Monday, February 28, 2011

A Very Busy Sailing Report

What an exciting time to be following the sport of sailing… so much has been happening that it is hard to keep track of it all.

By Sean McQuilken
Special to the Daily Boater

The America's Cup in San Francisco. Photo: © Gilles Martin-Raget / americascup.com
The dates for the America’s Cup 2011-2012 World Series were announced; this event will be sailed on the AC 45 Catamaran. The venues will be announced soon but speculation is that there will be at least one event in the following areas:
Europe (probably Valencia, Spain or Italy), Asia, Northeastern US (probably Newport), Australia or New Zealand and finally San Francisco.
Race Dates and More Sailing News
I am not going to list all of the dates here but the first event is July 16-24, 2011 and last one is May 19-27, 2012. There will be a total of eight events, with each lasting nine days plus a couple days on each end for unpacking and repacking the boats and support equipment.

USA 17 Arrives in San Fran
In other America's Cup news, the ship carrying USA 17 arrived at San Francisco's Pier 80 at 0630 local time Monday morning; her and her support equipment will be unloaded in the next few days and stored on Pier 80 until the team decides what to do with her. Ironically with the wingsail up she is too tall to fit under the famed Golden Gate Bridge. Rumor has it that she will be getting a soft sail rig on a shorter mast to allow her to sail both in the harbor and outside of it to do promotional sails in 2012 and 2013. One thing is for sure and that is that she has definitely earned her place in the history books. She is the fastest boat to ever compete for the oldest trophy in international sports and at 223 feet high has the largest wing ever constructed. She is also a testament to the quality and capabilities of the boat building and aerospace industries in the United States.

Around the Horn
On February 21st, 2011 American Brad Van Liew set a record of his own, becoming the first American to round the infamous Cape Horn three times solo while racing. This rounding puts Brad in an elite group of sailors. This record is not likely to be surpassed anytime soon as there are only a few Americans who race solo, most notable Bruce Schwab, Rich Wilson and the late Mike Plant. Said Brad on rounding the horn"....Then things began to abate as forecast and after a day of gybing to the Islas de Hornos I got the payoff. I got to pass by the famous outcropping within a few miles at sunset under a mellow 20 knots reaching along with a beautiful southern sky coming and going with the rock bathed in periodic sunshine and even a rainbow. The picture perfect moment for my 3rd time around the infamous landmark." As I write this Brad is about 200 miles from the finish in Punta del Este Uruguay, as long as nothing major goes wrong Brad will finish leg three of the Velux 5 Oceans within the next 48 hours and will probably win the leg. About 250 miles behind him is a three-way battle for second-fourth and at one point a couple of the competitors were within sight of each other after sailing about 7000 miles. This battle is going to be a good one to watch and has the potential to come down to the final miles.

Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the year
And last but not least the winners of the 2010 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year were announced on February 25th, 2011. "Established in 1961 by US SAILING and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, the annual presentation of US SAILING's Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport's ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. Over its history the coveted award has been presented to 39 men and 32 women." This year's Yachtsman award was presented to Stan Honey for navigating the French trimaran Groupoma 3 to a new Jules Verne trophy record of 48 days 7 hours and 45 minutes for the fastest ever nonstop circumnavigation of the globe under sail. They averaged 19 knots for 22,000 nautical miles, a very impressive run.  "It’s a humbling experience to be included on this Rolex Yachtsman of the Year list of legends,” stated Honey, who in 2005/06 also was the winning navigator aboard ABN Amro One in the Volvo Ocean Race, “and a tribute to all transoceanic sailors and navigators in our sport. I also think it is a unique characteristic of sailing that we can pursue it throughout our lives and be honored, at age 55, with an award like this.”

Anna Tunnicliffe received the Yachtswoman of the Year award for consistent top finishes on the women's match racing circuit. “There were so many great nominees on the list this year, that to be picked is a great honor,” said Tunnicliffe, who is the first woman in the award’s history to earn it three years in a row. “We had some great regattas this year, and we tried to come out of each one having learned at least one thing, so we could keep the fun factor involved and continue to pursue the dream of bringing home Olympic Gold in 2012."

On behalf of the Daily Boater and our partner sites I would like to extend congratulations to all of the nominees and especially to the award winners.

That’s all for this week’s report. Stay tuned to the Daily Boater for more sailing news.