Nestle Brasil Match Cup

It was a rainy, blustery day in Rio today, but pretty tropical conditions. You could even say down right miserable.

Still a lot of racing took place. We on Team Cayard had a great day winning all four of our matches. We led all the way around in three of the matches. In the most exciting one, we trailed Joao Signorini and his team all the way around the course. But we kept it close, kept the pressure on them and took the lead in the final 100 meters.

The only other team that is undefeated is Daniel Glomb’s, they are 5-0. We will race them tomorrow.

Tomorrow we should finish up the round robin at which point the top four teams will go into the semi-finals.

The forecast is for this cold front to still be in place tomorrow so more rain is likely.

For complete results go to www.matchcup.com.br

Nestle Brasil Match Cup

I am in Rio for the 7th annual Nestle Brasil Match Cup 2009 today through Sunday. It is pretty local but that is not to say it is not competitive. Amongst the competitors is Torben Grael, five time Olympic medalist and Star World Champion as well as, Robert Scheidt four time Olympic Medalist and Star World Champion and Xavier Rohart from France who is a two time Star World Champion and Bronze medalist from 2004. There are a many good local young sailors keen to beat one of the guys with all these titles.

After a press conference this morning, the teams went out for about 2 hours of training in the boats. At 1500 the flights started. There is a small fleet race component to this event and that is what they started with for the first four competitors.

There are 4 boats, but 8 competitors so we don’t all race all the time. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get to race today as our first race is in the fourth flight and the race committee only got 2 flights in before the wind died. There is a womens division in the regatta and they sail in J-24’s, while the men race in Bennetau First 40.7’s.

My crew is a bunch of Star sailing friends and two young Brazilian kids. Ross MacDonald and his wife Marcia (a former 470 and Europe dinghy Olympian for Brazil), Flavio Marazzi and his crew Enrico de Maria (who finished 4th in Athens in 04). Then we have the two kids, Lucas Brun (son of Gastoa and nephew of Vince) who was part of the ABN Amro youth team in the 2006 Volvo Ocean Race and Thomas Low-Beer who is an up and coming 470 sailor for Brazil in 2012 and an engineering student here in Rio.

I started out my day today at 0600 with a run down Ipanema Beach. I found the most beautiful gym in the world. It is outdoor and on the beach. I am going tomorrow and will take pictures. Now I am off to my friend Alan Adler’s house for a Bar-B-Q. Alan is another Star World Champ. There are 6 of us down here in this regatta! Alan is the promoter of this event and has another event this weekend in Sao Paolo with Maria Sharapova.

For complete results go to www.matchcup.com.br

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

We had three races this morning to finish off the round robin part of the Pro Am. Ken Read and I were tied this morning on 5 wins each. We got to 6 wins each and it boiled down to the last race. He and his crew did a better job and won the round robin 7 to 6 over us. Anna Tunnicliffe had a good morning winning a couple of points and so she finished up third. Since I have to fly to Nice tomorrow, Anna will race Ken in the finals.

I went snorkeling this afternoon with a nice group of people. We had a great captain whom I have known for a few years down here, his name is Kinto. We hit three good spots including Richard Branson’s Necker Island. I love to see all the little blue and yellow fish. It makes me want to have a salt water tank in my house.

The photo of the day is me launching off the beach here before the beer can race last night.

I am out of here at 0645 tomorrow so I will take it easy tonight and get some sleep. I have a long treck to Nice (France) tomorrow and when I get there I have to be “on”. I land at 1000 Saturday and I am racing with the Artemis team in the afternoon. We, Artemis, are competing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy. The Louis Vuitton Trophy is a match racing regatta using the 2007 America’s Cup boats. There are 8 teams competing including BMW Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand. The event lasts two weeks and I will write updates each day.

Singing off from the Bitter End. Sad to do so but all good things must come to an end. Thanks so much to the Bitter End staff and the great crews I have had the pleasure of sailing with this week.

