Desafío-Iberdrola: staying sharp is priority

With Paul Cayard as skipper Spain’s 32nd America’s Cup Challenger Series Semi Finalists plan to use the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit to keep crew race sharp

With the key objective of keeping their sailing team together, sharp and active 32nd America’s Cup Challenger Series Semi Finalists Desafío-Iberdrola will launch a TP52 programme this season with a new Rolf Vrolijk-designed boat which will make its racing debut in Alic ante in May.

Desafío- Iberdrola CEO Agustín Zulueta explains:
“We chose the TP52 Class and the Audi MedCup Circuit because it is the world’s best racing circuit. It allows us to keep the crew not only working as a team, but closely.”

The new boat is on schedule at the moment. Recently painted and on its keel, the boat is unlikely to race at any regattas prior to the Trofeo Alicante, the first leg of the 2008 Audi MedCup Circuit (12-17 May), other than launching and training in Valencia with some other chosen teams.

The boat will feature the latest generation three spreader Southern Spars rig which will complement a North Sails sail programme run by Sandro Benigni and Nihat Aydin, authors of ACC yacht ESP-96’s sail programme during the last America’s Cup.

The crew of Desafío-Iberdrola will be skippered by American Paul Cayard whose talent is proven. In particular Cayard’s varied experience at the MedCup over the first two seasons of the Circuit will be an important factor in getting the boat and crew up to speed quickly.

Laureano Wizner will deputise for Cayard for some of the 2008 Audi MedCup regattas. John Cutler will be tactician while Bruno Fidili joins the team as navigator. The rest of the crew will rotate depending on availability and how the programme dovetails with other sailing campaigns the team have planned for 2008.

Of his objectives and expectations for the Desafío-Iberdrola TP52 team Zulueta says:
“Our goals are not strictly about racing and circuit results. Firstly, we want to maintain ourselves in action and keep race sharp. We are also looking to offer our sponsors some presence and return as well as offering them some interesting hospitality activities. We would like to finish the season in the top 5. We hope to be in the that leading league. Let?s hope we will play a part in contributing to an exciting season.”

Careful what you wish for

America’s Cup
Here is my latest theory… Ernesto will fight Larry tooth and nail with lawyers. He knows how to do that. His goal will be to get the BMW Oracle challenge dismissed in court by any means and for any reason possible and then host a multi-challenger event in 2011. He will not build a multihull in Switzerland with all Swiss parts. It would not be easy and would take years for them to make winches, 3DL sails, titanium bolts and so on. Remember that this is a Deed of Gift challenge… another hurdle for the Swiss…”a yacht or vessel propelled by sails only and constructed in the country to which the Challenging Club belongs”. I think that means all of the boat.

There will no doubt be a lawsuit about what that means too. Meanwhile, Ellison is full steam ahead building his 90ft catamaran right now and is probably ahead of where Bertarelli could be anyway even if he did have the materials that are available to Ellison in the USA.

So what does Ernesto do if he doesn’t win in court?

My theory… If Ernesto loses in court and must defend the Deed of Gift challenge, he does nothing. Ellison and Coutts and their army of sailors, designers, shore team, boatbuilders and so on go through the whole rigmarole of getting the boat designed, built, tested, ready and to the race area, then complete two races by themselves. Ernesto hands over the trophy and says, “Congratulations, Larry, you finally won the America’s Cup.”

Where does that leave Ellison? Holding a turd, that’s where. A very expensive one at that. What kind of commercial credibility does the AC have after the media get done with that one? Corporate sponsors??? How long will it take to get the America’s Cup back to where it was just eight short months ago?

Just a theory.

TP52
By the time this article comes out we will be on the eve of another TP52 MedCup season. The fleet will be even larger than last year and, with the Cup on hold, there will be more AC sailors involved than ever. I will sail with Desafío Español on their new Vrolijk 52 for five of the races this summer.

