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Vestas 11th Hour Racing have won Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finish line in the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday afternoon.

Written by Peter Rusch

It's a tremendous victory for American skipper Charlie Enright and his team, who earn 8 points for their efforts (including a one point 'bonus' for winning the leg).

© Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race© Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race

It wasn't easy. The wind shut down on the final approach, and an early morning lead of 34-nautical miles over second-placed MAPFRE was whittled down to 10-miles, with the finish in sight, but the current in the river even pushing the leaders back out to sea in some of the lulls.

But the crew on the Vestas boat held their nerve, tacking first up and then down, zigzagging towards the line, into agonisingly light headwinds.

"It's incredible," said Mark Towill, Team Director, from on board the boat moments before the finish.

"What a way to kick off the event. it's been an incredible performance for the team... It's been a challenging leg. We still have a lot to improve and long way to go... Today is our day, we'll enjoy it, but then we have to get back to work and focus on the next leg."

Charlie Enright is the third American skipper to win Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The others were John Kostecki, on illbruck in 2001-02, and Paul Cayard on EF Language in 1997-98.

Both of those teams went on to an overall victory – so the omens for Charlie Enright are certainly good.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing – which carries US and Danish flags – are the first American flagged team to win Leg 1. They are also the first Danish team to win a leg.

"We try not to get too high or too low," Enright said just after crossing the line. "We want to keep coming to work every day hungry to improve... one of the things we were focusing on was our decision making and communications on board and that's coming along well... But there's a lot of work to be done. We won't rest on our laurels!"

The light conditions near the shore are forecast to slow the pace of the Spanish MAPFRE team, which is expected to finish some two hours behind the winners.

We'll have reaction and stories from all of the teams as the finish Leg 1 and arrive into Lisbon.

Leg 1 – Results – Saturday 28 October (Day 7)
1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED -- 14:08.45 UTC
2. MAPFRE + 9.3 nm
3. Dongfeng Race Team +20.3
4. team AkzoNobel +24.1
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +44.2
6. Team Brunel +66.4
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +67.3 

Kay Cottee inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame

October 28, 2017
Kay Cottee AO, the first woman to perform a single-handed, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation of the world is to be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame (ASHOF). In its inaugural year, the ASHOF will induct seven of Australia’s greatest sailing individuals and teams this Friday, 3 November in Sydney.

An initiative of Australian Sailing in partnership with the Australian National Maritime Museum, the ASHOF was established to recognize the greats of Australian Sailing. According to the highly regarded Selection Panel, Cottee has achieved at the highest level in our sport.

“Kay Cottee AO inspired generations of female sailors when she became the first woman to sail unassisted, non-stop around the globe via both hemispheres,” said the Selection Panel in announcing her induction. “To this day, Cottee remains an inspiration to people of all generations across the globe.”

Born in 1954, Cottee circumnavigated the globe in her 37 foot (11 m) yacht Blackmores First Lady in 1988. Her extraordinary feat was made even more remarkable by the fact that she completed it at a time when modern GPS was in its infancy.

Cottee’s circumnavigation was eastbound from Sydney, Australia and took her around the five great capes in the southern ocean. Departing Sydney she headed south of New Zealand, across the Pacific Ocean, around infamous Cape Horn and then north to cross the equator and round St Peter and St Paul Rocks in the North Atlantic. From there Kay headed south again and rounded the Cape of Good Hope before crossing the Indian and Great Southern Oceans on her way home around the southern tip of Tasmania. She then turned north for the final long run up the east coast of Australia to Sydney.

Cottee spent more than six months alone at sea. She started out on November 29, 1987, and after sailing for 189 days, 0 hours and 32 minutes she finished on June 5, 1988. Her voyage saw her log 22,100 miles at an average speed of 116.93 miles per day. The voyage was completed without touching land, and without any form of outside aid apart from radio contact.

Fitzgibbon & Tesch to be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame

November 1, 2017
Australia’s back to back Paralympic sailing gold medallists, Daniel Fitzgibbon OAM and Liesl Tesch AM will be inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame this week at a ceremony in Sydney. The duo were also recently given Honorary RPAYC Membership at the RPAYCs Sesquicentennial Gala Dinner. . 

“In 2016 Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch became the first Australian sailing team/crew to defend a gold medal at either the Olympics or Paralympics. Their determination and sheer hard work is testament to what can be achieved despite life’s challenges,” said the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame Selection Panel on the announcement of their induction.

