Australian IRC National Championship

photos by Andrea Francolini

Sydney

An aerial view of Sydney harbour and South head in the foreground 25/07/2015 ph. Andrea Francolini

An aerial view of Sydney harbour and South head in the foreground

After four days of racing and a mix of conditions, Team Beau Geste came out on top of the Australian National Championship.  It was an honor to sail with Karl Kwok and his team.  I have known Karl for many years dating back to the Admirals Cup days in the 90’s but never sailed with his Beau Geste.

Sailing - Australian IRC Championship 2017 Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Sydney 24/3/2017 BEAU GESTE

Sailing – Australian IRC Championship 2017
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

Gavin Brady, who runs the Beau Geste Team, invite me to be the helmsman for two series down here in Oz. Gavin and I sailed together on AmericaOne in the 2000 America’s Cup and again on Money Penny in 2008.  It was fun to sail together and the results were there too so that made it even better. There was a great crew, including long time friend and teammate at Oracle and Artemis, David Brooke, who are regulars on Beau Geste and it was a pleasure to race with them as well.

Beau Geste is a TP52 that is optimized for the IRC rule.  This means it is slightly different than the Super Series TP52’s I sailed on last summer. The mast is slightly taller and we sailed with 15 crew instead of 12.

We had a mix of conditions from 18 knots and big waves on the first day to 7 knots today.  Beau Geste dominated the first two days of racing in the stronger winds. Interestingly, one of our competitors was a canting keel 66′ designed by Reichel-Pugh name “Alive”.  This boat was very tough to beat in todays’ lighter conditions.

Through it all we won the series rather handily. This marked the fourth time in a row that Beau Geste has won the Australian National Championship for IRC racing. They obviously have this figured out so I was just happy to be along for the ride.

I am headed back to San Francisco tomorrow and will sail next in Miami for the Star Western Hemisphere Championship, April 6-9.

Paul

_E3V4924

St. Barth’s Super Yacht Regatta

Photos by Carlo Borlenghi

St. Barths, French West Indies

Today was the final day of racing of the St. Barth’s Bucket, the annual Super Yacht regatta down here in the Caribbean.

I sailed as tactician onboard Rosehearty, once again, with my friend Joey Kaempfer and a fantastic team. We trained a bit on Wednesday and Thursday last week and had one race a day beginning on Friday.

The breeze was 18-20 knots from the east for the first two days. A tactical mistake by me on Friday gave us a third place finish, while our rival Perini Navi, Perseus, won the race and Meteor took second.

Perseus, Zenji, Maltese Flacon, and Rosehearty are all Perini Navi yachts from the famous yard in Viareggio, Italy. They are beautiful sailing yachts. Rosehearty and Zenji are sister ships at 56 meters (182′) and 500 tons of displacement. Perseus is 60 meters and Maltesse Falcon is 80 meters. All are exquisitely appointed and also very seaworthy capable of voyages anywhere in the world including the Northwest Passage and Antarctica.

Hatch open

Getting the spinnaker out of one of the forward hatches

Saturday was redemption day for Rosehearty was we got the bullet but not before a match race up the last windward leg, covering a fast approaching “Meteor. Meteor is a classic Schooner design built by Royal Huisman in Holland.

That put Meteor and Rosehearty in a tie for first going into today’s final race with Perseus 2 points back in third. Today’s course, clockwise around the island, is mostly upwind and favors Perseus so it was nice to have the 2 points on them. But it would be a duel with Meteor. The winds were considerably lighter at 12-18 knots from the east-southeast.

We had a good start and first downwind leg, passing Zenji, who rates just a bit lower and got a 30 seconds head-start on us. On the long windward leg up the north side of the island to the east end, we played the right side, ducking in and out of the small islands on that side, while our competitors went out to open water to the North. We benefited from smoother water and held the lead in our class as we rounded the northeast end of St. Barths. Meteor and Perseus were sailing fast and had closed in on us. Meteor, unfortunately for them, got tangled up in a bit of traffic and had to take another tack out to sea when we fetched the top of the island.

Perseus, closed to within 4 boats lengths as we round the last mark of the course. Our spinnaker set was perfect and theirs was not. Chapeau to the crew of Rosehearty! They make those of us up in the flybridge look good.

We pulled away from Perseus but Meteor continued to bear down on us sailing lower and faster. Perseus finally got their spinnaker set and started to come back into us a bit. We were never overly concerned about Perseus as we could afford to finish one place behind them and still win the regatta. What we could not afford to do was to be passed by Meteor. On the final maneuver of the race, Perseus’ spinnaker exploded as we both gybed for the finish. Meteor kept closing. It was a bit tense onboard, everyone wondering if Meteor would catch us. About one mile from the finish, it was clear that Meteor would run out of race track. Rosehearty ran down to the finish to take the win on the day and overall in our class.

St. Barths Bucket Race Day 2

 

This is the third time we have won our class in the Bucket on Rosehearty and it was clearly the toughest as the other teams are improving each year.  While we will be enjoying the win for a while, we will have to step up our game for next year.

I will be transiting to Sydney over the next 40 hours to race with the Beau Geste team in the Australian IRC national Championship starting Thursday.

Paul

Sydney Harbor Series

Sydney

Last summer, my results were pretty bad on the TP52 Phoenix. I was feeling pretty down about it all and looking forward to getting back on a winning path this spring. When the owner sold the boat, that closed the door on redemption, seemingly.

Then I got asked to come down to Sydney and race as helmsman on another TP52, for the IRC national championship. The boat and team are very well known…Beau Geste out of Hong Kong. Gavin Brady is the team leader and the team is full of great sailors.

We managed to get a win this weekend and coupled with my win the Star a few weeks ago, it feels like I am getting back on my bike.

This past weekend we raced Beau Geste in the Sydney Harbor Series as a tune up for the IRC Nationals later this month.  While there were just a handful of competitors in our class this weekend, we expect 15 or more in two weeks time, with 8 of them being TP52’s.

It was very windy Saturday which forced the race committee to keep us inside the Harbor. Sydney Harbor is a very busy place on weekends. The race area was quite compressed for boats the size and speed of a TP52, so the theee lap, 0.75 nm leg races, in 25 knots of wind, were intense. At 20 knots of speed, the downwind legs lasted four minutes.  There were ferries, rocks, and a hundred other boats in 10 classes, all serving as obstacles at one point or another. It was the kind of racing where you could get the kite up and then decide it’s too windy or there is a ferry in the way, and you drop the kite to gybe. On one run our A4 simply exploded when we a 28 knot gust hit us.

On Sunday, while still raining, the wind had moderated and shifted southwest which made it possible, or let’s say reasonable, to race in the big swells off the Sydney Heads. Again two races were held but the course was stretched out to 1 mile legs. It was still windy enough that we went down one of the runs without the kite.

The 18′ skiffs were racing their World Champinship on the harbor this past week. With a few of the Beau Gesta boys, we went around to the Double Bay Skiff Club last night for their prize giving. I met up with 5 time skiff world champion Andrew Buckland who had taken me sailing on a skiff in San Francisco in 1979. Hadn’t seen him since. Pretty fun what life serves up sometimes. Andrew introduced me to a few of the young guys who are now dominating this iconic class. 18’s have been the ultimate dinghy for a hundred years. If you don’t know what an 18 is, you should Google it. They are very impresssive boats. Howie Hamlin and Skip McCormick, long time friends from California, were racing so I caught up with them as well.

I am headed back to SF today and then back down here in 2 weeks time.

Paul