Holmberg’s Back, plus America’s Cup News

Monday, May 19, 2003HOLMBERG IS BACKMagnus Holmberg took the title, and $90,000, by half a boatlength in Saturday’s final round of the Toscana Elba Cup, the sixth event on the Swedish Match Tour. James Spithill, sailing with many of his OneWorld crewmates in the IMX 40s provided for the regatta, finished second and moved into second place overall in the tour standings. With the final tied at two races apiece, Spithill rounded the last mark with a slim lead. However, Holmberg was able to get some separation, find more breeze, and take the gun. Italy’s Paolo Cian finished third and Ed Baird, of St. Petersburg, Fla., was fourth. The next event on the tour is the ACI HTmobile Cup in Split, Croatia, May 27 to June 2. For more, http://www.swedishmatchtour.comOLYMPIC CLASSES--SPA REGATTAIn the space on the SPA Regatta entry form normally reserved for a world ranking, there’s a question mark next to Morgan Larson’s name. It may be a typo--for most sailors without a top-100 world ranking in their respective class the slot is left blank--but it’s quite apropos. After just missing an Olympic berth at the 1999 U.S. 49er Trials, Larson immersed himself in the match-racing scene, doing two Louis Vuitton Cups and a number of Swedish Match Tour events. A week ago, however, Larson--who has three third-place finishes at 49er world championships on his resume--and crew Adam Koch won the first leg of the 2003 49er Grand Prix circuit in Cannes, France. The competition in the 11-boat fleet in Cannes wasn’t at the same level of the 66-boat fleet scheduled to race in the SPA, but Larson’s return to the 49er class--should this prove to be more than a brief fling--will throw a wild card into the race for the U.S. berth in that class.Also racing 49ers in SPA, which is sailed out of Medemblik, The Netherlands, from May 21st through 25th, are Tim Wadlow and Pete Spaulding, who have been the top American team in 2003 and are currently ranked 18th in the world. Other Americans set to compete are 470 sailors Paul Foerster and Kevin Burnham, Steve Hunt and Michael Miller, Mark Ivy and Howard Cromwell, Amanda Clack and Sarah Mergenthaler, and Erin Maxwell and Jen Morgan; Europe sailor Laura Schmidt; Finnsters Ben Beer, Geoff Ewenson, Mo Hart, and Andrew Kern; Laser sailors Andrew Campbell, Brad Funk, Andrew Lewis, Mark Mendelblatt, Zach Railey, Ben Richardson, and Kurt Taulbee; boardsailors Steve Bodner, Kevin Jewett, Philip Muller, and Peter Wells; former Star world and Olympic champions Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl; two-time Tornado Olympians John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree; and Yngling competitors Carol Cronin, Liz Filter and Bridget Hallawell, Jody Swanson, Cory Sertl and Elizabeth Kratzig, and Hannah Swett, Joan Touchette and Melissa Purdy. For more info: http://www.sparegatta.orgVIVA LA PERSISTANCETwo of France’s most respected sailors have teamed up to challenge for the America’s Cup. Offshore champion Loïck Peyron and former TNZ trial-horse skipper and tactician Bertrand Pacé announced late last week their intention to form Team France. The nascent syndicate has given itself the rather harsh deadline of July 31 to secure half of the $90 million budget. While Pacé is France’s most experienced America’s Cup sailor, having sailed for four French challenges before signing on with Team New Zealand for the 2003 defense, it is the presence of Peyron that makes this collaboration so formidable. Figuratively, and for a few days, literally, adrift since capsizing and ultimately losing his ORMA 60-foot trimaran last fall, Peyron has the sponsor contacts and marketing savvy to pull together enough funds to support a serious challenge. Pacé has the experience to turn those resources into a winning team. According to the team’s press release, they have spoken with Rod Davis and TNZ designer Clay Oliver about joining the team and hope to participate in the 2003 America’s Cup Class worlds in San Francisco in October.In other America’s Cup news, Alinghi brought the Auld Mug, and it’s little silver sidekick the Louis Vuitton Cup, to the New York YC last week as part of its international publicity tour. The function was mainly to benefit sponsors of the team, but Brad Butterworth and Josh Belsky spent some time with the press and outlined some of their plans for the years leading up to the 32nd America’s Cup regatta in 2007. Included in these plans is a re-enactment of the 2003 Louis Vuitton final on San Francisco Bay this September and an America’s Cup Class regatta on the East Coast of the United States, possibly Newport, R.I., next summer.For the complete story on the America’s Cup’s return to the New York YC, http://www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1825AROUND ALONE NO MOREIn his ceremonial close to the 2002-2003 Around Alone in Newport, R.I., Saturday night, race director Sir Robin Knox Johnston toasted the eight skippers--Simone Bianchetti, Thierry Dubois, Bernard Stamm, Brad Van Liew, Alan Paris, Tim Kent, Emma