St. Barths Bucket Final

St. Barths, French West Indies

Another perfect day today with winds a bit further right coming out of 130 at up to 20 knots.

The course for the final race was clockwise around the archipelago of St. Barths.

For the third time, Peter Holmberg and I devised a good strategy to get clear of the traffic starting just in front of us in this pursuit racing format.  We opted to start on port gybe while those just in front of us went off on starboard gybe.  When we came back together, Rosehearty was already in the lead; traffic free.

On the long upwind leg up th north side of St. Barths, we suffered a break down.  The tack fitting on the genoa broke and we were forced to furl that sail and sail with the staysail up wind.  Needless to say this was quite  loss in performance for the hour that remained of upwind sailing.

Seahawk sailed very well and fast to win todays race.  Our closest rival, Ohana, finished second again.  Perseus 3 was third while we finished 4th and Meteor 5th.

Rosehearty tied Ohana on points for the overall win, but won by virtue of our two first place finishes on day 1 and 2.  Thats about as close as it gets!

The crew did an outstanding job of dealing with today’s adversity and kept the maneuvers tight so we could preserve the 4th place we needed to win overall.  A very happy owner and all concerned.

That is my final report for a few weeks.  Next up for me is the Star World Championship starting April 10th.

Paul

St. Barths Bucket

St. Barthelemy French West Indies

Another beautiful day for sailing down in the Caribbean.  Today the winds were slightly more to the right at 110 and 15 knots.

The course for the today is known as the “not so wiggly” course.  The fleet starts downwind to the west and goes around some rock at the far end of the archipelago before heading upwind to the north east.  From there it is a sort of chicane of spinnaker up, spinnaker down, spinnaker up and spinnaker down again all in less that one hour which is hectic on a 182′ boat that weighs 500 tonnes.  Actually, very wiggly!

The result was the same as yesterday.  Rosehearty first and Ohana second by less than a minute. The ups and down were numerous. Suffice it to say the crew won the day for us on Rosehearty.  Our maneuvers were the best of the fleet.  Nothing missed!

Tomorrow for the final race, the course should be one complete circumnavigation in the clockwise direction.  Forecast the same…more perfectness.

For complete results go to http://www.bucketregattas.com/stbarths/results.html

 

Paul

St. Barths Bucket

Saint Barthelemy, French West Indies

Today was day 1 of the 2016 Super Yacht Bucket.  I am sailing onboard Rosehearty with Joey Kempfer for the third time in a year.  36 Super Yachts are here racing divided into 5 classes.  Super yachts are yacht more that 100 feet in length and typically quite luxurious. Rosehearty is a 182′ long catch, built by Perini Navi in Viareggio, Italy in 2006.

The J-Boats had ether own class then the rest of the fleet is divided up according to vintage and performance.  Rosehearty is in the “Grande Dammes” class. The other classes are names like Gazelles and Mademoiselle.

The wind was 15 knots from the East with a flat sea but long swell underneath.

The racing here at the Bucket is pursuit racing.  This means that the lowest rated boat starts first and all the subsequent starts are delayed by the handicap of the yacht multiplied by the length of the course in nautical miles.  So a yacht that “owes” a smaller yacht 10 seconds per mile will start 150 seconds behind the smaller yacht on a 15 mile course.  Then, the order in which the yachts cross the finish line is the finishing order.

The course today was counterclockwise around the Island. All the boats in our class started well. This means they are on time and right on the line at their respective starting signals.  It is not easy to maneuver these 500 tonnes yachts and hit the line at full speed right on time.

Onboard Rosehearty, we have Peter Holmberg steering this regatta and I am in my usual role as tactician.  Pete got us a perfect start and did a good job of keeping our height so we could keep clear air of the yachts in front of us on the 15 minute port tack.

In various ways we passed all 5 of the yachts that started in front of us by the end of the 30 minute windward leg.  We held our lead on the run down the north side of St. Barths.  Seahawk, Perseus  and Ohana who are all fast and started behind us were gaining on us.  Up the last windward leg, Ohana sailed closer to the wind that we could and closed to within two boat lengths at the finish.  It was a bit more exciting that we had hoped but nonetheless, Rosehearty got the win!

