Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category
After Doyle One Design’s Tomas Hornos and his crew, Josh Revkin, warmed up with a win at the Arms White regatta the weekend prior, they won their second consecutive year at the District 1 Championships over the weekend of June 26-28.
The scores were very tight after a first light air day of racing, but once the breeze picked up over the weekend, Tomas and Josh crushed the competition with three bullets.
A high five between the skipper and his trimmer’s son on bow captured on camera says it all for the winners of the Rhodes-19 East Coast Champs. Charlie Pendleton, Jim Raisides, and Jack Raisides on team Bight Me take top honors at this Manchester, MA event, powered by Doyle Sails. Pendleton mentioned that young Jack was, “put to work on foredeck and could be seen flying the spinnaker in the last race.”
Jim Raisides was kind enough to give us an overview of the event, even giving a shout out to their humble sailmakers. (Thanks!) The results do speak for themselves with Doyle Sails placing 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 in the event.
“There was a lot of anticipation for this year’s East Coast Championships mostly because of the venue at the Manchester Yacht Club. It had been 25 years since Manchester had last hosted a Rhodes 19 event, surprising considering the huge Rhodes fleet in the harbor.
Twenty three boats raced the three day event with competitors coming from as far away as Chicago. The competition was tough with three former National Championship winners and multiple East Coast Champions in the fleet.
All three days produced similar conditions, flat seas in light 5-10 knot breezes that began as a northerly and clocked right to an easterly. Not as easy as it sounds, as the breeze was extremely shifty and included a lot of left oscillations that paid dividends up the course even though the predominate shift was right.
These conditions made it difficult for the race committee, but MYC and PRO Conway Felton ran a fantastic regatta with each race a fair test of sailing skill. With the 23 boats over 8 races, there was only 2 general recalls, one “I” flag and no protests.
Charlie Pendleton, Jim Raisides and son Jack Raisides took this year’s top honors with 15 points posting 5 firsts including 3 on the first day. Dru Slattery and crew Linda Epstein were consistently quick across the regatta placing second with 31, followed in third by Jamie Holley sailing with his wife Janice and son Cameron. Doyle sails were on 9 of the top 10 boats!”
We’re realizing again and again, the Rhodes 19 is a fun fleet, with Pendleton mentioning in the class newsletter, “Shannon Lane and Charlie Thomas put on a great show, end to end. When was the last time we had a live band at a Rhodes event!?”
The combination of ideal conditions on Montagu Bay in Nassau, Bahamas, provided boats and a substantial prize purse brought out some of the very best Star sailors in the world for a week of intense competition. The end result found Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih on the podium, winning in a field that included a handful of past world champions and Olympic gold medalists. For this regatta, the team was utilizing Doyle’s latest M14+ Main, and J6R and J8H Jibs.
Surviving the qualifying and knockout rounds to triumph, the Americans won the second Star Sailors League Finals on Saturday December 6th in a thrilling finale that came down to the final run. They bested a field that included 2012 Olympic gold medalist Freddy Loof and crew Anders Ekstrom of Sweden; Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki of Poland; and Jorge Zarif and Henry Boening of Brazil. Over the course of the regatta, the Mendleblatt and Fatih won 3 races (of 9) in the qualifying series, then finished with a 2-1-1 in the finals to secure the victory.
Defending champion Robert Scheidt, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and crew Bruno Prada of Brazil were eliminated in the semifinal. Top-ranked Diego Negri and crew Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy were eliminated in the semis.
Four days of competition meant that after three days of qualifying, the top 11 teams from the elite field of 20 advanced to the quarter-finals. The winner of the qualifying round – Swedes Freddy Loof and Anders Ekström – went directly to the semi-finals, while the crews that qualified in 2nd to 11th positions advanced to the quarter-finals, with the best 6 going forward to the Semi. The Semi finals determined who got to sail in the grand finale, with only the top 4 advancing. The unique elimination arrangement made every race that much more important, and put an emphasis on performing under pressure.
“The first race we were feeling in danger for sure. Halfway up the first beat we were feeling ‘This isn’t good’, you know. We talked to each other and said ‘Let’s just stay calm here and keep working together and use our speed and get back’. And it worked. We were going well.”
The quarter-finals saw plenty of competition, with last year’s runners up, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki leading early on in the race, only to have defending champions Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil pass them on the run. But Kusznierewicz was back in front on the second windward leg and was able to hold it to the finish. Mendelblatt and Fatih were second and third place went to the Finn world champion, Giles Scott (GBR) and Steve Milne.
In the semi-final and final, however, Mendelblatt and Fatih appeared to put the afterburner’s on, to win back to back races against the very best in the Star class. “This was a race of a lifetime,” said Mendelblatt. “To beat guys like Freddy Loof, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, and Robert Scheidt and all the other guys who are here is incredible. We did not have any expectations coming in: only to sail our best regatta. And you know these guys beat me more times than I beat them in my career as a Star sailor. With Robert, I can count the number of times I beat him on one hand and I’ve been sailing against him for 25 years so it feels great to win this event.”
