already served up enough wreckage to satisfy even NASCAR fans. The biggest wreck so far was Franck Camass’ open 60 tri GroupAma, which capsized in moderate conditions 25 miles off the French coast Sunday evening. Jean le Cam, sailing another Open 60 tri, Bonduelle, rammed GroupAma at speed shortly after the capsize, tearing off GroupAma’s starboard bow and damaging his own as well. Neither skipper was hurt. GroupAma is under tow and Bonduelle reached port early Monday morning to repair its float and check for structural damage.

On the monohull side of town, Roland Jordain’s Open 60 Sill is leading the fleet, with Mike Golding’s Ecover 17 miles behind. Ellen MacArthur, sailing Kingfisher, is in fourth, 21 miles behind Sill. Australian Nick Moloney is leading the class 2 monohulls, with Yannick Bestaven on Republique Dominicaine close behind. Loïc Pochet, sailing his La Rage de Vivre hit an unidentified object Sunday afternoon and arrived in Brest early Monday morning, with bow damage.

The Route du Rhum, held every four years, is a 3,700-mile singlehanded race from France to Guadeloupe. The Race record for multihulls was set in 1998 by Laurent Bourgnon on Primagaz, 12d:8h:41m:6s.


The Class 1 monohull record was set in 1994 by Yves Parlier on Cacolac d’Aquitaine. 15d:19h:23m. The Class 2 monhull record was set by Ellen MacArthur on her 50’ Kingfisher in 1998 at 20d:11h:44m:49s. If conditions are right the trimarans could finish in nine or 10 days and the monohulls could finish in 12.

Etchells Worlds
Stuart Childerly of Great Britain, sailing with Simon Russell and Roger Marino crushed the competition to win the Etchells Worlds on the Hauraki Gulf last week. With a race record of 2,2,1,1,9,1,3,3, Childerly and crew could afford to sit out the final race of the series, and did. Mark Bradford and Cameron Miles of Australia finished second and third respectively. Top American finisher was Dennis Conner in seventh place, 104 points out of first place.

Sailing on the Tube
ESPN will be showing portions of St. Frances YC’s Rolex Big Boat Series 2002 on November 18 and 19. The show will concentrate on the TransPac 52 class. Nov. 18, 10:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Nov. 19, 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time. See your local TV listings for times in your area.


A Tough Way to Get Around the Globe
Jean Luc Van Den Heede is on his way around the world backwards again, trying to beat Philippe Monnet’s record of 151d:19h:54m. Van Den Heede began his attempt in 40 knots of breeze, sailing his 84-foot aluminum sloop Adrien across the starting line–between the Lizard and Ushant–on Nov. 4. As of Monday morning, Van Den Heede was off the coast of Morocco and half a day behind Monnet’s pace.

This is Van den Heede’s second try with this boat, last year he was forced to turn back when welds began failing near the keel. “Last year, Adrien was a bit young, less experienced than me,” Van Den Heede said before starting the attempt. “But all the modifications needed for her to sail well have been made.” Those modifications included the installation of after foils angled at 6 degrees from the boat’s axis to keep it from constantly heading up, which was wearing on both helmsman and autopilot. To follow Van Den Heede’s journey, see

**2003 Acura SORC Opens Registration
Registration for the 2003 Acura SORC, held off Miami Beach, FL, Feb. 26 — Mar. 2, 2003, is now open. Visit for information.


Farr 40 Racing**
Massimo Mezzaroma’s Farr 40 Nerone, the 2002 Farr 40 European champion, won the Bahamian Championship, sailed over the weekend as a warm-up for the Farr 40 Worlds which begin Wednesday. Terry McLaughlin’s Defiant was second, and John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti was third.

There’s an awful lot of high-priced talent standing behind the owner-drivers in the Worlds: Chris Larson on Bambakou, Dee Smith on Grooverderci, Paul Cayard on Pegasus, John Kostecki on Samba Pa Ti, Mark Reynolds on Le Renard, and a couple of guys fresh from the Hauraki Gulf, Vincenzo Onorato and Flavio Favini of Mascalzone Latino on Breeze.

Today’s schedule includes a golf tournament and a Farr 40 Class meeting, skipper’s and tactician’s meetings, and a day of hull polishing and gear checking for the crews. Racing will begin on Nov. 13 and end Nov. 16. For results, see


Canting Ballast Technology in TransPac?
Marine industry sources report that Roy Disney is planning to race the 2005 TransPac with an 87-footer using Canting Ballast-Twin Foil technology. Disney is reported to have been inspired by the success of the 60-footer Wild Oats in Australia, which won 5 of 6 races in the 170 boat Whitsunday regatta and has asked the Reichel/Pugh design office to draw the high-tech sled. Disney has also reportedly informed the TransPac race committee of his intentions and has indicated that there are others interested in the concept.

DynaYacht, the owners of the CBTF design, recently announced a partnership with Reichel/Pugh to further develop the technology; this could be the first fruit of that union and may prove to be the impetus that propels CBTF from obscurity to overall acceptance.

Cita Litt, one of the first to buy into the CBTF technology, and who has successfully campaigned her Schock 40 Cita on the U.S. West Coast, has ordered a new 55-foot CBTF design from DynaYacht. Even the old Red Hornet may be coming out of retirement, supposedly it’s been sold and will be at Key West Race Week.–Peter d’Anjou

Lessons Learned
John Burnham trimmed headsails for Dave Irish on a J/105 at the International Masters Regatta on San Francisco Bay recently and wrote a 4-part analysis of the event and his team’s performance.

“With one race to sail on Sunday we were 5 points behind John Jennings and 3 behind Keith Musto. Lurking 2 behind us was Bruce Munro. Regrettably, we were on the flat part of our learning curve for this regatta. Dave was sailing the boat very fast, but tactically Bill and I weren’t putting it together. Dave jumped out to a great start near the leeward end and came up the City Front gaining on the boats to windward because we were sailing in the stronger part of the new ebb tide, which first gets moving there. At one point we could’ve tacked and crossed all but one boat. Too bad we didn’t, because just as we’d done the day before, we sailed out of the best current by the Golden Gate YC and fell from the front to the back in the blink of an eye. (See Mistake No. 1 in last week’s story.) This prompted several reflections on my part.”

Jobson on the Louis Vuitton Cup
After two frustrating round robins of dealing with unsuitable weather, eight of the nine qualifying challengers are spending this week preparing for the quarterfinals. For the bottom four teams, the stakes are high because the losing two teams will be eliminated. In the top bracket, the winning teams advance directly to the semifinals. The losers from the top bracket race the winners from the bottom bracket in a repechage series Nov. 23 to 30.

The challengers learned plenty about their boats, equipment, and sailors during the long month of racing. Every team experienced highs and lows, demonstrating once again that the America’s Cup is an emotional roller coaster ride. The big question now is which teams will be able to make major improvements before the quarter finals begin on Nov. 12?

For the rest of Gary Jobson’s take on the Louis Vuitton Cup, see