Paul non stacca mai!

Paul, Paul e ancora Paul: Cayard non stacca mai, la sua è fame di vela, in tutte le sue forme. Come giudicare uno che ha vinto (quasi) tutto nella carriera velica, ha trionfato al giro del mondo, nel giro della Coppa America, nella grande altura, ha fortemente voluto e raggiunto le Olimpiadi in Star, e in una stagione definita “di transizione”, a causa della crisi economica mondiale, è passato allegramente dalle TP52 AudiMedcup series di Portimao in Portogallo alla “sua” San Francisco per il Mondiale della storica e acrobatica deriva 505, a prua di un suo amico?

Guardatelo come si diverte al trapezio, e sentite quello che racconta dopo la fine del campionato: “Sono così felice che Howie mi abbia chiesto di fare questa regata! Mi sento come se avessi nuovamente 20 anni. Essere un velista professionista ti allontana da queste barche che sono ‘fichissime’, e che usavamo solo da ragazzi. Sono le barche che ci hanno insegnato a veleggiare, ci hanno dato la sensibilità per capire come andare più veloci con qualsiasi altra imbarcazione. Cercherò anche in futuro altre opportunità di navigare sui 505, magari il Mondiale 2011 a Hamilton Island, con mio figlio Danny al timone. Ci sono tante porte aperte!”

Del resto Paul non “stacca” mai anche sulla rete: è forse il personaggio della vela che meglio sa interpretare la potenza del web per comunicare costantemente, 24 ore su 24 e in tutto il mondo, ai suoi molti fans. Il suo sito-blog – www.cayardsailing.com – è aggiornatissimo con i suoi pensieri, le immagini, i risultati, una sorta di diario sempre aperto. Un solo guaio: di Paul ce n’è uno solo…

SAP 505 World Championship

Wow! That was a blast! I know I will wake up tomorrow sad. No need to slip into the trapeze harness. Bummer.

We had a great last day…up at the front all day, finished 6th but just 6 seconds from 4th.

SF turned it back on for the final day so everyone will be left with the right memories…big breeze and rippin fun.

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson walked away with the race and the event. Mike Holt and Carl Schmidt gave it there all and made it a good race finishing fourth today and second overall. My friend and crew mate from the 2002 Volvo Ocean Race, Chris Nicholson and his crew Casey Smith were third. My hat is off to these guys and really all the competitors. The 505 is a challenging boat, but it is extra challenging in San Francisco.

I am so happy Howie asked me to do this. I feel like I am 20 again. Being a pro sailor drives you away from these really cool boats that we used to sail as kids. These are the boats that taught us how to sail, how to have the sensitivity to make any boat go fast. Now I will look for other opportunities to sail in the 505, maybe the Worlds at Hamilton Island in 2011 with my son Danny at the helm. That is the beauty of this, more open doors.

That’s it for now. Rolex Big Boat Series September 10th will be next.

For complete results go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

SAP 505 World Championship

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson took one big step toward winning the 505 Worlds by winning todays 8th race. Mike Holt and Carl Schmidt, who were leading going into today, finished 8th. Winds were 8-13 knots and the race course was pretty even.

After a long delay, today’s sole race got underway at 1445. The unusally hot weather shut the winds down until that time. Sun burns were the order of the days rather than the normal crash and burn that we are used to in August.

We had a good one finishing 5th after being the rabbit for the start. We are still 7th over all but just two points out of 6th.

Tomorrow is the last race with a scheduled start time of 1200.

For complete results go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

SAP 505 World Championship

Sorry there was no report yesterday but it was a Lay Day and therefore no racing. Howie and I put in four hours working on the boat. About half the competitors were down working on their crafts either rebuilding them so they could continue on, or restocking their spare parts armory.

The word around the boat park is, “I knew SF was windy but this is really tough sailing.” That is what I remember growing up here. The fleet has gone through over 30 masts so far. As I told someone yesterday who was complaining that it was too windy, “Well, you won’t forget this Worlds soon.” To which he replied, “Yea, it is almost something you will tell your grandchildren in 30 years…. Yea, I survived that World Championship in ’09 in SF!”

That is all fine with me and I am sure all of us from St. Francis Yacht Club. Remember, life is about unforgettable experiences. So let’er rip! That’s what I am here for. If I did not want to rip around the track I would not be in the 505.

SAP 505 World Championship

Two races were held today on the Berkeley Circle in moderate conditions. The first race was an 8-12 knot affair while the wind built to 20 at the end of the second race. The first race was delayed about an hour and a half as the wind was from the east this morning and we had to wait for that to die and the westerly to fill.

The track was tricky as there was more wind on the left and normally the right is favored on the Circle. We rounded the first mark about 12th and managed to get a 5th by working the left pretty hard, even over standing sometimes coming into the windward mark.

In the second race, there was a “general recall” in the start. Not sure if someone “Interfered with the Gate Launch or Pathfinder”. Anyway, we finally got underway and we had a decent race going around the top mark and even better at the bottom of the first run where we were amongst the top five. We chose to go out left which had been paying nicely all day but I think we sailed under too much of the fleet on that side. So we lost a bit up the second windward leg and then passed two boats down the reaches. Then we lost a bit up the third beat as the right was becoming a bit favored shift-wise. We passed one or two down the final run but then lost one up the last beat to finish 10th. We just never could get it all right and move up to the top 5.