Desafío are keeping their AC team together and active by sailing in the Med with the TP52 and the GP42. We will be training out of our AC base in Valencia for two weeks at the end of April and beginning of May. The new Quantum Racing will also be there, as will a few other teams undoubtedly. It will bring a bit of life to the dormant Cup Harbour. I am looking forward to racing these great boats again this summer.

Farr 40 worlds
The Farr 40 worlds may be over, or at least be ongoing, when this magazine hits your desk. We have just completed the Acura Miami Grand Prix, the second ‘tune-up regatta’ for the World Championship in April.

No fewer than 10 nations will be represented at the worlds, making this a truly international event. I am sailing with Fred and Steve Howe on their Warpath. We have just made a nice step up in our programme with a new boat for the Miami Grand Prix.

Thanks to a great shore team and some excellent outside contractors, stepping into the new boat was mostly just a pleasure.

We made a few changes in the crew as well and the net result was a third-place finish for the Warpath team in Miami out of 28 boats. Barking Mad won the event with 62 points, current world champion Mascalzone Latino finished second with 66 and Warpath had 67 points. Behind us it was 20 points to fourth place and another 19 points to fifth.

The top three boats showed an ability to come back from bad starts to get top 10 results more often than the others and this is what made the difference in the end. We are going to be training for five days in April before the world championship proper.

I feel good about this team and our chances.

Pacific Cup
Now this is the important event of the year. I am living a life dream: to race with my kids to Hawaii. Now is the time!

The crew of eight will include my two children, Danny and Allie, 19 and 18 respectively, four other kids around 20 years old and myself and one other ‘older’ person. The purchase of Hula Girl is complete. I am going to sail the boat up to San Francisco with my kids during the Easter break. That will be the beginning of our training…

I have been thinking of how you get a crew of offshore novices up to the task, without a Morning Light type of programme. I am thinking we first do day-sailing on the Bay to get the basics sorted. Then we sail for 48 hours, through the nights, again in the Bay… around and around, that’s right.

We learn what it is to be on a watch system, when it is convenient to eat meals, what it is like to steer in the dark. All that in SF Bay (a very calm place!). Then we go out in the ocean in daylight. We reef in the ocean, we gybe in the swells, we try not to… scratch that. We wrap the spinnaker around the headstay and send someone up the rig with a machete to cut it down. Next we sail through the night to Monterey and back; then for 30 hours on the track to Hawaii… and back. Then we load the food and go!

That is the report for April. Out.

The 2008 Pacific Cup.

Starting in San Francisco and finishing in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, the Pacific Cup is organized by St. Francis Yacht Club. This year marks the 15th edition of the biennial race, which will commence on July 14. More than 70 boats are expected to participate in the 2,070 mile downwind race.

Together with his son and daughter, Paul Cayard is preparing their Santa Cruz 50 Hula Girl for the 2008 Pacific Cup.

Far 40 World Championship-Final

Just a quick one to say its over. Joe Fly of Italy won on the water but Mascalzone Latino is protesting them. The Jury will decide who won the 2008 Farr 40 Worlds.

We had a mediocre day, not sure exactly the scores but I think we will finish up around 10th overall. As I said yesterday, it is not what we were shooting for and certainly we are capable of more but then many here can say the same.

I compliment our crew for never giving less than 100% despite our frustrations. The Warpath team is a good team and will be back to the Farr 40 Worlds another day.

Thanks to Fred and Steve Howe for being such great owners!

For complete results go to www.farr40worlds.com

Out for now.

Farr 40 World Championship-Day 3

Another two races and still no breakthrough for us on Warpath. We just don’t have it this week. The conditions have been real difficult, sloppy seaway and very puffy, celly, wind. The wind strength was 8-12 knots and shifting through 15 degrees. Everyone struggled and I am sure sailing upwind in these conditions did not feel good to anyone, not even the winners.