Then Perseus and Seahawks finished overlapped!  From the results of today’s race, it looks like the handicaps are pretty good in our class.

Tomorrow we will probably have a running start and go clockwise around the island. The forecast is for more of the perfect Caribbean conditions.

I’ll try to get some photos of this spectacle for my report tomorrow.

Paul

89th Bacardi Cup

Coconut Grove

Another perfect day for sailing today on Biscayne Bay with 12 knots of wind to from the southeast and sunshine.

The final race was for all the marbles.  Robert Stanjeck with Fritjof Kleen (GER) up front and Diego Negri with Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) were tied and no one else could beat either of them. Augie Diaz was in third and I woke up to find out I was in fifth place after going to bed in fourth place.  Last night, the Jury had awarded Torben Greal redress after he was hit by a give way boat in race 5.  He was in 10th place at the time and the jury awarded him 4th place for the race.  It  was a bit hard to comprehend.  Anyway,  we beat him today so that wasn’t an issue for us.

After our customary one general recall, the race committee put up the Black Flag. The Germans shot off the line and were never headed.  The led wire to wire.  The Italian’s were in the top four at the first mark and worked their way up to second by the end of the race.

Brian and I tried a loser rig today and it wasn’t good.  We had mediocre speed upwind and were in 20th after the first lap of the race. We hit a nice shift on the right side up the second beat to round the top mark the second time around 12th.  By the end of the race we had moved up to 10h with Torben and Guilherme in 13th.  Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada finished 6th in todays race so the remained comfortable in third for the series.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

Tomorrow I am headed to St. Barths for the Bucket where I will rejoin the Rosehearty Team where I serve as tactician.  We had a successful year last year on Rosehearty, being top Perini at St. Barts and winning the Perini Cup in Porto Cervo in September.  My America’s Cup team mate from 2003, Peter Holmberg will be joining us as helmsman.  I always enjoy sailing with Pete.

I’ll will start back up with the reports on Friday.

Paul

 

 

 

89th Bacardi Cup

photo by Cory Silken

Coconut Grove

Two races were held today on Biscayne Bay for the Star fleet. The conditions were perfect for the Stars, Southeast winds starting at 16 knots in the first race of the day and dropping to 10 knots by the end of the second race.

Diego Negri and his crew, Sergio Lambertenghi, were in a class of their own today winning both races.  The German team finished 6th and 3rd.  So going into tomorrow these two teams are tied for the lead and intact, no one else can beat them.

Brian and I thought we had a good day with a 4, 2 but we found out upon arriving back at the dock that we had be Black Flagged in the first race of the day and therefore disqualified.  Fortunately there is one discard in this series so two are discarding the black flag.

In the second race, we were always battling around 4th or 5th but then down the final run to the finish we passed 3 boats to finish second.

Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada were also Black Flagged in the first race today and finished 4th in the second race.  The have a four point lead on us going in to tomorrow’s final race.

In 5th is Brad Funk and Mark Strube.  Brad is a Laser and 49er sailor, new to the Star class.  They are sailing very well in this Bacardi Cup and finished with a 2, 8 today.

Tomorrows forecast for Biscayne Bay is 13 knots form the southeast with the temperatures in the high 70’s.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

89th Bacardi Cup

Photo by Cory Silken from Tuesday’s race. Cayard/Fatih in bow 41 in 18 knots of wind.

Coconut Grove

The wind was blowing hard all night and early this morning.  The Race Committee put up the postponement flag at 0900 and at 11:00 called it for the day.  This is a good call for the fleet on the whole.  While the top 25% of the fleet could race in 25 knots, many of the participants would either not go out or would go out and possibly incur damage.  If you break your mast, that is an $8K outing.  Good call by the race committee.

However, tomorrow we will have two races. These races are World Championship length races; 10.7 nm.  Each race takes about 1:45. So it will be a long and physical day.  The first start will be at 11:00 rather than the usual 12:00.

The forecast is for 17 knots from the southeast at 10:00 dropping to 11 knots by 16:00.  It should be a beautiful day for racing Stars.

Star Class 8506 and 8510 sailing at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.

