Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category
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
Doyle Sailmakers is proud to announce that Stratis ICE has been nominated by the jury for the DAME Awards 2013. Overall winners are announced on the first morning of METS (Marine Equipment Trade Show), November 19th. Doyle Sailmakers will have a team exhibiting in the Superyacht Pavilion at Stand 10.715 , with samples of ICE as well as other materials from their product range.
The DAME is a prestigious competition for new marine equipment and accessories that is awarded based on overall design, build quality, functionality, and use of materials. To win the DAME is the ultimate accolade for companies and innovators, and all the nominations for the award are seen as trendsetters for the next generation of product development.
Stratis ICE is an entirely new and unique Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) sail fiber that is a game-changing product for the sailing market. In summary it is lighter, more durable and stronger than any other sail fiber available. ICE is unique in that it is the first truly new fiber to be introduced to sailmaking in recent years; other traditional advances in sail technology have simply been a new application of existing fibers.
ICE provides weight reductions and elongation numbers equivalent to a sail made with 100 per cent standard modulus carbon, but without the durability issues that come with high carbon content laminates.
This flat ribbon fiber was originally used by the US military and Doyle Sails has secured the marine rights to the product and spent 4 years developing special adhesives and application techniques to turn this extraordinary fiber into a durable sail material. The fiber is ideal for use in the sail market as it exhibits very low stretch and creep, yet is lightweight, highly durable, and resistant to UV and salt.
Results for ICE have shown the highest resistance to flex fatigue of any sail product, with ICE sails retaining their initial shape and speed longer than any other sail membrane. This allows the Doyle design team to engineer sails much closer to their work load, and avoid over-engineering them in anticipation of future flex fatigue. Overall this makes ICE the first realistic alternative to carbon in performance racing sails.
Doyle primarily developed ICE to improve performance of superyacht sails. As superyacht sails got heavier and with higher loads – especially on yachts over 50m in length – the corners of the sail and the actual sail laminate needed to be very thick and heavy in order to be able to take the load of the sail. Use of the flat ICE fiber makes sails lighter and thinner, avoiding the heavy contour and texture in the membrane and eliminating the thick corner laminate that results from traditional membrane sails.
Although ICE offers so many benefits, the challenge for the sailmaker is that it is extremely slippery fiber and therefore very complex and difficult to work with: after a long development process Doyle has mastered the production technique required to use it. Prior to undergoing the standard Stratis lamination and laying process (unique and award-winning in its own right) the fiber is treated to make it workable; Doyle had to develop special polymers with low melt points in order to be able to laminate the fiber.
To learn more about Stratis ICE, please visit here.
The 2013 edition of the Coastal Classic saw more than 160 yachts of all shapes and sizes line up for the 119nm race from Auckland to Russell. The race was hotly contested, particularly in Division 6 where visitors Team Australia were aiming to claim victory over title-holders Team Vodafone, who had taken line honors for three years previously. With the pair considered to be the fastest yachts in Australasia, it was all to play for.
It was a strong race for the Doyle powered boats with good performances in all divisions, including podium positions by handicap in six of the divisions. Team Australia took line honours with a time of eight hours and 15 minutes, nearly 40 minutes ahead of Team Vodafone, winning the Duke of Marlbourough Cup for the first boat to finish, and the Alexander Flynn Trophy for first multihull to finish. Omega 8, which features a full Doyle inventory, came first in Division 1 and was also the overall winner of the race. Both yachts were carrying Doyle’s innovative new Stratis carbon ICE sails, as well as Stratis carbon technora mains, and the results speak for themselves.
As well as the overall successes, there were excellent divisional results. Division 2 saw third on the line and second place by handicap for Outrageous Fortune, which carries a partial Doyle inventory. In Division 3 R N B, with a full Doyle inventory, took first place (line and handicap), Division 4 saw first place (line and handicap) for No Worries, which has a partial Doyle inventory, and Division 7 first place on the line forCharleston, which also has a partial Doyle inventory.