Richards, Bruce Schwab, and Derek Hatfield, of Canada, who phoned in from the Atlantic. Knox-Johnston congratulated the skippers for joining the small and elite group of racing sailors who’d completed solo circumnavigations. With the presentation Class 1 and Class 2 awards to Bernard Stamm, of Switzerland, and Brad Van Liew, of Charlestown, S.C., respectively, the end of Around Alone was official.For 2006, the race will be re-named 5-Oceans, and according to race organizers Clipper Ventures plc, the next edition will also feature a new route. The 5-Oceans will start either in France or on the U.S. Eastern seaboard in late 2006. The route will comprise four stopovers: South Africa, Australasia, South America, and either the United States, or France. Winning host ports will be announced at the Paris Boat Show in December. The race will be competed in Open 60- and 50-foot monohulls. The goal for organizers is for skippers to be entitled to a reimbursement of their entry fee upon completion of the race, and a proportion of cash sponsorship will be allocated to a new prize money fund. http://www.clipper-ventures.com/5oceans/index.htmCHALLENGE MONDIALFranck Cammas and the crew on Groupama are looking over their shoulders today as they near the finish of the Challenge Mondial, the 2,734-mile Open 60-trimaran race from Cherbourg, France, to Rimini, Italy. At today’s noon GMT position report, Cammas was 376 miles from the finish, but Lalou Roucayrol’s Banque Populaire and Michel Desjoyeaux’s Geant were breathing down his neck, separated by only 35 miles.Jean Maurel’s Bayer CropScience had been a major worry for Cammas until Bayer dismasted this morning. In a telephone call to race headquaters, Maurel said they were sailing upwind in 20 knots with reef in the mainsail and trinquette when the mast fell without warning. According to race organizers, Maurel attributed the failure to either a compression break or a broken shroud or strop. As the mast fell, it reportedly broke in two and pulled off a meter-long section of the aft starboard float. “Obviously we’re disappointed,” said Maurel, “but that’s the way it goes.” Maurel joins three other retirees: Alan Gautier’s Foncia (capsize), Lionel Lemonchois’ Gitana (broken centerboard), and Jean-Luc Nelia’s Belgacom (dismasting). http://www.challenge-mondial.comWEEKEND ROUNDUPA number of events took place or concluded last weekend. Steve Lohmayer and Kenny Pierce, on their Inter 20 Tybee Island, won the last three legs of the six-leg Tybee 500 to capture the overall title. Mike Ingham finished first in the final race to beat 26 other boats and secure the J/24 North American title in Valle de Bravo, Mexico. The Cal Cup was sailed for the third year running in Farr 40s out of California YC in Marina del Rey, and was won by Peter Stoneberg and John Kostecki. Howard Scheibler and Rick Peters won the 47-boat Star Spring Championship of the Western Hemisphere, a five-race, five-day regatta at Gull Lake YC in Michigan. And 14 teams raced in the big West Coast interclub shootout--the Lipton Cup--sailed in J/105s, with top honors going to the Southwestern YC entry skippered by Geoff Longenecker. BLOCK ISLAND RACEThe 58th race out of Long Island Sound, around Block Island, and back, gets underway on Friday, May 23rd. Run by the Storm Trysail Club, the 189-mile race starts and finishes off Stamford, Conn. The race is also a leg of the Stamford YC’s distance racing series for IMS boats, the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy. This year, Stamford YC has launched a parallel series for PHRF boats called the New England Lighthouse Series Trophy. Racers have to compete in either the Block Island Race or the Annapolis-Newport Race (in June) and the end-of-summer Vineyard Race. Other races that can count toward the trophy are the Marblehead-Halifax, Around Long Island, and Monhegan Island (in Maine). http://www.stamfordyc.com/sailing/trophy/nels.htmSAILING WITH THE ELITEThe Fourth Annual Laureus Regatta will commence today off the coast of Monte Carlo. The Laureus Regatta is one of the three menu items offered to the hundreds of celebrity guests in town for the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony, which is televised around the world and will be held at a black-tie gala affair on Tuesday evening. VIP guests have quite a choice on Monday and Tuesday--they can choose to participate in the Laureus Tennis Challenge, against the likes of McEnroe and Boris Becker, hit the links in the Laureus Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, or get on board a Swan 45 for a match race or two with one of the Laureus Regatta’s celebrity skippers: Jochen Schuemann, Paolo Cian, Andy Green, Thierry Pepponet, Peter Isler, or 2001 winner JJ Isler. First prize for the regatta is a new Mercedes, but guests must save some energy for the Laureus events’ evening activities--exclusive parties where one can rub shoulders with the likes of Michael Schumacher, the Williams’ sisters, Michael Jordan, and many of the world’s sporting elite. http://www.laureus.org