RC 44 – Gmunden, Austria

The Lake of Traunsee was not too kind to us today. Four very mediocre finishes pushed us down to 6th overall. The team from Holland in No Way Back, won the event. Artemis and Aqua followed.

The sun actually came out for the day which made things a lot more pleasant. There was plenty of snow around in the hills after all the rain of the last two days. There wasn’t much wind up at the Gmunden end of the lake so after the first race, things were moved completely down to the other end, about 10K from Gmunden.

This is a beautiful place especially when the sun is out. Idylic really. Nice weekend homes for the people of Linz and Salzberg.

The RC 44 is a great boat and I hope to do some more sailing in the class.

I am back to San Francisco tomorrow and training on Flash next weekend for Trans-Pac with Danny and Allie and the rest of the Flash team.

RC 44 – Gmunden, Austria

The Ceeref team had an ok day today. As with most of the teams, we went from first to last and back so many times and can’t remember. The conditions were fairly light and very shifty. There were some massive holes, the worst of which swallowed up Artemis in one race that they were winning on the second windward leg and left them in last.

The weather has been bad the last 48 hours. Lots of rain and very shifty, gusty conditions. This what we woke up to today with the added factor of 6C temperature. We don’t really have the right clothes for this place. However it was 33C here on Monday.

We had the “long race” first today. This race is called the DHL race as it is sponsored by DHL. It was about a 5 miles beat to windward and a 5 mile run. The race counts double points and naturally it was our worst race. We were in good shape in third about three quarters of the way up to the top mark. Then, I got us out of phase and we rounded about 7th.

Down the run we made some gains and passed one boat only to fall in a hole just before the finish and have one boat come from behind with a puff and roll us right on the line. We finished 7th in that one and it counted double! God knows why.

Anyway, Team Sea Dubai went from dead last to first in this one. They were followed by Artemis and then BMW Oracle who had a huge come back as well.

Then we had two windward leeward races. Well, that is what they were supposed to be. These were both very squirrely races with the wind going from 165 at 7 knots to 180 and then to 120 and dying to 2 knots. We had decent starts in these and managed to get a 4th and a 2nd.

All this took hours. We went out at 0900 today and came in a 1700. Lots of time in between races waiting for the wind to come up of settle in direction. That is almost a hopeless aspiration here. The people are very friendly though.

Here is an article on the RC44 site about today’s racing. http://www.rc44.com/en/regattas/news/index.php?idContent=2067

Anyway, tonight is the gala dinner and tomorrow is the last day of racing. We start again at 1000 and hopefully we will get four races in which is the maximum allowed in one day.

The points for top 5 in the fleet racing as of now are:

No Way Back – 19 Points
Ceeref – 21
Team Aqua – 21
Artemis – 23
Team Sea Dubai – 30

You can find the results on the official site for the class is: www.rc44.com

RC 44 – Gmunden, Austria

The Ceeref team had a great day today, winning the day with a 2nd and a 1st place in the fleet racing. The conditions were fairly windy and very shifty.

With owner Igor Lah at the helm, we got off the line well in both races. We fell a bit behind on the first leg of the first race as Artemis took control. We managed a good comeback on the second windward leg and final run to finish second.

In the second race, the wind was building. We started in 15 knots. The wind was shifting from 270 to 300 every three minutes. It wasn’t the same over the course. Very tricky! We had a good start and played the first few shifts off the line. By the first windward mark we had a 100 yard lead. Artemis was looking good again up half way up the beat but got too far left and rounded about 5th.

We got a nice puff and extended down the run. At the bottom of the run, a strong gust came through…. about 35 knots. We had just gotten around the bottom mark and were going up wind as BMW Oracle and Artemis were coming downwind straight at us, pretty much out of control. I thought they were going to hit us and told our guest to get ready to avoid them. They both missed us and both broached. There was carnage all over the place. Gennakers flagging, boats on their side, etc.