Below we have race reports from Simon Kidd, of Doyle Sails, who was racing on overall winner Omega 8, and from Mike Sanderson, Head of Sales at Doyle Sails, who was racing with line winners Team Australia.
Omega 8 – overall winner and 1st place in Division 1
Race report by Simon Kidd
It was always going to be a great race for Omega upwind, with pressure and the breeze backing later in the day. We started well ahead of the starting gun with preparation on the boat, which is half the battle, dropping the rudder to service the bearing and undertaking several other small maintenance jobs. For the sail inventory we added a new Stratis ICE Code 2 headsail, which we carried from North Head up the coast, and also a new Stratis carbon technora mainsail.
With a large fleet off the line there was some urgency to set the Doyle A3 laminated gennaker and we made a nice jump on the other 40′s down to North Head. We had a good run up to Sail Rock with a long port tack and couple of short starboard tacks. Just after Sail Rock a squall came through and we ended up bareheaded for a couple of minutes before settling back into a slightly cracked jib top and then into the Code 0 which carried us through to the Cape Brett. The 40 fleet was locked together with Mojo, Power Play, Pretty Boy Floyd and Lawless all metres apart as we cleared the Brett.
Omega was in her element with an 150% overlapping headsail we laid pretty much through to the Black Rocks, having taken advantage of the incoming tide and then a long starboard tack through to Tapeka Point. A short tack and we laid up to the finish just as the breeze started to die, with the tide changing as we finished. Skipper and owner Scott McLaren was delighted with the result and very complementary of both the crew and also the Doyle sails that powered Omega to her win.
Team Australia – First place on the line, and third place by handicap in Division 6
Race report by Mike Sanderson
It’s a long time since someone brought a boat all the way from Australia for the Coastal Classic and so when owner Sean Langman and his team made noises about bringing their very cool ORMA TrimaranTeam Australia over for the 2013 event it was pretty exciting news. Team Australia is, like local boat Team Vodafone, an ex French ORMA Class box rule boat, maximum length, maximum beam, maximum mast length and that’s about it… they were developed for a combination of round the buoy Grand Prix events and single and double handed Trans-Atlantic racing. Until the creation of the AC 72 they were the most developed large multihull in the world.
Team Australia started their campaign by setting a new bench mark for the Trans-Tasman sailing record, crossing from Sydney to Auckland in 2 days 19 hours 2 mins 45 seconds. Their new record, now ratified by the World Speed Sailing Association, has set the bar very high for others to try and have a crack at. Once in Auckland, with the crew recovered from their Tasman ordeal, we set about getting her ready for the Coastal Classic. This entailed the guys removing all the offshore equipment and most excitingly the fitting of three new Doyle sails to compliment the new Mainsail we fitted late last year prior to their successful Sydney-Hobart record run. Ahead of the Coastal Classic Team Australia got a new Radial Stratis gennaker, and replaced both the primary headsails, the “Solent” and “Trinquette.” These new sails were utilizing our very latest technology with both the Jibs being Stratis carbon ICE. All the sails went straight on and fitted like gloves and were “sweet as,” to use the words of one of the crew.
Race day came around and I think I was the most excited person in Auckland, with the prospect of an upwind beat to Russell, knowing we had two brand new jibs in our arsenal.
The start went well, with Sean’s years of skiff sailing paying good dividends. We won the race to North Head but soon after Team Vodafone got through us by just carrying bigger sails. Team Australia is less powerful then Vodafone and so we decided to go with the smaller Trinquette jib. During the reach to Kawau Island we struggled to hang on to them as their added power let them slip away. Around Kawau we cut the corner on them and were right back into it… we then exchanged a couple of tacks and with the wind forecast to go left, we protected that side and were starting to pay good dividends. Just as we were about to tack and clear ahead the $10 lashing that held the Solent Jib up snapped and we had the jib fall on the deck. There is no halyard for this sail, it gets hoisted on a Gennaker halyard and then lashed, so we had to change down to the Trinquette and set about to catch them up.
