The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a highly rated offshore classic, often mentioned in the same breath as the Rolex Fastnet, The Rolex Sydney – Hobart and Newport-Bermuda as a “must do” race.
The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club co-founded the race in 1968 and 2014 will be the 35rd Edition. The event’s fascination is largely drawn from its alluring, 608-nautical-mile racecourse – a rigorous anti-clockwise loop around Sicily which introduces numerous “corners” that present changing and complex meteorological shifts. The route includes the deep azure waters around Sicily including the Aeolian and Egadi Islands, as well as Pantelleria and Lampedusa. One of the most stunning vistas is Stromboli, the active volcano which is a course mark.
2014 marks the first year that the R/P 72 Shockwave has participated in the race. Having won this years Caribbean 600 and Newport-Bermuda Race, Shockwave is looking to build on its impressive offshore record. As with past races, Doyle Sailmakers founder Robbie Doyle will be sailing with the team on Shockwave as the stratitician.
Q: As the stratitician on board Shockwave, can you compare this race to any other? The Around Britain race? What is it about this race that will be unique?
A. I have more work to prepare for the race, but from what I have read to date I don’t see it comparable to any other race that I have done. The time of year in which it is raced means the weather can be almost anything. Unlike some other races like the Newport-Bermuda Race (where we had a very precise weather forecast narrowed in), we are setting the boat up for any eventuality which means we will carry a maximum number of sails and accept the penalty for rig adjustment.
Q. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is deemed to have unsurpassed scenery with its course, taking competitors close to a number of islands within the Maltese archipelago, which form marks on the course. Ted Turner described the MSR as “the most beautiful race course in the world”. However, the islands must pose some serious navigational challenges. Is there anything else about this race that is a potential challenge like the proximity to Africa, the northeast tip of Sicily and the western area called Favignana – will this be different than say the Newport Bermuda – in what way?
A. Navigationally this race is very challenging. Unlike Bermuda where you have an open ocean, but some artificial gates such as the most desirable point to enter the Gulf Stream, this Race has real gates such as the Straights of Messina that is only 1.6 nm wide, and can have 4 knots of current running through it. One needs to position themselves to take maximum advantage of the current, or to avoid the worst of the currents.
It has strong tidal currents that vary massively producing eddies and a bubbling effect in the water known locally as Bastardi’s. Rounding Islands is always tricky as there are always local effects, particularly when rounding high lands such as Strombolini Volcano.
Q. Shockwave has enjoyed a remarkable season with winning the Caribbean 600, the first-to-finish, as well as overall winner in the Gibbs Hill Division, during the Newport Bermuda race, winning your class in the Regata Copa del Rey in Spain, and enjoying a full season of racing in Europe. Is the Middle Sea Race the last of the season for Shockwave. What’s next?
A. Its our final race for this season. We will begin next season with Key West Race Week in January, then the Jamaica Race, and then back to Europe.
Q. This year’s race entry currently stands at more than 123 participants, up from the 99 participants last year. Is there something about this year’s event that is different? Is the playing field changing/evolving and in what way?
A. My feeling is Ocean Racing is making a comeback all around the world. I feel yachtsman are a bit tired of too many around the buoy racing and are looking for the adventure and experience that only offshore racing can bring.
Doyle Sailmakers is proud to be involved in the inaugural J/70 Worlds in Newport, R.I., running from September 8-13 at the New York Yacht Club. Many of our Doyle customers and sailmakers will be competing in this inaugural event. Doyle’s One Design team has built sails for many of the competitors and with over 90 boats on the starting line for this event, the starting line will be crowded with numerous world champions in other classes – all vying to be the first J/70 world champion.
The boat has also recently been chosen as Sailing World’s 2014 Boat of the Year and is designated as an International Class by ISAF (International Sailing Federation). At only two and half years old but over 600 boats sailing in over 20 countries, Doyle Sailmakers is proud to be one of the premiere one-design sailmakers for the fleet.
Adding to the luster of competing in the inaugural worlds is the fact that many of Doyle’s sailmakers will be a part of this event, including 2006 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Jud Smith, who has been building sails for many Doyle customers in the J/70 fleet as they prepare for this event.
“Although this is the Worlds, at this time it will primarily US Boats being sailed but this will be the regatta to peak for,” Smith said. “It will be interesting to see how some of the boats do who are peaking right now. There are some boats who are at the right time to peak and there are certain players who have emerged strong very recently – so this is their time.”
