Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
It’s our favorite time of the year as many of the world’s most spectacular superyachts converge in the Caribbean for two weeks of racing. The first event will be the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta, with racing starting Saturday. Highlighting the diversity of Doyle’s design, engineering and construction capabilities, the event will feature Doyle-powered contenders in all four divisions.
In Division A, the Farr 100 Leopard 3 looks to continue building on her recent string of successes. Last year, Leopard 3 wrapped up 2016 with class wins at both Maxi Worlds and le Voiles de Saint Tropez and then took line honors in RORC Transatlantic Race. Just last month she was kitted out for Offshore racing mode, finishing second across the line in the Caribbean 600.
In Division B, perennial power P2 will begin the 2017 looking to repeat the success of 2016. Last year, the 125′ Perini Navi/Briand collaboration won her class at both the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and St Barths Bucket, and then crossed the pond and won her class at the Palma Superyacht Cup – winning all three races of the series. For the Loro Piana event, she will be joined by Doyle Sailmakers founder and CEO Robbie Doyle on tactics, with Doyle’s Jud Smith also onboard for trim.
In Division C, the incomparable 200′ Perini Navi Perseus^3 is back after making her Caribbean racing debut last season. Carrying the world’s two largest spinnakers at 27,850 square feet and 23,045 square feet and with her masthead soaring 246 feet above the water, Perseus^3 is a sight to behold when she’s on the race course and literally stands taller than any of her competitors. With her veteran crew returning this year, Perseus^3 quickly becomes a favorite.
In Division D, two Southern Wind 82’s will be carrying Doyle Sails – Ammonite and Grande Orazio. This year is the first time both of these nimble, high performance yachts have competed in the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta, so it should be very exciting to watch their performance.
After three days of racing in Virgin Gorda, many of the same yachts will head over to St Barths, for the 22nd edition of the St Barths Bucket Regatta. With 38 yachts competing, the Bucket is the largest superyacht regatta of the year, and again will feature numerous Doyle-powered yachts, ranging from the 100′ Leopard 3, one of the smallest yachts competing, to the iconic 288′ Maltese Falcon, the largest of this year’s entries.
Doyle Sailmakers is enjoying the down to the wire pace of this years 2017 Vendée Globe unfolding this week. With UK sailor, Alex Thomson, on board HUGO Boss, and Armel LeCléac’h just 42.2 nautical miles ahead, we have seen seamanship, racing skills, and the sheer skills of both sailors. In the case of Alex Thomson, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Alex Thomson Racing through the Vendée Globe campaign.
“There is lots of talk about different foils we have on Hugo Boss but as always the speed edge we have does not come from one place and the other place where we are completely different to the other IMOCA 60’s is our sails, which obviously play a huge part in this race.” says Thomson, speaking from on board Hugo Boss. “The number of sails we can carry is limited to nine and they have to be light enough to be used single-handed and strong enough to survive the world’s toughest yacht race, so it’s a tough challenge for sail designers. The design team at Doyle Sails put in a huge amount of effort in the last two years to help us come up with the right suit of sails for Hugo Boss; the Stratis product lends itself brilliantly and I would be very surprised if anyone has anything as light and as durable as we have. It just goes to show that if you want something different, something fast, if you want an edge, it is best to not follow the crowd.”
Thomson has not only shown that his sail inventory has kept him very much in the hunt for first to finish, but Thomson has just set a new solo 24 hour distance record!! Sailing an incredible 536.81 nautical miles in 24 hours, Alex has beaten Francois Gabart’s previous world distance record of 534.48 in the Vendée Globe.
Doyle Sailmakers is proud to be rooting for all of the incredible sailors in the Vendée Globe, but in particular we must tip our hats to the talented Alex Thomson.
