MAPFRE set the Volvo Ocean Race bar with overall Leg Zero victory| Volvo Ocean Race

MAPFRE set the Volvo Ocean Race bar with overall Leg Zero victory


Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race


Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race


Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

MAPFRE completed Leg Zero victory while Vestas 11th Hour Racing celebrated a first stage win in another sign of just how competitive this Volvo Ocean Race is shaping up to be (full story below)

Spanish team MAPFRE completed overall Leg Zero victory in the early hours of Wednesday (16 August) and struck the first psychological blow in the build-up to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

But what the Leg Zero series of qualifiers confirmed above all is that all the teams boasting race experience and/or preparation time are extremely closely matched.

The newer teams know they have more work to do, but there are still plenty of positives to take from the progress they have made – and they still have time to close the gap with more than two months to go before the race starts from Alicante on 22 October.

Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing became the third team to grab a victory from four stages in Leg Zero – a series of pre-race qualifying stages for the next edition of the round-the-world race – as they sneaked ahead of MAPFRE in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

With team AkzoNobel also overtaking MAPFRE to grab second place, it was more proof that the leaders will always have to watch their backs.

For experienced teams and new entries alike, Leg Zero has proved to be an extremely valuable test.

The teams faced a variety of conditions, from a rough rounding of the Isle of Wight in conditions that Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari described as ‘almost as hard as the Southern Ocean’; a classic Rolex Fastnet Race; a quick sprint from Plymouth to Saint-Malo and an agonising drift in the leg from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, which eventually led to the stage being split in two and then brought to a premature close at 0430 UTC on Wednesday.

Enright was particularly satisfied to be able to grab an early victory heading into the 2017-18 edition.

“There may never be another one quite like that, but we’ll take it,” said the American. “We’ve been improving every day we spend on the boat together and it’s nice to see that improvement manifest itself in the form of a win.”

First-time skipper Simeon Tienpont on team AkzoNobel said after the series finish: “We knew already it’s close action but definitely learnt how important it is to have the routine on board right and keep everyone focused all the time.”

After months of training together in all conditions MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández is eager for his team to recuperate before attacking the final preparations. “One of the things we have to do now is have a good rest because it has been a lot of work over this last month,” he said. “Then we work on the small details of the boat, do the last push in the gym, make sure everyone is healthy, then be focused on the start.

There will be no rest for British skipper Dee Caffari as Turn the Tide on Plastic – carrying the message of the United Nations Environment Clean Seas campaign – will be running at full speed in order to finalise their crew selection.

They may be playing catch-up but the 50/50 male/female, predominantly youth team, can certainly challenge the rest of the fleet as they proved in the last 48 hours: “To actually lead the fleet in this final stage of Leg Zero was absolutely awesome. The confidence it gave the team, you could see it, and the focus, the intensity, everyone raised their game because they could see the other boats so close.”

via MAPFRE set the Volvo Ocean Race bar with overall Leg Zero victory| Volvo Ocean Race.

MAPFRE set the Volvo Ocean Race bar with overall Leg Zero victory| Volvo Ocean Race

With only 53 days remaining until the start of the Prologue from Lisbon to Alicante, now is the time for the teams to complete their final training at sea, their sponsor engagements and safety training.

These few weeks will be precious for Hong Kong entry Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who had less than a week of training before starting Leg Zero.

Skipper David Witt and his team have years of experience of sailing together and will now redouble their efforts to extract the best from their One Design Volvo Ocean 65.

“The racing on Leg Zero has shown us what we’re strong at, what we’re weak at,” said Witt. “MAPFRE have dominated, they’ve shown everybody how strong they are and they’ve set the bar where we’ve all got to get to. We are not weak in all areas – there are some areas we are quite good at. It’s good to find this out now rather than on Leg 2 of the race. And now we’ve got five weeks to fix, I’ve got a pretty good idea how to fix it and now we’ve just got to get on with it.”

While it’s tempting to label MAPFRE as favourites going into the race, none of the skippers will be taking anything for granted.

“I think Dongfeng is well prepared and they have been working hard all the winter as well,” said MAPFRE’s Xabi. “The new teams, like AkzoNobel, are coming together with some good experience and improving every day they sail together. There is a good mix of crew across Brunel, very experienced and they will be very competitive.”

Charles Caudrelier, whose Dongfeng team finished second overall and won the Volvo Ocean 65 class in the Fastnet, added: “I think I am happy. I think we had a good speed and a good spirit onboard. I’m pretty sure we can do very well.”

Standing on the dock in Alicante in a couple of months’ time, the crews will have 45,000 miles of sailing in front of them – and the knowledge that anything could happen.