Star Class 8506-Cayard and 8510-Grael sailing at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week. Photo by Cory Silken

Someone will have to make a move tomorrow if the Germans are to be beaten.  There is one discard in this series so two top 5 finishes for the Germans and they may not even have to go out for the 6th race on Saturday. But sailing is usually anything but straight forward.  We still half the series to go!

For complete scores, go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

89th Bacardi Cup

A portion of the 60+ boats still tightly packed at the first mark after 20 minutes of racing.  Photo Cory Silken

Coconut Grove

Today was a perfect Miami day for sailing.  The wind was in the mid teens, the waves were good for surfing the boats downwind and the Star Class was out in force for the Bacardi Cup, a tradition of 89 years.

What other class of boat has a trophy that has been continuously competed for, for 89 years?  A trophy that started in Cuba?  Is there any other sporting event competed for in the USA that was started in Cuba? People say the Star is an old boat, traditional, slow etc.  Well it is, but it  it has also endured for 105 years.  The class has gone from a gaff rig to a Marconi rig, from wood to fiberglass and from cotton to Dacron.  The Star has evolved with the times, carefully accepting innovation while protecting its roots.  Today the Star is a modern boat and still challenging to sail well.  And the class is still be conducting championships with some of the top sailors in the world?

Why?  There is a lot of ingredients to the Star class that make it what it is.  It would be too lengthy to get into it here but when I come back to the Coral Reef dock at the end of the day, and tie up alongside Toben Grael, a man I have competed against for over 30 years, on the Southern Ocean, at the Olympic Games, at the America’s Cup, and we shake hands after a good battle in the Star, nothing needs to be said. He’s here and I am here for the same reason…there is nothing better than racing a Star.

Today, the German’s were the best team, following up on Monday’s win.  There were second at the first mark but got past Augie Diaz, (a giant in terms of the skill and camaraderie he brings) on the first downwind.  The two teams battled all race but the Germans prevailed and are putting together a very strong bid to win the Bacardi Cup.  Brian and I had a good day hovering around the 3-5 positions most of the race and finally finishing 3rd.  Diego Negri and Sergio were pushing us hard and finished 4th.  Torben and Guilherme were 5th.

There are a lot of excellent sailors I am not mentioning in these articles.  Look at the scoring sheet at www.yachtscoring.com.  For example our current World Champion is in 9th.  It is not easy if you don’t have a good start and first leg.  Passing in this group is very difficult.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for strong winds in the 20+ knot range.  Each day the forecast has been overstated so we will see how tomorrow materializes.

At the half way mark, the Germans are leading comfortably, Augie and Bruno are second, Diego and Sergio 3rd, Brian and I moved up to 4th and Brad Funk with Mark Strube are sailing very well and moved up into 5th.

for complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

 

 

Bacardi Cup

Coconut Grove

Today was Day 2 of the 88th Bacardi Cup and all the forecasts were predicting big breeze-20 knots.  It didn’t materialize.  That’s why they call it a forecast and not a factcast.

We had a much shorter day on the water which was appreciated by all. I was in bed at 8:15 last night!  After a 20 minute delay to get the line set, we had just one general recall today and then got race 2 underway in 16 knots from the East and choppy seas.

Brian and I had a decent start about 2/3rds of the way to the left end of the line and held starboard for about 10 minutes.  Our speed was good and we were immediately up amongst the leaders.  We rounded the first mark 4th and headed downwind.  When we gybed to port it seemed like everyone behind us did as well.  We were immediately set up underneath (in the wind shadow) of a 15 boat pack.  This is not good when you need wind to push your boat.

Needless to say we had a stressful run and ended up losing quite a bit of ground.  We rounded the gate at the bottom of leg 2 about 13th.

With good speed up wind and a much better second downwind run and we finished the race in 5th.

Today was Italia Day with Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi taking the win.  They had very good speed upwind and down wind.  They were second at the first mark but passed yesterdays winners, the German team of Stank/Kleen, on the first downwind leg.  The Italians stretched out to a big lead, an obvious indication of speed.

For a while Torben Greal and Guilherme Almeida moved into second place but the Germans recaptured second up the last windward leg.

Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada are going very fast in their new Folli which just arrived Friday.  They got passed Torben as well to finish third, Grael 4th and Brian and I in 5th.