When asked what he thought Alex’s secret was, Robbie Doyle’s response was, “If anyone saw Alex’s video of a couple of days ago, they saw his secret: absolute calm. This was just hours before he went on to set the world 24 hour record for solo sailing of 536.81 nm! I had the privilege to participate in some sail and boat testing with Alex when he was in Newport. Even though he was still working out the kinks, our speed edge was obvious. At the end of the day he asked, “Any suggestions?” As one who is not reticent to respond to such queries, all I could say was, “Perfect what you have, and hold it together.” Even with a broken foil, he has more than held it together. It is going to be an exciting and challenging race to the finish. Regardless of who wins, both Alex and Armel have set a new standard for not only solo sailing, but monohull sailing itself.”
In the increasingly performance-focused superyacht racing scene, Doyle Sails helped propel many yachts to the front of the fleet at this years St Barths Bucket, held off St Barthelemy from March 17-20. In the end, Doyle powered yachts won three of the five pursuit classes that saw nearly 40 yachts competing. The regatta saw the fleet sail three races around the archipelago, which challenges the yachts with close roundings around islands and rocks, making the imagery even more stunning. This year saw moderate breezes for the first two days of racing, and then high winds and big seas in the final day to push all the crews hard to keep these massive yachts moving well.
38m Perini Navi sloop P2 continued her string of impressive performances with a win in Class B: Les Elegantes des Mers. P2 has long been a superyacht regatta favorite, and just the previous week P2 won Class B at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Virgin Gorda. Under new ownership this year, the boat has continued her impressive ways, and after P2‘s win on Saturday’s “Not So Wiggley Course”, which sees the yachts weave through a number of turns which requires multiple spinnaker sets and douses, tactician Tony Rey commented “The owner and his guests were so engaged and so into the race; everyone was excited. Honestly, it’s what we came here for; these last two races have been some of the best superyacht racing I’ve ever done. We can’t wait until tomorrow.” P2 has been carrying the same Doyle Stratis Carbon/Technora racing sails since 2013, and her consistent performance is a testament to the incredibly fast shapes and durability of the Stratis sails.
In Class E: Les Grandes Dames des Meres 56m Rosehearty and 50m Ohana finished tied at the end of the final day, with Rosehearty’s wins in Races 1 and 2 breaking the tie in her favor. After winning last year’s Perini Navi Cup, Rosehearty was fitted with a new A3 spinnaker and Mizzen Staysail to ensure that the boat could keep moving at full speed during the Bucket’s many challenging courses. On the final day of racing, the big breeze helped push the massive yacht at 13.5 knots downwind, but upwind proved a challenge. A fitting on the genoa furler snapped off in a puff, forcing the yacht to sail a good portion of the long upwind beat with just a staysail. Ultimately the genoa was partially unfurled to keep the boat moving steadily upwind to the turning mark. Paul Cayard, serving as tactician on Rosehearty, commended the crew of Rosehearty all week, but was especially impressed on the final day “The crew did an outstanding job of dealing with today’s adversity and kept the maneuvers tight so we could preserve the fourth place we needed to win overall. A very happy owner and all concerned.”
This year saw Robbie Doyle and Glenn Cook from Doyle Salem on Axia, Andrew Schneider of Doyle Salem on Rosehearty, Peter Grimm of Doyle Florida East on Perseus^3, Quinten Houry of Doyle Palma on Clan VIII, John Baxter from Doyle Midwest on Blue Too, Nick Bonner of Doyle England on Surama, Simon Lacey of Doyle New Zealand on Emmaline, Matt Bridge of Doyle New Zealand on Seahawk, Alan McGlashan of Doyle Salem on Bella Regazza, and Mario Giattino and Salvo D’amico of Doyle Italy and Justin Ferris of Doyle New Zealand on Ohana.
Doyle Sailmakers is proud to have a long history as a sponsor of the Bucket regattas, and has established lofts in all of the superyacht hubs around the world to ensure excellent service for the world’s largest yachts. Recently Doyle has delivered sails to many of the world’s largest yachts, including the 60m Perini Navi Perseus^3, which made her debut at St Barths this year, the 46m Royal Huisman Elfje,and the 89m Perini Navi Maltese Falcon. In the coming months Doyle Sailmakers will deliver sails to the two largest sailing yachts in the world, both measuring over 100m in length.