The wind for the final, a six-leg race, had shifted more to the north but was anything but stable. Mendelblatt was forced to tack out from under Zarif early one which would eventually prove to be a winning move, putting Mendelblatt ahead around the first windward mark.
On the third beat, Kusznierewicz sneaked ahead at the top mark and led down the final leg. All of the boat were withing striking distance, with the crews aggressively working the waves while trying to play every shift as well. Kusznierewicz appeared to have the win within grasp as the teams narrowed in on the finish line, only to have Mendelblatt and Loof, coming in on a tighter reach, sail in from leeward to take the first two places. Kusznierewicz, who was runner-up last year, finished third and the rookie, Zarif, was fourth.
“I’m really hoping that the Star Sailors League continues. I think it is fantastic. I think the Star boat obviously is bringing in the best sailors in the world still,” said Mendelblatt. “The format is excellent. It’s exciting, it’s great. I have no plans to sell my Star. I’m keeping my boat and I’m going to do some more Star regattas, for sure.”
Doyle One Design has been active in the Star class for a number of years, and this year’s Star Sailors League Finals is just the latest in a string of victories for Doyle’s Star customers. In November, Luke Lawrence and Joshua Revkin won the Schoonmaker Cup, while in October Tomas Hornos and Revkin placed 2nd at the Star North American Championship. and in July William Swigart and Fatih teamed up to win the Cedar Point Open for the Bedford Pitcher. Doyle’s success stems from a highly technical design process, on the water testing and constant refinements and customer service.
For full Results of the Star Sailors League Finals, please visit here.
To learn more about Doyle’s Star Sails, please visit here.
Bob Fisher contributed to this report
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.
Q. To get an edge on the competition, what should competitors, navigators, or tacticians be doing now to get prepared for the race in mid-June?
For all competitors, right now you should be reviewing the weather from past races and watching the Gulf Stream and surrounding eddies. Begin to get a feel for what to expect in terms of weather and determine how the Gulf Stream is setting up and moving. Don’t wait until two days before the race to do this. The Gulf Stream and accompanying meanders and eddies play a key role in the race so you need to know where all the key elements will be when you get there, not just at the start.
Q. As well as watching the Gulf Stream, how important are weather patterns and forecasts and why?
My first Newport Bermuda Race was 38 years ago and we relied on celestial navigation, and much of the weather was predicted by the navigator’s arthritis. The prevailing strategy was what emerged from past races. It was basically thought that you head 180 degrees until you get into the Gulf Stream, and then head for Bermuda. Along with everything else, weather forecasting has gotten a lot more accurate but you still cannot trust the forecast 100 percent.
On Shockwave we are preparing with the goal of winning it. So, currently, we are doing a study on weather data over the decades and we are basing our analysis on a number of factors. The reason the weather predictions are so important is that we will decide on our sail inventory from our analysis. If we choose wrongly, or if I advise wrongly, that does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. These decisions of what sails to bring and what sails to leave behind are a huge factor in preparing for the race and can determine a great deal. We need to submit our rating by May 22 so most key decisions must be made by then. We will make our macro inventory decisions then but exactly which sails come and go will be decided the day of the race. Despite all the technology we have, you never win the Newport Bermuda Race if you don’t make some big guesses and that is all part of what it takes to win the race.
Q. Are there some factors that many competitors could take greater notice of as they consider their competitive strategy?
Yes, and it is about sail inventory. Read the ORR rules again or talk to your local sailmaker. The rules have a clear effect on the sail inventory because with ORR rules you are rated with the spinnaker factored into your rating whether you choose to use one or not. You are rated based upon the minimum ORR area whether your actual spinnaker is that size or not. If your spinnaker is larger than the ORR area your rating goes up, but not vice versa. Some teams will have a spinnaker on the boat that may be well under what you are rated for. Similarly, you are charged for a minimum jib area and a cruising boat with a non-overlapping genoa is likely to be under that for jib area. It is very easy to miss these details and you should take time right now to figure out your sail inventory to your best advantage.
Q. What are some common pitfalls for competitors?
You want to make sure you establish your watch system immediately and stick to it from the start. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get into a rhythm and stay rested. People tend to want to stay engaged or participating in the decisions even when they are off watch -but it is better to preserve your energy. You will need it. Another pitfall is that you don’t rest on your laurels after you pass through the Gulf Stream. As a rule the sea state is calmer but people are tired and it is very easy to stop thinking strategically. There remain a lot of tricky currents and decisions made in the final 200 miles of the race where it can be won or lost.
Q. What else have you learned about the Bermuda Race?
The more I learn about the race and the more I know, the less confident I have become about winning it. The Newport Bermuda Race is one of the most challenging races of all time. You have the Gulf Stream, with hot and cold air meeting each other. It is an oceanographic and meteorological laboratory and we are the RATS! It is really, really tricky. It is always interesting, challenging, and rewarding to take part in.