Leg Zero, overall final rankings:

1. MAPFRE 29 points

2. Dongfeng Race Team 24

3. Team Brunel 23

4. team AkzoNobel 22

5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 20

6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 13

7. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag 9

via MAPFRE set the Volvo Ocean Race bar with overall Leg Zero victory| Volvo Ocean Race.

Boating Business | A modern rebuild for a classic schooner

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A modern rebuild for a classic schooner

08 Aug 2017

Vagrant has already arrived at the Royal Huisman facilities where it will be rebuilt

A vintage 39m schooner which has fascinated yacht lovers for more than a century is to be rebuilt to preserve it for future prosperity.

Team Huisfit’s task is to fully reconstruct the Herreshoff Vagrant protecting the vessel’s historic value, while re-engineering it with the most modern quality materials and board systems available.

Vagrant has already arrived at the Royal Huisman facilities in Vollenhove where the yacht will be fully stripped.

The rebuild will begin with sandblasting and preservation of the vessel’s 33m, 100-year-old steel hull, after which a new deck and all necessary outfitting will be re-installed.

Dykstra Naval Architects and Rondal will provide the re-rigging of Vagrant’s schooner-rigged sail plan with yankee, staysail, main staysail and queen fisherman, while new Rondal aluminum masts will be constructed for the inside furling of the fisherman and mainsail.

Without compromising on space the engine, generators, heating, air conditioning and more will be smartly concealed behind wooden panels and cabinetry.

Meanwhile, the luxury owner and guest accommodation will be refurbished, while new crew’s quarters will be created by Royal Huisman’s joinery.

The rebuilt Vagrant is scheduled for delivery in 2019.

via Boating Business | A modern rebuild for a classic schooner.

Boating Business | Foldable mast enables easier adjustments and access

Foldable mast enables easier adjustments and access

10 Aug 2017

The Balpha Mast has been developed to be easily raised or lowered

A new foldable mast system will make rigging adjustments, maintenance, repairs, winter storage and transportation easier.

The Balpha Mast has been developed to be easily raised or lowered to avoid heavy weather damage.

Inventor Stuart Balfour developed the mast in collaboration with carbon mast designer Ceilidh Composite Technologies and naval architect Dick Koopmans.

After being fitted onto a 7m traditional Shetland model boat in the Netherlands, the aluminium prototype was tested by Scotland-based Stuart Balfour and his brother Ewen on a journey from Hellevoetsluis to Amsterdam.

The journey was selected for its difficult navigation with a large mast. The vessel also went to the Oosterdok after arriving at Amsterdam Marina and was reported to have navigated both waterways with ease.

The Balpha Mast system will be launched during the HISWA boat show in Amsterdam, beginning 29 September.

via Boating Business | Foldable mast enables easier adjustments and access.

Boating Business | Exclusive Ropeye distributor deal for Harken

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Exclusive Ropeye distributor deal for Harken

10 Aug 2017

Harken is the new worldwide distributor for Ropeye

Harken is to become the exclusive distributor of Ropeye products worldwide.

In the four years since its founding, Ropeye has developed a reputation for innovation and has been the recipient of a DAME award conferred at the annual METSTRADE show.

“We’ve been impressed with Ropeye since it started,” said Matt Malec, Harken’s director of worldwide sales.

“The Ropeye team attacks many of the same engineering challenges we face every day, improving rigging and enabling performance gains.”

The agreement will include collaboration in marketing communications and potentially new product development as well.

Ropeye is an Estonian based manufacturer and R&D company that focuses on textile/carbon high-load and low-weight solutions for racing boats.

via Boating Business | Exclusive Ropeye distributor deal for Harken.

Boating Business | First Aston Martin powerboat is customised and delivered

First Aston Martin powerboat is customised and delivered

14 Aug 2017

The first Aston Martin powerboat has been delivered to its owner

The first Aston Martin powerboat has been delivered to its owner to be berthed in Miami.

The boat was built in the UK by Quintessence Yachts and customised with features including air con, Azius joystick piloting and twin 520hp petrol engines from Mercury Racing giving a top speed of around 50K.

“AM37 is a pure translation of the Aston Martin DNA into an entirely new maritime concept,” explained Aston Martin’s EVP and chief creative officer, Marek Reichman. “The powerboat reflects our values in terms of power, beauty and soul.”

And he added that one of the most important attributes for the craft was to ensure the design was ‘beautiful and timeless’.

Other features include a sliding cockpit cover which can be remotely operated with a mobile app.