We, and the fleet, managed to sail the second windward leg with way too much sail up. The wind shifted hard to the right as this front passed very quickly and the final run was a 2 sail reach in 30 knots of wind. The boat was going 21 knots! Igor did a great job of keeping the boat under control. Igor has only been sailing for two years and clearly doesn’t know everything about the sport. But it was very clear to me that he had a great feel for “balance” and he instinctively sailed the boat to the right heel angle. This is a hard thing to teach someone but Igor seems to have that inside him.

The wind died after that front went through, then we had plenty of rain. After that it went clam and then we were told of another squall coming and ordered to the moorings. We just got to the moorings when the next line of squally hit. Lightning and hail. The call came, “Let’s just scrape the snow off the jib before we put her down below.” Mate, I don’t thing I have heard that call in a long time.

Tomorrow we will have a bit of an earlier start and hope to get about 5 or 6 races in.

I haven’t seen the scores but I know we won the day and Artemis was second with a 1, 4.

RC 44 – Gmunden, Austria

We had a good day onboard Ceeref today winning three races and losing just one. The conditions were tricky as seems to be the norm here and this caused more than a few lead changes.

Before things got going, our boat captain Josh did a great job getting down to the boat at 0700 to check her out. He even dove on the boat and found that the trim tab had been damaged by one of the mooring lines the night before in the storm. He and a couple of the crew took the boat down to the end of the lake, about 10 miles away, hauled it and tried to put in the spare tab. It did not fit so they put the damaged one back in, sanded it a bit and we raced like that. Luckily we had a bye in the first flight of racing so we did not miss anything.

We actually led around every mark of every race we were in. In our first race, we lost the lead on the final run to the finish when the boat behind gybe set and got a puff of wind we never saw. Other than that, we never crossed behind anyone. I could not have hoped for much more than that. Most importantly, my friend and fellow team member from the 1983 America’s Cup, Rod Davis, kindly let me beat him so I could win the master division.

If you want to read more about the day this is a descriptive article. http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=55201

So tomorrow we have the last four matches. We start out with Artemis where Dean Barker is the helmsman. The forecast for tomorrow isn’t great but I think we just have to reset our idea of good wind down to about 4 knots with 40 degree shifts and then it will all be normal.

We had a nice party tonight in an old palace half way down the west side of the Lake. There was a church in this place from the 12th century. Most places we go are very international really. If you go to Palma or St. Tropez or San Francisco, you can find anything. This place is very old and very Austrian.

Standings after today:

1) Team Aqua, Cameron Appleton 4/1, 4 points
2) CEEREF, Paul Cayard, 3/1, 3 points
2) Artemis, Dean Barker, 3/2, 3 points
2) Team Organika, Karol Jablonski 3/2, 3 points
5) BMW ORACLE Racing, Rod Davis, 2/2, 2 points
5) No Way Back, Pieter Heerema, 2/2, 2 points
5) Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, Jose Juan Calero, 2/3, 2 points
8) Team Sea Dubai, Markus Wieser, 1/3, 1 point
9) Team Austria, Christian Binder, 0/4, 0 point

RC 44 – Gmunden, Austria

Tomorrow will be the first day of racing for the RC44 fleet here in Gmunden. The RC44 is a relatively new class of boat designed by Russell Coutts and Andre Justin. It looks like a 1/2 scale of the America’s Cup boats from 2007. But it is relatively lighter and very high performing. It planes downwind in 16 knots of wind and it is fully powered up in 7 knots upwind. It is a one design class and the boats are very high tech being built out of carbon fiber and even having a trim tab on the keel fin.

The RC 44 fleet has a circuit around Europe and the Middle East.

Time for action for the RC 44 Class on Lake Traunsee

The third event of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009 starts tomorrow in Austria on the picturesque Lake Traunsee. A fairly strong wind is forecast, with temperatures dropping after today’s record temperatures.

Representing eight nations, the nine RC 44’s involved in the RC 44 Austria Cup did two practice starts in a very light breeze today, preparing for the beginning of the competition scheduled tomorrow at 11:30 AM.

