2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix- Final Race Day

Short Story

Warpath won the day and we finished third, 1 point out of second and 5 points out of first.

Long story

The wind was very shifty today. We played the shifts very well and worked through the fleet in the first race to win by a healthy margin. In the second race, we were over the start line early, started last, and got in phase while amazingly most of the fleet was out of phase and we marched through to finish 5th!

It doesn’t get better than today. Looking forward, we have to eliminate the two bad races and keep our top 6 consistency and we will be in good shape for the World Championship next month.

Running for the plane.

Out.

2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix- Race Day 3

The forecast was for a strong northwester today and it was for the first race. When it blows out of the northwest here it is very shifty. With the wind blowing 22-24 knots from 315, the first race got underway at 1040. A number of boats were over the start line early including the eventual race winner Barking Mad. Their comeback is an example of what can be done when in phase in a very shifty wind. I did not do a very good job in the first race and we seemed to be constantly out of phase. We struggled and finally finished 19th.

At the start of the second race, our boat speed indicator shut down and we sailed without that valuable reference as well as True Wind Direction for the first windward leg of the race. When the wind is very unstable, both of these indicators are very important and useful. We managed to get up to the first windward mark in pretty decent shape around 10th and then Kyle, our F-18 pilot, took the paddle wheel out and fixed the boats speed. From there we moved up to fifth by the finish. Meanwhile, Barking Mad had another great race by starting well and staying in phase to win again!. They are not slow either and this helps of course.

In the last race, we crossed the French on port tack and they hailed “protest”. It was close but I thought we were ok. But if the starboard tack boat protests, then the port tack boat doesn’t have much recourse. So I told the guys we should do a penalty turn and we did. This put us back into 15th place. The crew of Warpath kept racing hard and we managed to grind back to 5th at the finish, beating that French boat by 4 places!

The truth is, I am happy that we “fouled” someone and did our penalty turn. There are way too many fouls going on out on the race course that never get absolved by the offending party. This situation has gotten a lot worse since I last raced in this class three years ago.

So we are in fourth place tonight. Not bad all things considered. We just need to avoid the disastrous races and we will be right up at the top. Barking Mad is leading by a bunch, Opus, yesterdays leader is in second place, and Mascalzone, the current world Champion is in third. “Nerone”, we were tied with at the end of racing both Thursday and Friday, fell back a bunch with two bad races today and a disqualification at the end of the day yesterday…

Tomorrow’s forecast is 13-15 knots from the north. Two races are scheduled.

Stuart Hartley the Warpath team photographer, whom I mistakenly left out of the email last Wednesday, has been taking photos out on the water and I am posting them on my website. Take a look at www.cayardsailing.com.

2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix- Race Day 2

The breeze was in first thing this morning. We got underway with the first race of the day right at 1035 with 22 knots from 170 and BIG waves. All the Farr 40’s were on #4 jibs and downwind was flat out planning. Opus of Germany won the race and we had a decent performance to get 6th while the two leaders from yesterday, Mascalzone Latino and Barking Mad were back a bit.

For the second race of the day, the wind had moderated a bit and half the fleet went with a #3 jib which is slightly bigger than a #4. The wind actually was down in the 18 knot range, from 180, and those of us with the #4’s struggled a bit up the first windward leg. We had good positioning on our approaches to the windward mark all day, avoiding the big starboard tack line up which was extra painful today with the big waves on starboard tack. We had a good run and changed the jib to the #3 for the second beat. We sailed fast and the correct way, which happened to be to the right and moved into third place by the second windward mark. Again Mascalzone and Barking Mad were back but again Opus was leading and in fact won the second race too!

The wind really dropped off for the third race, down to 12 knots and kept moving right…now 190. I got us a terrible start and we were deep…almost last. We were just very late at the committee boat end of the line and even when we tacked to port we had no clear air. So we spent the first beat just trying to get some oxygen and got to the first mark about 24th. Barking Mad had a great start and was out in front right away. We managed to grind our way back to about 14th I think at the finish. I am a bit down on myself about that last race.

There were plenty of red protest flags out there today and plenty of people calling the race committee after finishing to say they were protesting. Amazingly, very few protests ever come to fruition. I really enjoy not being involved in all that stuff and so far we have been real clean.