Maritime and automotive worlds are fused

Navigation, control monitor and entertainment systems are integrated within a 15in touchscreen in the dashboard, with advanced functions to control the electric anchor, retractable bimini and retractable swim platform.

Extra sound insulation around the engine has been provided to comply with noise regulations on the Swiss lakes. The deck is constructed from carbon fibre.

“By fusing the maritime and automotive worlds with the universal characteristics of style and elegance, AM37 offers the perfect balance of design and engineering, performance and comfort, luxury and functionality,” added Quintessence Yachts CEO Mariella Mengozzi.

The 37ft AM37 made its debut at the Monaco Yacht Show last year, marking Aston Martin’s entry into the nautical market.

The craft is designed by naval architect Mulder Design.

via Boating Business | First Aston Martin powerboat is customised and delivered.

Are you race ready? | Inbrief | e-newsletters | News & Events | RYA

Are you race ready?

Entered a big race? Don’t know where to start with your preparations? Follow the RYA’s ten top tips to get you in the best possible shape for race day…

Embrace your competitive spirit

We’re not talking fair weather boating jaunts – we’re talking racing.  And that means doing everything to ensure that you are making the best of your skills.  So how do you switch your mind set in order to deliver an outstanding performance?

Sailing coach Mark Rushall comments: “Racing puts both physical and mental sailing skills in the spotlight. You’ll need to be more aware of the conditions and able to adapt your sailing style accordingly.  The best sailors treat every race as an opportunity to learn.  Having a plan, an understanding of tactics, the ability to learn from your mistakes and the passion to succeed will take you a long way.”

Make time

Practice makes perfect according to Ian Walker who will be taking over as RYA Director of Racing later in the year . He says: “It’s all about getting time on the water, particularly at a young age. It doesn’t matter what you sail; crewing, helming; all different classes of boat – it doesn’t matter. Just get out there as much as you can and that will improve your feel. It’s no surprise that Ben Ainslie is the first one out on the water and the last one in when training.”

Try different crafts

Rio 2016 Olympian Nicola Groves recommends asking around at your local sailing club and offering to help crew and sail as many types of boats as you can. She adds: “For me, this definitely sped up the learning process. It makes you a better all-round sailor.”

Join a club

Clubs are brilliant environments for nurturing your racing skills. Not only do they give you access to different boats and first-rate training, they also provide regular practise sessions with plenty of support from fellow club members. Most clubs also offer a full racing calendar as well. To find a club near you visit

Get trained

Preparation will get you in the right head space for racing. Perhaps you are new to boating and want to race? RYA courses will help you improve, laying solid foundations to hit the race course. If you’re racing dinghies RYA Start Racing will help you everything you need to know about how to get off the start line and onto the race course.

Even if you are an experienced racer who has never considered any formal training, you may have areas you’d like to improve like how to keep your speed on through a tack. RYA Advanced Racing covers everything from boat preparation to strategy. Whatever your level, there’s always something new to learn. For more information visit:

Know the rules

The rules change all too often – luckily, you can keep up to date with our brilliant selection of racing books in print and digital formats. From the pocket sized rules books to interactive eBooks and attached case books, you can go deeper into the detail – learning how to refine tactics, make correct boat-on-boat decisions and give yourself the best chance of coming out on top in a protest hearing. With detailed explanations in easily digestible formats it’s one way to become an expert, because let’s face it, you can never be too informed. For the full range of books, including RYA The Racing Rules Explained 2017-2020 eBook, visit

Hit the gym

If you are serious about racing, you’ll need a sailing focused fitness regime.

An instructor at your local gym can help you identify areas you need to work on like core strength and cardiovascular training.

Follow the RYA’s top tips on sailing fitness with these handy videos by former RYA British Sports Scientist Tim Jones:

Wear the right kit

The last thing you want is to ‘have all the gear but no idea’. But you do want to feel comfortable, warm and dry, not to mention safe. The RYA has some fantastic deals on famous brands to help make your racing dream more affordable. RYA members have access to over 70 reward partners helping to cut the cost of your boating.  Choose from Crewsaver and Spinlock, to SLAM and Gill; Rooster, Hudson Wight, Bollé and many more.  Join today at

Know your boat

A well-prepared boat has a better chance of winning than those with a dirty bottom and issues with the equipment. Make sure your boat is properly maintained, so if you have to break into sweat to hoist a sail, you may need to check your halyard system. For more tips on big boat racing check out RYA Racing for Yachts and Keelboats and for dinghies try RYA Dinghy Techniques.