Last year Gmunden (Austria) hosted the Championship Tour for the first time and it proved one of the Circuit’s most memorable regattas. The world’s best sailors involved in the Tour were unanimously impressed by the scenery, the greenness of the forests that overlook the lake and the highness of the surrounding mountains.

One year later the RC 44 fleet is back with a highly competitive fleet that includes some new names such as Paul Cayard (Ceeref), Ray Davies (No Way Back) and Rod Davis (BMW ORACLE Racing). The Class’ other “usual suspects” such as Dean Barker, Cameron Appleton, Daniel Calero or Markus Wieser have also been spotted walking up & down the pontoons over the past few days, preparing for another exciting regatta in this challenging circuit.

Speaking this morning during the event’s opening press conference – held at the stunning Seeschloss Orth (Lake Traunsee’s emblematic castle) – both Dean Barker and Ray Davies mentioned how refreshing it is for them to sail on a mountain lake. “Usually when I go to this sort of resort it is in New Zealand’s southern Island and I am going skiing”, said Barker. “It is a nice change.” Paul Cayard went as far as saying that “this is such a beautiful place that I could very well consider living here”.

Unbeaten in match race in Cagliari last month, Dean Barker and Artemis are the favourites of the series although Ceeref still leads the overall ranking. Paul Cayard replaces Sebastien Col for this event, and he clearly hopes to maintain his team on top of the leader board. “I haven’t competed in a match since almost two years, and this is a welcome “refreshing course” for me. The fleet is obviously highly competitive, but I am definitely here to try to win.”

Christian Binder, skipper of the local team Austria, explained that his team is still fairly new. “We are learning every day”, he said. “But we have been working hard and we had some good training sessions over the past weeks. We definitely hope to get a good result”.

The weather forecast for the coming days is not good and a low pressure from the West is expected.

Paul Cayard to join the RC 44 fleet for the Austria Cup

May 12, 2009 – Following two successful regattas held in Lanzarote (SPA) and Cagliari (ITA), the RC 44 fleet is getting ready for the third stage of the RC 44 Championship Tour 2009. The RC 44 Austria Cup will take place on May 22 – 26 on the beautiful Lake Traunsee, in the middle of snow-capped mountains and on a lake well known for its consistent thermal breeze.

Four teams are currently dominating the Championship Tour: Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, who currently sails with the Championship Tour leader’s gold wheel, Larry Ellison’s BMW ORACLE Racing, Igor Lah’s Ceeref who will sail the Austria Cup with Paul Cayard, and Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis. These teams are only separated by four points.

The battle is also fierce amongst the followers. Pieter Heerema’s Team No Way Back will sail for the first time with Emirates Team New Zealand’s tactician Ray Davies. Led by Christian Binder, the local Austrian team expects a good race in front of its public. These two teams have already been training together on Lake Traunsee, hoisting the sails as early as 6:00 AM to make the best of the local breeze.

The flat water and sometimes tricky tactical conditions could well change the Class’ hierarchy. The strict one-design concept of the Class also favours changes, giving all the teams the opportunity to fight for victory. The statistics speak for themselves: since the beginning of the season, all the teams involved in the Tour have finished at least one race in the top three whilst six of them have won regattas.

The RC 44 Austria Cup will take place just after the Traunsee Woche; a regatta that unites 650 sailors on 220 boats.

The teams involved:

(Name of team, owner, pro sailor)

Team Aqua, Chris Bake / Cameron Appleton
Team Ceeref, Igor Lah / Paul Cayard
Sea Dubai, DIMC, Markus Wieser
BMW ORACLE Racing, Larry Ellison / Russell Coutts
Team Organika, Maciej Nawrocki / Karol Jablonski
Puerto Calero Islas Canarias, Jose Juan Calero / Jose Maria Ponce
Artemis, Torbjorn Tornqvist / Dean Barker
No Way Back, Pieter Heerema / Ray Davies
Team Austria, Christian Binder / Ren

Update from Boston, the Volvo Ocean Race

BOSTON – I just spent the weekend in Boston at the Volvo Ocean Race. This event is really catching on with the mainstream public. It seems that anyone who gets a close up look at the event becomes hooked. There was a lot of non sailing public roaming through the race village this weekend and they immediately became intrigued. With the Race Village situated right down town, Volvo has really brought the event to the people.

