Star Sailor League – Day 3

Nassau,

Two races were held today in 10-12 knots out of the east. Austin and I went into todays races at the back of the leader board, but had a good day and managed to climb up a few positions.

We got off to a great start leading race 1 around the first lap, losing the lead to Mark Mendleblatt at the second windward mark, and then regaining the lead only to be finally overhauled by the king, Robert Scheidt, on the final run.

At that point we were in 11th place, 5 points out of 10th, which we needed to be in in order to move on to tomorrows racing.

We had a decent start in the second race but didn’t do so well up the first beat and were near the back after the first lap. We tightened things up on the second lap and came home with a 13th.

That put us 12th overall, 8 points off the cut for the semi finals tomorrow. Honestly, I don’t deserve to be better than 12th in this fleet right now and I didn’t deserve to beat Robert in race 1 today. He works very hard to be as good as he is. There is no way a guy who hasn’t sailed in 4 years should be able to walk into this class and win a race in this fleet. That’s why I race Stars.

Since concluding the Cup last summer, it has been my plan to get back into the Star. I was thinking of starting out with some regattas in Miami this winter and working up to the Bacardi Cup in March. But I jumped in to the deep end instead and I am leaving Nassau better for it. I feel energized to be out competing again and looking forward to more soon.

I think the SSL is a great concept and Michel Niklaus has made an innovative step forward in sailing at the highest level. The format, having several “cuts” is exciting and tomorrow’s semi-finals and finals races will be a first in sailing. Robert is definitely the torch bearer at the moment, however as the points get zero’d out at every stage, it will take just one good race by someone else to take the top prize of $40k.

For complete results, videos, etc. go to www.starsailors.com

Forecast for tomorrow is the same…more perfection in paradise.

Paul

Star Sailor League – Day 2

Nassau-

Three races were held today in perfect conditions, once again. East winds of 10-14 knots and bright sunshine made for another postcard day in Nassau.

Austin and I got off to a good start with a fourth place in the first race of the day. We had a great start, good speed upwind so we were able to stay a head of the heavy traffic.

In the next two races we made mistakes of various types and finished near the back each time. Those races were humbling.

The German team that was last after yesterday’s racing had a 5, 5, 1 and moved up to 7th.

We are 17th overall, 9 points out of 10th place. It is all very tight.

We have to put together two good races tomorrow and just see where the points fall.

It has been “jumping into the fire” for me to race in this elite regatta after a four year hiatus from the Star. But the upside is I am getting one hell if a tune-up for the Star regattas I plan on sailing next spring.

For complete results and some great video on pictures go to www.starsailors.com and starsailors on FaceBook.

The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. I am pretty fortunate to be down here in the Bahamas competing with all these great sailors!

Paul

Star Sailor League – Day 1

Perfect Star sailing conditions were delivered in Nassau today. 8-12 knots from the east and sunshine made the sailing spectacular for this elite fleet.

Four races were held on Montague Bay at the east end of Nassau, each about 40 minutes. With just 18 boats on the track, and all of them very good, the racing was very tight.

For Austin and me it went about as predicted. We struggled at the corners and shifting gears. We had some good starts and decent speed at times. But we aren’t consistent yet. Often it is just a matter of inches at the top mark that separates 4th from 12th. Same as it ever was.

We are currently 16th and need to be in the top 10 after Friday’s racing. No doubt we will get better each day as I scrape a little more rust off.

Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Bruno Prada were at the top of the field today and that is really no surprise. The Italians, Diego Negri sailed well to hold second overall and Mark Mendleblatt, the USA Star representative the London Olympics in 2012, sailed very consistently and is in 3rd.

When we hit the dock, Robert Scheidt says to me, “Four races was a bit too much, don’t you think!” I said, “Did you just say that to me?” For those who don’t know, Robert is the epidomy of fitness and just won the laser worlds last week for the 9th time. Anyway, after a few minutes I decided it made me feel good to hear even Robert say that, it was a long day!

