Those Volvo Ocean Race guys just can’t get enough of that offshore stuff. Nine 60s, including three from the current generation, hit the line Sunday at this year’s Round Gotland Race, a 335-mile jaunt around Visby and Sandön Islands off Sweden. Thanks to a windy, lumpy first day, Assa Abloy 1, Magnus Olsson’s ride, as well as thirty other entrants, have retired from the race. Assa Abloy 1 was the backup boat for the Assa Abloy Racing Team and didn’t compete in the Volvo, but had sailed more than 20,000 miles during two-boat testing. Olsson was forced to withdraw when a running backstay parted under load just south of Faro shortly after 0130 Monday morning. “It was a step too far,” said Olsson.
Also participating are Neal McDonald and his wife, Lisa, who are sailing aboard Assa Abloy 2, and Gurra Krantz on SEB. For Neal McDonald this is another real race. “We try to do everything to beat all the other V-60’s. And the older generation boats have a time allowance on us so we need to keep a close eye on them as well. It is not going to be easy to be the first V-60.”
If the breeze keeps up, the 27-hour record for the race could well be broken by one of two Open 60 trimarans entered. Check the event website for updates. If you don’t read Swedish, look for the translation link on the top left of the home page.
A record fleet of 171 boats sailed in 13 classes on three courses at this year’s North Sails Race Week off Long Beach, Calif. Jim Demetriades’ TP-52 Yassou was the top boat in PHRF 1, but the Boat of the Week award went to the winner of the 29-strong J/105 fleet, Incorrigible, skippered by Tom Carruthers.
In the Farr 40 fleet, Brack Druker’s Revolution, with Dave Ullman calling tactics, took top honors in the class and also took home the Pacific Coast Championship title. Another championship winner was Scott Birnberg’s J/120 Indigo. www.premiere-racing.com
With more than 2,000 boats and 5,000 sailors participating in 2002, Kiel Week lived up to its reputation as one of the biggest regattas in the world. However, once again it ranked low on the priority list of American Olympic hopefuls. Only a few members of the U.S. Sailing Team made the trip to Northern Germany this year to compete on the Baltic Sea.
Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl had the best result of the Americans in attendance, winning the Star class with three firsts in five races. After throwing out a 10th, the finished with just five points, eight ahead of Mark Mansfield and Killian Collins of Ireland, the second-place team.
In the other Olympic keelboat, Betsy Alison, Lee Icyda, and Suzy Leech finished sixth in the Yngling class. The trio, which has only been sailing as a team since this past winter, put together three top-three finishes in the event.
Other American’s included 470 sailors Stuart McNay and Ross Anderson (21st) and Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving (15th), Europe sailors Krysia Pohl (15th) and Christin Feldman (41st), Mistral competitor Ben Barger (40th), and Tornado sailors Anders Straume and Hunter Stunzi (37th). For complete results: www.kielerwoche.de
A heads up: Steve Fossett is aloft, and as of Monday morning he’s almost achieved his goal being the first to balloon around the world. The Bud Light Spirit of Freedom, as his helium balloon and capsule is named, has passed over Africa and is heading for a touchdown sometime Wednesday in Australia, where the attempt began over 12 days ago.
For those who envision balloons slowly drifting along, consider this. Fossett and his meteorological gurus have been working hard to keep the pace fast. During parts of the circumnavigation, Spirit has clocked more than 200 mph speed over ground. The latest data shows Fossett is at 34,500 feet and zipping along at a comfortable 155 mph.
Leg 1 of the Tour de France a la Voile from Dunkerque to Dieppe, France is scheduled to start Monday, but with strong winds forecast the start has been postponed and may be cancelled. A briefing will be held this afternoon by the race organizers. There are 40 Mumm 30s racing in this month-long series that mixes distance and buoy-racing formats. www.tourvoile.fr
As anyone who has sailed in Newport recently knows, there are a lot of 12-Meters kicking around Narragansett Bay. To give all their owners and crews something to strive for, a new trophy has been coined, the Ted Hood Perpetual trophy. Six regattas, beginning with the Sparkman and Stephens, held Sunday, and ending with the Classic Yacht Regatta, held at the end of August, will comprise the series.
At the Sparkman & Stephens Regatta Fred van Liew’s Fiddler won the third race of the day to win a two-race tiebreaker over Intrepid. Sailing as backup helmsman and overall expert was Intrepid‘s designer, Olin Stephens II, who assumed the helm for a leg during the series. www.moy.org
New York YC Race Week will begin July 14 for handicap classes, and July 18th for one-designs. Race Week is divided into two sections with a distance race open to both sandwiched in the middle. Fifty boats are registered in the handicap section, and 53 in the one-design. Dennis Conner has shipped his Reichel/Pugh 50 Stars and Stripes from San Diego and will be racing in the Americap II division.
The Beneteau 36.7 one design class has been formed and 36.7 owner Ed English has been named as president. With a successful racing record already established, and more than 280 boats on order, the 36.7 is off to a running start. To learn more about last year’s Sailing World Best Value winner, see http://www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=186
The classs website, still under construction, will be www.beneteaufirst367.org
Bill Koch will sponsor the William I. Koch Sea Scout Cup, a regatta open to Sea Scouts around the world. Raced in 420s at Chicago’s Columbia YC August 4-10, the regatta will also determine the top U.S. Sea Scout captain and crew. www.seascoutcup.org