– See more at: http://bermudarace.com/robbie-doyle-bermuda-race-strategy-sail-selection-crew-care/
– Written by Laurie Fullerton
Superyachts from around the world were on hand for what turned out to be perfect conditions at the 2014 St. Barths Bucket Regatta, spanning three days from March 28-30. Doyle Sailmakers’ staff were sailing on many of the boats at the event. Doyle Sailmakers’ founder and president Robbie Doyle was on-board the 125’ S&S designed Axia, Chris McMaster and Justin Ferris from Doyle New Zealand were onboard the new 164’ Dubois Ohana, Quinny Houry from Doyle Palma was on the 148’ Perini Clan VIII, John Baxter from Doyle Chicago was on-board the Holland 112’ Blue Too and Matt Bridge from Doyle New Zealand was on the 122’ Dubois Moonbird.
The conditions for the week were near perfect with 15-22 kts. Fresh off her win in the BVI’s, Moonbird placed second in the Mademoiselles Class, sporting a full set of new performance focused Doyle Stratis ICE sails. She was followed in third by Blue Too, who in addition to her third place finish, also took home the Alloy Trophy for the best performance by an Alloy yacht. The 31m Dubois Sarafin finished in fourth place flying a new Doyle Stratis jib.
In the Grand Dames Class, the 50m Perini Navi ketch Silencio won the last race in her class to put her into third in her division. Silencio was using a brand new Doyle A2 spinnaker for the regatta, measuring in at nearly 13,000 square feet and featuring a massive Lion inlay. She finished 1 point clear of the new 40m Perini Navi Performance sloop State of Grace who was powered by a full inventory of Doyle sails.
Congratulations to all of the winners and looking forward to the 2015 St Barths Bucket.
To view the final results, click here.
George Sakellaris’ R/P 72 Shockwave took the overall IRC win in this year’s Caribbean 600, correcting out to finish roughly 1 hour ahead of rival Bella Mente. After 600 miles of racing, Bella Mente, Rambler 90 and Shockwave crossed the line within 15 minutes of each other, after close racing all along that saw numerous lead changes. The win adds to Shockwave’s growing list of recent victories, highlighted by her Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division win in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race and first in the 2013 Montego Bay Race. The overall IRC win was the highlight of a number of impressive finishes for Doyle-powered boats, with Line Honors for Bella Mente – carrying some specialty reaching sails from Doyle and featuring Doyle’s own Mike Sanderson as a helmsman, Botin 65 Caro, with a full Doyle Stratis inventory taking 5th overall in IRC, First 40 Lancelot II winning IRC Two with a new Doyle Stratis Mainsail, and the 62m Hoek Schooner Athos greatly improving on last years performance and battling it out with longtime superyacht rival Adela.
A grueling 600 mile race circling around many islands, with stiff breeze the whole time, the race places a premium on having a well prepared boat and crew. In anticipation of this year’s race, Doyle refined the sail inventory to make sure that the team would have the right sails, without carrying too many. Robbie Doyle, who in addition to managing the sail inventory served as Shockwave’s tactician for this race, explains the thought process, “We looked at the conditions that we were likely to see, and then when designing and building the sails worked to make sure that their ranges were as large as possible. Thankfully our Stratis process allows us to make some of the lightest sails available, so we increased the DPI’s a bit to ensure we could carry the same sails longer.”
“With the amount that conditions change in this race, sail changes can just be too costly. In the end, we used the J2 (Medium Jib) 95% of the time, and just twisted it off a bit in the bigger squalls. We only carried 3 jibs, which helped save weight.” Flying the same jib up the majority of the race allows the crew to stay aft and on the rail, keeping the boat moving. The other big change was adding a new Fractional Code 0. “After last year’s Montego Bay Race, we looked at our sail inventory and felt that the jump from the Jib Top to the Code 0 was too big. We built a new FRO to fill that gap. It was the workhorse of the race, as coupled with the Top Down Furler, we could leave it up, and just furl or unfurl as the conditions changed without any drama on the foredeck.”
Owner George Sakellaris was pleased with the results. “I have a great crew and it was an excellent race, lots of wind and the racing was very close. I have done many offshore races but this is the first time I have raced this one and it was against tough opposition. I think the winds were favorable to us and the Shockwave team used that to our advantage. At the end of the day, winning yacht races is all about the team performance more than anything else.
Robbie Doyle was similarly enthusiastic after the race. “That is what ocean racing should be all about. Beautiful racing between three very tough competitors, all fighting it out the whole way. A heavy-weight battle without a doubt – no question. I have had great moments in sail boats, but that was as much fun as I can remember. For 600 miles we were always in touch with each other, either up a few minutes or down a few minutes, and it all came down to the last beat to finish. It was like an epic tennis match.”
Next up for Team Shockwave will be defending her Newport-Bermuda Race victory in June.
Gallery: Doyle Sails in the 2014 Caribbean 600