Grand Prix Sailor’s Monday Digest

Kingfisher IIs Jules Verne Attempt Thwarted by Downed Mast

Courtesy Kingfisher Challenges

Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine (http://www.sailingworld.com).KINGFISHER DISMASTEDLate Sunday evening, Feb. 23, Ellen MacArthur's Jules Verne record attempt ended as her 115-foot Ollier-designed cat lost its rig in 25 to 30 knots of breeze some 100 miles from the Kerguelen Islands (50 50'S 72 08'E). All aboard the vessel are OK, have rigged the boom as a jury mast, and are heading towards Perth, Australia, 2,000 miles away. "We have had a lot of bad luck on this trip - a lot of disappointing weather situations which has put us continuously behind the record," said MacArthur in a communique from the boat. "But everyone just fought on; there was never any talk of abandoning this record even in the slowest times. The crew was always positive, just wanting to get back at the record and in the last few days that started to happen. We got ahead of Peyron's record and were catching Geronimo who has got becalmed in the South Atlantic; then, bang, all of sudden its all over. To watch all that work drift away was so painful."On top of the lost rig, MacArthur is also dealing with a finger torn by a traveller line. It required seven stitches. www.kingfisherchallenges.comSTAMM BREAKS KEELSunday was a bad day all around for offshore types, as Bernard Stamm, overall leader of Class 1 in the Around Alone race, reported that his keel has been damaged. Stamm's boat had just fallen off a wave when he heard cracking noises. "I understood right away that it was coming from the keel, so I jumped on the winch to release everything," said Stamm. "Luckily, I was able to limit the damage by doing that. It was the blade that split above the axis. I patched it up as best I could, but I'm now sailing along well below the possibilities of Bobst Group/Armor Lux for it to hold."www.bernard-stamm.comOCEAN PLANET BREAKS BOOMRounding out the ocean-racing carnage is Bruce Schwab, who suffered from boom failure last Saturday. "I'm sad to say that we were laid out by a BIG breaking wave while I was napping," said Schwab in an e-mail. "It knocked stuff everywhere and woke me up, but I was groggy and realized too late that my autopilot had lost its marbles and was headed for a crash jibe in 40knots of wind. I scrambled for the tiller when I became aware of what was happening, but only made it to the vestibule when the 35-foot boom came over and crashed into the runner. A lot of stuff broke all at once. The boom broke right where it hit the runner, the runner deck block exploded, and then the runner jammer ripped out of the deck leaving a good-sized hole." www.everyocean.com/oceanplanetMEANWHILE . . . **The mega trimaran Geronimo is now making "gentle" headway towards the Equator. On its 44th day at sea, Geronimo has re-entered the Roaring Forties. "We have average, not to say mediocre, winds at the moment - and right on the nose," says skipper Olivier de Kersauson in an e-mail. "We must therefore be patient. This morning, the Schneider Electric watch used these quieter conditions to lower the mainsail and change the main track travellers, which were beginning to show some wear. The wind isn't sustained; it's just a series of gusts. We currently have a low pressure area to the north and we'll have to go through the middle of it later today. It's not very active, so we'll have to make the most of 15 to 16 knots of wind and small waves, neither of which is good for gliding. There's nothing really good about it at all. When we entered the South Atlantic, we knew that the route would be blocked by an enormous anticyclone. So we had no choice but to shadow the coast of South America, even though that's never a good idea because the currents aren't always in your favor."Although it's difficult sailing in very extreme weather conditions, it can be just as difficult in slack winds. "What makes it worse is that the winds are variable. You're always trying to map the immediate weather situation to the future track of the boat. You never know exactly what speed you'll be able to make over the next 10 hours. The problems of positioning the trimaran in relation to micro-weather conditions like the depression we're now approaching is rather irritating. We're making 12 knots at the moment, but given this slack wind, we've decided to do some maintenance work today. Even if we lose half our speed, we're only losing half of a slow speed, so in the end, it's less of a loss.".www.grandsrecords.comSAILOR'S