52 World Championship - 52 Super Series
Mahon, 14-18 September 2016
© Zerogradinord

TP52 World Championship

52 World Championship – 52 Super Series- Photo’s © Zerogradinord

Two race were held yesterday in a wide range of conditions.  The wind speed was between 5 and 20 knots and the direction went from 225 to 355.   The first attempt at the second race was abandoned midway due to a collapse of the wind and a large shift to the right.

We had another frustrating day finishing 10th in both races.  In the first race we had a good start but believed in the right too much and it didn’t come good for us.  In the second race, I got a poor start and we were still amongst the group at the first mark but we don’t seem to have the ability to claw back through the fleet yet.  I have to say the results are bothering us.  We are not used to being in last in anything.

52 World Championship - 52 Super Series Mahon, 14-18 September 2016 © Zerogradinord

Today”s forecast is for moderate winds from the southwest.  As we are sailing on the east side of the island of Minorca, these westerly and southwesterly winds have made for a tricky race course with the wind coming over the land.

Quantum continues to sail in the top three in every race, and most of the time they don’t have wining starts.  Yet they definitely have the speed, the smarts and the boat handling to sail through the group. This is a team that had been racing in this fleet for over 6 years with largely the same team. Provezza has sailed very well yesterday, in particular yesterdays second race which they won going away.

For complete results visit www.52sureseries.com

Keep your chin up!

Paul

 

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TP52 World Championship 2016

Photo by Mauro Melandri-Zerogradinord

Mahon, Menorca

Today was the second day of the 2016 TP52 World Championship here in Mahon.  Lighter conditions prevailed for races 3 and 4.  Onboard Phoenix we made a few changes and were very competitive in terms of speed.

In the first race, after a good start, we fouled Alegre half way up the first windward leg on a close port starboard cross. After completing our penalty turn we were 100 meters behind the group. We managed to recover a bit but in the end we never passed anyone finishing 11th.  Quantum sailed smooth and fast to take the win.

Race two was a short coastal race, a 17 mile race along the eastern coast of Menorca. It was essentially a double windward leeward with the second lap being longer than the first lap.  The race started in 10 knots but dropped to 7 knots by the time we got to the first windward mark. We were about 8th at he first mark, 6th at the end of the first lap, 4th at the second windward mark and 5th at the finish.  It was a nice improvement in scoring.

The big thing for me today is that we improved dramatically our boat speed from Tuesday when we faced the same conditions in the practice race. Light air is our weakness and we were very competitive today in 6-11 knots.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for 12- knots from the west.  This could be tricky because we are racing on the east side of the island.

For complete results go to www.52SuperSeries.com

Paul

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TP52 World Championship Day 1

Mahon, Menorca

The 2016 TP52 World Championship began Wednesday with two windward leeward races in 12-20 knots from the southwest.  There was a decent seaway as a front had passed through the area during the night.

The World Championship fleet consists of 12 boats from 8 countries.  The racing is very tight as all the teams are at a very high level.

I am skippering Richard Cohen’s Phoenix.  Our tactician is Peter Holmberg and we have a great team many of whom I have raced with before in other projects.  It is however the first time all of us have been together onboard Phoenix.  Yesterday, we had two good starts and decent speed upwind and downwind.  However, we made little mistakes here and there and it all adds up quickly in this fleet.  We finished 10th and then 9th which of course didn’t feel great.  But it is what we deserved.

Quantum sailed very well after getting two poor starts.  They showed how to win by sailing consistently fast and making high percentage choices tactically.  This team has great sailors but more importantly they have been at this TP52 game for more than 5 years straight.  Ed Baird is their helmsman and Terry Hutchinson is the tactician.

Today’s forecast is for lighter winds and the race schedule is calling for one windward leeward race followed by a short coastal race.  We struggled to find speed during the training days in the light winds.  We have made a couple changes and are looking forward to seeing how we go today.

When purchasing Phoenix earlier this year, Richard’s goal was to join the TP52 Super Series when the fleet comes to Key West to starts its 2017 season.  The strategy was to use 2016 to build a competent team and learn the boat so we could compete in 2017 for podium spots.  We modified our program this year and decided to jump into the fray early by coming here to Europe to race the last two events of the 2016 season.  This will no doubt steepen our learning curve, albeit while eating a bit of humble pie.