For complete results go to www.starsailors.com.

To view a live stream of the races, go to http://live.starsailors.com

Forecast for tomorrow is 10-14 knots from the east.

Paul

Nassau, December, 2013

I have spent the past three months decompressing from a difficult Americas Cup for me. Sometimes things go well and you are oblivious to those struggling. Fortunately, my previous America’s Cups and Around the World campaigns have been above average and ultimately very satisfying. This time was a struggle. We had early technical set backs which burned precious time. We were on the wrong design path and we waited too long to acknowledge it and convert. The result was a painful last 6 months as reality hit us squarely in the face. The tragedy of May 9th was the worst sailing disaster I have been involved in and something I will never forget. Needless to say, it was a stressful and hugely disappointing time.

After a couple of months away from it, I feel rested, but I have that lingering frustration that goes with a poor result like that. I am sure the cure is to move on to a new challenge and I am open minded as to what forum that me be in.

For now, I am looking to have some fun in sailing. I have been invited to the inaugural Star Sailors League (SSL) Season Final. When I explain this new event, you will see that I really have no business racing in it. The concept is that this is a league for the top sailors in the world who are ranked through the competitions they attend during that year. At the end of the year, there is a final championship with prize money. This year, the Final is in Nassau and there will be 18 competitors racing for a total purse of $200,000. They are the highest ranking sailors in the World plus a couple of wild card invites. You can check out the participants and the results at www.starsailors.com.

SSL is the creation of Swiss Star sailor Michel Niklaus. His passion for the class and this event is impressive. The SSL team are making a huge effort to run a top quality event. They have a team of 30 people doing everything from television production, to GPS tracking for live internet tracking while we race. SSL are handling everything logistical with the competitors presence here. It seems to truly be a first class operation.

I am heading into the event skinnier than ever not to mention I haven’t sailed a Star in 4 years. Logically, a little humble pie seems to be on order for me. However, I love Nassau’s wind and waves and have raced here plenty over the past 30+ years. I do have one of the best crewing for me, Austin Sperry. Austin, aka Hoss, came to Athens to help Phil Trinter and I train for the ’04 Olympics and then he went to the ’08 Olympics, crewing for John Dane. So if I have a prayer out there this week it is due to Hoss.

So its time to get back to basics and enjoy some Star sailing in the best place on earth to sail!

Paul

We are here to Race

The 34th America’s Cup is about to get under way in San Francisco. At Artemis Racing, we have had our heads down, working hard to finish a new boat and wing in order to get back out on the water and compete in this event that we have worked hard on for three years.

In general, when you are as busy as we are, you don’t have time to get involved in media and spin. However, some of what is being said is erroneous, insulting, and downright disrespectful. I need to stand up for my team and state some facts.

On May 22, Iain Murray, Regatta Director for the 34th America’s Cup, issued 37 Safety Recommendations. These are the product of interviews of 25 personnel from all four teams, which were conducted by a panel that included just one member associated with a team: Jim Farmer of Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ).

The first person to commend the Safety Recommendations was Grant Dalton, CEO of ETNZ. He publicly congratulated Murray for his work and said “you won’t get any push back from ETNZ on this”.

Now, five weeks later, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa (LR) have lodged protests over two of the 37 recommendations and seek for these two Safety Recommendations to be eliminated. The two rules are permissive rules. They work hand in hand with other rules, which place new requirements on the size of the elevators. The inclusion of these rules excludes no one. Yet, excluding these rules, and keeping the other 35, will exclude Artemis Racing.

So I ask, who is trying to force whom out of the 34th America’s Cup?

These rules are not about one team. They are about bringing safety to the fleet and the event. The Regatta Director and his panel conducted a thorough and unbiased analysis, and were inclusive in the recommendations and rule changes. There are accusations being cast about that the Regatta Director’s Safety Recommendations are a conspiracy to promote Oracle or Artemis Racing. These are slanderous and paranoid. Iain Murray is a man of the highest integrity and everyone in the sport knows that.