I haven’t seen the official scores but I think we are still tied for third with Nerone, a few points behind Mascalzone and about 11 behind Opus. Still lots of racing left.

For the official results go to www.Premiere-racing.com

Tomorrows forecast has a front passing over Miami at 0600 with lots of rain and then a sharp wind shift to the NNW and a strong cool breeze for tomorrow. When the wind blows from the NNW here it is offshore and so very shifty. Should be a lot of fun for those who get it right.

2008 Acura Miami Grand Prix- Race Day 1

The day started with a postponement due to lack of wind. This allowed Howes, Ed Reynolds and I an opportunity to discuss the program and our planning for the Worlds in April. So for and hour and a half we sat a “Big Pink” eating waffles and talking about airplanes.

The committee sent us out at 1030 and we finally got race 1 underway around 1300 after a one hour wait on the water. The wind direction for Race 1 was 170 at 10 knots. We race right off the eastern shore of Key Biscayne. The Gulf Stream current runs north at a couple of knots just 2 miles off shore. So when going to windward in a southerly wind, one would think that going to the right in the shallower water would be good. Well the winner of both races came out of the left, and it was the same boat, current World Champion, Mascalzone Latino from Napoli. Barking Mad which is from the USA sailed well to get two 2nd’s. Nerone, another Italian boat, from Rome, (southern Italian boys can sail!) Got a 7,3 I believe.
Onboard Warpath, we managed a 5, 6 so we are in pretty good shape so far.

The rest of the fleet was more up and down with their results. The competition if very tight. With 30 boats in the Farr 40 fleet, small mistakes on the first windward leg cost a lot.

It was a mild day with the wind maxing out at 12 knots about 1500. It was also pretty stable.

We are happy with our consistency and our new boat.

Tomorrow will be a different day with winds in the teens and low 20’s.

You can see all the results at: premiere-racing.com

Acura Miami Grand Prix

The Farr 40 Class has landed in Miami this week for the second regatta of the spring. Thirty boats will be competing over four days, from March 6-9 with ten races scheduled. The fleet is extremely competitive with several new boats launched this spring. We just got our new Warpath and yesterday was our first sail. So far, things feel pretty good so I am optimistic that we will have a little bump in our performance over Key West.

There is a lot more to getting a new boat ready to go than just ordering one. Dave Armitage, our mainsheet trimmer and sail designer, has done a really nice job getting all our Quantum sails built in time and they look very good. The boat has a new Southern Spars rig and Even Evens has installed the new B&G H3000 instrument package onboard. Brad Fitzgerald and his team at Fitzgerald Racing have put the perfect bottom on the boat (nice bottoms are good in sailing too). Chris Cantrick and CT Olander who work for the Howes, did a great job preparing the boat. The crew has been working on all the details here the past two days and it will continue for a while until every detail is perfect.

So here we are, ready to roll, heading toward the world championship in April. The Farr 40 World Championships will be also in Miami so we are getting plenty of time on this race track and should feel very comfortable with the weather here by then.

The crew of Warpath for this regatta:

Greg Glendell-Bow

Kyle Weaver-Mast and resident F-18 pilot

Mark Towill-Pit and Morning Light team member

Nate Reynolds-Navigator and Pit Assist

Rome Kirby-Floater and yes, son of Jerry

Fred Howe-Owner and downwind trimmer

Grant (Louie) Loretz-Upwind trimmer and life member of Team New Zealand

Dave Armitage-Main Trimmer and Sail Designer

Steve Howe-Owner/Driver

Paul Cayard-Tactician

Our support team:

Ed Reynolds-Quantum Sails President and GM of Warpath

CT Olander-Boat Captain and Tender Driver

Joyce Hamilton-she is the one who does everything (every team needs one)

Barbara Thoney-Housing and logistics

Tomorrow’s forecast is for a very light day with possibly up to 10 knots in the morning and then dying through the day. So we are docking out at 0800 with the Barking Mad crew to get some early sailing in with our light air sails.

We had the weigh in today so now we are off to dinner which should be a bit of a feast.

