PlayStation Set to Challenge Two Records

Antigua-Newport, 24-Hour Records Next on Fossett’s List

Courtesy Of Www.fossettchallenges.com

Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine (http://www.sailingworld.com).FOR I HAVE RECORDS TO BREAK . . . ** Sources have confirmed that Steve Fossett and his gang of record assailants may be at it again soon. First up, the Antigua-Newport record, a 1,650-mile burn from one debauched sailing island to another. An attempt was made earlier in the spring, but a spreacher block (spinnaker lead block) pulling out from PlayStation's deck and a massive low forming off the East Coast scuttled that run, so the team headed back to Antigua. PlayStation is headed for Newport to prepare for an attempt at the 24-hour record, and they need to get there before the summertime Bermuda Highs start to take over. If they don't get proper conditions for the Antigua Newport run soon, the trip may turn into a delivery.The Antigua Newport record is so new that the ink's hardly dry. Last spring, Tracy Edwards' Maiden 2 (nee Club Med) with skipper Helena Darvelid, navigator Adrienne Cahalan, and a mixed crew of 14 loped into Newport at over 40 knots, crossing a finish line off Castle Hill 3d:22h:31m:58s after they left Antigua. Shortly after, on June 12-13, Maiden 2 set the outright 24-hour record of 694.78 nautical miles, averaging 28.95 knots.As anyone who's done the commuter run between the winter and summer nesting areas of the Greater Atlantic Yacht Crew can attest, the sail from the Caribbean to Newport can be a wonderful trip. You start out sailing in the Trade Winds, and thanks to a rhumb line that stays well east of the Gulf Stream until you're almost at destination, you stay warm for most of the ride. The last couple of days, however, as you cross the Gulf Stream and switch from a water temperature near 80 to one somewhere in the mid 40s, bad things can happen. In the spring, fronts are booming off the East Coast with alarming regularity, giving skippers only the briefest of weather windows.All of this, however, is a picnic for those who cherish speed above all else. A properly forecasted run, timed to coincide with a couple of strong fronts off the mid-Atlantic coast meeting the energy-filled warm air and water of the Gulf Stream, and 40 knots of boatspeed should be no problem. Consider also, that Fossett's battle-hardened cat is 15 feet longer than Tracy Edwards' Maiden 2 and that some crewmembers on PlayStation feel that the big Morrelli and Melvin-designed cat hasn't yet been sailed at its top speed. If the weather cooperates--and the cagey Fossett won't go if it isn't--two of Maiden's records could fall. http://www.fossettchallenge.comWOMEN'S KEELBOAT CLINICSRolex Watch U.S.A. has announced that it will sponsor several 2003 "Road to Rolex" clinics across the U.S. and abroad in preparation for the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC), scheduled for this Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 at Annapolis YC, Md. The organizing committee is accepting inquiries from organizations interested in hosting a "Road to Rolex" clinic. The clinic program is designed for one- or two-day formats and features an instruction manual developed by five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and 2004 Olympic aspirant Betsy Alison. Alison has won the biennial Rolex IWKC five times and is an internationally recognized sailing educator and coach.For more info: SuMikulski@aol.com, or c/o Annapolis Yacht Club, 2 Compromise Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.LIGHTNING WORLDSTito Gonzalez, Jay Lutz, and Claus Engel, sailing for Gonzalez's country, Chile, have won the Lightning World Championship, beating U.S. sailors Steve Hayden, Barr Batzer and Jamey Rabbitt by one point in the nine race series, which was sailed in Biscayne Bay April 13-18. Jim Crane, Larry Bore, and Kip Hamblet, another U.S. team, won the Masters division. http://www.lightningclass.orgROLEX WOMEN'S MATCHFrom April 10-13 the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (SPYC), with support from title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., hosted the Rolex Women's Match, an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) grade 4 women's match-racing event. Elizabeth Kratzig (Corpus Christi, Texas/Miami, Fla.) went undefeated in the round-robin event to claim victory with her crew of Leah Hoepfner, Katie Lovelace and Sally Barkow, the 2001 champion. "We weren't expecting the win as we had never sailed together as a team," said Kratzig. "Communication and boathandling were great on-board and that helped us in our starts and maneuvering around marks. In fact, we gained around every mark rounding."Organized to introduce women sailors to match racing, the regatta featured a skills and rules clinic by match racing world champion and America's Cup skipper Ed Baird on April 10. Nine teams of women sailors participated in the weekend event, sailing 36 races--round robin-style--on Tampa Bay in Sonar keelboats. "The clinic with Ed was helpful and he was so entertaining," said Kratzig. "He kept everyone's attention going over the basics of match racing, and we learned that the most important part of the race isn't the start, but the finish!"With her win, Kratzig earned an automatic invitation to the 2003 Rolex Osprey