CLASSIFICATION** US SAILING will no longer be assigning classifications for sailors. Effective immediately, the International Sailing Federation will be determining competitor's status. A sailor with a current US SAILING determination may continue to race with it until December 31, 2003. Then, they will need to apply to ISAF for classificationwww.sailing.org/isafsailor/classificationcode.aspBERTELLI BOWS OUTPatrizio Bertelli, head of the Prada America's Cup syndicate, said in a short interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday that his team would not participate in the next America's Cup. Team members in Auckland said on Monday they had all heard of Bertelli's comments but had been told nothing. "Unfortunately there's no statement...as a team, there's nothing official to say," Prada spokeswoman Alessandra Ghezzi told Reuters. www.nzoom.comBERTARELLI CHIMES INIn an interview with SW contributing Editor Gary Jobson, Ernesto Bertarelli, head of the Alinghi syndicate, talks about this edition of the America's Cup.Jobson: Are the continual weather delays frustrating to you and the rest of the crew? Bertarelli: Oh, you know, we are here for racing so of course we prefer to race than to wait around.Jobson: Do you think the race committee could have gotten some races in?Bertarelli: Yesterday between 2 and 4 o'clock, we could have had a good race. The wind went up to ten knots; during the Louis Vuitton we raced any time there was more than seven. There were at least two hours where there was between seven and ten knots of wind. We could have raced yesterday (Feb. 23).Jobson: Do you think the race committee should be leaving it up to the competitors whether to race or not?Bertarelli: I don't think so. If we are ever lucky enough and strong enough to win this cup we will have an independent race committee.For more on Gary Jobson's interview with Bertarelli, see: http://sailingworld.com/sw_article_AC.php?articleID=1684COUTTS ADDS HIS 2 CENTSIn the down time while the crews wait for sailing conditions, Gary Jobson also interviewed Alinghi's skipper, Russell CouttsJobson: We've seen your boat in light air, medium air, and pretty heavy air against Team New Zealand. How do you assess your boat's performance so far?Coutts: I think our boat's just fine. I think they're pretty even boats and the wind out there on the gulf can vary even if you are a hundred meters apart. So sometimes you get the impression that one boat is a little better than the other and then the next five minutes later you'll get the opposite impression. So I think these boats are very very close in performance, but I'm happy with our boat. For more on Gary Jobson's interview with Russell Coutts, see: http://sailingworld.com/sw_article_AC.php?articleID=1683PUERTO VALLARTA RACE Nailing line honors was the Reichel/Pugh 75 maxi sled Pyewacket, which averaged 9 knots for the 1,125-nautical mile course at an elapsed time of 5d:4h:50m:43s, five hours slower than the race record of 4:23:00:04 set by Joss, a MacGregor 65, in the windy 1985 race. The corrected time winner was Winslow Lincoln's Andrews 45, Locomotion, skippered by Keith Kilpatrick, which was also first to finish in class PHRF A over Jake Wood's Mull 82, Sorcery. Locomotion, which started a day ahead of Pyewacket, had finished in the morning with an elapsed time about 13 hours slower of 5:17:39:18, averaging 8.17 knots. http://www.dryc.orgSORC BEGINS THURSDAYA 16-boat class of Farr 40s, as strong on talent as it is small in numbers, will be the fleet to watch at the Acura SORC this year. While Key West champion Crocodile Rock won't be playing, current world champion Le Renard, and top boats Samba Pa Ti, Atalanti, Barking Mad, and Breeze will be on the starting line Thursday. Other one-designs racing off Miami's South Beach will be the Melges 24, Mumm 30, J/105, and Corsair classes. The IMS 50s will be welcoming a new face to their ranks, Talisman, owned by Marco Birch. A Farr design, Talisman is a second-generation Esmeralda-type hull built originally as Bribon, and is nearly 53 feet long. Talisman will be driven by Britt Hughes, a J/24 sailor from Long Island Sound who has recently been scoring some big wins with the Nelson-designed Ptarmigan, most recently a first in class in the Pineapple Cup Miami to Montego Bay Race.The PHRF classes at the SORC will include the new Farr 36 Tazo, chartered by Farr International's Geoff Stagg, the Transpac-52 Rosebud, and Teddy Turner's J/109 Morning Star. To follow the action, see www.acurasorc.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)