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Fitzgibbon (born 1976) and Tesch (born 1969) created history when they become the first ever crew to win back-to-back Paralympic Gold medals in sailing in the SKUD 18 class. Their achievement of winning gold medals in both London and Rio also made them the first Australian sailing team or crew to defend an Olympic or Paralympic gold medal.

The pair came together with vastly different backgrounds. Fitzgibbon, a lifetime sailor, had Olympic aspirations but an accident at the age of 21 left him a quadriplegic. Despite his disability, he returned to the sport and in 2008 went on to represent Australia at the Beijing Paralympic Games, where he won a Silver medal alongside sailing partner Rachael Cox, in the Paralympic SKUD 18 class.

The desire to go one better saw Fitzgibbon team up with an unlikely crewmate – five-time Paralympian and wheelchair basketball champion Liesl Tesch. Impressed with her form in the 2009 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Daniel convinced Liesl to make the move to sailing, and after less than a month training together they won their first ever competition at the Sailing World Cup in Miami. Then followed a win at the Sailing World Cup Weymouth event and two World Championship bronze medals.

The pair trained hard and quickly established a reputation as the team to beat in the Paralympic SKUD 18 class. Their gold medal winning performance at the London 2012 Paralympic Games came despite tough competition from the US and UK, combined with the tragic passing of Liesl’s mother on day one of the Games. The pair won Australia’s first gold medal at the event, their dominant performance assuring them of the Gold medal on the second last day of racing.

However, it was on the challenging waters off Rio that Fitzgibbon and Tesch created history. By winning their second gold medal in the SKUD 18, they became the first crew to win ‘back-to-back’ Paralympic gold medals. Again, they dominated the SKUD 18 fleet, wrapping up the gold medal with two races to spare.

RPAYC's Stacey Jackson is one of two women on Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Volvo Ocean Race 1 Winners

Stacey Jackson is one of two women on a nine-person crew for Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the Volvo Ocean Race, which began last week.
JAMES BLAKE / VOLVO OCEAN RACE
JAMES BLAKE / VOLVO OCEAN RACEJAMES BLAKE / VOLVO OCEAN RACE
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY (New York Times)
OCTOBER 27, 2017

Sailing successfully around the world is no guarantee of gainful employment in the sport.

Stacey Jackson returned home to Australia in 2015 from the last Volvo Ocean Race short on sleep but long on experience. She applied for a job as a boat captain for a sailing team.

“I was turned down at the last minute when they realized Stacey Jackson was a female’s name,” she said. “They even said it to me over the phone, and I just thought, I don’t get more qualified for this job than this very minute.”

But Jackson did get a job offer in August because she was a qualified woman. It came from Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team in the Volvo Ocean Race. It was late enough in the recruiting process for this year’s race that Jackson had lost hope.

“I had probably already given up a couple months previous,” she said. “It was a lay day of a regatta I was doing in Hamilton Island in Australia. And my phone rang at 7 a.m., and I was like, ‘Who rings someone at 7 a.m. on a lay day?’ But when I saw it said, ‘Charlie Enright,’ I picked up.”

She was soon part of the crew and part of a new initiative to make women an integral part of the Volvo Ocean Race, one of the world’s most extreme and prestigious sailing events. The move is also aimed at attracting more female fans to a sport whose base of support remains predominantly male.

The around-the-world race, formerly known as the Whitbread, was first held in 1973, but this is the first time the rules allow a team to race with a larger crew if it sails with a mixed-gender crew instead of an all-male one.

All seven teams that started the race last week in Alicante, Spain, have capitalized on the rule change, and Jackson, 34, is one of 16 women taking part in the first leg. Eight of them, including Jackson, were on the all-female Team SCA in the last race. Others are race rookies, including Martine Grael, the daughter of the former Volvo Ocean Race champion Torben Grael. Martine Grael was one of the Brazilian stars of the 2016 Olympics, where she won gold in the 49er FX class.

The women are playing a wide range of roles onboard in the first leg: steering, grinding, stacking and selecting sails and helping to plot strategy.