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Lay Day in Paradise

No racing today at the Bitter End Pro Am. This was not due to lack of wind or too much wind or any court order. Just a day off to enjoy the place!

I got up at 6 with Allie who had an early ferry to catch to get back to California and school. After she left, I did my pull up, sit up, push up routine, then went for a nice swim. After breakfast I did a little work. I know…a cardinal sin. Then I took a nap before lunch. This is something I never do. The a salad and a long Laser sail around the sound. Then I joined in the local beer can racing. Now I am at dinner at the Carvery which is my favorite restaurant here. Tonight is a wine tasting evening sponsored by Fosters Wine Group. Aussie stuff but very good none the less.

A large contingent went out to Anegada for lobster, etc. Others went snorkeling. It is hard to have a bad time down here.

Tomorrow, racing resumes at 1000 with the conclusion of the round robin.

Tom Leweck, the original Curmudgeon, is down here with his lovely wife Barbara, and wanted me to tell you all that he will not be filing a report today. He is taking the whole day off.

If you can’t tell, my batteries are getting recharged.

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Today was the first “real” day of racing here at the Pro Am. The skippers were assigned boats and amateur crews at this morning’s briefing in The Pub. The racing format is three boat racing. Three boats start and only the winner scores a point. There are two types of boats being used, the Caribbean J-24 and Hunter 21s. The skippers rotate through so that we sail 5 races in each type of boat with various crew combinations. Kind of complicated, but not important. They have handlers that figure that out for you.

Anyway, Team Cayard managed 5 wins out of 7 races today to share the lead with Ken Read who had the same score. Ken Read knows a thing or two about J-24’s and was going fast this morning. However, in the last race of the day, Anna Tunnicliffe, beat both Ken and me. There was a loud cheer that went up from the spectator boats in the area as Anna crossed the line.

I sailed back to the dock with my daughter Allie who had sailed a Laser down to watch the racing. Allie was asking Anna (Gold Medal Laser Radial) for pointers between races. It is cool to see what an icon Anna is for young women in the sport.

After the racing, Tom Leweck hosted a panel with Zack Railey, Ken Read, Anna and myself. The subject varied from the Volvo to the Olympics and yes a bit of the AC. But really, none of us know what is happening with the AC except that it is bad. Having said that, tomorrow should be an interesting day in court in New York as the judge has called in three “sailing experts” to help her sift through the muck.

The crowd had some good questions and listened attentively. I have to say, that the passion fell to Zack and Anna. They are the USA’s two best prospects in our sport. Both in their early 20’s, both with Olympic medals already. The world is theirs and they are going for it. Both are specifically training for the 2012 Olympics in England. We, the USA, really need to support these great athletes!

Tomorrow is a day off from the racing here which resumes Thursday. I am leaving Friday for Nice and the Louis Vuitton Trophy, so I will miss the semi finals and finals.

Going for some snorkeling and windsurfing tomorrow.

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Today was the Defiance Day race here in the epicenter of yacht racing. We started at 10:00 with the first race consisting of a 7 mile leeward course and a second race of a 7 mile windward leg. We did not have Gatorade or anything like that onboard. We had water but people were using that to clean their sunglasses. We had a golden beverage that had some bubbles in it. Not quite sure what it was but it seemed to make everything seem ok.

Apparently there has been a lot of angst over some race that is supposed to take place in Multihulls some time in the near future, or maybe not so near….I am not clear on that. So the idea floated by all the hardcore “amateurs” in attendance here was, why not get that race over with so we can move on.

So Ken Read had his catamaran and I had mine. They were one design Cats and we had our guest crews onboard as usual. Onboard the “Leopard”, we had a great run down to the Bath’s winning the Catamaran division with Captain Jim at the helm. On the way back, Ken won and we finished third, so we tied. Not sure what we solved there but we finished off the contest in the Pub playing pool at the Mount Gay party. As the sun went down, everyone seemed happy and we agreed to meet again tomorrow for more racing.