The TP52 Super Series organization is first class.  The hospitality and organization is well oiled now in their third year.  Any team owner would be comfortable here and proud to bring his guests. It seems that TP52 Super Series racing is a complete package.

For complete results visit www.TP52Super Seires.com

Paul

 

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J70 Lake Garda Final

Photos by Marta Rovatti Studihrad

Riva del Garda

Five more races we held over Saturday and Sunday for the J70, Alcatel Italian Circuit Championship.

The conditions continued to be challenging on Saturday, in that they were not classic Lake Garda.  Saturday featured light winds where the left side of the course paid hugely most of the time. Today, with an 08:00 first start, we finally got a strong northerly wind called Peler, that does typically blow in the mornings here. This was good training for San Francisco.

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Not much changed in the scoring with the Italian team named L’elagain, dominating the series winning with 31 points..  It was noteworthy that even when this team got behind on the first lap, they had trouble digging themselves out, thereby scoring a 21 and 18 in two of the races.  Second place, with 44 points went to Petite Terrible with 22 year old Claudia Rosi, European J70 Champion, at the helm.  We, with Calvi Network, finished third with 46 points.  That is a fairly high score for 7 races but is indicative of how competitive the fleet here is.

For us, onboard Calvi Network, this was our first time sailing together as a team.  I am the only “new” person to the team but still that is a 25% crew change. The four of us who sailed together here, will race in the World Championship, later this month, in San Francisco. This week was fundamental for us, mostly me, to learn how to sail on a J70 with this fantastic team.  The front of the boat is quite physical and it certainly will be in San Francisco.  I love when sailing becomes physical and am really looking froward to the challenge of the World Championship in my hometown.

The side of Lake Garda has shear walls in some places which are good for other sports.  Check out the rock climbers, off our bow, in this photo.

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For complete results go to http://www.fragliavelariva.it/sites/default/files/regatta/r2042-result-f4662.htm

Tonight I am headed to Mahon to join my team on Phoenix for the TP52 World Championship.

Paul

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J70 Riva del Garda

Photo by Marta Rovatti Studihrad

Riva del Garda

I am here in Italy training with the team that I will race with at the J70 World Championship laster this month in San Francisco.  It is an Italian team and this weekend were are racing the final event of their annual circuit.  Three days and 9 races will be sailed here in Riva conducted by the Fragile della Vela-Riva.  I last raced here in 1989 in my Star.  At that time I gave a speech to the juniors who were all optimist sailors.  Yesterday a I guy who is racing against us came and asked me to take a picture with him.  He then told me he was at that speech I gave to the Opti sailors in 1989 and he was 8!  Nice story but I guess that means I am getting down the road.

37 J70’s are competing here in the EuroCup.  We had three races yesterday in wind from 12-7 knots. It was a non typical Garda day in that the left side paid.  Usually this is a go right race track and I had that in my mind too much.  A big part of our goal this weekend, as it is our first time sailing together, is to get our communications down and for me to figure out my jobs in the maneuvers. The rest of the crew is very proficient at what they do as they have been racing in the class for three years and have been second in last years World Championship.

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The team is called LightBay Sailing Team and sponsored by Calvi Network.  Carlo Alberini is the skipper and owner of the boat. We have two-time Slovenian Olympic 470 sailor Karlo Hmeljak trimming the mainsail and Sergio Blosi trimming the kite and cleaning up after my messes with the jib sheets.  I am tactician and responsible to tack the jib an hoist and drop the kite.  Upwind, Sergio and I sit with our legs over the side to windward and only two crew members are allowed to “hike”.  We have two great coaches: Irene Bezzi and Branko Brcin.  Branko is the usual tactician for the team but has a conflict for the Worlds in SF so I am taking his place.  Irene is a great sailor and super athlete.

We had a decent day with scores of 4, 6, 8 on Friday to put us in second place over all. The team leading the Italian Circuit, L’elagain ,skippered by Franco Solario, had scores of 1, 5, 1.  I made quite a few mistakes yesterday tactically, believing too much in the “typical” winds here which favor the right side.  We had three excellent starts which is important in the foundation we are building for the worlds.