Whangarei Heads was always going to be an interesting landmark to get past in a Westerly breeze. We saw Vodafone go wide and so hit the beach. This paid off big time and while they were struggling offshore in light winds and headed breeze, we were smoking down the beach. From the time we got past them through to when we finally rounded Cape Brett I believe we were just quicker, as we reasonably quickly extended our lead out to nearly 40 minutes from there it was a blasting reach into the finish..
All in all it was a very satisfying win for Team Australia, we certainly had had our share of obstacles along the way! A big thanks to Sean and the Team Australia team for putting their faith in Doyle Stratis sails to power their amazing boat, and thanks also to our team for delivering. Let’s hope Sean can bring the boat back next year to have a crack at defending our title!
Breakdown of leading results from Doyle-powered yachts
V5 – third
Wired – fourth
Omega 8 – first, and first overall for the Coastal Classic
O’Sinnerman* – third
Outrageous Fortune* – third
Frenzy – fourth
Outrageous Fortune* – second
R N B – first
R N B – first
No Worries* – first
Wild Oats* – third
No Worries* – first
Wild Oats* – second
Heaven N Hell* – third
Team Australia – first
Team Australia – third
Charleston* – first
*Partial Doyle Inventory
The 2013 Transpacfic Race proved to be another successful race for Doyle Sails, with outstanding results for the Doyle-powered yachts. 63’ Invisible Hand took first place in Division 1, Ragamuffin 100 took line honors and third place in Division 1, while second place in Division 1 went to Wizard, which had a new jib from Doyle on board for the race. Other Doyle success included a win for Farr 40 Foil in Division 5.
A Win In Division 1 for Invisible Hand
Frank Slootman’s R/P 63 Invisible Hand, skippered by Greg Nelsen, sailed to a convincing win in Division 1, despite being the smallest boat competing in the division. She won with an elapsed time of 188:49:51 (corrected time of 149:50:36), handily correcting out over Elliott 100 Ragamuffin, the R/P 74 Wizard and canting keeled record setter Maserati (Volvo 70).
Invisible Hand had a new set of Doyle Stratis sails on board for the race, supplied by Bill Colombo of Doyle San Francisco. Based on a performance optimization program from Reichel-Pugh, Invisible Hand was fitted with a new Stratis Carbon/Technora mainsail that had a larger square-top as well as a slightly reduced foot, as well as new headsails. Doyle also built both a new A2 and A2.5 spinnakers, designed by Richard Bouzaid, Doyle’s Head Designer. “The A2 was increased about 8 per cent and that paid huge dividends in this predominately light Transpac,” said Nelsen in a post-race interview with Pressure Drop.
“Doyle sails were instrumental in the overall retooling of our boat for optimal west coast racing,” said Frank Slootman, owner of Invisible Hand. “The sails are lighter, stronger and much more powerful than what we had previously. Off the wind, our boat really came alive with the new spinnakers. Doyle is a core partner of our program and played a key role in our Transpac win.”
Ragamuffin 100 Fastest Monohull Across Line
Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 also went into the race armed with a full new Doyle Stratis inventory that included a new Stratis main, jib, genoa staysail and an A2 spinnaker. Design work was by Richard Bouzaid, with the sails finished by Mark Fullerton of Doyle China. Her overall elapsed time of 152:17:26, with an average speed over the course of 14.6 knots, won her the Merlin Trophy as the fastest monohull to finish.
David Witt, Ragamuffin sailing master, praised the new sails, saying: “Using Stratis on our 100 had a major performance increase that was unexpected. The large weight reduction in working gear, combined with larger and better shaped sails had the boat sailing well above its polars, numbers which we had not previously seen on the 100. We will certainly now be using Stratis on all our Ragamuffin yachts.”
“It’s great to be involved with the boat again, having designed sails for her back when she was Maximus,” said Bouzaid. “The expertise gained from the work we have done with the Volvo 70 Sanya and with Leopard 3 made it possible to get the result and the performance gains we achieved with Ragamuffin straight off the bat.”
Ragamuffin 100 is now in transit on her way back to Australia where she’ll compete in the Sydney-Hobart race.