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While the massed ranks of the Transat Jacques Vabre and Mini Transat fleets are still waiting for suitable weather windows to respectively begin and restart their respective transatlantic adventures from Europe, Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli have the hammer fully down aboard the monster trimaran Spindrift 2 on their Discovery Route record attempt.
At 40 metres long, Spindrift 2 (formerly Banque Populaire) is the largest racing trimaran in the world currently.
Guichard and Bertarelli along with 12 other hand picked offshore experts set off on from Cadiz in south western Spain on Wednesday October 30 shortly before 15.20 GMT. Their destination port is San Salvador in the Bahamas but the Discovery Route course (mimicking the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his way to discover America) took them east of the North Atlantic’s Canary Islands.
After a long period of relative silence the Volvo Ocean Race has today announced the third team to confirm their entry for the 2014-15 edition of the race around the world: Chinese syndicate Team Dongfeng.
The Chinese entry will be managed by Mark Turner’s OC Sport - the organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series - and backed by the Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle organisation - one of China’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers.
Team Director Bruno Dubois - also head of North sails in France - announced the launch of the new campaign in the Hubei province city of Wuhan on today and said his first priority was to find a number of Chinese sailors good enough to represent their country as part of the race crew.
Oracle Team USA today retained the America's Cup with a thrilling come from behind victory in the final do or die deciding race in San Francisco.
In the end their upwind foiling technique was once again what made the difference, enabling them to power past the Kiwis upwind and turn a three second deficit at the leeward gate into a 26 second lead at the end of the beat and a 44 second winning margin at the finish.
ETNZ had grabbed the early advantage off the start to hold the controlling inside berth at the first turing mark and lead for the entire downwind leg. Oracle were hot on their heels however - less than a boat length directly behind at times - and when the teams split at the leeward gate there was just three seconds between them.
As soon as the boats turned upwind Oracle's upwind foiling technique came to the fore and the American boat quickly began to make gains. Less than halfway up the leg they were ahead and beginning to extend their lead.
It would be easy to feel sorry for Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. Having been eight to one up in the 34th America's Cup Final series a week or so ago, he now finds himself on the brink of leading one of the biggest chokes in yachting or in fact any sporting contest.
One thing is for sure though, although he is clearly feeling the weight of his nation's expectations weighing on his shoulders, Barker himself is not looking for any sympathy whatsoever.
Far from it, in fact. Instead, he remains as typically pragmatic as he has been since he arrived in San Francisco; winning or losing, he has always maintained a reserved, understated and almost shy demeanour when facing the media.
Today, he let his guard down a little by not speaking to the TV commentators after losing for the second time to Oracle, but he was back to regular form soon after as he fronted up to take one to one questions after today's press conference.
Here is what Barker had to say about the situation the Kiwis have found themselves in and what their chances are of finding a way to out do them tomorrow.
Podcast versions of our exclusive sailor interviews.
Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies talks about a frustrating tenth day of racing in the 34th America's Cup which saw the Kiwi team - who need just a single point to win the Cup - build up a massive lead over their rivals Oracle Team USA in the first race of the day, only to find they were out of time; and squander an early lead in the re-sail to allow Oracle to close to within five points.
The day after British Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie got the call up to sub in as tactician for Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Final series, we sat down with him at the American syndicate's team base at San Francisco's Pier 80.
We started by asking whether Ainslie had enjoyed his first experience of America's Cup Final action, despite having lost both races yesterday. We also quiz Ainslie on what he thinks Oracle can do now to switch the momentum against the dominant Emirates Team New Zealand squad and what being the first Brit in decades to race in an AC final might do for his chances of raising enough money for a credible British syndicate in the future.
After watching Oracle Team USA gift Emirates Team New Zealand a critical victory in race five of the 34th America's Cup after a tactical and crew handling foul up whilst leading and then chose to use up their postponement card in an effort to regroup, we ask have we seen the last of Oracle Team USA tactician John Kostecki in this America's Cup and if so could we see a late call up for British Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie?
We speak first to Kiwi tactician Ray Davies to get his perspective on their victory in today's race five; and then to TV New Zealand commentator and professional sailor Peter Lester to try to assess how much trouble Oracle Team USA are in and what options they have left.