That has us still in 7th place overall which isn’t bad. Of course we will keep trying to find our way into the top five over the next two days. Apart from the scores, I am enjoying this regatta immensely. To be out there, on the trapeze, with the waves trying to knock me off the side, the challenge of trying to out do the other crews in the tacks and gybes, it is all very rejuvenating. I love it.

There is a new leader in the series, Mike Holt and Carl Schmidt with 12 points. Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson (18 points) had a bad one in the first race, a 12th and at this point they are counting that while Holt/Schmidt have never been out of the top 4. Dalton Bergen and his crew of Fritz Lanzinger from Seattle won the day I believe with a 1, 5.

For complete results go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

Start time for tomorrow’s single race has been delayed to 1330.

TP52 – Audi MedCup – Portimao – Final

Sorry I did not get to this sooner. Just a bit going on right now.

Anyway, the boys had a tough day on Sunday in Portugal and we ended up second overall to Team New Zealand. That’s an improvement over Cagliari where we were third. Our trend is headed in the right direction!

Next one is Cartegena mid September and we will definitely be looking for the top spot there.

On my way to St. FYC for day 3 of the 505 Worlds. Double header today! Get a quart of Advil and a couple of good masueses ready.

SAP 505 World Championship

Before we got going today, Howie and I had to deal with something from yesterday. It was a complicated issue that has to do with Gate Starts. I will try to explain. If you are out of patience for today better close this email now.

To try to make it simple, we were first disqualified by the Race Committee for a rule that prohibits boats from “interfering” with the “Rabbit” or the “Guard Boat”. In a “Gate Start” one of the racing boats starts at the single starting buoy, at the designated start time, on port tack sailing upwind. A “Guard Boat” follows about 2 boat lengths behind. All racing boats have to pass behind the Guard boat in order to start.

Once we came ashore, the race committee notified us we would be disqualified from the race because we made contact with the Guard Boat and therefore “interfered”. The contact was apparently a piece of clothing brushing the tube of the guard boat. We did not think we had made contact but in any case, we did not believe we interfered with any part of this operation as we did not cause either of them to alter course or speed. So we requested redress and were reinstated in 6th place which was our finishing position. Then a German team protested us saying that we hit the guard boat 2 feet from the stern. This surely did not happen as we would have stopped dead in the water. But that protest was dismissed before the hearing as the Germans, who started right just to windward of us, never informed us that they were protesting us which is a requirement for a protest to be valid.

The thing that was odd to me was that through it all, no one ever asked if we performed a 360 penalty turn for hitting a mark. Of course we would not have because we did not know we had made contact. So I started to think that the Guard boat was not a mark. I mean the last “Gate Start” I was in was in 1979. Can’t really remember and Howie is not a great one for rules. He just likes to go fast… a skiff sailor at heart. He never protests and never goes to the room.

So we were back in and left the club for the night. When I got home, something wasn’t sitting right in my stomach. I reread the S.I.’s, Notice of Race, 505 Class Guidelines etc. trying to figure it out. I came to the conclusion that the Guard boat IS a mark and we should have performed a 360 penalty turn.

This issue never got vetted as the Germans protest was dismissed. Still, Howie and I agreed this morning that we had fouled. So we withdrew from Race number 3 when we got down to the club.

With that behind us, we headed out to the double header (two races). In the first one was good, finishing 7th or so. We were deep again at the top mark, probably 25th, and we ground our way back. In the second one, we got to the top mark in our usual 25th and started to grind people. Somewhere after the first lap, the gasket that seals the center board case from the water at the bottom of the hull, got inverted and we had a mini Fountain of Youth going into our boat for the remainder of the race. The fountain was beautiful but it is slow as there is a lot of drag associated. We then broke our port pole launcher so that hurt as well. Anyway we finished about 12th.

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson got two bullets and not by just a little. 2 minutes over second place was about the average lead they had. These guys are in another league in 20+ knot of wind.

Lay day tomorrow. That is good as I need to go to Longs and get another pallet of Advil and four massages.

It is a blast out there. The boats just rip and I so glad I am revisiting this great class!

Teeing it up again on Thursday through Saturday.

SAP 505 World Championship

Day two of the 505 worlds, day one for me. One race today in about 20-22 knots of wind. We got 6th and are in third overall. Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson won the race and are definitely the boat to beat in the breeze.

We were deep at the first mark, probably 30th, and just clawed our way back through the fleet. Tomorrow we should try for a better start and first beat and see how we go.

That’s it for now. Tired and Jet lagged. Hitting the rack.

For the official results, go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

TP52 – Audi MedCup – Portimao

No wind, no racing. Still on top of the heap with Artemis.

The forecast for tomorrow is only marginally better. One thing about sailboat racing; you need Mother Nature’s cooperation.

When you are in these waiting situations, it is nice to be in first place because sometime they end this way. It is like finishing a car race under the yellow flag.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

I am on my way to London now and onto San Francisco tomorrow, one day late to the 505 worlds. I had planned on the 505 Worlds long before I got involved with Artemis. But one is work and one is for pleasure so I made a compromise. As fate would have it, I could have left Portugal last night and made the first race tomorrow.

Anyway, it is what it is and Howard has a great crew in Ian Mitchell for Sunday. I will be on the wire from Monday on. Really looking forward to ripping around the bay next week in the men’s breeze on SF bay.

For complete results go to 2009.medcup.org