Missing from the top group today was Lars Grael (Torben’s younger brother and current World Champion) who finished, an uncharacteristic, 25th.

After two races the leaderboard is: 1)Stanjek/Kleen-3 points,  2) Negri/Lambertenghi-7,  3)Diaz/Prada 8,   4) Vessella/Trinter-12,  5) Cayard/Fatih-13.

It’s a little early for us to be looking at the scores….lots of racing to go.

I have not been accredited by the Bacardi Cup organization so no photos.  I will work on that some more tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for strong winds; 20-25 knots.  If this materializes, it would be on the edge of “raceable” and the race committee would have to decide weather to send us out of postpone racing to Thursday.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

 

Bacardi Cup

Coconut Grove

Today was the first day of the 88th Bacardi Cup.  The Bacardi Cup started in Havana Cuba and was moved to Miami in the late 50’s. 70 Star teams from 14 countries are entered for the event.

The wind was in from the east at 15-17 knots and all the teams were ready for the noon start.  2.5 hours later, we finally started our 2 hours race.  We got back to the dock at 5:00.  It was a very long day.  Unfortunately for some, it was a short day as a few broke masts and other gear.

Without going into all the details, we had many-several (can’t remember) recalled starts, postponements and even half a race that was abandoned after the first lap.  I was worn out before the race started. The starting line for a fleet this big is two lines put together with a large signal boat right in the middle.  So adjusting the angle of the line is a three boat operation and takes time to get anchors up etc.  No doubt the race committee are worn out too.

When it finally started, Brian and I had a good start at the left end and initially looked very good.  Problem was that the wind went right 15 degrees from there, and with that much leverage to the wrong side, it was a long haul back to 8th were we finished.  While not overly ecstatic about that finish, it is a long week and a very tough fleet.

The German Team, and past World Champions, Robert Stank and Fritjof Kleen sailed well to take the win. Peter Vessella and Phil Trinter moved from 5th to second as the race progressed and Arthur Anosov with Edward Morey up front got the bronze.  Lars Grael and Samuel Conclaves, the current World Champions, were 4th with local Miami hero Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada in 5th.

The forecast is windy all week.  Maybe a bit more tomorrow-20 gusting 25.  The race committee with send the fleet on reaches on the first lap if it is real windy.  They do this to eliminate one dead downwind run which is where most of the masts break.  We don’t reach much anymore in the Star class so that will be interesting.  Could become a habit this week.

My friend Marco Oquendo isn’t out shooting photos this week so I am trying to become an accredited journalist with the Bacardi organization so I can get some of theirs.  Will include them tomorrow if possible.  Should be some good action shots out there with all this wind.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

Walker Cup Final

Coconut Grove

Two races were held today in a postcard perfect Miami.  10-15 knots from the North and clear blue skies.

The Walker Cup is in honor of Harry Walker, who served the star class as secretary for many years.  The 43 competitors were competing to win the Walker Cup but also as a tune up for the 88th Bacardi Cup that stars tomorrow at the same venue.

Brian and I continued our good form by wining race 1 wire to wire.  We started at the pin end of the line (left side), with that end being favored 10 degrees, and never took anyone’s transom.  With that win,  that we had a 8 point lead in the regatta.

Star Winter Series

Star Winter Series – photo Marco Oquendo

The second start was less that perfect as we had a boat directly on our wind as the gun went off.  We managed to dig our way out of 20th to finish 6th.  The German team of Schmidt/Seeberger sailed very well to take the final race in the now fresh 16 knots of wind.

The final standings were Cayard/Fatih 15, Lars Grael/Goncalves 25 (current World Champions) , Tom Loefstedt of SWE third with 28.

Brain and I were trying a few new things this weekend on the boat.  Obviously it went pretty well but we will be continuing to try some things next week during the Bacardi Cup as we prepare for the World Championship in April.  It is important to keep trying to raise the bar…up to a point.

The forecast for the upcoming week is generally windy.  16-20 knots, with gust up to 25, from the North East going South East as the week goes on.  So the temps and humidity will be up with the wind coming off the 82 degree ocean.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com.

Paul