Many Doyle customers and sailmakers will be at this event. Peter Duncan, who got into the J/70 class early on, has been training all summer after campaigning his Etchells for most of last year. Sailing USA 49 “Relative Obscurity” he brings along long-time crew Tom Blackwell and has added Mark Ivy and Doyle’s own Greg Marie. Earlier this year, Duncan finished 3rd in the 40 boat fleet at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.
Jud Smith will be sailing with his wife Cindy, Jake Ladow, and Doyle One Design’s Will Felder. Earlier this summer, Smith won the J/70 class at the Marblehead NOOD regatta.
Doyle CFD’s Tyler Doyle, who has spent extensive time developing proprietary software to analyze sail shape and boat setup in real time for the J/70, will be sailing with Chris Boulter, Indre Jankeviciute, and Terra Berlinski on USA 245.
Brad Boston of Doyle Boston (Canada), fresh from winning the Viper 640 North Americans last week, will be racing with team “Hooligan”, with skipper Tres Sheehan, Curtis Florence and Lindsay Bartal.
Mark Ploch of Doyle City Island in New York will be racing his USA 61 “Sugar Daddy” with Mark Foster, Rob Fear and Tomas Hornos from Doyle One Design.
We are looking forward to a very exciting and successful regatta.
Full regatta information can be found here.
Laced with the Who’s Who of the sailing world, the Mini-Maxi Class (IRC0) in this year’s Copa del Rey regatta provided very close and exciting racing throughout the week long, 10 race event. Leading from start to finish was the oldest boat in the fleet – the Reichel/Pugh 72 Shockwave – skippered by George Sakellaris and powered by Doyle Sails, including her latest Stratis ICE headsails. This inshore regatta win complements the Shockwave Team’s offshore victories in this year’s Newport-Bermuda Race where Shockwave was the elapsed time winner, while sweeping 1st overall in the Gibbs Hill Division under IRC and ORR. In the spring of this year Shockwave won overall the rough and tumble Caribbean 600 Race.
The secret to Shockwave’s success has always been the combination of all aspects of the latest technology driven by a close knit team sailing the boat. Doyle’s CFD Team led by Tyler Doyle worked with Reichel/Pugh to fine tune the keel and bulb, and worked with the Future Fibre’s team to optimize the mast in terms of weight and windage. Similarly all sail decisions in terms of inventory, and shapes are done with in-depth CFD analysis with the CFD team working with the sail design team to analyze effects on performance and rating.
One of the latest advances for this regatta came from utilizing Doyle’s latest Stratis ICE fiber, which allowed the team to create a new jib which maintained the standard ultra-light weight requirements of the program while still maintaining its shape through a wide range, so that a single jib could be used from 10 to 22 knots.
Four out of the five Mini Maxi boats won at least one of the 10 races held, and the top three teams faced the last day separated by only three points. The title was decided in the final race with victory and championship for Shockwave with 19 points, and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente, with a partial Doyle inventory, on 22 points, and Roberto Tomasini’s Robertissima III, on 23 points, completing the podium.
For full results, please visit here.
To learn more about Stratis ICE, please visit here.
After over two years of design, engineering and construction, Doyle Sailmakers has fit sails on the impressive new Perini Navi Sloop, Perseus^3 in La Spezia, Italy this past week. The sail inventory, produced in Salem, Massachusetts, is one of the largest and most complex ever assembled, and will provide a breathtaking and unprecedented racing and sailing experience for the owners and crew. Perseus^3 stands apart from her peers with both her carbon clearcoat mast – one of the world’s tallest – and for her A2 Spinnaker – the world’s largest sail – measuring in at 28,010 square feet (2,602 square meters).
Two years’ worth of work came together in two days in Italy, as the Mainsail, Reacher and Blade Jib were fitted for the first time. The yacht will now begin her series of sea trials and sail system trials, gradually adding in the remainder of this spectacular racing inventory.
From the onset, performance was the clear goal of this project. Doyle Sailmakers was involved with the process from the beginning, working with Ron Holland Design, Perini Navi and Future Fibres to optimize every aspect of the sailing experience. The mast was carefully engineered to assist with the massive sail area of the yacht. From Doyle Sailmaker’s end, the size of the sails entailed a novel approach to both engineering the materials and sail handling. Taking it one step further, Doyle CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) addressed the challenges of properly balancing the load on the three headstays, with the additional Code 0 Torque Rope, while still maintaining an acceptable headstay sag for the racing requirements of the yacht. Working with the engineers at Perini Navi, Future Fibers and Germanisher-Lloyd, Doyle CFD helped establish the proper balance and stability of loads on the stays and the sails.