Yesterday after sailing, she and I hiked-ran up the side of a cliff, 2000′ vertical, to a little church called Santa Barbara.

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Irene took it easy on me and waited for me.  Hear best time is 35:40. I made the climb in 39:30 which was 3 minutes faster than I did it on Wednesday evening. Always good to be chasing someone!

Riva and Lake Garda are beautiful places.  Usually Tuscany, Rome, florence get all the ink followed by Capri Venezia, etc.  But these lakes in northern Italy, surrounded by very tall and steep mountains are spectacular!  The town of Riva is very charming.  And of course, the food is excellent.

For results go to: http://www.fragliavelariva.it/sites/default/files/regatta/r2042-result-f4649.htm

Paul

Star D6 2016

Star District 6 Championship-Vancouver

English Bay

Danny and I came up to Vancouver to race against the best of the northwest on Labor Day weekend.  Danny recently moved to Seattle, we thought we would join in the racing up here in beautiful Vancouver BC, home of Star World Champion Ross McDonnald.  Ross, no longer sailing the Star, was mountain biking in Whistler, this weekend.

15 Stars competed in the 2016 District 6 Championship.  Saturday got off to a slow start with two races being abandoned for lack of wind.  Finally around 1300, a light westerly filled in which gave us three good races in 5-7 knots of wind and flat seas.

Vancouver Star

In the first race, Danny and I got a bad start and struggled the rest of the way to get 7th.  In the second race after a great start by Danny, we were leading at the first leeward mark only to hit is and make a 360 degree penalty turn and finish 3rd.  Finally in the last race, Danny put it all together to lead wire to wire and take the win.  So after day 1 we were in second place with a score of 11 to the 8 points that Allen Cullen and Dave Martin (CAN) put together.  His son, Rob Cullen, sailed very well and would have been tied with his father for the lead, but was OCS in the third race where he finished second. The is to be a discard one more than three races are completed so Rob would come back to feature.

On Sunday the westerly wind filled in at 10:30 so racing got underway on time at 11:00 snd we were able to get four races in.  It was the postcard kind of day for Vancouver.  Sunny and the tall mountains surrounding English Bay were prominently on display.  The racing was tight and the south shore was favored most of the time for current.  Rob Cullen (CAN) with Jamie Hynes up front sailed very well today to get scores of 1, 6, 1, 2 and finish with 16 points.  Danny (USA) and I had mixed results of 2, 7, 3, 5  to finish up second overall.  Derek De Couteau (USA) and Jamie Stewart finished third.

I am off to Lake Garda tomorrow to train with Carlo Alberini and his Team Calvi Networks in preparation for the J70 World Championship later this month at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.

Paul

 

 

 

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Lake Sunapee Open

Harbor at Sunapee Yacht Club

Newport, New Hampshire

This weekend I participated in the Lake Sunapee Open in the Star Class. The northeast has a long tradition of Star Class racing and Lake Sunapee has had Star racing since 1939.

I have long wanted to experience racing on these lakes and finally my opportunity came. John Chiarella, a Star sailor for the past 65 years, invited me to come, race and give a presentation at the Saturday night dinner.

First of all, these lakes in the northeast are spectacularily beautiful! It is amazing to race in fresh water. No rinsing off the boat and gear. The lake is ringed with line trees and the air has that smell that reminds you of camping when you were a kid.

Now, what goes along with that beauty is lots of wind shifts.  You know the game “Shoots & Ladders”? That’s racing on Lake Sunapee…probably all the lakes.

imageStar #1631, classic.

The fleet of 22 Stars had 4 races over the weekend, all with decent breeze. 7-12 knots was the average and 30 degree shifts were the norm.

At the Saturday night dinner, I told the audience that despite racing around the world twice and a few other sailing experiences, I actually learned to sail on a lake in downtown Oakland that did not measure 1 mile in any direction. So I was good at “Shoots and Ladders” at one time!

John MacCausland, whose father we were honoring all weekend, jumped out to the early lead on Saturday with Lauren Barth with her dad crewing, sailing well to run in second place.

Sunday’s stars were Andy Mac Donald and Brad Nichol who got a 1, 2 and won the tie breaker over MacCausland/Burgees to take the Open Championship.

