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
The new version of the e33 made quite an impression on those following in her wake at this past weekend’s Figawi Race. The e33LM, a revolutionary hybrid wood/glass hull, was loaded off the truck at Hyannis Marine, her crew (Robbie Doyle, Drew Lyman, the owner Nick Lazares and his son, Nick) jumped on, tuned the rigging, did a couple of tacks and sets then headed to the start line. “Even though the boat is designed and built primarily for day sailing, it was great for Flash to win its inaugural race beating more than 100 boats in a very demanding race,” said Doyle. “Great shake down to insure smooth enjoyable sailing in the future.”
Read the following Q&A for more details on the new e33LM:
Q. How did you get a brand new boat and model ready to sail a 25 mile race in 25 knots of wind with so little prep time?
A. Key is that the boat is extremely simple. It has just three sails – a square top main, self-tacking jib, and an asymmetrical spinnaker. Also, this is e33 hull #27 so it’s a known entity that has had been a continuous evolution since inception.
Q. You mentioned that the e33 is constantly evolving. What’s new and different with this boat?
A. This hull structure is certainly the biggest leap forward yet. Nick Lazares was looking for an easy boat to sail with family and friends. He has a larger boat but finds with his busy life style it takes too long to get sailing and then to put things away at the end of the day. He wanted a boat he could easily handle himself so he could invite non-sailors along and they would be comfortable.
He and his son came for a test sail on a traditional e33 and were sold on the concept. But he had some special requests:
1. A shoal draft for sailing around Cape Cod.
a. The e33LM has an optional shoal draft keel configuration that reduces the depth from 5’9” to 4’9”.
2. Could handling be made even easier with a self-tacking jib?
a. This is also an option for the e33LM. We were concerned that it might hurt performance however as explained in the discussion below on hull construction because the boat came out lighter and roach was added to the jib, no detection can be seen in sailing performance as indicated in her Figawi Race victory where she excelled upwind as well
3. The owner wanted the feel of wooden boat below deck.
a. This was all doable but I cautioned him that adding the wood he wanted could add a good amount of weight and with the shoal draft keel already a bit heavier we could be limiting the boat’s very special all around sailing performance.
b. Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding stepped in, led by Cabot Lyman who had a concept to build a strong hull that was a wood-glass hybrid. Lyman-Morse’s boat building team led by Lance Buchanan teamed up with Tyler Doyle of Doyle CFD to use the latest in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to analyze the strengths of various wood and glass combinations. After a number of combinations were examined, Western Red Cedar for the hull interior and 5/32” of Eglass for the hull exterior were selected. The fiberglass IGU interior was replaced with various woods that were all cut on Lyman Morse’s new C&C router for easy replication.
c. The result is a hull that is 16% lighter than the glass-foam-glass laminate as well as a boat that requires no additional wood trim for looks. This photo was taken below on the e33LM just after the finish of the Figawi Race with the cushions in the forepeak still wet from the spinnaker take down!
Q. What other features separate this daysailer from the others?
A. A square top main. Grand prix racers love this configuration because it is the most efficient mainsail geometry there is. It is popular among catamaran sailors, too, as it is not only efficient but depowers automatically because the top naturally twists open with wind gusts. I had an e33 for more than four years and despite having sailed it in up to 35 knots of wind, we never reefed. In fact, in this race the one boat that was in front of us at the leeward mark lost its lead while they struggled to get a reef in. It was blowing 22 to 25 knots at that time with 5 to 6 foot seas and with a crew of 4 we were very comfortable sailing to windward. There was a 50-footer not far behind us going pretty well but when we tacked with our self-tacking jib we left them behind as they struggled to sheet in their large genoa.
Q. Why don’t all boats have square top mains?
A. The primary reason is that most cruising boats have permanent backstays that interfere with a large roach. Racing boats have running backstays that are released and taken up on every tack and jibe. The e33 does not need a back stay as the shrouds and spreaders are swept back sufficiently to support the headstay without a back stay. Catamarans are set up with this configuration as well.