Full content listings for our free monthly iPad magazine editions.
In the July 2013 edition: Bob Fisher: America's Cup in turmoil; Life on board the AC72; Artemis Racing: the long road back; Ian Gotts: is the Youth AC what the spectators want to see?; Mark Turner: the godfather of grandstand sailing; Andy Rice: Alpari World Match Racing Tour; Paul Larsen: What's next for the King of Speed?; Andy Rice: Olympic classes one year on.
In the June 2013 edition: Obituary: Andrew 'Bart' Simpson; Grant Dalton: ETNZ in San Francisco; Patrizio Bertelli: makes Luna Rossa's presence known; Jack Griffin : The AC72 design battle; Ian Walker: the irresistible lure of one-design; Jack Lloyd: Volvo Race Director; Peter Bayer: the future of IMOCA; Ken Read: President of North Sail Group; Ian Gotts: Training secrets of the professionals; Last Run: Ben Ainslie's JP Morgan BAR sets new UK round the island record.
In the May Issue: Russell Coutts: Oracle Team USA launch second boat; Knut Frostad: preparing for 2014-15; Richard Brisius: Team SCA Update; Sam Davies: the life of a Team SCA new recruit; Paul Goodison: Olympic time out; Charlie McKee: US Sailing High Performance Director; Mark Ivey: Gold Star coach; Sam Goodchild: takes on the French; Clipper’s new 70 footer; Pilote Media: ‘Get Sponsored’ webinar series; Michael Menninger: American Youth Sailing Force; Chris Cameron: shooting the big cats.
In the April Issue: Neil Cox on the potential of Volvo’s new one-design; Walker and Boag bring Abu Dhabi back for round two; The toughest reporting job in the world?; Cool Runnings?; Tiptoeing through the minefield; Loick Peyron: Artemis Racing’s Swiss Army Knife; Darren Bundock: Time and motion aboard Oracle Team USA’s AC72; Managing the daily grind; Oracle Team USA’s Brad Webb: the changing role of an AC bowman; Red Bull’s AC Young Guns go for it!; Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Gold Route Record; Maserati’s Mod Job; Cheaper, simpler IRC TCCs a fix for declining racing numbers?; The 45 Knot Gybe.
A selection of feature articles from past magazine editions.
The America's Cup has always been a hotbed of rumour, intrigue, allegations of behind the scenes dodgy deals and even flat out accusations of cheating. On that basis at least, the opening few days of the 34th America's Cup has been no different to those which have gone before. We had delayed our publication date in an attempt to bring you some indication of the Italian and New Zealand teams' relative form based on their first scheduled encounter.
With only two weeks to go to the Opening Ceremony (as this is written), the America’s Cup is in turmoil. The disastrous accident to Artemis has resulted in the proposal to change 37 safety regulations and these don’t happen overnight. Without them, the necessary permit to race on San Francisco Bay may not be forthcoming. So a “giddy-up” was needed, but will that be enough to prevent the outcome being determined on a “last man standing” basis?
Artemis Racing's struggle to compete in the 34th America's Cup was always going to be a tough one. The task of modifying their second boat to get it foiling, load testing it, launching it and working it up to a safe race ready state, is a gargantuan one and has required the dedication and commitment of the entire sailing and non-sailing team. We hear from CEO Paul Cayard and helmsman Nathan Outteridge how the fight back is progressing.
The increasing volume of dissent about the America’s Cup all but drowned out the hype and excitement of the July 4th celebrations and opening ceremony. In the build up, the City bought into the dream of a summer of spectacular racing just off the City front between several teams, believing it would be a huge draw for millions of spectators. Could the Red Bull Youth America's Cup turn out to be the spectacle those spectators were expecting?
34th America's Cup: Bob Fisher: America's Cup in turmoil; Life on board the AC72; Artemis Racing: the long road back; Ian Gotts: is the Youth AC what the spectators want to see? Features: Mark Turner: the godfather of grandstand sailing; Andy Rice: Alpari World Match Racing Tour; Paul Larsen: What's next for the King of Speed?; Andy Rice: Olympic classes one year on.