These are the most testing conditions. The helmsman is constantly thrown curve balls. The boat can go from being overpowered and lifted to headed and in a lull in 12 seconds. If you hit a couple of waves during that lull, the boats speed and drop .7 of a knot. Then you have to reaccelerate. More pain and more loss.

We are doing better at it than most. We moved up to 8th over all today with 111 points, one point out of 7th. But the frustration is that we were aiming higher than that for this regatta following a 3rd at the Miami Grand Prix last month and some very good results in the Pre worlds.

Estate Mater of Australia had a 1, 6 to win the day and Joe Fly of Italy also had 7 points for the day to Mascalzon’?s 9 points. So just one point separates the first two boats. Ernesto Bertarelli had a very good day with a 9,4 to move up to third place.

The top five are:
1) Mascalzone Latino with 47
2) Joe Fly with 48
3) Alignhi with 74
4) Barking Mad with 81
5) Mean Machine with 83

Tomorrow’s forecast is a bit lighter than today and the last two races are scheduled to get under way at 11:00 EDT.

For complete results go to www.farr40worlds.com

Farr 40 World Championship-Day 2

Another beautiful day off Miami Beach… 10-15 knots of wind and a lot of sunshine. That sounds so nice and pleasant. For the teams that were racing in the Far 40 worlds, it was anything but nice and pleasant. I have never been in a war and I certainly would not think it was like a real war, but as a figure of speech; It was more like a war out there.

The fleet is so competitive and so tight that there is never a moment of peace. There is always someone coming at you, tacking on you or yelling at you.

Imagine that one boat finished 29, 1, 25 in today’s racing. You think that is a mediocre team that got lucky in a race? Wrong. That is Nerone, 2003 World Champions.

We did not have a good day; 24, 11, 8.. We made some mistakes, did not go overly fast and did not have any real luck. So that makes a struggle. The best thing that happened to us was when we got back to the dock, someone handed me the scores. I was afraid to look. Actually, we moved up one place. Amazing. In fact, we are just one point out of 7th as the three boats in front of us are all tied.

Mascalzone is still leading and Joe Fly is second. Both boats are from Italy. Barking Mad is third from the USA.

Anyway, that is just short term satisfaction. We need to get our act together here, pronto. Tomorrow’s forecast is similar to today…10-14 knots from 070.

For complete results go to www.farr40worlds.com

Farr 40 World Championship-Day 1

It was a day in which many boats were up and down through three races. Mascalzone Latino has the lead followed by fellow Italians “Joe Fly”. Still the two boats have 16 and 18 points respectively which is more than usual for the leaders after three races signaling the tough competition out there.

The wind was up for the first race, 18-20 knots, then a big drop off for the second race… 11-14, then back in for the end of the second race up to 25 knots on the final windward leg.

Onboard Warpath we had a day of consistent scores but just a bit too far down the score board for our liking. We had a 12, 13, 14. to put us in 11th over all with 39 points. Our biggest errors were being over early at the start of the second race and having to go back to restart, and then sailing the last windward leg of the last race with a medium jib on in 25 knots. Hopefully we did not damage the medium too badly on that leg as that is the most sued sail in the inventory and we will need it for the rest of the series.

We had one bit of bad luck in that the spinnaker pole car, on the mast, exploded and we had to take the pole off the mast every time we gybed and we could not raise the pole up the mast to make it level. It did not cost us much but it is amazing the things that happen at times like this that don’t happen once in 5 years.

We are a bit disappointed with our first day but there are still 7 races to go and all must be counted. So there are many more points to be had and plenty of potential to move up.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for a bit less wind more like 11-15 knots from the Northeast.

For complete results go to www.farr40worlds.com

Farr 40 Pre-Worlds-Day 2

Three more race were held today in the Farr 40 warm up for next weeks World Championship. The winds were 13knots for the first races dropping to 8 knots in the third race.

There were plenty of ups and downs for all competitors in the fleet. Some of the favorites had a very tough series and there were some new names at the top.

