News Briefs for November 6, 2006

The latest racing news

Lemonchois Smashes Rhoute du Rhum Record When he crossed the finish line at Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, early this morning, Lionel Lemonchois set a new course record for the Rhoute du Rhum, a transatlantic yacht race starting in Saint Malo, France. The Frenchman's time of 7 days, 17 hours, 19 minutes, 6 seconds demolishes the previous record of 12 days, 8 hours set in 1998 by Laurent Bourgnon. A few other racers in the ORMA class, including Pascal Bidegorry, are also set to break the previous record. For complete results from the Rhoute du Rhum, click here. Martin 242 Champ Wins Championship of Champions Martin 242 North American Champion Alan Field won US Sailing's Championship of Champions, held Halloween weekend at Grande Maumelle Sailing Club in Little Rock, Ark. With crew Steven Hunt, the Los Angeles native pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the series by winning two races on the last day. Lightning North American Champion Matt Burridge finished second and C-Scow National Champion Augie Barkow placed third. For complete results, click here. Stamm Leads Velux 5 OceansAfter 16 days of racing in the 2006-07 Velux 5 Oceans, defending champion Bernard Stamm clings to a dwindling lead. The Swiss skipper spent much of the weekend sailing in light wind near the equator while Kojiro Shiraishi (second), Mike Golding (third), and Alex Thompson (fourth) made large gains. The top four currently sit within 500 miles of one another, while Sir Robin Knox-Johnson (fifth), Graham Dalton (sixth), and Unai Basurko (seventh) trail the leader by 1300 miles or more. Dalton had a particularly frustrating weekend, as he returned to shore for the second time to repair a damaged rudder. Knox-Johnson, on the other hand, enjoyed a speedy weekend during which he logged the farthest 24-hour distance.For the latest Velux 5 Oceans news, click here.East Coast Clubs Adopt Split Racing FormatReflecting the growing popularity of IRC racing, New York YC, Storm Trysail Club, and Stamford Yacht Club have adopted a fixed IRC/PHRF split racing format for future regattas. American, Larchmont, Manhasset Bay, Indian Harbor, and Seawanhaka Corinthian yacht clubs have also committed to the format. Under the plan, all PHRF yachts faster than PHRF 90 will sail in IRC class only, while yachts rating 90 or slower will have a choice of PHRF, IRC, or both.Storm Trysail commodore Rich du Moulin explained the benefits of the split. "We believe it will enhance participation and the quality of handicap racing in our region, improving the classes and populating divisions with more boats with closer ratings," said Du Moulin.Over 7,000 IRC certificates have been distributed worldwide, and there are over 50 IRC boats under construction for racing in the northeast. "Fast seaworthy IRC designs have added to the excitement and vitality of our racing," said Du Moulin, "And the continued competitiveness of well-sailed older boats preserves the base of the fleet."The first regatta to employ the IRC/PHRF split will be American YC's Spring Series in April 2007. For more information about the changes, visit, Van Dyck Enter AC Hall of FameAt a ceremony in New York City in late October, the Rolex America's Cup Hall of Fame added two new members, the late Ben Lexcen and 63-year-old Stephen Van Dyck.Lexcen designed Alan Bond's Australia II, the yacht that defeated Dennis Conner's Liberty in the final race of the 1983 America's Cup, what has been called the "Race of the Century." Van Dyck was the navigator aboard Intrepid, which won the America's Cup in 1970.Also in attendance at the ceremony were America's Cup Hall of Fame president Halsey C. Herreshoff, Sailing World editor at large Gary Jobson, and Cruising World editor John Burnham.For more information about the inductees, click here.