On Saturday I watched the in port races from a Volvo VIP boat alongside Mike Sanderson and French sailing legends Roland Jourdain and Michel Desjoyeaux were in town also and are looking at bringing their solo campaigns and sponsors into the race next time. Makes a lot of sense really. The French public are absolute fanatics about offshore racing.

On a sunny and blustery Sunday, I got to helm Puma in the first Pro Am race and then Ericsson 3 in the next two. The races were reaching figures of 8 in a very small bit of water right in the downtown harbor. The channel is barley half a mile wide downtown but Peter Craig ran the races right there in front of the crowds. In 25 knots of wind and with 25 knots of boat speed, the 6 minute races were a riviting sight for the 30,000 spectators who go an up close and personal view of the event.

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, announced some changes to the event for 2011 all aimed at continuing to improve the commercial value of the event. A new format for the import activities, some cost saving measures for the teams, increased use of the latest multi media outlets, and a slightly shorter route are among the improvements. The cost saving measure do two things; they obviously reduce cost but they also increase competitiveness of the event by reducing some of the advantage that big spending teams can get. With such forward looking and independent management, it is no wonder that the corporate world is increasing its commitment to this event even in these challenging times. Alicante has committed to be the starting port for the next 3 editions of the race. The Volvo Race management will also move its headquarters to Alicante and create a museum there showcasing the rich history of this event that began as the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1977. With this the Spanish company Telefoinca has committed to sponsor the Spanish team for three editions, while Ericsson and Puma have committed for the next event as well as event sponsor Volvo. This event is establishing continuity and that is a valuable asset in any business. No doubt the disastrous mismanagement of the America’s Cup is putting a shining light on the Volvo. The Volvo is taking over form the America’s Cup as the first choice for pro sailors looking for a stable career platform as we could be looking at 12 plus entries for the next race in 2011.

Two special people whom I caught up with were team mates from our winning Whitbread team in 1998; Kimo Worthington, now general manger of Puma and Magnus Olsson, skipper Ericsson 3 and still racing at the age of 60. So now my answer to those who ask if I am going to return to the race has changed from, “I think I may be too old” to “I am too young, I need to train for 10 more years, then I will be ready!”.

Sunday night was the leg prize giving which is a fancy dinner with great entertainment for 500 featuring a group of inner city youth dancers who stole the show. And I mean youth. Some of the kids looked to be 6 years old with the oldest being maybe 12. The food and dancing was first rate. I sat next to my female counterpart of the EF campaign, Christine Guillou, and we had recalling the interesting moments in that campaign, mixing the men’s and women crews for training and just coexisting as a coed team around the world.

I was speaking to a British sports marketing executive who was visiting the race for the first time, a guy who ran the marketing for Honda in Formula One previously, and he said that the Volvo is truly a top level sports marketing property. It was impressive to see the new faces, from other areas of sport, gravitating to the event.

I have to say that I was impressed by it all.

PAUL CAYARD SUPPORTS DISABLED SAILORS AT THE WEST MARINE/CHALLENGED AMERICA REGATTA

San Diego, CA (May 8, 2009) — Paul Cayard has joined West Marine and Cortez Racing Association for a benefit to support Challenged America sailors with disabilities in the first West Marine/Challenged America Regatta, June 12 & 13, 2009, in San Diego.

“From being a seven-time World Champion and two-time Olympian, and five-time America’s Cup veteran, to be the first American to win the Whitbread Around The World Race, Paul Cayard’s name and presence is quickly identified and talked about in virtually every yacht club and sailing venue in the world,” said Urban Miyares, blinded Vietnam veteran, sailor, and Challenged America co-founder. “Having Paul take time out of his busy schedule to come to San Diego to help us and do the keynote at our Friday, June 12 dinner and auction is truly a special treat. And once the word gets out, I’m hoping we have enough room at the Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island to accommodate everyone who is looking to meet Paul and hear him speak.”

