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Bacardi Cup/Olympic Trials Preview

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Well the winter is almost over and it is time for the big show. The Bacardi Cup begins this weekend with the US Olympic Trials immediately after. Many of us have been down here full time since November and it will be nice to see the culmination of all of our hard work.

This week the US Sailing Center hosted a practice regatta which brought out twenty boats. The amazing thing is that 12 of those boats are likely to be on the line in Athens. While the final results are meaningless as teams would come and go, or drop out, we were able to make some generalizations from what has been happening:   more...






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Team France in action for the America’s Cup

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Last Tuesday, Loïck Peyron and Bertrand Pacé presented the foundations of Team France 2004/2007 to an assembly of businessmen who met with Renaud Dutreil, Secretary of State for Small and Medium-Sized Companies, Trade, the Self-Employed, Liberal Professions and Consumers.

That evening, Jean-Pierre Champion, President of the Fédération Française de Voile, confirmed the status of Team France, "French Team for the 32nd America’s Cup".

France Gamerre, Deputy-Mayor of Marseille, and Jérôme Rouillaux, technical adviser to the minister for Sport, Jean-François Lamour, also added their support to Team France in the name of their respective institutions.    more...


 



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Two syndicates under the Spanish colors ?

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Speaking today in the framework of the Sporting Sponsoring Days organized by the Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU, the Real Club Náutico de Valencia’s President Manuel Casanova considers two Spanish campaigns for the 32nd America's Cup.

"Doreste and Zulueta [the El Reto Challenge's leaders] decided that Valencia was not their burgee and I have no matter with that", he said. "But if Pedro Campos, who is a great skipper, decides to lauch a challenge, I am sure that he will find sponsors and that he will settle in Valencia".   more...


 



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Oracle buys SM 40s from Maxi Yachts

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Oracle BMW Racing has recently purchased two of the specially developed match racing yachts Swedish Match 40 from Maxi Yachts to be sailed in training and preparations for the Swedish Match Tour.

Oracle BMW Racing CEO Chris Dickson and his crew will be the first team to use the new SM 40s in their preparations for the Swedish Match Tour.

At Maxi Yachts, in Långedrag on the Swedish west coast, people are really pleased with the prestigious order.

"We are experiencing a solid and positive interest in our new yacht, from event organizers as well as from AC-teams, which makes this deal particularly satisfying", managing director Pehr Edström said. "Given the addition of the recent deal with the Portugal Match Cup, I sense that we are gathering momentum in terms of sales".   more...


 



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Jean Luc Van Den Heede, likely to finish next week.

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Jean Luc Van Den Heede had got so used to being alone with Adrien, cut off from the world and civilisation, that he had almost forgotten that this close relationship he has would one day come to an end.
In fact, I got up so close to Foro in the Cape Verde Islands that I could see the houses, roads, cars and everything. I said to myself “Crikey! It’s true that land is getting ever nearer.

Today I have less than 2000 miles left to cover. Having said that, on board, that doesn’t change anything. I still do my utmost to keep Adrien moving along as best I can. Meanwhile, I do my sums with my friend Pierre Lasnier to try to find out when we can have a celebration. If all goes well, I should be back in Les Sables d’Olonne two days after crossing the finishing line off Ushant. I plan to reach Ushant on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s more likely to be Tuesday (9th March).   more...

 



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High Noon postponed?

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The long-awaited first competition between the Z86 maxis Pyewacket and Morning Glory at the St Maarten Heineken Regatta looked to be in jeopardy today when Morning Glory came in from a two boat training session with a broken locking headboard car.

Pyewacket lead Morning Glory out through the Lagoon Bridge into Simpson Bay at 0930 this morning, both boats looking forward to a good workout in a sparkling breeze of 18 to 25 knots, a slight sea and some typical Caribbean sunshine. Once out in open water in Simpson Bay they raised sail and started on a round the island trial, with impressive speed coming from boat boats. But when the bridge was raised at lunchtime, Morning Glory came through on her own, the crew already taking the damaged headboard car from the mast.   more...

 



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Cheyenne sets unofficial record

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Cheyenne has set a new Ouessant - Leeuwin unofficial record. During yesterday's fantastic blasting conditions. see news story here Steve Fossett and crew aboard the 125ft maxi-catamaran Cheyenne reached a boat speed of 36kts during yesterday's 577nm run (avg 24.04 kts). This leaves Fossett's team 1,474 miles ahead of the current RTW record track - set by Orange in 2002.

She crossed Cape Leeuwin (115 8E) 25 days 14 hrs 8 minutes after the start at Ouessant on 7 February - 3 days 17 hours ahead of the Ouessant - Leeuwin time set by Orange in 2002 (then a record for this passage) and 14 hours faster than the very fast time set by Geronimo in 2003.   more...

 



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GERONIMO HEADING STRAIGHT FOR THE DOLDRUMS.

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The Cap Gemini and Schneider Electric trimaran continues her southward dash to the Equator, having covered 444 nautical miles on Day 6. She's now heading straight for the Doldrums, which are covering an exceptionally wide area at present. None of the simulations of this passage, which are re-run every six hours using different computer models, look encouraging. There's no easy way through to the east or to the west.   more...