There were about 15 yachts in the race, most of the “pro’s” were in IC 24’s which we will race in the rest of the week. Tom Leweck of Scuttlebutt fame actually won the Multihull division with two 2nds. Keith Musto of the UK won the IC 24 division. I note that the two skippers have a combined age of 150 years which goes to show you that experience counts in this sport.

For those of you who don’t know the “Bath’s”, it is a very cool rock formation at the west end of Virgin Gorda. There are some caves and deep water pools formed by these massive granite boulders that look like someone placed them there. We had a bar-b-q down there in between the two races.

Yesterday I had a lot of fun racing Hobie Cats with my daughter Allie. She was on the trapeze and I helmed. We managed to have the best score after three races. That was my first multihull racing experience. Today we obviously did not fair as well but the music was much better on the Moorings 4000.

Tomorrow things start to get serious around here….3 boat racing. I have done this once before and am trying to remember how it works. I am not going to sweat it too much tonight though. Maybe tomorrow before the start I will have another think about it.

Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

I am down here at the world’s best regatta. Why is it the world’s best? Great sailing conditions, independent race management, fair rules, friendly environment, great shore side facilities, top level competitors.

The BEYC has welcomed me and my family here 10 times in the past 18 years. My daughter Allie joined me this time. The staff remember her being a little girl playing in the sand and flapping around the pool. Now she is writing college papers in her room before dinner, then ordering Rum Punch at the Pub after dinner, while we shoot pool and listen to Reggae. She also looks like a young woman, so I have to be quick to introduce her as my daughter because we have both gotten some nasty stares.

The trade winds blow here consistently between 10-15 knots. The sun is plentiful and the temperature is 82 degrees day and night. I know that is hard to take.

There was no time spent arguing about the rules or the Notice of Race. There was zero money spent on lawyers or travel expenses to a New York court. But we did spend some money on rum drinks.

Finally, the competitors. This is a Pro Am, the Pros skipper the boats and the hotel guests do the crewing. The Pros: Ken Read (what did her ever do?), Zach Riley (some kid from Florida who went on a trip to China last year to pick up a piece of metal), Anna Tunnicliffe (some chick who likes to sail and went to China as Zack’s friend, saw his chunk of metal and decided to get a better one…just like a chick), Keith Musto who won a piece of metal in the 72 Oly’s and yours truly who is a journalist masquerading as a sailor. There is a new addition to this year’s skippers format; an amateur! One of the division winners from Block Island Race Week last summer won the right to race against the Pros and his name is Craig Albrecht. This should be a cool new innovation down here.

So the point is, the Bitter End Pro Am is a lot about what sailing is and should be; FUN.

Rolex Champion of Champions

We had three races today in 6-10 knots of wind from the North West in 45F temperatures.

Our highlight was winning race #2 by a healthy margin. Nailed the pin end and played the left. In the other two, we had a 13 and a 7. We finished 8th overall. Fairly happy with that.

We started getting the hang of the Lightning by the end of thw weekend. The winner was Skip Dieball who sails Lightnings a fair amount as well as Thistles.

My friend and fellow Star sailor Augie Diaz did very well and finished 5th.

I had a good time meeting the people who I did not know who were mostly from the Midwest. There was quite a spread in age through the fleet. Plenty of women sailing as well. Our third crew member, Christine was fantastic. 108 pounds of steel. She was great at calling the puffs and she knows the Lightning very well. She is a pediatrician up in Wisconsin so we were all set if Austin or I got injured.

I am on my way home now for a couple of weeks before heading down to Virgin Gorda for the Bitter End Pro Am.

You can see the results at 2009 US SAILING’s Championship of Champions

Paul Cayard Sailing on Twitter

Rolex Champion of Champions

6 Races were held today on Lake Carlyle. The temperature was a bit cooler than yesterday, about 45 F. The breeze was a bit stronger at 8-12 knots. Still it was very shifty and puffy and there was plenty of ups and downs. It is like playing that game you play with your kids… Shoots and Ladders.

