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.

‘The Black Pearl – A Pirate Ship’

The perfect gift for the holiday season!

This is the last chance to purchase a limited edition copy of Captain Cayard’s memoirs of the Pirates of the Caribbean team’s momentous race around the world.

Imagine what it was like onboard ‘The Black Pearl’ for Captain Cayard and his Pirate crew as they competed in Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006.

Click here to order your copy in time for the holidays.

Copies are $25 or $50 for autographed copies. All proceeds are in support of youth sailing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Please allow two weeks for domestic shipping, autographed copies are available.

WORLD SAILING LEAGUE UNVEILS SPEED MACHINE DESIGN

Today, the World Sailing League (WSL) unveiled the innovative design for their futuristic 70 ft catamarans that will be raced in the new global Grand Prix series, the premier annual sailing competition. The spectacular speed-machines represent the next evolution of sailing and will be the fastest one design boats ever built.

With towering masts of over 98 ft and foiled hulls sitting at almost 40 ft wide, these catamarans represent the forefront of design technology. The boats will be crewed by nine professional sailors and one select guest and will be capable of speeds up to 40 knots,

Designer Vincent Lauriot Prévost of VPLP explained the design philosophy: “We are very excited about this catamaran because she represents a step towards the future of racing. If we consider that monohulls were the racing standard, then multihull design has stretched the performance possibilities and now ‘outmodes’ the mono. Now these multihulls armed with foils will be the next generation that will overtake the conventional multihull. WSL will spearhead this new evolution.”

For WSL event owner João Lagos, the design launch represents an important step forward in the development of the World Sailing League: “We’ve been working hard for a long time to create all of the areas of WSL and have accelerated our efforts since our launch in February. Whilst venue development is an exceptionally important aspect of the project, the boats and their spectacular performance characteristics are integral to the WSL vision for creating fast, equally matched and coast hugging fleet racing. We always wanted to create something new and exciting in the sport and I believe that with this new design is the first important piece of our vision.”

Under a strict one design, no compromise philosophy the catamarans will combine speed, manoeuvrability and the ability to sail close to shore for optimum spectator viewing whilst the high mast and foils will ensure thrilling racing in a wide range of breeze.

The central pod and hulls will be constructed from carbon fibre prepreg foam sandwich to minimise weight, with single skin carbon fibre autoclaved prepreg used for the mast and beams. The centreboard on the pod will be 4.25 metres deep, with the option to raise it to 3.5 metres for racing close to shore. There will be five sails available to the teams, ranging from the 72 m2 staysail to a 260 m2 gennaker.

Legendary sailors Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard, founders of WSL, have been heavily involved with the design and planning process. Coutts commented: “Paul and I have been working on this project for some time now, so it’s fantastic to be at the point where we are starting to build these catamarans. These boats are going to be extremely quick and should represent the future of fleet racing. Vincent (Lauriot Prévost) and his team have done a great job and we can’t wait to take the first one for a test run on the water.”

With the design now finalised, fourteen of these spectacular catamarans will be built in Portugal, with the first due for completion in June 2008. The remaining boats will be built over the following 18 months, in time for promotional regattas around the world in 2009 and the first full year of the World Sailing League in 2010.

The name of this exciting new class will be announced at the unveiling of the first boat in July next year.

Design specifications

~ Weight: 5,700kg

~ LOA: 70ft

~ Width: 12metres

~ Mast height: 30 metres

Sail specifications

~ Main 168m2

~ Solent 115m2

~ Staysail 72m2

~ Code 0 155m2

~ Gennaker 260m2 (approx.)