RC44 Austria Cup

Gmunden-

The Match Racing portion of the event concluded well for Katusha with 3 wins and just one loss today. Our only loss today was to Aqua who tied BMW Oracle with 7 wins for first. BMW Oracle won the tiebreaker and we finished third with 6 wins.

We are happy with third as the competition is very tough in this fleet.

The conditions were more difficult today. With the cloud cover, the “thermal pump” had a harder time getting primed so the wind started later and was lighter.

The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow but heavy rain is forecast for Sunday.

Tomorrow will be a practice day for the fleet racing.

For complete results go to www.rc44.com

RC44 Austria Cup

Gmunden-

It was a picture perfect day on Lake Traunsee today, one to remember I think as the forecast for the weekend is not so nice. Today was clear blue skies and a nice 8-12 knots breeze filled in on the south part of the lake at 1130 so racing got underway right on time.

Seven flights were held today and the big winner was Larry Ellison with Russell Coutts on tactics. They won 5 of their 6 races, with their only loss to Katusha. They even beat their sister team, RC 44 Challenge, with the America?s Cup winners James Spithill on the wheel and John Kostecki calling the shots.

Onboard Katusha, we had a decent day with three wins and two loses. We had a problem with the battens in our mainsail in the first two races and felt this was hurting our speed upwind. We changed them after the second race and then lost to Artemis in a close battle. Then we won the last two races against BMW Oracle and Cereef. We had a bye in the last race of the day so we have one more race to sail tomorrow than most of the teams.

There are four flights tomorrow and we will race, Team Aqua, RC 44 Challenge, No Way Back and Puerto Calero.

The forecast for tomorrow is similar to today. Tomorrow night a front is supposed to come through and the temperatures are to drop drastically. It snowed here last race in this event, so we are getting the warm clothes and ski hats ready.

For complete results go to www.rc44.com

RC44 Austria Cup

Gmunden-

It was a beautiful day on Lake Traunsee today. We may have to remember it as things have a way of changing fast around here. The sun was out all day. The wind started out slowly, but finally built to 8 knots from the northeast by 1600. We trained most of the day with Artemis. We had at least 10 starts and half of those were continued into races. Tomorrow, the first warming signal for the Match Racing is scheduled for 1130.

For more information go to www.rc44.com

Paul

RC44 Austria Cup

Gmunden –

After a quick trip to Moscow on Sunday and Sochi yesterday, to work on a Russian Louis Vuitton Trophy event in 2011, I arrived in Austria late last night.

Gmunden and its Lake Traunsee is the site of the second event on the RC 44 Championship Tour of 2010. Lake Traunsee is spectacularily beautiful with 2000 meter mountains rising right up out of the lake. There is still snow in those mountains so it is not the normal sailing scenery. The tall mountains do make it challenging for the wind.

Today was our first training day on Katusha. The sailing was sporadic as the wind filled first at the south end of the lake then died there and filled at the north end, albeit from the south.

We trained with our partners on Artemis. I felt a bit rusty, probably the 30 hours of flying since Saturday didn’t help. Tomorrow is the weigh-in so sauna first thing as we need to drop 15 kgs as a team. Then another training day, then we will get the match racing part of the event underway on Thursday.

The fleet racing will start on Sunday and the event concludes on Tuesday the 4th.

Ten teams are here including two teams from America’s Cup winner BMW Oracle. Skipper Larry Ellison with tactician Russell Coutts were out training today, as were 9 of the 10 teams.

For more information and complete results go to www.rc44.com

Paul

Made it!

San Francisco –

I am supposed to leave Friday for Moscow with my “Chairman of WSTA” hat on. The Synergy Team, one of the original founding members of WSTA, wants to host a Louis Vuitton Trophy event in Sochi, on the Black Sea, in one year. This would be a meeting with the sponsors and a site visit. We will see what the Volcano lets us do…

Then onto Austria for the RC44 Austria Cup on Katusha and a consecutive string of regattas and events in Europe through June 21.

Going to try to get a bit of R & R in these three days.