Full results can be found here.
In one of the most challenging editions of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in recent years, the 100 foot Maxi Ragamuffin 100 overcame several early stumbles for a thrilling finish in the veritable race. This year’s event saw a wide range of conditions, with high winds that led to nearly a third of the fleet retiring, and light winds at the finish that tested sailors patience. Ultimately, Ragamuffin 100 passed Rambler 88 in the final mile of the race to take second across the line in light winds that stood in stark contrast to the early part of the race. Ragamuffin 100 had Mark Fullerton of Doyle Sails Qingdao sailing aboard, and the boat was sailing with a full Doyle Stratis sail inventory. Most impressively, the massive Square Top main was first fitted on the original Ragamuffin 100 in 2013, stayed with the boat as a new hull was built for the rig and deck, and has now powered the yacht to 3 Sydney Hobart Races, 2 Transpacs and set the record in the 673 mild Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.
The first night of the race was the most intense, with a 40 knot front blowing through the fleet in the dark of night with intense rain completely reducing visibility. In the process of changing sails for the breeze, the massive furled A3 came partially unfurled forcing the yacht to bear away to try to get the 9,000 square foot sail back on deck while running downwind with a full main and J4 at 20 knots, into the swell. After getting the foredeck under control, the yacht began reefing, only to have the reefing line for the second reef break. In the chaos that ensued going for the 3rd reef, the yacht crash tacked, with the keel and water ballast now to leeward.
Skipper David Witt was thrown off the back of the boat in the process, only hanging on to the back but unable to help get the boat righted.
“It was 10 to 10.30 at night when the southerly hit. It was intense and relentless. We were trying to get the main down heading north when the boat literally capsized on top of us. Shave (Justin Shave) was on the bow and under water, the main, half down, knocked me off the back of the boat. I was hanging on to the back end and my sea boots were dragged off me.
“All I was thinking was, ‘can someone press the canting button (to centralise the keel), cos I can’t reach it from where I am’. We were under water for 15 minutes – the ballast was on the wrong side of the boat and so was the keel. Frightening doesn’t describe it,” Witt recalled.
While the team lost some miles in the process, they were able to continue while two of their main rivals, Wild Oats XI (R/P 100) and Perpetual Loyal (Juan K 100) were forced to retire with damage. There was more drama to come, as one of Ragamuffin 100’s daggerboards broke, forcing the team to “tack” the intact daggerboard, no easy feat with an 19 foot, 650 pound board. But in the end, the boat kept going and began reeling in the miles they had lost, and had the perseverance to pass Rambler 88 right at the finish. In contrast to the earlier parts of the race, the final day saw nearly any wind. “We never give up on this boat … we managed to get them in the end,” Witt said.
The race was also an achievement for owner and sailing legend Syd Fischer, who at 88 years old was was the oldest competitor to ever sail the Sydney-Hobart Race. “It was good to beat them – a good feeling. And I crossed another one off – my 47th,” said Fischer upon finishing.
Mark Fullerton, of Doyle Sails Qingdao, has worked with the Ragamuffin team for years and managed their sail program. The Ragamuffin sails were produced at Doyle Qingdao, which is owned and operated by sailors John Hearne and Fullerton. Looking back on the race, Fullerton was impressed by how well the original main is still holding up. “Everyone on board couldn’t believe how it survived the first night. I have no idea how and why the rig didn’t come down. It was about as messed up as you could get things. There were no broken battens or any damage to the main. As the race went on and we pulled the reefs out I was amazed to see there was no damage to the mainsail. No more than a few minor bits of chafe” Fullerton commented. The main is a light weight, Stratis Carbon/Technora main that was fitted prior the 2013 Transpac Race, and has now been with the same rig after a new underbody was produced for the boat in 2013 and mated with the original Deck and Rig. Having now powered the yacht through thousands of offshore miles racing, the sail is a testament to the performance, durability and light weight of the Stratis sails that are being utilized on many of the world’s highest performing yachts.
For complete results, please visit here
To learn more about Doyle Stratis Sails, please visit here
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
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.