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

Paul Cayard – The Mystery Guest

(October 12, 2009) The US SAILING Championship of Champions event is that rare collection of one-design class champions, coming together for equal parts camaraderie and competition. Racing begins this Thursday on Lake Carlyle in St Louis, MO, with all the prize winning skippers competing in equally matched Lightnings to even the playing field.

Competing in the field as the ‘mystery guest’ is Paul Cayard, whose professional sailing career typically takes him to events like the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race, but his roots are in the Star class where he has won the 1988 Worlds and represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics.

Scuttlebutt checks in with Paul regarding his trip to the C of C’s:

What is it about the C of C’s that has motivated you to participate?

I like meeting sailors whom I don’t regularly compete against. These sailors are the top sailors in their classes, and I understand that this year’s group is particularly deep. I am also looking forward to racing on Lake Carlyle and meeting the sailors there.

How prepared are you for this event?

Honestly, not too prepared. I have never had the chance to compete in the C of C?s before, and it will be my first time in a Lightning.

Here’s one tip – avoid sitting over the centerboard trunk in shallow water?

Thanks, I had not heard that one. I will pass it on to my crew.

Would you make any changes with how professional sailors now participate in the sport?

I don’t know that I would change a lot. The market dictates the opportunities and the individual makes his choices. I have found that there are a lot of cool things to do in our sport that don’t pay financially speaking but are none the less rewarding. I like to race with my children or to sail in something like the C of C’s. I also really like sailing in the BVI with the Bitter End Yacht Club hotel guests and will forgo some work to participate in the Bitter End Pro Am Regatta this year. There is more to life than money and we all eventually figure that out.

Do you ever wonder if there is too much being invested in the sport by people wanting to succeed?

No. People who want to succeed in anything will always invest a lot, be it time, effort, or money. That is just the nature of competition. Everyone makes their own choices in that regard. Often the beauty of one design sailing is that it puts a premium on the effort and time, while the money is not so important.

What are your goals for the C of C’s?

To meet a great group of sailors all tops in their class, meet the people who sail in the heart of America, and have fun!

Rolex Big Boat Series

I have just sailed the first two days as tactician on the TP 52 Flash. We won the day in our class today with a 3, 1 which puts us in second place overall in IRC A. Vincitore with Chris Dickson steering got a 2, 4 today and is in first overall by 3 points in our class. Samba Pa Ti, our Trans Pac rival, is in 3rd in our class.

I am flying to Spain tonight to join the crew of Artemis for the last event in the Audi Med Cup circuit. This event is going to be raced in Cartagena Spain the original port of the Spanish fleet.

It was a lot of fun for me to race in the Rolex Big Boat Series in my home town. I rarely get to sail in this event as I am usually in Europe at this time of year. I love to sail on the bay. It is still the best sailing stadium in the world!! Bar none!

So good luck to my Flash teammates for the remaining 3 races.

I will start writing from Cartagena in a few days.

PAUL CAYARD TO SPEAK AT WORLD YACHT RACING FORUM

Geneva, 21 October 2008 – Organisers of the World Yacht Racing Forum are pleased to announce Paul Cayard as one of the guest speakers at the inaugural two day conference in Monaco this December. Cayard joins an already impressive list of speakers and panellists including Team Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth (NZL), CEO of Team Origin Sir Keith Mills (GBR), world champion sailor Peter Gilmour (AUS), Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad, Founder of the Louis Vuitton Cup Bruno Trouble, World Match Racing Tour President Scott Macleod, IMOCA Executive Director Franck David, Team Shosholosa CEO Salvatore Sarno, and many more.

Paul Cayard (USA) is one of the most successful sailors in the last 25 years. A veteran round the world sailor, Cayard skippered Team EF Language to victory in the 1988 Whitbread Round the World, and finished a narrow second behind Team ABN Amro in the 2005-2006 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

A two time-Olympic sailor and seven-time sailing world champion, Cayard is no stranger to the yacht racing scene,

Maserati & Cayard

Maserati recently caught up with Paul Cayard and his new Gran Turismo for a photo shoot in Sausalito.