Have fun

It sounds obvious, but don’t be so serious about racing that you miss the basic joys of getting out on the water. Olympic gold medallist and four-time Finn Gold Cup winner Giles Scott has this simple advice: “Enjoy sailing, both the sport itself and your achievements along the way. Enjoyment is your fuel to stay engaged in the sport, to be focused on the water and to be a better sailor.”

via Are you race ready? | Inbrief | e-newsletters | News & Events | RYA.

MAPFRE win qualifying sprint from Plymouth to Saint-Malo| Volvo Ocean Race

MAPFRE win qualifying sprint from Plymouth to Saint-Malo


Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race


Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race


Tom Martienssen/Volvo Ocean Race

The Spanish team continued their charge through Leg Zero – the four-part qualifying series for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race – to strengthen their grip on the leaderboard (see more below)

Xabi Fernández and his in-form MAPFRE team claimed their second victory in Leg Zero qualifying with another commanding performance in the build-up to the Volvo Ocean Race.

MAPFRE had a lead of seven nautical miles when they crossed the finish line at 0629 UTC off the iconic French sailing city of Saint-Malo.

Team Brunel took second place in their first race sailing with new recruit Peter Burling, the Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman, whose signing was announced just hours before the fleet’s departure from England’s south coast.

Dongfeng Race Team, the Chinese entry with a French skipper, Charles Caudrelier, completed the podium to maintain their own excellent form in the series – and were followed by Vestas 11th Hour Racing, team AkzoNobel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

MAPFRE’s latest victory was barely in doubt in a race they dominated following a decisive moment shortly after the Plymouth start.

“It’s a very good result for us, and it’s been a really good leg for us from beginning to end,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández.

“We made some good choices going offshore, finding the sea breeze and beating the current, as we watched the other teams struggle with the current. I’m really pleased with our result.”

MAPFRE chose to dive south with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic. The others chose a route down the coast that required an exhausting gybing duel. When the fleet came back together, the offshore option had paid off, and Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team switched sides to choose the southern option with MAPFRE and Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

The fleet then had to negotiate a barrier of light winds that blocked the route. The calms were narrower in the south and the four boats that had invested in this option slowed but continued moving whereas Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag went backwards on the tide, completely becalmed.

After the turning mark by the Needles and a drag race across the English Channel, excitement awaited in the tidal acceleration zone next to the French coast.

Just like stepping onto a moving walkway at the airport, the speeds on every boat jumped from 13 knots to 19 as they were pushed by a river of current in the ocean. From there, MAPFRE were never challenged.

For Burling, it was a first experience of racing onboard a One Design Volvo Ocean 65 – and he said that the short race to France was the perfect introduction to the Volvo Ocean Race.

“It’s been great to get out and race – I have a lot to learn but Leg Zero is a really good way for me to ease into this,” said the Kiwi.

“I think we’re in good stead for the future considering how little training this team has done.”

Leg Zero, stage 3 results, Plymouth to Saint-Malo:

1. MAPFRE elapsed time 0629 UTC

2. Team Brunel 0710

3. Dongfeng Race Team 0719

4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 0728

5. Team AkzoNobel 0732

6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 0835

7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 0908

French sailing fans will now get to see the fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s in the inner harbour before a non-scoring Pro-Am Race on Saturday.

“It’s great to be in Saint-Malo and back in France – the crowds on the dock gave the Volvo Ocean Race fleet an unforgettable welcome,” said Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier.

“This region is the home of French sailing and an iconic town for sailors from all over the world, and it’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm for both Dongfeng and the race as a whole.”

The teams will complete Leg Zero qualifying with a race from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, starting on Sunday at 1050 UTC and with an ETA of Wednesday.

MAPFRE now have a three-point advantage at the top of the Leg Zero standings, with two wins and a runners-up spot from the three races to date. While an overall winner will be declared, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself, which starts on 22 October.

Overall Leg Zero standings after 3 of 4 races:

1. MAPFRE 23 points

2. Team Brunel 20

3. Dongfeng Race Team 19

4. Team AkzoNobel 15

5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 12

6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 9

7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 7

via MAPFRE win qualifying sprint from Plymouth to Saint-Malo| Volvo Ocean Race.

