Grand Prix Sailor–Monday Digest

A look at the week behind and the week ahead

470 World Championships
The average age of the U.S. 470 team has taken a decided jump upwards at the 2002 class world championship in Cagliari, Italy. Veterans Paul Foerster, 38, and Kevin Burnham, 45, have jumped back into the class, ending nearly nine months of speculation about their plans. The 470 silver medalists–Foerster placed second in 2000 with Bob Merrick on the wire while Burnham earned a silver in 1992 crewing for Morgan Reeser–sailed together at the Skipper Whyte Regatta in January, but then dropped off the radar after winning that event. Their appearance at the worlds is a strong indication they are looking to head to Athens, good news for the U.S. team as a whole, though probably not so encouraging for the other American male 470 sailors.

Forester and Burnham had a strong qualifying round, placing first and second in their opening two races, but haven’t been as dominant in the gold fleet, struggling in the 7 to 11- knot conditions and making a few tactical miscues. Nonetheless, they are still the top U.S. team in the event; they were fifth after Sunday and finished 17th and second in two races today. Steve Hunt and Michael Miller, still trying to comeback from Miller’s knee injury which knocked them out of action for much of the spring, are further back in 30th, but fairing well considering the long layoff and improving daily. On the women’s side, two teams made the gold fleet, Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving and Erin Maxwell and Jen Morgan. McDowell and Kinsolving were in 21st after Sunday’s racing while Maxwell and Morgan were 30th. Neither team had a strong day on Monday.-Stuart Streuli

Overall results through Monday weren’t available at press time, but should be posted soon at


Record Attempts
The current Round Britain and Ireland record is 5d:21h:5m and was set in October, 1994 by Steve Fossett, on his 60-foot trimaran Lakota. Olivier de Kersauson and the crew of the trimaran Geronimo, one of three multihulls that set out to break the 8-year-old record last Thursday passed the Shetland Islands Sunday night, halfway point of the 1,787-mile circumnavigation, and are ahead of the record time. “Even if we run into quieter weather near the finish line we should be able to beat Lakota’s time,” said de Kersauson in a radio interview Monday.

Meanwhile, Maiden 2’s crew, skippered by Brian Thompson, is reporting that they’ve been in pressure for most of their attempt. “We have now passed the most southwesterly tip of Ireland and are entering the Celtic Sea,” said navigator Sue Crafer. “We have been under the influence of an extensive low pressure system since starting the record attempt. This has mostly provided us with fast running and reaching from the start at Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, along the English Channel, up through the North Sea, around the Shetland Islands and down the western Irish coast.”

The World Sailing Speed Record Council is reporting that the third competitor, the radical 60-foot trifoiler L’Hydroptere, has retired from their attempt on the record with a broken crossbeam.


America’s Cup
The underdogs of the America’s Cup, the Mascalzone Latino Challenge are reportedly pleased with the performance of their one current generation ACC boat down in Auckland. “The new boat has confirmed the outstanding performance already noticed in its first outings off the Island of Elba,” states the team’s website. “Both the helmsman Paolo Cian and boat designer Giovanni Ceccarelli are satisfied with its behavior at sea, mainly for its all-round characteristics that means being competitive in any wind condition.”

Rolex Big Boat Series
One of the many regattas cancelled in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States was San Francisco’s legendary Rolex Big Boat Series. The series will return this September 12-15 and will host a fair amount of world-class sailors, especially in the 20-boat Farr 40 class. Mark Reynolds will join the crew of Brack Duker’s Revolution, Robbie Haines will sail on Crocodile Rock, co-owned by Scott Harris and Alex Geremia, and John Kostecki will be sailing with John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti.

The fledgling five-boat TP-52 class also boasts some big-league talent, John MacLaurin’s Davidson 52 Pendragon 4, lists Volvo Ocean Race winning crew (aboard illbruck) Mark Christensen and Richard Clarke. To follow the seven-race series, see


Solo Sailors Honored
On September 6 The Museum of Yachting hosted an Induction Ceremony to install four sailors into its’ Single-Handed Sailor’s Hall of Fame. Solo sailors Christophe Auguin, Isabelle Autissier, Kenichi Horie, and the late Mike Plant were chosen for this honor. For more details on each inductee, see

Champagne Mumm 30 Worlds
Thirty-four teams have entered the Mumm 30 Worlds that will be raced out of Annapolis September 25-28. Hosted by the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Mumm 30 One Design Class Association, in conjunction with Farr International, the event will feature sailors from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, and the United States. Reigning 2001 World Champion Maurizio Abba and his crew from Italy will be there to defend their crown. Also keep an eye on Richard Pierini’s, winners at Key West last January. Pierini, who also successfully campaigns the Farr 40 Corinthian Doors in Australia has been campaigning the aptly named Foreign Affair in the U.S. since last year in preparation for the 2002 Worlds.

“Not bad for an old guy.”
Even though Dennis Conner has relegated steering duties on Stars and Stripes to Ken Read for the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup races, he’s not lost his touch. Conner, sailing with crew Peter Burton and Al Pleskus, successfully defended his North American Etchells title last week in a five-race series held off Long Beach, Calif. that Conner led from Day 1, despite a strong run by Jud Smith. For a full report and results, see