Q. What’s next for the boat?
A. Primarily the e33LM FLASH will be used for its intended purpose – comfortable daysailing where Nick and his friends can enjoy the high fidelity sound system, hot and cold running water and large wide open cockpit designed for relaxing.
For more information contact: Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding 207-354-6904 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
The 2014 superyacht racing season started on a strong note, with Moonbird winning Class C at the 2014 Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous. Moonbird, built by Fitzroy Yachts and designed by Ed Dubois, is a 123′ sloop that was recently fitted with a new mast and Stratis ICE sails. Matt Bridge from Doyle Sails New Zealand was sailing with the team on Moonbird. Second place was the Oyster 100 Sarafin, and third was Tempus Fugit, a new 90′ sloop from Arkin Pruva Yachts – both of which carry Doyle sails.
In class A, the 164′ sloop Ohana placed third and Leopard by Robertissima was fifth with full Doyle inventories. Chris McMaster and Justin Ferris from Doyle Sails New Zealand were sailing onboard Ohana.
The next event will be the St. Barths Bucket, with racing starting on Friday the 28th. Moonbird, Sarafin and Ohana will be joined by other Doyle powered boats, including Axia, Blue Too, State of Grace and Zenji.
For complete regatta results, please visit here. All photos courtesy Boat International Media.
Perfect conditions 10-15kts and warm and sunny weather provided a great weekend of sailing in San Diego for the annual NOOD Regatta.
Mark Stratton and his Crew on the Beneteau-40.7 Laguno won all 6 races in the 40.7 class to take the win. Laguno used a complete set of Doyle Stratis ICE sails for the event including a New ICE Mainsail and ICE LM #1. All of the sails were made by Doyle Chicago, with John Baxter onboard to celebrate his birthday on Sunday with the clean sweep.
Bill Purdy and his Whirlwind Team made the trip to San Diego from the east coast. Bill chartered a Beneteau 36.7 and brought his Doyle sails out for the event. Bill used a brand New Doyle Stratis #1 made by Mark Ploch in at Doyle City Island. Bill also won every race in the event in the 9 boat Beneteau 36.7 Division.
Congratulations to both teams who sailed a fantastic regatta.
Congratulations to Senet Bischoff and his team of Benjamin Kinney and Clay Bischoff, for winning the 2014 Jaguar Mid-Winters, the fourth and final regatta of the 2014 Jaguar Series. KGB had top six finishes in all but two of the seven races sailed over the three days in Biscayne Bay, Miami, FL. The most impressive part of this victory is the team was comprised of all Corinthian sailors competing against many of the top professional teams worldwide.
“In the past, Ben and I treated this as a social endeavor,” admitted Bischoff. “We always sailed with a bunch of friends, and had a great time, but we never had a consistent third crew. This year we added my brother Clay, a two time team race world champion and former college sailor of the year, and it’s been huge.”
“We are an all Corinthian (amateur) team so we don’t come in early to practice. We did buy a new set of Doyle sails from Jud Smith, and that has been a big help. Jud is very open and honest in helping us get better. We can send him a photo of our sails and he will respond immediately with tuning advice.”
The Mid-Winters concluded the 2014 Jaguar Series and a second congratulations is in order for Peter Duncan and his team, Jud Smith and Tom Blackwell, for winning the 2014 Jaguar Cup after finishing 4th at the Mid-Winters this past weekend! Both teams utilized the new Doyle APG Main, NLM-5 Jib and VMG Spinnaker.
“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. Hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 20, the series consistently draws fifty or more boats to the good weather and great competition on Biscayne Bay. Teams from USA, Canada, Bermuda, Great Britain, Ireland, Switzerland and Ukraine are preparing for the World Championships to be held in Newport, RI this June.
To learn more about Doyle’s Etchells’ Sails, please visit here.
To see full regatta results, please visit here.
To read the full regatta re-cap, please visit 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