2017 ACT Optimist Championships and Travellers Trophy 3

The Canberra Optimist Regatta is one of the most popular regatta’s of the year for both the sailors and the parents. Racing is held from the Canberra Yacht Club in the Nation’s Capital on the waters of Lake Burley Griffin. Team RPAYC had 9 Open

Optis and 9 Intermediate Optis attend the regatta, which again made RPAYC the most attended club. The majority of the RPA families all stayed together in Kingston at some serviced apartments and enjoyed plenty of social activity after racing on the Saturday evening. 

Saturday was clear and sunny and the afternoon had a NNW wind forecast of 10 – 12 knots predicted. The forecast proved to be correct and racing got underway on time and 4 races were run in the afternoon. The top mark proved very tricky for some with the mark being laid close to an island and very large wind shifts occurring near the mark. In the first Intermediate race of the day, Markus Sampson from RPA had a huge lead at the first bottom mark and rounded the bottom mark to starboard instead of port. Just about every Intermediate boat followed the same way until the first Open boat had started lapping and went the right way. To avoid the confusion and congestion at the bottom mark, the next day the race committee added a gate as the bottom rounding marks.

Whilst the racing is on, this regatta does not require ribs to be taken to the event as racing is held right in front of the club. Parents are able to enjoy the afternoon sitting in a camping chair, watching the racing through binoculars, eating fresh fish and chips, and sipping on the odd beer or wine.

Sunday the forecast was for stronger winds and the wind had shifted more to the west and was much stronger with gusts to 20 knots and the lulls well under 10 knots. Again racing got underway on time and another 4 races were held in gusty conditions, however this was the most consistent any of us had seen the wind in Canberra for the last 3 -4 years we have all been attending this regatta. Racing was completed around 3:30pm allowing time to pack up, attend the presentation and leave Canberra around 4:30pm for the easy drive home.

For any new Green Fleet sailors looking to take on their first regatta, the Canberra regatta is definitely one to consider, easy going and the racing very close to shore. It is also a very social regatta with other team members from RPAYC and always great fun. The regatta is held late October each year.

My Journey to the Asian and Oceanian Championships in Hong Kong.

Bella Green, journey to the Asian & Oceanian Championship in HGK. 

In January straight after Christmas 2017, I travelled to Adelaide, for the Australian Open and International Optimist Championships at Largs Bay Sailing Club. There were 263 Opti's competing at this event, including 33 sailors from 8 countries including Germany, France, Singapore, USA, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Finland. This was the largest overseas contingent ever at this event. Sailors at nationals compete to sail the final races in gold fleet, and I qualified through to the gold fleet final, whilst I was the third placed girl for the whole event, a couple of disappointing races on the final racing day of the regatta saw me slip to 5th place girl, (2nd placed NSW Girl).

By virtue of my results, I was selected into the Australian Optimist Sailing Team (a mix of the top boys and girls in the country) selection into the AOST qualified me to represent Australia, at the Asian/Oceanian Championships at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in October 2017.

My preparation for this regatta was somewhat interrupted by my obligation to compete for my high school in snow skiing over winter, (I had a great season finishing as state champion in skier cross and 4th nationally in Giant Slalom).

My last day of competition on the snow was the weekend before we travelled to Hong Kong, so I left all the organization to my dad, even if I wasn’t skiing this would be normal for me J.

The regatta started on Monday the second of October, but we flew up to Hong Kong on Thursday 28th for early boat preparation (I was using a charter boat) and some acclimatization.

The plane journey was uneventful except my dad managed to convince the flight attendant to give me some Qantas business class pajamas, my favorite PJs! The journey from the airport to the hotel was somewhat more interesting on the local Hong Kong subway with my mast boom sails and baggage, but we finally made it to the hotel checked in and managed dinner with the team.

Sailing World Cup Round 1: Gamagori, Japan

The first round of the 2017/18 Sailing World Cup was held in Gamagori, Japan on the 15th – 22nd October. We arrived a few days before the event to allow us to get some 470 Class training in and to ensure our boat and equipment was all ready to go. We were expecting warm, light conditions and were greeted with moderate temperatures and endless rain. The competition was incredibly high quality, with 15 of the 24 teams ranked inside the top 20 in the world. 

The first day of the event went off without any issues, with a light breeze filling in after a short postponement ashore. Day 2 saw only 1 race being completed and saw us achieving our first top 10 result of the regatta.

It was expected that we would be getting 3 races on day 3 to make up for the race lost on the previous day but the race committee was thrown a curve ball and we ended up with no racing, leaving us even further behind schedule.

