The final group of starters in the Pacific Cup hit the line Friday afternoon, and while there are other boats in the final division, including four TransPac 52s, the match up that people will be watching is the race between Bob McNeil’s new 86-foot Reichel/Pugh-designed Zephyrus V, and the 146-foot Mari Cha III. Looking oddly small compared to these two giants was Pegasus 77, which won the TransPac in 2001.
According to Sunday’s position report, Zephyrus V and Mari-Cha III are running neck and neck in the race for line honors, separated by just a mile or so after logging nearly identical 330-mile days in the 24 hours leading up to the last position report. Pegasus is taking a southerly route and has fallen slightly off the pace for line honors, nearly 65 miles behind. However, those three boats are currently at the back of the class, with the TP52s J-Bird III and Rosebud leading on corrected time. http://www.pacificcup.org
John Bertrand Interview
There are only a few times that a brand new 86-foot sled will be an underdog. But matched up against the Mari-Cha III in the 2002 Pacific Cup, Zephyrus V is just that. Through the first few days of the race, McNeil’s new sled is holding it’s own and, perhaps even more importantly, appears to be progressing smoothly toward Hawaii. Given the short time the crew had to work out all the kinks, the latter was on the mind of sailing master John Bertrand, the 1984 silver medalist in the Finn, when he spoke with Grand Prix Sailor last Thursday.
Grand Prix Sailor: What kind of speeds have you been hitting during your testing?
John Bertrand: That’s what’s been very impressive: we’ve been sailing in flat water inside the bay and we’re seeing speeds of 22 to 24 knots pretty easily. The unfortunate thing is that as soon as you get the kite up you’ve got to start taking it down. One of the guys has coined the phrase “mono cat.” We’re seeing sailing characteristics very similar to what you’d see in a catamaran. Apparent wind well forward, top speed close to the actual windspeed. It’s a bit of a new beast in that regard.
GPS: Mari-Cha III has a huge size advantage. Can you guys beat them across the line? Is it a fair fight?
JB: We’re hoping. Certainly we’d be in better shape if we were able to use our water ballast. We expect they’re going to be leading off the coast for the first couple days and then Days 3, 4, and 5 should be interesting. The wind will go aft and we’re not quite sure how they’re going to perform in those conditions. They’re mizzen mast is taller than our mast, so that gives you some perspective. And they’ve really stripped the boat. We’re also going into this knowing that being a new boat we’ve got some teething problems, so we’re not going to be a 100 percent. They’re a much bigger boat. And then you can’t forget about Pegasus; those guys are probably getting 100, 103 percent out of their design. And they’ve ramped up as well. It makes it really interesting.
GPS: Can you give us a little background behind the boat and the concept? What are your initial impressions?
SW: The concept for the boat was generated over our success in the 2000 Cape Town to Rio Race and the 2000 Middle Sea Race with the old Zephyrus IV which was a ULDB West Coast-type design. In a lot of these events where we went up again IMS Maxi boats, they went through a lot of trouble and expense to make their boats go downwind faster and our concern always was if we could go upwind with these guys. We could never really meet in the middle with the two concepts. So I proposed to Bob McNeil that instead of entering the last Transpac with the existing boat, which was then four or five years old, we consider designing a new boat that would recognize this effort of the two groups, design a boat that would be more centered, and take a step forward in absolute length. With all the technology and the development that’s happened over the last five or seven years, we could design something that’s really special. So that’s really what Zephyrus V is, we haven’t fully tested the boat and the Pacific Cup is going to be our first big test. But from all early indications the boat is meeting or exceeding our early expectations.
For the full intervew, http://www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1084
NEW YORK YC RACE WEEK
Contestants in the New York YC Race Week have enjoyed two perfect days of sailing in the waters of Rhode Island Sound. While some results are as expected, there have been some surprises. In the IMS 40 class, the two top boats going into racing Sunday took each other out in a port/starboard incident in the first race of the day. Steve Loeb’s Tripp 43 Sirena and Blair Brown’s Sforzando collided while approaching a weather mark, resulting in a few minor injuries and some major boat damage.
With both boats unable to finish that race or start the next, Bob Bayer’s ILC 40 More War Stories goes into Monday’s racing with a three-point lead over Scott Weisman’s Pterodactyl.
In PHRF Class 2, Brian Cunha’s Tripp 47 Irie is winning a first-place tiebreaker with Tim Woodhouse’s Thompson 35 Rumours. Bringing up the rear in this three boat class is Stars and Stripes. Even with Dennis Conner joining the R/P 50 for Sunday’s two races, Stars and Stripes was unable to correct out against Irie and Rumours.
In the IMS racing class, Carrera, a Carroll Marine 60 owned by Joseph Dockery of Stamford, Conn., broke a tie with Idler, George David’s N/M IMS 50. With two bullets Sunday, Carrera takes a three and a half point lead. An over early call in Sunday’s second race meant that Idler‘s crew had to claw their way through the class during the six-leg race.
For Tony Bessinger’s complete report: http://www.sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1086
For results: http://www.nyyc.org
SWEDISH MATCH TOUR
OneWorld Challenge’s James Spithill defeated Denmark’s Jesper Radich 3-1, to win the Swedish Match Tour’s Trofeo Challenge Roberto Trombini Match Race, the first event of Swedish Match Tour 2002/3.
“We were feeling confident all week. We sailed a clean regatta with no penalties so we’re really happy to have wrapped it up with a win,” said Spithill.
This was Spithill’s first appearance on the Swedish Match Tour since last year’s Trombini Match Race when he and his same crew of Joe Newton, Ben Durham and Andy Feathers finished fourth.
In the championship final, Spithill won the first two matches before Radich took the third. In the fourth and what would be final match, Spithill induced the aggressive Danish skipper into a penalty. Radich then had the advantage coming out of the start, an advantage which he carried for the first three legs of the race. www.swedishmatchtour.com
The Royal Ocean Racing Club has announced the 9 teams that have entered in the Rolex Commodores’ Cup, to be held Aug. 11 to 18 off Cowes, England. The host country, France, and Wales have each entered two teams. Belgium, Holland, and Ireland round out the fleet. www.rorc.org
On July 13 nearly 300 boats with over 3,000 sailors left Port Huron, Mich., for the 78th Annual Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race. http://www.byc.com/mack02/
Emma Richards, a 27-year-old from Great Britain, will be the youngest sailor in the 2002-03 Around Alone. She will also be the sole female in the race and the only entry flying the Union Jack. Richards, who recently participated in the Volvo Ocean Race as part of Lisa McDonald’s Amer Sports Too crew, will sail Josh Hall’s former Open 60 Gartmore, rebranded with the name and colors of her sponsor, Pindar. www.aroundalone.com, www.pindar.com
The grueling Tour de France a la Voile is nearly half over, but no one has been able to build a significant lead. Currently Etienne David’s Ville de Geneve-Carrefour Prevention is leading the month-long marathon of distance and inshore racing. However, the margin is slim and close behind him are Pierre Loic Berthet’s Nantes Saint Nazaire and veteran campaigner Jimmy Pahun in Region Ile de France. Today’s leg is a 160-mile offshore jaunt from La Rochelle to Bayonne. www.tourvoile.fr
The women’s Hobie 16 team of Susan Korzeniewski and Stephanie O’Connor was the only American squad to come home from the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games in Marseilles, France, with a medal. The duo won a bronze. Korzeniewski also won a silver medal at the first ISAF World Sailing Games in La Rochelle, France, in 1994. For complete results, www.sailing-games.com