In making the Safety Recommendations at this late stage, Murray needed to make sure all teams could comply with his rule changes. The AC72’s in the fleet are not identical. They are not one design like the AC45’s. So some of the rules, such as minimum draft and the area of the elevators, are requirements. Other rules, like the two in question by ETNZ and LR, are there to create room for teams to comply with the requirements at this late stage of the game.

Artemis Racing doesn’t like all the Safety Recommendations, but we recognize that many of the recommendations work together. Therefore, we have said that we support the entirety of the recommendations. On May 24, in good faith, Artemis Racing began modifications on one set of its rudders and elevators to comply with the Safety Recommendations. These are long lead-time projects. So now Artemis Racing has two sets rudder elevators: one that complies with the Safety Recommendations in their entirety, and one that complies with the rules as they were before the Safety Recommendations were issued. Artemis Racing cannot comply with the third case, which ETNZ and LR are now trying to force on the competition.

The fact is that if ETNZ and LR get what they want, Artemis Racing will be excluded from competition.

The two teams took a similar path to exclude Artemis Racing three weeks ago when they proposed a schedule change that would have started eliminatory racing on July 19, rather than the previously scheduled August 6. They tried to camouflage this move by saying that they were helping Artemis Racing by delaying the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup. It was quite the opposite.

Finally, contrary to what has been said in various sailing media, there never has been a ban on elevators on rudders in the AC72 Class Rule. All AC72’s have rudder elevators because the Class Rule allows them. And ETNZ wasn’t the first to figure out how to foil without elevators. No AC72 has ever foiled without them.

For Artemis Racing, our priority is safety and our goal is to race. Our challenges have been great enough to overcome on their own. We look forward to being out there soon!

Artemis Racing is back to work

Artemis Racing is back to work. We will only race if our sailing team believes they are safe racing AC72s. This confidence will be dependent on many criteria, one of the most important of which is the new safety criteria and rules changes that the America’s Cup organizers and competitors will adopt.

Regarding the accident on San Francisco Bay, Artemis Racing is still in the process of conducting its own internal review. I understand that frustration exists out there because questions remain about the accident. It was, however, a complex event. We want to give it the time, respect and professionalism it deserves, so we thank everyone for their continued patience during this process.

Paul

Artemis Racing – our thoughts and prayers are with Andrew’s family

It is with immense sadness that Artemis Racing confirms the tragic death of crew member Andrew “Bart” Simpson today in San Francisco.

Simpson, a British double Olympic medalist, was one of the 11-man crew aboard Artemis Racing’s AC72 catamaran which capsized during training on San Francisco Bay ahead of this summer’s America’s Cup. All other crewmembers are accounted for.

Despite attempts to revive Simpson, both afloat and subsequently ashore, his life was lost.

“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” said CEO Paul Cayard. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”

Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard addressed the media this afternoon at the team base in Alameda and said the following regarding the capsize of the team’s first AC72 and loss of crewman Andrew Simpson:

“Our prayers are with Andrew Simpson’s family, his wife and kids, and also the rest of my teammates. It’s a shocking experience to go through, and we have a lot to deal with in the next few days in terms of assuring everybody’s well being.

“The boat’s under control, but that’s not the first of our concerns. We’re focused on the people.

“That’s what we’re working with and on and we’ll give you more information when we’re able to.”

RC44 Trapani-Day 5

Trapani, Sicily

Perfect conditions for the final day of the RC44 championship here in Trapani. 14-18 knots from the north, fairly steady, nice waves and sunshine.

Aqua had a great day and stole the regatta from Cereef. The two actually tied on points and Aqua won due to more wins in the series.

Onboard Artemis Racing, we had a very good day with scores of 5, 3, 4. We gained 8 points on our friends Katusha but came up 2 shy of overtaking them for third place in the series.

I would like to thank the team that supports both Katusha and Artemis; Sarah Gundersen, coach Tom Burnham, chef Denise Wilson, Harry McGougan and Morgan Guttenkunst.