On Warpath we had a decent series but had our big down moment right at the end. We were not going well at all in the 8 knots of the last race and finished 22nd. That dropped us from second to a tie for fourth overall with Fiamma of Italy. We just had our debrief with our coach Ed Reynolds and think we found a few things that we were not doing well in that lighter condition.

So we will be sailing on Monday and Tuesday as we need to incorporate what we learned during the series and continue to build our confidence in our settings before the World Championship starts on Wednesday.

Goombay Smash from Newport RI won the series with Ramrod second and Nerone of Italy third. Full results are at: www.farr40worlds.com

Tomorrow is weigh in day so no dinner tonight and I am going for a run right now. I have to drop 6 pounds which is what I dropped for the last weigh in last Wednesday.

Farr 40 Pre-Worlds-Day 1

Three races were held off Key Biscayne today all in 9-11 knots of wind from the South East. The sea was a bit choppy which made the job for the mainsheet trimmer, jib trimmer and helmsman very challenging.

Happily, our speed team of Steve Howe, Dave Armitage and Grant Loretz got it figured out and we had a great first day. With scores of 8-1-3 we are in second place, one point out of first. “Ramrod” with Gavin Brady calling tactics had a slightly better day with a 3,6,2 for a total of 11 points to our 12. Behind us, two boats are tied for third place; Nerone of Italy, a former World Champion team, and Sled from Japan, both with 21 points.

If you had a bad start today, it was not easy to climb through the fleet with only 10 knots of wind and a sloppy sea. Some good teams had tough day.

Anyway, this is just the tune up regatta and the most important thing to take away from this is confidence in your boat speed and a certain tranquility that no matter had tough it gets, you will find a way to move up through the fleet. The World Champion next week will have those traits.

Tomorrow’s forecast is similar to today…10-13 knots from the South East, sun, chop.

One correction and apology; our fantastic boat captain’s first name is Christian not Clarence. We never call him by his name, rather we call him simply “CT”. So this morning when I walked down the dock I got a bit of just due flak for not knowing our boat captains name. I was trying to think of a good excuse… like my eyes are going bad… but I could not come up with anything that worked. Sorry CT and thanks for all the good work!

Complete scores can be found at www.farr40worlds.com

Farr 40 Pre Worlds

The Farr 40 fleet has reconvened in Miami for the World Championship which will begin Wednesday April 16, 2008. A preliminary regatta, “Pre-Worlds”, starts Friday April 11. There will be 33 boats racing for the 11th World Championship in this class.

Most of the fleet have been here training since Tuesday this week and the racing gets underway tomorrow at 11:00 EDT with three races scheduled. The forecast is 9-13 knots from 120, very typical Miami conditions. The pre-worlds will conclude on Saturday.

As you have gathered from my reports earlier this year from Key West and Miami in March, the fleet is very competitive. There are past World Champions here, Olympics medalists as tacticians, American’s Cup teams, Whitbread winners, etc. The field is deep and everyone will have good days and tough days. Coming back from a disappointing race will be a virtue that the winner will certainly possess.

The team on Warpath this time is:

Steve Howe-Helm
Paul Cayard-Tactician
Dave Armitage-Mainsail
Grant Loretz-Trim
Fred Howe-Trim
Kit Will-Trim
Kevin Kelble-Pit
Nate Reynolds-Mid bow
Kyle Weaver-Mast
Greg Gendell-Bow

We are assisted by boat Captain Clarence Olander, coach Ed Reynolds, and our two excellent chefs, Sarah and Yvonne. As in any sport, it takes a lot of preparation and support to do well.

The Official site for the event is www.Farr40Worlds.com The event sponsor is one of my favorites, Rolex.

We will race 16 races over the next week, that is 32 windward mark roundings… plenty of actions there when most of the 33 boats arrive at the same time.

Should be a great week of sailing…