Doyle Sailmakers has long been known for its innovation and this project is no exception. With prior experience coming from M5, Athos and Kokomo III, Doyle Sailmakers constantly adds new innovations and continues to enhance the overall sailing experience. New developments for this project include an inboard end fitting for the battens that isolates both the forward compression of the battens as well as eliminating vertical shifting. This new design ensures that the custom Perini Navi slides will enter the track without compromising the luff tape – essential to reliable sailing with rollboom mainsails. Additionally, the working jib, hoisted on a removable inner forestay, necessitates innovative soft hanks that automatically change in diameter as the sail is lowered to allow the sail flake over the larger diameter torque tube at the base of the torque rope.
Perseus^3 is the first vessel from Perini Navi to include a bow sprit – enabling the yacht to carry a number of massive downwind racing sails. The two spinnakers are among the largest sails ever made. The A2 measures in at 28,010 square feet (2602 square meters) and utilizes over 3,200 yards of cloth. Initially, there was no existing fabric capable of delivering high performance, light weight and a ‘soft hand’ for handling. The solution was an extensively tested fabric that blends Polyester with Dyneema – giving the cloth high strength as well as tear resistance.
The Code 0 will also fly off the sprit, and is being furled on the largest Top Down Furling Cable ever created by Future Fibres. After previous success with Top Down Furling for Code 0’s – with the cable in a contained luff sleeve – this was selected for Perseus^3 to enable the crew to quickly furl the sail and stow it easily. The Code 0 has been constructed using Doyle Sailmaker’s proprietary Stratis process, with curved radial seams to follow the path of the loads and enable precise shaping, high strength and minimal weight.
Perini Navi Group, a leader in the design and construction of many of the world’s largest sailing and motor yachts, has long been one of Doyle Sailmaker’s most important partners in the superyacht market.
“We first worked with Perini Navi on Andromeda le Dea in 1990, which at the time was one of the most technologically sophisticated yachts afloat. We have been pleased to work with them since on some of their highest performing and noticeable projects – from the majestic 88m Maltese Falcon, the racing oriented 38m Sloop P2, or the signature purple sails of the 50m Ketch Baracuda,” said Robbie Doyle, CEO of Doyle Sailmakers. ”We always enjoy working with Perini Navi as they share our passion for sailing and innovation, and are always working to deliver the very finest product to their customers.” In just this last year, Doyle Sailmakers has been fortunate enough to deliver sails to the 56m Ketch Audace, 52m Ketch Tamsen, 50m Ketch …Is A Rose, 50m Ketch Silencio, 45m Sloop Clan VIII, 40m Sloop State of Grace and currently has sails underway for the 56m Ketch Asahi and 45m Sloop Helios.
The mast and boom for Perseus^3 were produced by Future Fibers, and at 75.8m the mast stands among the three tallest rigs ever built in the world. “We have managed to produce a tube with a perfect exterior surface and a flawless Clearcote gloss Carbon finish with zero filler – which can add up to 3 per cent to the weight of a mast,” according to Future Fibres. The mast weight is optimized at 16.4 tonnes. Similarly, the 23.4m carbon fiber furling boom has been manufactured using pre-preg carbon improving structural performance and weight, compared with standard wet–laminate construction. The boom features a new mandrel furling and locking system, as a result of extensive testing and prototyping.
In order to ensure safe sailing, Perseus^3 will feature an exclusive Rig Load Monitoring System that monitors the loads acting on the sails and rig components through a series of strain gauges.
For the handling and control of the impressive sailing system, Perseus^3 features the new generation of Perini Navi captive winches and furlers. The jib winches pull a maximum load of 30 tonnes and have a maximum line speed of 40 meters per minute. Electric variable speed motors and furlers, duly synchronized and monitored by the Perini Navi Automated Sail Handling System, dramatically improve furling and deploy times while speeding the tacking and jibing time by over 75% compared to vessels of the previous generation.