Paul

TP 52 Palmavela

Lisbon –

A few more airports in Europe are open today than yesterday, mostly in the South. Northern Europe still closed. Luckily, I tacked to the Southwest! My original route was through Frankfurt…..No go zone.

I have my boarding pass….again-been there before….24hrs ago. Planes are taking off here in Lisbon although 75% of the flights from here are cancelled as their destination airports are closed.

Watching the news here in the lounge, 63000 flight have been cancelled since Thursday. If you figure an average of 200 people per flight, that’s 12.6 million people effected! The airlines are losing $200 million/day in Europe alone.

But stepping back a bit from my immediate problems and what seems to be earthshatteringly important, this volcano is mother nature. She was here long before we were. We have created this life and these systems, and ultimately we have to fit in. These eruptions have been going on long before we figured out how to fly. This volcano may spew ash for months or even years. So far this volcano hasn’t killed or even injured a single person! So, patience. We may have to adjust a bit.

Easy to say now that I am in my seat with my seatbelt fasted and the stewardess glaring at me to turn off my Blackberry.

Out of here!

Paul

TP 52 Palmavela

Between Barcelona and Lisbon on the train –

I could never explain well enough what the situation is like over here in Europe for anyone who wants to travel somewhere or get a hotel room.

Since making the decision to try to escape one day early, here is what I have encountered:

1. Got to my hotel in Barcelona and had them tell me that the hotel was oversold, but that had covered me in another hotel.

2. Was boarding the flight to Atlanta this morning when the airport authority ordered the airport closed.

3. Waited there as told by Delta, and lived through all the “we’re going”, “no, we’re boarding in 20 minutes”, “no it’s canceled”, “wait, we’re going at 12:00”. During these three hours I was asking Torbjorn’s pilot, Henry, who was in Palma with Torbjorn’s plane, about the likelihood that Barcelona would reopen, as well as about Madrid and Lisbon. Finally, Delta pulled the plug at 1300.

4. Onto plan C. Get a car or train to Lisbon for tomorrow’s flight to Newark which my travel agent Elin had booked before Plan B. (Plan A was flying through Frankfurt on Monday in Business Class arriving into SFO at 1200, nice and fresh. That plan got nixed on Friday).

5. No cars available in BCN.

6. Called Russell Coutts’ PA Alex who is Spanish. She had been stranded in Paris and was on a 13 hour bus ride to Barcelona. All the while, she had been working on getting Russ out of London where he had been stranded since Friday. He eventually took a train to Paris this morning and is now driving from Paris to Madrid…18 hours.

7. Alex had a network modem and got me a train to Madrid and a car to rent there to drive to Lisbon, all from the bus.

8. I then went to the same train station in Barcelona where she was arriving by bus to then take a train to Valencia where she lives.

9. When I got to the train station it was total chaos. The line to buy a ticket was out the door. Thank God she had sorted it all for me and bought the tickets on line.

10. I then started to think that driving 8 hours tonight from Madrid to Lisbon might not be a good idea. So I asked her about a train. At first, nothing. Then she did something else magical and found one that leaves at 1030 tonight and get to Lisbon at 8am tomorrow. “Perfect…let’s buy it”

11. What about Lisbon airport? Is it still open? Called Torbjorn’s pilot Henry again. Yes, still open but Palma and Madrid closing. The cloud is still creeping South! Lisbon expected to stay open. Better start moving Southwest!

12. Called United to reconfirm the flight. With all the hecticness, that reservation had been voided somehow. My heart was in my throat as the agent told me this very calmly. I knew this flight was my last chance.

13. I resurrected the reservation. Thank goodness.

14. Then my credit card would not work. Unbelievable! If he could not issue the ticket I would not have a reservation and the flights for the rest of the week are oversold. All the people in Europe who want to go to the USA are running like rats down into the Southwest corner.

15. I had one more credit card…one I never use it…. it is for my kids. I used it!! And it worked!

So, I am now on the train. Surely, I am not done jumping through hoops. Going to try to sleep a bit as I am pretty fried and I will need energy tonight for sure. If I get on the plane, I can sleep all I want.

Obviously in cases like this you don’t ask what it costs or if you can get an upgrade. All that is out the window.