MAPFRE continue Leg Zero dominance in opening act of final stage| Volvo Ocean Race

MAPFRE continue Leg Zero dominance in opening act of final stage DownloadBrian Carlin/Volvo Ocean Race DownloadKonrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race DownloadJen Edney/Volvo Ocean RaceMAPFRE maintained their near-faultless performance in Volvo Ocean Race qualifying – and gave themselves the best possible chance of completing overall victory in the Leg Zero series – as they led the fleet over the finish line on a short opening stage of the final race out of Saint-Malo (full story below)MAPFRE maintained their near-faultless performance in Volvo Ocean Race qualifying – and gave themselves the best possible chance of completing overall victory in the Leg Zero series – as they led the fleet over the finish line on a short opening stage of the final race out of Saint-Malo.Extended periods of extremely light weather meant that the Saint-Malo to Lisbon leg had to be split into two parts.As expected, the Volvo Ocean 65s stayed tightly bunched on the first of those, a drag race towards Le Grand Lejon. Vestas 11th Hour Racing were neck-and-neck with MAPFRE for the lead, with the Spanish side just pipping them to the line.Dongfeng Race Team grabbed third ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel. Preliminary unofficial results gave Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Team Brunel the same time, with less than a mile between the first and last teams in the seven-boat fleet.Now that the teams have completed their ‘Sunday drive’ – a 25nm sprint in just 10 knots – they can prepare for the restart which will begin from Chaussé de Sein at 0900 UTC on Monday. It will be a staggered start based on the finishing deltas from Sunday.The fleet will start with light south easterlies that will quickly die and then come back from the west. This will be a critical transition to manage as the whole race course will favour the leaders and punish the stragglers.The fleet will negotiate the passage of a cold front early Tuesday morning and the new wind will set them up for a downwind drag race towards Cape Finisterre, the northwestern tip of Spain. It will be a race for their competitive lives – with light winds chasing them as a ridge of high pressure again pushes into the normally tempestuous Bay of Biscay.”Leg Zero has been really good for us,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández, whose team have won two out of the three races completed so far. “Saint-Malo to Lisbon is the last stop so it’s not quite over yet but I’m so happy with the team, the boat… Everything seems to be working out.”After negotiating the narrow channel between Cape Finisterre and the out-of-bounds shipping channel, they’ll have a pretty simple run down the Portuguese coast. There’s no major strategic play here, just pure speed before a handbrake turn into the Tagus river and the finish in downtown Lisbon.“You only enter races to win – but the forecast is flukey so everything’s on the table,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright. “Everyone’s expectation is to be competitive and to continue to refine the areas that we realise need work.”Overall standings after 3 of 4 completed races in Leg Zero:1. MAPFRE 23 points2. Team Brunel 203. Dongfeng Race Team 194. team AkzoNobel 155. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 126. Turn the Tide on Plastic 97. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 7While an overall winner will be declared, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself, which starts on 22 October from Alicante.

via MAPFRE continue Leg Zero dominance in opening act of final stage| Volvo Ocean Race.

Web Ready Video Package: America’s Cup hero Peter Burling steps up to new sporting competition| Volvo Ocean Race

Web Ready Video Package: America’s Cup hero Peter Burling steps up to new sporting competition


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Duration: 01:37

Rights: copyright free for editorial use only (video package and text)

New Zealand sailing hero Peter Burling, who won the 35th America’s Cup for New Zealand in a hotly contested final against the USA team in Bermuda in June this year, is stepping up to take on the Volvo Ocean Race. With two Olympic medals in hand already (gold in Rio 2016 and silver in London 2012), the America’s Cup win elevated Burling to a national sporting hero.

Now Burling, aged 26, will race in the toughest test of a team in professional sport, the Volvo Ocean Race. This will be a totally different challenge for Burling – a daunting switch from competing in America’s Cup races that last just 20 minutes to racing 24/7, weeks on end, across the oceans. In total, the Volvo Ocean Race covers 45,000 nautical miles, which is just over 83,000 kms, around the world, in a competition lasting eight months.

Burling is joining Team Brunel, skippered by Dutch sailing legend, Bouwe Bekking who is looking for a victory that has eluded him so far in seven previous participations in the race. “Round-the-world ocean racing has always excited me and I’m stoked to be part of Team Brunel on this epic edition,” Burling said. “I can’t wait to be thrown into the challenge of extreme offshore racing and broaden my skills and sailing experience.”

In a twist of fate, his Olympic partner and America’s Cup crewmate Blair Tuke is racing on another Volvo Ocean Race entry, the Spanish team MAPFRE, making them competitors as opposed to team mates this time.

Burling steps on board Team Brunel for the first time today (Thursday) as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet race from Plymouth (UK) to Saint-Malo (France) in Leg Zero, a qualifier for the race itself.

The Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante, Spain on October 22, with seven teams confirmed so far.

via Web Ready Video Package: America’s Cup hero Peter Burling steps up to new sporting competition| Volvo Ocean Race.