After the unexpected day off we were obviously a bit too keen to get back to racing with a UFD in the first race of day 4. Unfortunately, this was then followed up with a DSQ in race 5 after a close port starboard incident, leaving us with two 25ths on our scorecard.

2017 Member Survey Terms and Conditions

The 2017 Member Survey has been sent to all Members over the age of 18. Your feedback is important and will contribute to further improving the Club for the benefit of all members.

The Admiral’s Cup Anniversary Regatta has already outgrown expectations

The Admiral’s Cup Anniversary Regatta has already outgrown expectations, as David Salter reports.Mercedes III hard running on the Solent during the 1967 Admiral’s CupMercedes III hard running on the Solent during the 1967 Admiral’s Cup

When an informal committee of offshore veterans first met six months ago to put flesh on the bones of a Classic Yacht Association of Australia idea to hold some form of a regatta to mark the 50th anniversary of Australia’s first win in the Admiral’s Cup, their aim was to attract a fleet of 10 yachts.

It now seems likely that more than twice that number will take part in the event to be sailed in Sydney on December 1, 2 and 3.

“What most of us believed would be not much more than a few nostalgic toddles around the Harbour has taken on a real life of its own”, says regatta chairman David Champtaloup. “We’ve been amazed by the response.

“Boats are coming from as far away as Queensland and Tasmania to join the Sydney and Pittwater entrants. There are already around 20 solid entries with a few more expected. Old crews are getting back together. It promises to be quite an event.”

Jointly hosted by the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, CYCA and RSYS, and with continuing support vfrom the Classic Yacht Association of Australia, the regatta comprises two around-the-buoys harbor races and one short offshore. The specially commissioned first place trophies for each race are named after the three members of Australia’s victorious 1967 team – Balandra, Mercedes III and Caprice of Huon.

Caprice and Mercedes III will compete in the 50th Anniversary Regatta, however Balandra is still being restored in Tasmania.

Entry is open to any yacht that represented Australia in the Admiral’s Cup or contested the selection trials. The illustrious old ocean racers that will be racing in December include Love & War, Kingurra, Syonara, Mister Christian, Camille, Vittoria, Sagacious V, Impetuous, Spirit of Koomooloo (the first Ragamuffin) and the original Wild Oats.

They will be competing against Mercedes IV, Too Impetuous, Black Magic, Auric’s Quest, Apollo VI and Salacia II. In addition, Lorita Maria and Anitra V have been invited to join the fleet in recognition of the enormous contributions made to Australia’s Admiral’s Cup challenges by Norman Rydge and the Halvorsen brothers.

2017 Laser Radial Youth Worlds Medemblik, Holland

Youth Competition Report from Nathan Byrant on this Laser Radial Youth Worlds experience in Medemblik, Holland. 

This year I was fortunate enough to have the chance to head to Holland and take part in my first Radial Regatta representing Australia, an opportunity that I am honoured to have had.

On arrival, I headed down to the sailing club in Medemblik where we had chartered a boat for the series. I had travelled with my lines and fittings from my laser in Australia and my first task was to try and replicate my laser set up from home. Once that was complete I went straight into training for a week prior to the regatta. On the first two days, we trained with Laura Baldwin and then we were joined by Tristan Brown my coach from Australia. The weather was light to moderate breeze and medium chop which was great to work with when settling into a new sailing spot. These training days were so useful as often at the end of a session we would rack up and race with as many as 50 international boats on the start line, such great practice prior to the regatta starting. This is something we don’t often get the chance to do at home in Australia.

A few days later we had our measurement day which went through fine although there was lot of speculation about it beforehand. I have noticed every country and regatta seems to be just slightly different on these measurement days despite it being a one design boat! Every race office and club management team have their own systems they like to work with!

Once racing started the wind was really light and fluky so it was tough out there on the water but I managed to get 6th in one of the races which I was very happy with. The second day we found ourselves waiting around all morning into early afternoon as the wind had gone completely, eventually racing was called off for the day. This meant we only had 3 days racing for the qualifiers which was a shame.

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About RPAYC

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC is a yacht racing and sailing club based on Pittwater.

The yacht club offers year round inshore and offshore racing, cruising, centreboard dinghy racing, sail training and courses plus has a large marina accommodating up to 352 vessels.

There is also a modern boatyard with comprehensive marine services to help maintain your vessel.

Membership, including family membership is now available.

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