Tomorrow I will be back at work in San Francisco with our America’s Cup Challenge. Our 2nd boat was air freighted to LA over the weekend and should be in our shed in Alameda by Wednesday. Now starts a very intense period of round the clock work to re-assemble boat 2 and get it on the water as soon as possible.

We are the last team to get a foiling AC72 and arguably behind the others at this point. But as far as I know, they haven’t given out any points yet.

Our sailing team led by Iain Percy, Nathan Outteridge and Loick Peyron are proven winners and have plenty of talent. They have been doing a good job of pushing hard, training on boat 1 and our foiling AC45. Our time with our second AC72 is short but I have a lot of confidence in our team and I suspect we will be tough to dispose of.

Equally important in the America’s Cup is the shore team. Led by Chay McIntosh, our shore team is second to none. Keeping the boats on the track everyday in the strong winds of a San Francisco summer will be a competition of its own.

Now it’s down to the final preparations for racing in July. The time will go fast. The boats will too!

For complete results go to www.rc44.com

Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup racing schedules here.

Thanks for following us!

-Paul

RC44 Trapani-Day 4

Only two races were held today due to thunder and lightening all around the area. The clouds generated strong winds in the 16-23 knot range from the northeast.

In the first race, Artemis Racing sailed a pretty smooth race and we finished 2nd behind Cereef with Katusha 3rd.

In the second race, we were battling away in 5th most of the race. Katusha had the race in hand all the way around the 2-lap course.

Seconds after a very close finish with Aqua, and a deep downwind “shoot”, the leech of their gennaker touched our mainsail. The fault could be debated, however it’s not material, as both boats had finished. Unfortunately the umpire making the call was about 6 boat lengths to windward of the line and could not judge the fact that both had finished.

Artemis Racing was penalized after the finish and therefore scored last which is 13 points. All on the water umpire calls are final.

Katusha sailed very well to win the second race and coupled with their 3rd place in the first race, they won the day by one point over Cereef who also sailed very well to score 1, 4.

So after 3 days of racing, Cereef leads with 35 points, Aqua is second with 40, Katusha is third with 42 and Artemis Racing and Nika are tied for 4th with 52 points.

Tomorrow is the final day of this event and the race committee is hoping to get 3 to 4 races in tomorrow as today was a short day.

Our skipper, Torbjörn Tornqvist, is leaving us today as he has to attend to business. Sarah Gundersen will be taking his place at the helm tomorrow.

For complete results go to www.rc44.com

Paul

RC44 Trapani-Day 3

Trapani

Three races today and onboard Artemis Racing, we were very consistent: 4, 4, 4 and moved up to 3rd overall with 37 points. It was not as boring as it sounds because at time we were near the back on the first leg and made some pretty big comebacks.

The conditions were very good; 7-14 knots from the northeast.

The wind was behaving really well today (steady) until the middle of the last race when the westerly from the other side of the island tried to pulse through. That collapsed the wind for 15 minutes and is was a little less than straight forward at that point. The wind went from 12 knots at 025 to 5 knots from 350. We managed to hold our own in the shuffle.

Aqua had the best day with scores of 3, 3 ,2 and now leads with 28 points. Yesterdays leader, Cereef, had a decent day but slipped to second with scores of 7, 5, 6 and 30 points.

Katusha had two good races at the end of the day and is now 4th with 38 points. The local team with Francesco Bruni of Palermo as tactician, was threatening to make a big move with 2, 1 in the first two races but then collected 10 in the third race and are now in 5th with 43 points.

It is all very tight as is typical of the RC44 fleet.

The smooth sea and mild winds were perfect for the owners who steer these boats. The water is very clear and the color is deep Mediterranean blue. The sun has be out too so it is what you would call perfect conditions for sailing.

Two more days of racing here and there will be plenty of ups and downs. The important thing is to be in the hunt on Sunday.

For complete results go to www.rc44.com

Paul