Gallery: Perseus^3 Mast and Sail Installation
Main Sail: 808 m2 The mast features 4 main sail locks: 1 full hoist + 3 reefs Batten car system Cunningham ram
Reacher: 1,160 m2
Blade Jib: 706 m2 with carbon vertical battens
Working Jib: 370 m2 On soft hanks and removable torque cable
Code 0: 1,804 m2 On the biggest torque cable TDF ever built by Future Fibres
A2: 2,602 m2
A3: 2,173 m2
Spinnaker Staysail: 721 m2
Mast: 75.8m Carbon Fibre by Future Fibres
Boom: 23.4m Carbon Fibre by Future Fibres
Standing rigging: Lateral Rigging in Carbon Fibre Aft and Fore Stays in Carbon+PBO+Kevlar
George Sakellaris and the team aboard the Reichel/Pugh mini-maxi Shockwave crossed the finish line off Bermuda’s St. David’s Lighthouse Monday morning at 5:34 race time EDT (6:34AM local time). Her elapsed time was 63:04:11. The close contest between Shockwave and her rival Bella Mente, Hap Fauth’s 72 foot Judel/Vrolijk mini-maxi, was a near repeat of the 2012 race, where both boats smashed the course record and finished with Bella Mente a mere 3 minutes ahead. This year, Shockwave led by seven minutes, after the two had battled head to head within sight of each almost continuously for over 635 miles. Although the boat for boat racing was close, Shockwave won comfortably on corrected time besting her rival Bella Mente by 1 hr and 44 minutes in ORR and similar margin in IRC.
As with the 2012 Race, Robbie Doyle sailed as the “stratitician,” working with the navigator, Andrea Visintini, the Tactician, Stu Bannatyne, skipper George Sakellaris and overseeing the sail program.
Doyle said, “There was a constant analysis and dialog onboard as the position of the Stream was fluid, and the weather pattern was also shifting. We had to hunt to find the (Gulf) Stream… we never found the 4 knot real road to Bermuda. It had broken up before we got there. Forecasters had predicted it might, but they suggested we might get there before it would start to dismember. The Stream was really breaking up pretty quick.”
“We tried some new ideas and ways to optimize the boat for the ORR rule” explained Doyle. “Bella Mente is a more powerful reaching boat than Shockwave so in order to defend our 2012 victory we felt we needed to improve our rating as we did not feel we could beat her in a reaching drag race which the Bermuda Race can often be. After a detailed weather analysis of the past 10 races over a 20 year period we made the decision to switch to a fractional spinnaker hoist. We designed and built a new full size Fractional Code 0 (labeled Super-FRO by the crew) to complement our existing smaller FRO. We only carried one free-flying spinnaker and then two Fractional Code 0′s.” Both FROs were set on top down-furlers for easy sail handling and crossovers. The combination proved successful, as the powerful “Super FRO” carried the boat through some crucial transitions. ”Surprisingly its best moment came when VMG running in 8 knots TWS into head seas with Bella Mente right on our tail. Even though she was carrying a full size mast head spinnaker we were able to open up on her with the more stable Super FRO.”
“We had one day of practice with the Super FRO, during which we saw what a powerful weapon it could be, but also how much it really loaded up the sprit. We had Doyle’s CFD team working with Reichel/Pugh’s office to re-engineer the sprit to handle the sail, and the guys were reinforcing the sprit until 3am the morning of the start! A total team effort to pull off this incredible result again.”
The win adds to Shockwave’s growing list of recent victories, highlighted by their division win in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, the 2013 Montego Bay, and the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600 Race. Originally launched in 2008 as Alpha Romero 3, Shockwave has proven to be a dominant force in the last 3 years. Doyle Sailmakers has been intimately involved in the boats resurgence, helping optimize not only the sail program, but also the mast and keel for a full aero and hydrodynamic package.
For more information on the Newport-Bermuda Race, please visit here.
Results from this years race can be found here.
Starting Gun – The Etchells Worlds and a Conversation with Jud Smith
We caught up with Jud Smith of Marblehead, Mass. at Doyle Sailmakers this past week, as he gets ready for the upcoming Etchells Worlds in Newport, R.I. starting on June 21-28. Smith is a Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year and former Etchells Worlds champion who just so happens to be building many of the sails for the event. He will be racing with his long time team of Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell. As both sailmaker to other competitors and a competitor himself, we asked Jud to take a moment to give us an overview of the upcoming event – and the state of Etchells’ sailing overall.
