Grand Prix Sailor’s Monday Digest

Ellen MacArthur Leads Class in Route du Rhum

Courtesy Www.kingfisher-challenges.com/

Grand Prix Sailor's Monday Digest
Nov.18, 2002

Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine (http://www.sailingworld.com).

Route du Rhum
Ellen MacArthur is speeding across the Atlantic in first place in the Open 60 monohull class of the Route du Rhum, but not without some thrills and chills. These e-mails from Kingfisher late last night and early this morning paint a wonderful image of what it's like to race one of these rocket sleds across the Atlantic at speed.

0300 GMT "...Positions just come through - distance to go 1557.1 1st Ellen MacArthur, 2nd Mr Golding 1578.7 miles to go - awesome! 21.6 miles ahead - how cool is that. Really stressful night hand-steered for 12 hours. We had full mainsail and kite up - it’s started to die off a bit, bit easier. It’s been blowing 20 knots for last hour so we’re all right. Good news..."

0700 GMT: "...Bit stressed and very nervous, basically, but that’s fine, pretty normal, I think! Winds 20-25 knots just had hour with 28-30 knots. Big breeze for this spinnaker - couldn’t get the thing down if I tried in any case! Only thing to do was to hang on so going very fast at the moment doing 18 knots over the ground and going to be jibing in about half an hour I think. I’m doing 290’- wind shifting miraculously round in last couple of hours so time to jibe. Don’t know if a) I can get kite down in 23 knots of breeze and b) if I can get it up the other side as well. It (the kite) is the right sail we need to get out of here [high pressure]. At 23 knots pilot cannot steer the boat. Have not put reef in yet - going to put reef in whilst waiting for big wind shift and see if that makes a difference. Might make enough difference to keep it [kite/spi]. It’s a lot of wind for a spinnaker... The wind this morning just got big from 23 knots then suddenly 27, 28, 29 for 1 hour this morning - can’t control it..."

Other monohull class leaders include MacArthur's Offshore Challenges teammate Nick Moloney in Class 2, Bruno Reibel in Class 1, and Regis Guillemot in Class 3. In the multihull classes (what's left of them), Marc Guillemot leads Class 1, and F. Y. Escofier leads Class 2.
For complete results, see http://www.routedurhum.org

Hunt/Miller Win 470 Olympic Pre-Trials
Steven Hunt and Michael Miller finished off what has been a frustrating year of sailing with an impressive win at the U.S. Olympic 470 Pre-Trials held over the weekend at the Houston YC. After a solid season in 2001, the duo seemed poised to make a leap to the top of the 470 fleet last summer. But Miller suffered a serious knee injury that required surgery and they were never able to find their groove after the long layoff. At the Pre-Trials Hunt and Miller won five of the first six races and never finished worse than second in the 18-boat mixed fleet. The victory was especially significant because in second place was the veteran team of Paul Forster and Kevin Burnham, who recently finished sixth at the world championships in Cagliari, Italy, and are gearing up their campaign for Athens.

The top women’s team was Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving, who struggled a little with their consistency, finished as high as third and as low as ninth, but were able to put together enough solid finishes to beat Jen Provan and Nikola Girke of Canada by three points, and Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler by four. The third U.S. women’s finisher was perhaps the surprise of the regatta as Allison Jolly and Lynn Shore shook the rust off their 1988 Olympic gold and put together a solid scoreline.

The Laser class also had its Pre-Trials in Houston, the event doubling as the qualifier for the Pan-Am Games. Ben Richardson used up his throw out in the first race, finishing 10th, but then strung together a series of firsts, thirds, and fourths to beat Brett Davis by five points and Andrew Lewis and Andrew Campbell by six points. Richardson, who isn’t currently on the U.S. Sailing Team, made a strong case for his inclusion when the 2003 team in announced early next year.

In the Laser Radial Pan Am Games Trials it was former college All American Sally Barkow, a Wisconsin native who sailed for Old Dominion, winning five of seven races to take regatta by five points over Jane Codman. For complete results, http://team.houstonyachtclub.com/results/

Rolex Farr 40 Worlds
Steve Phillips of Arnold, Md., steered Le Renard to win the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, which concluded Saturday in the Bahamas. Over four days of competition in poster-perfect sailing conditions, Phillips turned in single-digit finishes in all but one of ten races, which proved the key to his success. "It was our strategy to stay in the top ten in every race," said Phillips, "because the teams here are tremendous an it's very competitive. We took a 17th in the first race, but after that we sailed consistently and we stayed out of trouble."

Phillips, the current Farr 40 East Coast champion, credited his tactician Mark Reynolds, a three-time Olympic medallist from San Diego, with keeping everyone on track to victory. "I’d hate to play poker with the guy, he stays so cool," said Phillips. "He doesn’t let us get in difficult situations."