The inaugural West Marine/Challenged America Regatta is a fundraising event supported by West Marine and San Diego’s Cortez Racing Association (CRA) to help support the charittable Challenged America adaptive sailing program for disabled veterans, kids and adults with disabilities.

Beginning on Friday (June 12) at 4 pm, local yacht club commodores will race in the Challenged America program’s Martin 16, two-person sailboats from the Bali Hai Restaurant’s dock for bragging rights of winning the (perpetual). “Commodores Challenge” trophy — that will be proudly displayed at the West Marine store’s entrance for all to see.

Following the “Commodores Challenge” race, dinner begins at 6 pm in the newly enclosed outdoor pavillion of the Bali Hai Restaurant, with Paul Cayard’s motivational address. The silent auction (with some surprises) follows, and the evening’s festivities ends with an after-dinner social on the waterfront edge, overlooking the scenic lights of downtown San Diego.

On the next day, Saturday, June 13, the West Marine/Challenged America Regatta officially begins with an 11 am first race start of more than 50 sailboats racing on San Diego’s Big Bay. The post-race awards and festive party (with food, drink, prizes, etc.) follows (4 pm) at the Point Loma West Marine store’s parking area, on Rosecrans.

“We are expecting a capacity crowd for the dinner and auction on Friday, and more than 400 racers and volunteers on Saturday, plus countless others on the water in spectator boats and on the shoreline watching the racing. Two races are planned for the day, with many sailors with disabilities also racing,” said Miyares. “Everyone in San Diego will want to be part of this exciting and fun San Diego event on the waterfront, and meet those sailors and celebrities in attendance. We are still seeking sponsors, auction items, and donations … and registration for the Regatta and ticket sales for the Friday event are now being taken.”

The West Marine/Challenged America Regatta is a yearly event to benefit the charitable Challenged America program for kids and adults with disabilities. A therapeutic adaptive sailing program conceived in 1978 by disabled San Diego veterans, hundreds participate in this free, volunteer-driven sailing program each year.

Funds from the West Marine/Challenged America Regatta will go directly towards maintaining the program’s fleet of 12 vessels, providing free learn-to-sail and advanced sailing opportunities for those hospitalized, in therapeutic recovery or rehabilitation programs, and for kids and adults living with disabilities, along with loved ones in the community. Challenged America is a 501(c)(3) charitable program, and all contributions, vessel donations, gifts, and business support and sponsorship are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed.

For additional information to become a sponsor, donor or supporter, or to register your vessel for the regatta or purchased tickets for the West Marine/Challenged America Regatta dinner or other events, visit www.WMCAregatta.com, or contact Kelli Garner at Challenged America, (619) 523-9318, email Ahoy@ChallengedAmerica.org.

Sailing Finally Has A Home

In 1998 I emceed a skipper’s forum on the Annapolis (Md.) City Dock, hosting the skippers of the Whitbread Round the World Race. Paul Cayard, skipper of the victorious EF Language syndicate, was on the panel, explaining to more than 1,000 people in the audience what it was like to sail in the Southern Ocean. Dennis Conner, whose Volvo 60 Toshiba sat nearby, was another panelist, and as he compared the Whitbread to the America’s Cup, the crowd hung on his every word. It was at this moment I realized the sport of sailing needed a Hall of Fame to celebrate the accomplishments of these great sailors and many others.

I had no idea then that in 10 years time the very place where the forum was taking place would soon be sailing’s permanent home. It’s long overdue.

Many of our sport’s greatest moments are chronicled on film, on plaques and trophies, and in logs, yearbooks, magazines, and websites. But sailing has never had its own unified “place,” a physical space bearing the history that reminds us what sailing, in its many forms, is about. Sailing needs a home that trumpets its achievements and inspires generations to excel on the water, and to serve the sport.