Nat Cook was generous enough to lend me his boat and thick skinned enough to crew from me. Saturday was a little trying, getting used to a borrowed boat and new crew not to mention the shifts. Sunday we found our stride and got a 7 and then a nice 1 in the final race of the regatta. We finished 4th over all behind Author Anosov and Josh Revkin in 3rd.

There were two father/daughter teams sailing! Yep, not father/son teams. I love seeing that! I am planing on crewing for my son in Vancouver over Labor Day weekend for the 6th District Championships.

What you realize when you come to places like this and Lake Peewaukee, Wisconsin, where I sailed last fall, is there are many beautiful spots in this very large country of ours. You just need to discover them!

Paul

 

Matha’s Vineyard Round the Island Race

Saturday, an 80 boat fleet of various sizes and speeds, raced the 57 nm course, counter clockwise around Marth’s Vineyard.  The forecast was not great but in the end, a nice southwesterly seabreeze filled in and helped the fleet get around before dark.

In the TP52 class, we had a good battle with Vesper and Spookie.  We on Phoenix led at each mark of the course but throughout the race, the lead changed hands more than 10 times.

The final shuffle was just 10 miles from the finish.  Vesper, leading had to make a choice to go south or north of a sand bar.  They took the south while Spookie and Phoenix took the north side.  Initially the north looked very good as we maintained 4-5 knots of speed while Vesper was completely stopped for more than 10 minutes.  This got the two northern boats about 2 miles away from Vesper.  Around 4:00pm, a southerly wind filled in and carried Vesper down the north shore of Marth’s Vineyard and into a comfortable lead.  Spookie and Phonix got the wind about 10 minutes later.

At the finish, Vesper crossed the line about 5 minute ahead of Phoenix who crosse 2.5 minutes ahead of Spookie.  Phoenix rates higher than Spookie so she took second on corrected time.

Nest up for us on Phoenix is the NYYC Cruise mid August.  Spookie will be racing there as well.

Paul

Edgartown Race Week Final

Edgartown, MA

It was a rainy and dreary start to the day out here on Marth’s Vineyard. By 11:00, it became a blustery and rainy day.  The racing started at 11:00 and I haven’t sailed in that much rain in a while.

Three races were held for the TP 52’s today.  Phoenix won the day with 2 first places and a second.  This brought us to within 1 point of Vesper for the overall win and 3 points clear of Spookie.

Today was our best day so far on Phoenix.  We are making steady progress with our team at learning the boat.  The TP 52’s have quite a few adjustments to the rig that need to be made before each start and it takes a while to get all the settings figured out.  It takes event longer to learn how to cope with the settings when the wind conditions change mid race and you don’t have your optimum settings.  The experience were are gaining by racing against Vesper and Spookie is preparing us for the racing we will do in the TP 52 Super Series next year. The Super Series currently has 12 TP 52’s racing together at 5 events a year, mostly in Europe.

Tomorrow will be a standalone event known as the Round the Island Race. The course is 57 miles long around the Martha’s Vineyard Island and its various shoals and sand spits.  The first start will be at 08:00 for the smallest boats and the TP52’s will get under way at 08:53.  The forecast isn’t that promising with 10 knots from the northeast at the start and weakening to 2-4 knots in the afternoon.  So it could take a while!

Paul

Edgartown Race Week

Edgartown, Marth’s Vineyard

This is the third leg of the east coast IRC summer series. 4 races were held today, in 9-12 knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet.  The three TP52’s had hard fought battles as usual.

Onboard Phoenix, we had 4 good starts. The left looked good in the first half of the day but as he windward leg was short, it was best to start to the right and hold the boats to leeward to the left with starboard tack advantage. Ironically, in each of the first two races, Vesper or Spookie,whichever had the worse start, tacked to port, went behind us and won the race while we pinned to other boat to the left layline. Three boat racing produces strange tactics.

In the last race,  we started to the right and did not let anyone get to the right of us and won by a big margin.

Vesper and Spookie are tied for first and we are a couple points back in third.

Three or four races are planned for tomorrow but there is bad weather forecast. Showers and lightening should greet us at daybreak so it is unsure how many races we will be able to get it.

Paul