Q. What is different about this upcoming event in Newport, R.I.?
A. The World’s in Newport is going to be a big draw. Canada is close, and it is off-season for the Australians. The World’s has become the premier event for Australians and we have John Bertrand here along with many other teams. In 1998, the Etchells Worlds was held in Marblehead, and it was the last time we had 100 -boat strong Etchells Worlds. We are figuring we will have 95 boats on the line for this one. Newport is unique and to have an Etchells Worlds on the east coast is rare. We don’t get the Worlds in the US that often and it will be awhile before we have one nearby again (next year’s event is in Hong Kong).
Q. With such an international fleet descending on Newport, R.I.; will this be the first time some of these competitors will race against each other?
A. Many of these teams have competed in the Jaguar Series in Miami and that is what we last did as a team before we began pre-worlds races for this event. Most of the major American boats were at the Jaguar series, as well as European and Canadian teams. Many of us have met each other on the race course before this.
[“The Jag”, as it has come to be known, is a four regatta series, spread out over four weekends between December and March, and brings together many of the best Etchells sailors in the world.]
Q. How important are these winter series like the Jaguar Series to the Etchells fleet?
A. The Jaguar Series has really helped the Etchells fleet and it has been a very popular format. It is more common now that you have to go where the sailing is – and a lot of competitors find it in Miami. The sport has evolved and whereas the summers are short and it is not always easy to get people involved in weekend racing – the competition stretches out over the year. It is so much more migratory.
Q. Will this Etchells Worlds feature a heavier contingent of professional -level sailors or will it include fleet racers from the region as well.
A. What is different about the Etchells is that many of the owners are not pro-sailors but they do have pro teams. The talent pool is incredible so what has changed is that the boats are loaded with talent. It is not like the old days where you could fill in with individuals from the host club. That being said, it is hard for the club sailor to be competitive amidst this caliber of competition. However, for the club racer, they can come and get to sail against the very best in the world and talk and mingle after the racing.
Q. What else is unique about this talented Etchells fleet?
A. Today, the Etchells is not so much a summer racing class but a traveling class. Etchells fleets are not gone, they are just not exactly where they used to be and more competitors take time over the course of a year, and not just weekends in a short summer season, to compete. The Etchells is one of the few keelboat classes that is still vibrant and does enable older sailors to compete. And, as it has evolved into a fleet that is deep with sailing talent, the more mature sailors tend to be the ones that have the resources and the time to race.
Q. As the sailmaker to the sailors, do you think you have any advantage over the other professionals in the fleet?
A. When you are the sailmaker for the event, the process for the customers started a long time ago. The Doyle team boats have been training on weekends in Newport. As a sailmaker, we live and breath this every day. Any advantage I could have had is probably negated by the amount of time I have put into working with our many customers and helping make sure they are up to speed. As much as sailmaking has evolved into being more automated and as such precise, there is still a lot of craftsmanship that our team has put into our sails – its been an exciting but exhausting few weeks leading up to the regatta.
Success for Doyle-powered Hugo Boss and Neutrogena who have just taken first and second place in the IMOCA 60 New York – Barcelona Race. The four competing teams - Hugo Boss, Neutrogena, Safran and Gaes - departed New York on 1 June to undertake the 3,700 mile course to Barcelona. Conditions were challenging and racing was close and competitive with leader Safran being forced to retire after skipper Marc Guillemot was injured.
Hugo Boss has recently received a full new set of Stratis ICE sails, designed by Richard Bouzaid. With Alex Thomson away on paternity leave, Hugo Boss was co-skippered by Pepe Ribes and Ryan Breymaier, who completed their race in a time of 14 days 2 hours 44 minutes and 30 seconds. “The whole race was great, mostly excellent conditions for sure across the Atlantic, you can’t really say champagne sailing when you have to wear your waterproofs but it was as close as perfect for most of the way. The toughest time was the last 3 days, I always find the lighter airs the toughest,” said Breymaier. “There was never a dull moment for sure, a very intense race so it feels great to win. Until the Med the first 3 boats were incredibly close,” said Ribes
Neutrogena, skippered by Guillermo Altadill with Jose Munoz, gave them a close run, eventually finishing in second place with a time of 14 days 6 hours 55 mins 17 seconds. “I have had very close finished with short crews in IMOCA 60 in short legs, but in a 3,700 mile long leg being so close until the finish… that’s a first,” said Altadill.
“This was a great result for both teams as they prepare for the Barcelona World race at the end of the year,” said Richard Bouzaid, Head of Design at Doyle Sails NZ.