 



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Steve Erickson Stars in Supporting Roles

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He's a pioneer of the professional sailor movement. But Steve Erickson says he had no idea where he was headed after he won the 1984 Star class gold medal at the tender age of 23. "I had the opportunity to make a little bit of money and do what I love doing," says the five-time America's Cup veteran and two-time Star world champion. "I didn't think it was what I'd be doing in my early 40s." Since he concluded his second tour of duty with the Prada syndicate last winter, he's been enjoying free agency. He sailed the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on Skip Sheldon's Zaraffa and has been coaching U.S. Olympic hopeful Meg Gaillard and Mark Ewing's Farr 40 Riot. He's also returned to the Star after a decade-long hiatus and joined forces with three-time Olympic medalist Mark Reynolds in pursuit of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Star berth. The U.S. Star Trials start March 20 on Biscayne Bay, Fla.   more...


 



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Steve Fossett and his Round The World record attempt

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Steve Fossett and his Round The World record attempt team on the 125' maxi-catamaran Cheyenne crossed the longitude of Australia's Cape Leeuwin, the second of the 3 major Capes on their RTW attempt 25 days, 14 hours and 8 minutes after taking the start at Ouessant Island off the French coast.

Their time was 3 days 17 hours faster than the 110' catamaran Orange I, the current RTW record holder, achieved to this point in 2002. Watch captain Brian Thompson wrote Tuesday night: "We are blasting along tonight at up to 34 knots, racing ahead of a cold front that is approaching us from behind, the faster we can move, and the longer we can stay in the prefrontal conditions of flatter seas and reaching winds at 120 TWA. We are looking at our best day's run so far for today. We have 2 reefs and the staysail up and 25 to 30 knots of breeze."   more...

 



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Cheyenne Has Another Blast

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At the end of Day 25 of their Round The World record bid, another immensely strong day - 584 miles avg 24.33 kts for their best yet day's run on this trip - has left Steve FOSSETT and crew aboard Cheyenne over 3 days ahead of the record. At their present pace of 24-25 kts every hour, they will cross the longitude of Cape Leeuwin (W Australia) lighthouse (115 8.0E) later today, and expect to break Geronimo's 2003 Ouessant - Cape Leeuwin record (26 days, 5 hrs) by half a day. Innovation Explorer's 2001 Cape of Good-Hope to Cape Leeuwin mark of 7 days 14 hrs also remains just within their sights - if conditions hold throughout Wednesday. Wind speed was still at 32 kts at 0510z today and predicted to remain strong, though slackening a bit later in the day.   more...

 



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Orange II Retires

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Bruno Peyron and his 14-man crew decided last night to temporarily withdraw from the Jules Verne Trophy, because of the technical incident discovered yesterday. "We dove to inspect the damage, took some pictures, analysed the situation with the shipyard, and we have to face the facts: we do not have the possibility to repair the broken part ourselves. We're at 80% of our potential, and it's not possible to tackle such a challenge if we're not at 100%", says Bruno Peyron. Will they take another go at it, later? "It remains an open question, and we wish to study all the possibilities before taking a premature decision. We're coming back to start again, that's for sure! But when, we don't know". Quite frustrating, especially since Didier Quillot (Orange France CEO), Alain Prost and Laura Flessel (who officially launched the boat) were today at the Orange Race HQ for a special audio chat session.   more...


 



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Bill Cabrall: "What an Olympic Campaign Did For Me"

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In Scuttlebutt 1530, Mom explains what it felt like for me to lose the 1984 Star Olympic Trials. She's basically correct, but not entirely. If I'm going to end up in the spotlight for being dead last, here's what I really learned from that year:

Trying for the Olympics was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and an experience that everyone with the dream should attempt. Losing so badly really sucked, and it took incredible amounts of courage to keep going for the whole 10 days to finish the regatta.

When I got back everyone wanted to know if it was 'fun', a question that lingered on for months and was painful to answer. It wasn't 'fun' to watch a dream slowly grind itself into dust. But it was worth it to try. And we did have one perfect leg, the last leg of the last beat of the last race where everything clicked - the boat was fast, the strategy correct, the tactics perfect. That showed me the potential was there, if not the time or the resources.    more...

 



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Orange II diverts

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Tuesday: A worrisome vibration that amplified through the night as Orange II raced south at 29 knots prompted the crew to stop the boat today and send crewmember Vladimir Dzalba-Lyndis, a professional combat diver, overboard to check for damage. He discovered a crack in the fairing that protects the propeller shaft—threatening eventual hull delamination—and skipper Bruno Peyron has diverted toward the volcanic island of Fogo, 90 miles away, to the south of the Cape Verde archipeligo.

Will it be possible for the crew to make underwater repairs and resume their attempt at a round-the-world record? "We do not have any answers at the moment," Peyron said. "We hope to reach Fogo Island before nightfall in order to start working and get a better idea of what chance we have to be back in the race. One thing is for sure, we'll fight till the end, because we have a hard time accepting that our journey can end this way. Unfortunately, we won't know until tomorrow, and meanwhile the clock is ticking."    more...

 



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SORC: Done?

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Just finished SORC yesterday and it was, to say the least, pretty lame. Only 60 boats showed up and more than half were one design (Farr 40 and J105). Race management was pretty dismal, especially on the PHRF-J105 course with most races sailed on skewed one fetch-one reach legs.

The word on the street is that Acura has pulled out as the name sponsor because they are just not getting anything for their money. Octagon Marketing, who has been a big part of the event over the past five years without doing very much, surely will not be brought back and that just might be the move to keep Acura in play at some level. Still the question on lots of sailors' minds is if there even will be a 2005 SORC.

And just when it couldn't get anymore bizarre, Peter Craig of Premiere Racing (can you say Key West Race Week and North Race Week) was seen walking around Sunday with numerous race officials. Could it be that SORC will become an extension of Key West Race Week? Worse things could happen. 
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