Before lunch we sailed pretty good and thought we were finally developing a bit of consistency. I think we had a 7, 5, 4. After lunch, that feeling of smoothness and consistency went away. Maybe it was the Turkey sandwich. We had a bad one, maybe 15th, then we nailed the pin end of the start and had a 50 yard lead at the fist mark of the second race. We went to hoist the spinnaker and the halyard had jumped the sheave. No kite for 2 minutes while we flailed away trying to get that thing sorted. We finished second in that race. That’s how big our lead was!

Then in the last race, I got a horrible start, we battled back to 8th and then up the last beat we lost 9 boats. Frustrating!

To give you and idea about the wind here, you can be sailing along and then just have the jib back. When a puff hits you hike out and then jump back in the boat as it is gone in 2 seconds. It is a workout.

Christine, our little doctor, is great. She is putting up with two overgrown Star boys who fumble around on this thing with the grace of an elephant. Plus we are bitching about everything from the boat to the conditions and she is putting up with all that. She is the best. She is a pediatrician so she is used to dealing with children.

Sorry I am not writing more about who is winning but I honestly don’t know who is winning. I think Greg Fisher is doing pretty well. There are quite a few teams here who sail Lightning’s regularity.

Tonight I am giving the group a talk about the Pirates of the Caribbean Volvo team, and whatever else they want to hear about. I have some of those great videos that should get a few oh’s and ah’s. I will be selling my Pirates Book where the money goes to the junior sailing programs at SFYC and St. FYC.

Tomorrow we will probably have three more races and then fly back to SFO tomorrow night. I sailing on my Hula Girl on Sunday with my son Danny. We are taking a group sailing who won the trip at a school auction in my neighborhood.

You can see the results at 2009 US SAILING’s Championship of Champions

Paul Cayard Sailing on Twitter

Rolex Champion of Champions

I am here in the heart of America sailing in the Rolex US Sailing’s Champions of Champions regatta. This is an annual regatta bringing together 20 nation and world champions from the USA. Each year they rotate the venue and the type of boat used. This year the boat is the Lightning. I had never sailed a Lightning before yesterday but had two great coaches to help me get familiar. The first one is part of my team, Kristine Wake and the second was regatta chairman Matt Burridge. Matt is a very experienced Lightning sailor and he took time to coach me yesterday.

The Lightning is a fairly heavy boat, very flat bottomed and wide. It has a fractional spinnaker and a fairly small upwind sail plan. It is basically underpowered. The competitors are representing classes like the Snipe (long time Star Sailor friend – Augie Diaz), Lightning, 505 World Champ (Mike Martin), Comet, Day Sailor, Finn, FJ, Geary 18, Highlander, Mercury (childhood friend of mine Chris Raab), Optimist, and many more. These sailors are all very good and very competitive and some of us have known each other for years so that makes it fun.

My good friend and Star crew Austin Sperry has joined me here and together with Kristine, we are a strong but heavy team. Not Kristine, she weighs 105 pounds. But Austin and I are big for this type of boat at 430 between us. The ideal total weight is about 470 pounds. Today it was very light wind and 46 degrees! We all sat on the wind side once for about 10 seconds. The wind was also very shifty so it was tricky and sometimes frustrating sailing – not just for us but for everyone I think. We had a lot of ups and downs in our scores. It is like a college regatta in how the scoring looks. We did have a bullet right before lunch so that was nice.

I have no idea what the scores are. We were in 8th at lunch time after four races. We did four more races after lunch for a total of 8. We are scheduled to race 20 races through Saturday 1200. We rotate boats after each race so that evens things up a bit. All the boats have new North Sails so that is very nice. Really it has been about the start and the shifts more than the speed of any boat.

You can see the results at 2009 US SAILING’s Championship of Champions

Forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. Off to dinner in downtown Carlyle, population 3500.

Paul Cayard Sailing on Twitter