The desire for such a home was the easy part; finding the best place to hang a shingle, however, was a challenge. There are many cities and towns worthy of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, but Annapolis, Md., emerged for many reasons.

After six years of working on the concept, the National Sailing Hall of Fame board, of which I am a member, received the gift it needed from then Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, who offered a prime waterfront location in Historic Annapolis. The nearly 5,000-square-foot parcel is sandwiched between the sprawling U.S. Naval Academy and Annapolis’ centrally located and heavily trafficked (by tourists and locals) City Dock. It’s about as publicly accessible?and visible?as a Sailing Hall of Fame can get. Surely it will draw in committed and casual sailors alike through its doors.

Preservationists put forth legitimate concerns regarding development of the land, in particular the historic home that stood on the site and once belonged to Captain William Burtis, a deep-rooted Chesapeake waterman. The NSHOF spent nearly two years attending hearings, addressing concerns, and explaining to residents the Hall of Fame’s mission, and its potential to create revenue for the city.

Once the NSHOF resolved the land development issue and obtained the necessary approvals, 26 architects from around the country bid on the $20-million project. Joseph Boggs, whose firm was responsible for the American History Museum in Washington, D.C., earned the bid and in January presented his vision, shown in the image below.

The Burtis House property covers about 5,000-square, comprising only a portion of the space required to do the project right. In January of this year, the remaining pieces came into place: the NSHOF acquired an adjacent piece of property from the Phillips Seafood Company for $2,850,000, and the City of Annapolis granted the Hall a portion of the street on which the building would reside. In 2008, the city completed its $9 million reconstruction of City Dock, which includes 572 feet of dock space owned by the NSHOF, creating a gateway for sailors heading out to or arriving from the Bay. Ultimately, the plan calls for the construction of a $12 million building and an outdoor display area.

This is a challenging time to raise funds, but the NSHOF, under chairman Dick Franyo, a retired investment banker, is working on opening a temporary exhibit in the existing buildings, as it carries on with its capital campaign. From an insider’s perspective, it’s an understatement to say that the effort put forth to reach this point has been monumental.

To demonstrate the potential of the concept to the city and its residents, the NSHOF recently displayed historical boats, including President John Kennedy’s Manitou, When and If, originally built by General George Patten, and the Pride of Baltimore II.

The vision of the National Sailing Hall of Fame has expanded from a simple hall to include a museum that will be a center for environmental expositions, and an educational center for sailing.

Sailing has a long and storied history, and the Hall will highlight the sport in all of its diversity: early explorers, naval expeditions, commerce, racing, and cruising are all linked through maritime history. The NSHOF intends to demonstrate these connections through interactive displays and the preservation of sailing’s archives. A library is planned in memory of Maine boat builder Tom Morris, and the facility will be able to host regattas, ceremonies, and sailing demonstrations. Once open, the Hall of Fame will showcase the science of sailing and promote a center for study and research on people, events, trends, yachts, and the environment.

The memorable moments in our sport are countless, and unless there’s a common place to preserve these memories, we’re in danger of losing the relevance of sailing’s past and future. A few examples of heroics on the water worthy of honor come quickly to mind: In 1972 Buddy Melges started the Soling Olympic Trials with a broken mast and went on to win in very heavy winds. He followed that with a gold medal stunner in Kiel, Germany. How about that infamous Race 7 of the 1983 America’s Cup? And then skipper Dennis Conner reclaiming it 40 months later? More recently, Anna Tunnicliffe’s miracle puff in Qingdao lofted her to a gold medal. These are just a few of many great stories by American sailors, stories that belong in the Hall for all generations to remember.

Other sports have their hallowed halls; think Cooperstown, N.Y., for baseball and Canton, Ohio, for football. Annapolis is a logical place for a sailing hall of fame. It will take broad support from sailors across America to help make this vision a reality. Think of it not just as sailing’s home, but your home, too.

Apr 20, 2009