Cup, an ISAF Grade 1 event. Kratzig is working toward a Yngling berth for the 2004 Olympic Games with Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year Cory Sertl and Jody Swanson. Final results are posted at http://www.spyc.org.TO EUROPE THE HARD WAYBob McNeill's Zephyrus V is now a confirmed entry in the inaugural Daimler Chrysler North Atlantic Challenge, a 3,600-mile race from Newport, R.I. to Cuxhaven, Germany (60 miles down the Elbe River from Hamburg). Zephyrus_V's crew will do a few days of offshore practice and take part in the New York YC Spring Series (June 6,7) before the June 21 start date (June 14 for slower classes) of the Daimler Chrysler Challenge. _Zephyrus V has had some success since being launched, most recently in the Miami-Montego race in which they broke Windward Passage's long-standing record. Line honors or a win in the Atlantic Challenge for McNeil is by no means guaranteed, as Zephyrus V should have some good competition for line honors from the 152-foot Windrose. Not to be forgotten is Skip Sheldon's 66-foot, Reichel-Pugh-designed Zaraffa, which won the St. David's Lighthouse Trophy in the 2002 Bermuda Race, and could well be a player for corrected-time honors.Most of the boats entered in the Challenge are German-flagged. One of the few American entries besides Zaraffa and Zephyrus V is New York YC Commodore Larry Huntington's 49-footer Snow Lion, which many may remember as John Thomson's Infinity, a 1993 Bruce Nelson design that won Kenwood Cup in 1996. Huntington purchased Snow Lion last year--it had been racing in San Francisco as Bullseye--and has been converting the racer into a more distance-race friendly platform. There are now chocks on deck for the spinnaker pole, Dorade vents, a full galley, and a nav station. Even after the modifications, we salute Commodore Huntington and his crew for having the moxie to sail an IMS 50 across the North Atlantic. To view the entries and follow the race, see http://www.dcnac.deMELBOURNE-OSAKABrian Petersen and John Bankart, sailing the Elliott 45 _Maverick _ II took line honors in the 2003 edition of the Melbourne Osaka race April 21. At over 5,500 miles, this race is the longest doublehanded race in the world, and is a true test of all of the entrants' navigational, sailing, and interpersonal relationship skills. The race website (http://www.osakacup.com) has results and includes some great stories by the Australian publication Sail-World (http://wwwsail-world.com), which we neglected to properly credit for a story about the Osaka race in last week's GPS. **CREDIT DUECredit is also due to David McCreary of Scuttlebutt Europe, who we failed to credit for his translation of a French story about the Odyssey of Ulysses race last week. For more on that race, and other European events, see http://www.sailingsource.com/scuttlebutteuropeDECKMAN WEBSITE LAUNCHEDSailmath, producers of the Deckman for Windows tactical routing software, has launched its website. There are downloads of updates to the software for existing customers, as well as demonstration versions for new ones, links to Sailmath agents worldwide, and useful weather sites. http://www.sailmath.comAROUND ALONEBy the end of the day today Bernard Stamm will have less than 2000 miles to go to the finish of the Around Alone. At the speeds he has been sailing and the speed he is capable of sailing, he could be in Newport as soon as next Monday or Tuesday, well ahead of his own optimistic ETA of May 1. Bobst Group Armor lux is consistently knocking off day's runs of over 300 miles and at last poll was averaging a shade under 15 knots. It's a pity that some of the top French sailors like Roland Jourdain, Michael Desjoyeaux and British sailor Ellen MacArthur were not racing this race. It would be interesting to see how they would have fared against the Mighty Stamm. One thing's for certain, Bernard's performance has consistently been up there with the Volvo 60s which raced the same waters last year with a full crew of some of the top professional sailors on board.The other incredible performance is one being turned in by Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Brad had hoped to field his own Class 1 entry in the race but time ran out to build a new boat and to fund the campaign at a level high enough to meet Brad's standards. Instead he has been sailing a spectacular race in Class 2 and right now is ahead of two top Class 1 boats and nipping at the transom of another. It would have been interesting to see how Brad would have fared with his new boat racing against the likes of Bernard and Thierry. My guess is that the three aforementioned Open 60 skippers would have had a hard time beating Bernard, but their campaigns were all better funded and they might have applied pressure when Bobst Group Armor lux faltered with boat damage. As for Brad, I say he too would have been up there with Bernard, perhaps ahead if his new design had proven to be as fast as predicted. --Brian Hancock http://www.aroundalone.com**WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND? **Head over to the Sailing World website, http://www.sailingworld.com, and take a couple of minutes to fill out a brief pop-up survey. We'd like to know what you think, and welcome any input you might have.Grand Prix Sailor is 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)