1. Le Renard, Steve Phillips, Arnold, Md., 61.
2. Groovederci, Deneen/John Demourkas, Montecito, Calif., 83.
3. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, Los Angeles, Calif., 83.
4. Nerone Massimo Mezzaroma/Antonio Migliori, ITA, 88.
5. Crocodile Rock, Alexandra Geremia/Scott Harris, Santa Barbara, Calif., 91.
6. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn, Honolulu, Hawaii, 92.
7. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I., 95.
8. Defiant, Terry McLaughlin, CAN, 104.
9. Bambakou, John Coumantaros, New York, N.Y., 105.
10. Joss, Owen Kratz, League City, Texas, 106
For complete results, see http://www.farr40.org

Admiral's Cup 2003, The Final Words From Ireland
Readers of www.sailingworld.com from Ireland chastised us for not including the Irish response to the RORC's abrupt removal of the 2003 Admiral's Cup the Royal St. George YC.

Admiral's Cup 2003
Statement by The Royal St. George Yacht Club

The Royal St George Yacht Club (RStGYC) has issued a statement on Wednesday 30th October 2002 expressing its regret and disappointment at the announcement by The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) of their decision to cancel the Admiral’s Cup event in Dun Laoghaire next July.

In their announcement issued yesterday RORC stated "the RORC and the Royal St George Yacht Club had not been able to agree the criteria required to run an event at the highest level of international sailing".

The RStGYC was first notified of the unilateral decision to cancel this event in Dun Laoghaire at 8pm on Tuesday 29th October 2002. This decision of RORC was released 24 hours later allowing no opportunity for discussion on the decision.

The RStGYC is shocked and upset at this sudden turn of events, particularly as discussions had commenced as far back as January 2002 resulting in a formal agreement in May 2002.

The RStGYC wishes to put on record that it is not aware of any "criteria required to run an event at the highest level of international sailing" upon which the RORC and the RStGYC have not been able to agree.

The RStGYC has considerable experience in the management of major sailing events including in recent years ISAF World, European and National championships.
For the complete letter, see http://www.rsgyc.ie/home/news.php?news_id=138&task;=view

The Irish sailing Association also chimed in on the matter.

It was with great regret that the Irish Sailing Association learned of the sudden cancellation of the Admiral’s Cup scheduled to be held in Ireland in 2003.

The ISA has a strategic objective of supporting the efforts of Irish yacht and sailing clubs in bringing world class sailing events to this country. Securing the Admiral’s Cup for the Royal St George and Dun Laoghaire was a fantastic achievement for Irish sailing and one that would enhance our sailing development programme. The Royal St George Yacht Club is to be congratulated for agreeing to act as host and rising to the challenge of boosting what had become a poorly supported event. We know that under the guidance of the Royal St George and Irish sailing the Admirals Cup would have returned to being an event of international success with the added special attraction that Ireland can offer.

The support of the sponsors, public and private was to hand. All the key organizations had offered their support. The officers, members and staff of the Royal St George were totally committed to ensuring the success of the event. Considerable hard work by a dedicated team has already gone into the preparation and we are convinced that a world class event would have been the result. http://www.sailing.ie/

And finally, an article in the Nov. 2 issue of the Irish Independent Newspaper by W.M. Nixon well sums up how the Irish sailing community feels about the matter.

This week’s seemingly sudden unilateral decision by the Royal Ocean Racing Club to relocate next year’s Admiral’s Cup from its planned staging in Dublin Bay back to its traditional home in Cowes has been greeted with sorrow and bewilderment by its Irish partner in the project, the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

It is a feeling that is shared by the Irish sailing community generally. For the reason given by the RORC for the abandonment of the project is a thinly-veiled reservation about the ability of Irish sailing administrators to handle an event of this caliber.
For the complete article, see http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/

Around Alone
Although some of the Class 1 leaders have arrived in Capetown, Class 2, thanks to their weather delay at the beginning of the leg, are still at sea. The following is from Brad Van Liew, sailing his Tommy Hilfiger Freedom.

"I could no longer stomach the thought of the gennaker halyard chafing. The risk I was running the last few days with the spinnaker and gennaker flying from a compromised halyard was wearing on my nerves. Even at the relatively slow speeds, if one of the sails ends up in the water because the halyard fails then I would have a major challenge just to get it back on the boat, let alone the work to fix it once I had inadvertently used it as a sea anchor."

Provisional results, Leg 2
Class 1
1. Bobst Group-Armor Lux, 29d:22h:59m:45s
2. Solidaires, 30d:8h:42m:55s
3. Pindar, 30d:16h:27m:15s
4. Hexagon, 31d:15h:54m:12s

For the rest of Van Liew’s e-mail and fleet positions, see http://www.aroundalone .com

Grand Prix Sailor and Grand Prix Sailor--America's Cup Edition are weekly newsletters compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you'd like to subscribe, see http://www.sailingworld.com
Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (tony.bessinger@sailingworld.com), Dave Reed (dave.reed@sailingworld.com), Stuart Streuli
(stuart.streuli@sailingworld.com), John Burnham (john.burnham@sailingworld.com)