Fortunately, Artemis won the regatta so I feel a little less badly for leaving them. But my poor teammates are stuck in Palma I am afraid. Maybe they will take the Artemis RIB or a ferry to Valencia and drive to Lisbon.

I am sure by now you are seeing it on the news in the States or wherever you live.

In summary; We have a situation over here! Looking for my next hoop.

Paul

For complete results go to www.palmavela.com

TP 52 Palmavela

A decent sea breeze filled in today around 1400 and two races were held in 8-9 knots from the southwest. The wind was more shifty and the race course more open than the usual, “must go left” Palma.

Matador came back on form today and won both races leading all the way. They had slightly better starts than we did. Both races were very competitive with us and Cristabella, Matador and ourselves always within 5 both lengths. Very good training for the upcoming Med Cup season.

We finished second and then third. So the points going into the last day are: Artemis 9, Matador 12, and Cristabella 15, Weapon of Choice 19.

I got a bad case of Volcanoitis in the last 24 hours and decided to leave tonight. I am in Barcelona waiting for a flight tomorrow morning to the states. Hopefully the plane will leave from the states tonight and hopefully Barcelona will stay open long enough for us to leave tomorrow. 7 airports in northern Spain have closed tonight. The ash is spreading down south so I figured that if I wait to Monday it may be too late. I have a very short window to be in SF before leaving again this coming Friday for Russia and then 8 weeks of sailing in Europe. Torbjorn Tornqvist, the owner of Artemis was very understanding. It is going to be a long season with lots of racing so no need to get over stressed in April. I felt bad leaving the guys there as they all want to get home to their families. I hope the jet stream cranks up and blows the ash off to the north east so everyone can get out on Monday.

So no final report from me tomorrow.

Paul

For complete results go to www.palmavela.com

TP 52 Palmavela

A very good day on Artemis today with three more bullets. It wasn’t as easy as it looks from the score line. In fact, in the last race we were third at the last windward mark.

The wind filled in from the southwest at 8 knots around 1230.

In the first race we had a good start and led all the way. Matador was second, Weapon was third Cristabella fourth.

In the second race, with the wind now at 10 knots, we wanted the left and got the pin end start. We flushed Matador out pretty quickly but could not cross Cristabella who was to windward. We tacked and crossed behind them by a length but later up the leg, the three of us came together about even. After some close tacks, we pinned Cristabella to the left with our starboard tack right of way and then tacked on Matador, who was ducking the two of us on port, to lead around the first mark. We went on to win by more than a minute over Matador. It was fun to mix it up.

In the third race we had our hands full. Matador led for most of the race with Cristabella and us close behind. On the final run, Matador and Cristabella got in a battle and gave up a bit of distance to us. The wind had lightened off to 7 knots so the gybes were expensive. We managed to win the race right on the line.

The boat seems to be going well so a nice job by our shore team and Captain Nipper.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for rain and the sailing instructions are calling for short coastal races.

For complete results go to www.palmavela.com

Paul

TP 52 Palmavela

Artemis is in Palma racing in her first TP52 regatta of the 2010 season. The Palmavela event is not part of the Audi MedCup circuit, but it is an opportunity to test the boat after the winter modifications. The TP52 Class made some rule changes allowing bowsprits, square top mainsails and a lower crew weight limit.

Today was the first race day and the wind had trouble establishing itself. Finally, at 1430 we started the only race of the day in 8 knots from 220. We wanted the left so we started at the pin end of the line and controlled the left. We had a nice lead at the first mark but had a problem getting the jib up at the leward mark. We went around with no jib and Cristabella crossed ahead half way up the second windward leg. They tacked on us a few times, but we closed in on them at the second windward mark to round right on their stern. As the wind had gone quite a bit right, we then proceeded to do a gybe set. This got us on the long board coming down to the finish. At the line we beat Cristabella by one boat length. Matador was third and Weapon of Choice fourth. There are just 4 TP52’s here. Racing continues through Sunday. There are two other classes of boats, with some big Wallys racing. The forecast for tomorrow isn’t much more promising, but hopefully a light seabreeze will fill in in the afternoon.

Paul