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Grand Prix Sailor’s Monday Digest

Around Alone Fleet Dives South

December 18, 2002
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Billy Black/aroundalone.com

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

HIS FIRST TIME
The Around Alone race re-started on Dec. 14, but not before the inevitable press conference. During the event, Bernard Stamm revealed a surprising fact.”It will be the first time I’ve been into the Southern Ocean under sail,” explained race leader Bernard Stamm before beginning Leg 3- a 7,125-mile jaunt from Capetown to Tauranga, N.Z.-of the Around Alone Race last week. “I’ve been there before, but only aboard a cargo ship.”

Stamm-who set a Transatlantic crossing record of just under nine days in 2001 with his boat Bobst Group/Armor Lux as a sort of consolation prize after withdrawing from the Vendee Globe with equipment problems in late 2000-surprised the crowd and his fellow competitors with his admission. But his lack of high-latitude sailing doesn’t mean that Stamm is going into this leg cold, he’s got the experience, maturity, and tenacity that are the hallmarks of a winning solo skipper. “The biggest danger is myself,” said Stamm. “We’re sailing on very complex boats. The limit, beyond which you should not go, is difficult to establish. You have to be well prepared and ready for everything, and avoid making rash decisions whenever possible. You need to prepare the maneuvers 10 times in your head before doing them. I’ve changed the mainsail so I can take four reefs, and we’ve added a cuddy in the cockpit so that I can shelter a little from the weather. As for my competition, well, we are great friends, but out there it’s war, and if the race is nott for winning, then what?”

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Thierry Dubois, sailing Solidaires, is currently second in the overall rankings, only two points behind Stamm. “I am looking forward to strong winds, and I mean above 40 knots,” he said “The weather in the South was kind when I raced in the Vendée Globe, so the fact that I have already been around the bottom of world is not really significant.”

Emma Richards, in third overall, has also done hard time in the Southern Ocean, most recently as the navigator on Amer Sports Too during the Volvo. “I love it, well except for the ice and isolation,” she said. “There’s the most fantastic sailing ahead of us, it’s so beautiful down there, and I hope all of us will enjoy the strong winds and big waves.”

The course for Leg 3 takes the fleet round Cape Point towards the first mark of the course, Heard Island (in the south Indian Ocean, 53.1° S, 73.5° E), which they keep to Starboard. Then they must pass North of Latitude 46 degrees South at some point between Longitude 105 and 120 degrees East. Leaving Tasmania to Port, they must leave Cape Reinga, new Zealand (34.4° S 172.7°) to starboard and then cross the finish line in Tauranga, New Zealand. ETA for the first boats is the 11th January 2003. http://www.aroundalone.com

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U.S. SAILOR OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS WELCOME
US SAILING is now accepting nominations for the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. These prestigious awards recognize outstanding on-the-water achievement during the past calendar year. Members of US SAILING can now nominate their favorite male and female sailors on the organization’s website at www.ussailing.org or by mailing the nomination card included in the December edition of Sailing World magazine.

Nominations will be accepted through January 31, 2003, after which they will be presented to a panel of noted sailing journalists. This panel will discuss the merits of each nominee and vote by secret ballot to determine the award winners.

IT TAKES TWO TO OCEAN RACE
Their web page says it all: “Make those sandwiches, (only 2!), call the crew (one call!),and come join the other sailors who have found a simpler way to race that emphasizes planning, seamanship and boat-handling skills.”

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After a successful first season last year, a group of semi-misanthropic sailors in the Northeast (U.S) have created a new PHRF ocean sailing series specifically for doublehanders. The series will begin in 2003 with Storm Trysail’s Block Island Race on May 23rd and end with the Vineyard Race over Labor Day Weekend (both are mandatory,) and include such races as the Edlu, Stratford Shoal, and Gearbuster.
http://www.newportyachtclub.org/bermuda1-2/dh_solo_races/DHracingAd.html

GROLSCH 505 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Chris and Darren Nicholson of Australia won the nine-race 505 Worlds held in Perth last week. Howard Hamlin and Mike Martin of the United States finished in second, three points out of first. http://www.505.com.au

ISAF RANKINGS ANNOUNCED
The Final World Sailing Rankings of 2002 have been released. For complete details, see http://www.sailing.org/rankings/dec02rankings/pr.as

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AND THE WINNER IS . . .
Asian Yachting has named the entire Route du Rhumb trimaran fleet as their Unluckiest Sailor of the Month for November.

“Less than 12 hours after the start disaster struck one of the race favorites, Franck Cammas on Groupama. At 2015 Karine Fauconnier on Sergio Tacchini called Race HQ and signalled that Groupama had capsized. Shortly thereafter, Jean Le Cam on Bonduelle (another 60’ trimaran) rammed the upturned trimaran, causing damage to Bonduelle’s port side float. Both sailors were unhurt and Groupama was towed to Roscoff.

“Two competitors crashed into ships, something which will do no favours for the cause of singlehanded ocean racing. These included Loick Pochet on the Open 60, La Rage de Vivre and the Open 50 Apic A3S sailed (or more accurately not sailed) by Christophe Huchet.”

See http://asianyachting.com for the full story and all the skinny on yacht racing in Asia.

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
([email protected]), Dave Reed ([email protected]),
Stuart Streuli ([email protected]), John Burnham
([email protected])

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