Change of tack

Well, I guess the worst-case scenario developed for the America’s Cup… it seems that Alinghi and BMW Oracle will have a race, probably not much of a match, in multihulls some time in the next 18 months. The rest of the teams and all the corporate sponsors and all the fans of sailing will wait on the sidelines while these two play their game… or maybe not. More on that later. Justice Cahn has yet to finally rule on when the grudge match will take place. Alinghi get to decide where.

Throughout the months of last autumn, as the legal battle lumbered down the road of due process, several attempts were made, mostly by BMW Oracle, to settle. Naturally BMW had demands and, yes, they got a bit steeper after the judge ruled that they were right in their initial claim against the validity of the Spanish Challenger of Record’s yacht club. But I would say that most of those close to the discussions were reasonably impressed that the ‘demands’ of BMW Oracle were not as outrageous as one might have expected given the ‘power’ they attained as events developed.

Yet the demands were too much for Alinghi. My feeling is that Alinghi were willing to put the ball in play on a short cycle, 24 months, if they had the deck stacked in their favour… Therefore the original Protocol of 5 July 2007, with the new class of boat and the defender racing in the challenger selection series and managing all aspects of the event, including deciding how the challengers would organise their own selection series.

As the critics mounted in the weeks that followed, the Swiss were willing to concede some of those points and they did. But not sufficiently for BMW Oracle and really not enough for anyone looking at the event objectively. Alinghi would not bend beyond a certain point and they bet all their marbles that Justice Herman Cahn of the New York Supreme Court would substantiate the validity of Club Nautico Espa&ntilkde;ol de Vela as Challenger of Record and that Alinghi could then proceed with the event they wanted and BMW Oracle would have to beg to be allowed to enter.

As the months went on through the summer and into autumn, Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle, sifted through the 2007 team, discarded some people, hired some new ones and built a strong group all the way around. He then put the technical team to work, first on a catamaran and then on the AC 90 rule once it was made public on 31 October.

By 27 November, when Judge Cahn issued his ruling in favour of BMW Oracle, BMW Oracle were ahead in a race for 2009, no matter what the type of boat. I think Alinghi realised this and reversed their strategy. They were no longer interested in racing a multichallenger event in AC 90s in 2009. They would rather go for the freak show of a ‘one on one’ multihull race… sort of a throw of the dice.

So that is where we are heading… watching and waiting for one of these billionaires to get his way and then create an event that the rest of the world can compete in… a world of people who really enjoyed AC 32 (this is to Alinghi’s credit), and who are interested in developing and continuing relationships with corporations who have supported the sport and put their reputations on the line in a very public way. I know a lot of the existing teams are doing some serious dancing and shuffling for 2008 in an attempt to preserve these corporate relationships.

Desafio Español, like many of the 2007 teams, has had to create a new schedule for 2008. Since there is no America’s Cup in the calendar and no class of boat to train in, the operations in Valencia have been stopped. Instead, the sailing team will be kept active by racing on both the GP42 and TP52 circuits this summer.

The GP42 Quebramar already won last year’s circuit with Laureano Wizner, Santi Lopez and the Desafio team onboard. This group will continue for 2008.

Meanwhile, a new Judel-Vrolijk TP52 is being built in the Desafio shed in Valencia and will launch in late April. John Cutler and I, and 13 others from the team, will sail that boat in the MedCup. Sandro Benini and Nihat Aydin will design sails for both boats.

Both will be painted with Desafio livery including our main sponsor Iberdrola. Other components of Desafio will handle logistics, rule advising, coaching, physical training and other types of support for the two crews. In this way they will stay active in very competitive racing, carry on building a working relationship, keep the sponsors happy and in the public’s eye… and quite simply keep the team alive.

What else? I have started to revive a dream I had about this time last year but did not fulfil… to race with my children to Hawaii. Last year it would have been the Transpac, which, in odd numbered years, starts in Los Angeles. In even numbered years there is the Pacific Cup that starts in my hometown of San Francisco.

My son Danny is 19 and daughter Alexandra will be 18 soon. We will take a few of their friends and at least one more ‘experienced’ (nice way of saying older) person to round out the crew. Sailing out under the Golden Gate Bridge with the next landfall being Hawaii… is there any better dream than that?

Now I just have to buy a boat.