Posts Tagged ‘Robbie Doyle’
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
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, based in Salem, MA, has recently announced that it has been awarded the contract to supply the complete sail inventory for the upcoming 60m performance sloop under construction at Perini Navi. The inventory encompasses a staggering 10,200 square meters (110,275 square feet) of sail area including what will be the world’s two largest spinnakers. The yacht is scheduled for completion in early 2014 and will make her debut at the 2014 St. Barths Bucket.
The order reinforces Doyle’s commitment and expertise in engineering some of the largest projects in the Superyacht industry including the sails aboard Maltese Falcon and M5, two of the world’s largest and most sophisticated sailing yachts. Essential to the success of this program will be the contribution of Doyle CFD’s analysis which is being used to model all aspects of the sail shapes and loading, completely integrating data from the boat’s hull and rig in real sailing conditions. This will ensure that the sails as well as the associated hardware are all up to the task of propelling this yacht through the water.
After several months of discussions, the final inventory was decided on after reviewing a number of possible combinations with an eye on smooth sail crossovers for an aggressive racing schedule the boat has planned. For upwind sailing, the boat will have a 840 sqm mainsail which is complemented by a range of headsails – a reacher, a blade jib, a working jib, and then a Code 0 for light air conditions. The upwind inventory will be constructed of Doyle’s proprietary Stratis membranes which have proven themselves on many of the world’s most glamorous Superyachts. This technology will enable Doyle’s engineers and sailmakers in Salem to construct high performance sails with minimal weight.
Downwind is where the boat will really shine. “We looked at every material available for these spinnakers and realized that there wasn’t anything in existence that would deliver the performance we were looking for,” explains CEO Robbie Doyle. “We partnered with Dimension Polyant to develop a new high-performance Polyester spinnaker fabric that is reinforced with Dyneema for durability and burst strength.” The new cloth allows the sails to be light and soft like a traditional spinnaker yet has tensile strength on par with other, heavier options. The addition of Dyneema to the cloth will ensure that the sail resists tears, essential to success on the Superyacht racing circuit. The boat will have two spinnakers, one measuring in at 2448 sqm and the other at 2170 sqm. In addition, she will be equipped with a 643 sqm spinnaker staysail set with a top down furler.
“With this project we are fortunate to take everything we have learned in the last 30 years on both Superyachts and Grand-Prix race boats and put it all together in one package,” comments Doyle. “We are extremely excited to be working with the project management team at Perini Navi, Future Fibers and Ron Holland Design to see this through its completion.” The order caps a string of good news for Doyle Sailmakers in the Superyacht arena, highlighted by the recent debut of the 50m Sloop Ohana, new inventories for the 52m Prana, 45m Artemis, and the launch of the 40m Perini Navi Sloop State of Grace with a full Doyle inventory. When the 60m performance sloop launches next year, it will be spectacular to see her perform.
Having proved her mettle for inshore racing, Shockwave, driven by owner George Sakellaris followed up her recent Key West victory with a near record breaking performance in the 2013 Montego Bay Race. Stretching 810 miles Ft. Lauderdale to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Shockwave and her crew were able to complete the course in an impressive 2 days, 11 hrs and 23 minutes and missed the course record by a mere 58 minutes. On corrected time, she also won the IRC division.
The race started in light wind that went down to 2 to 3 knots the first evening. The following day, Shockwave made big gains towards the record reaching along Eleuthera and Cat Islands, averaging 20 knots with her Code 0. After rounding the tip of Cuba she hit a high of 26.4 knots using her newest A4 spinnaker and was on pace to beat the record only to be thwarted by a lightening wind that shifted aft as she approached the finish, protecting the record set by Titan 12 in 2005.
The Reichel/Pugh designed, McConaghy built Shockwave is powered by a 100% Doyle Sail inventory tailored to match the boat’s performance curve using the latest analysis and insight from Doyle’s in-house CFD and design team. For this regatta, Shockwave was utilizing her 2-year old offshore race main – the same sail that carried her to victory in last year’s Newport-Bermuda Race. “The success of the sails we are using is a clear indication of the durability and strength of the Doyle Stratis laminates,” tactician Robbie Doyle pointed out. The Code 0, an ultra-light Doyle Stratis sail with curved radial seams for super-precise shaping and strength, was used for about 50% of the miles sailed and once again proved to be the most versatile and easy to handle headsail in the inventory. By combining practical experience with cutting edge design resources, Doyle’s team has been able to deliver sails that clearly enrich the performance of the boat and the crew.
Next Team Shockwave will head to the Mediterranean for the PalmaVela regatta in May. Be sure to Like Team Shockwave on Facebook to stay up to date with her activities.
For complete race results, visit the event website.
For information on how Doyle Sailmakers can help your next project, contact your Local Doyle Loft.
The IOD Celebrity Invitational Regatta, a fundraising event to benefit Nantucket Community Sailing, was held August 15-17, 2012, where every team has one of America’s greatest sailors aboard calling tactics. From America’s Cup tactician, Olympic medalist to world champions, the celebrities donate their time.
There was an opening reception and dinner on August 15, with two days of racing and more social events on August 16 and 17, 2012. The series consisted of five races on Nantucket Sound, each participating team with a celebrity tactician on-board.
On the first day of racing, the race committee managed to get off one light air race. A 15-20 knot wind on the second day lead to four tight races.
Congratulations to Heather Gregg’s Team Cape Cod for winning the regatta and becoming the first female winner. Heather’s tactician was Robbie Doyle, and crew members were Miles Cameron, Michael Obuchowski and Will Christenson.
In second was Gary Jobson, President of US Sailing and Honorary Chairman of Nantucket Race Week, with tactician was Dee Smith, and crew Jud Smith, Hank Stewart, Jim Porter.
About the Nantucket International One Design Fleet
The International One Design was the first class to achieve ‘International Classic Yacht’ status with the International Sailing Federation. Inspired by the majestic 6-Metre class, Cornelius Shields commissioned Norwegian naval architect Bjorn Aas to design a strict one-design class. In 1935, the International One Design was born. 21-feet on the waterline, with long, graceful overhangs extending to 33-feet overall, and a powerful 45-foot rig, the IOD resembles a scaled down version of a majestic J-Boat. With fleets in Northeast Harbor, Marblehead, Nantucket, Long Island Sound, San Francisco, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, Scotland, Sweden and Norway, the IOD class has a strong tradition of inter-fleet competition. The King Edward VII Gold Cup leg of the Swedish Match tour is sailed in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s fleet of IODs.
IODs are typically sailed with crews of four or five. The small rudder, tall rig and heavy displacement demand focus, reflexes and strength from both helmsman and crew. In Nantucket, races are held outside of the island’s harbor on the Nantucket Sound. This is one of America’s great racing venues, where crisp August afternoons, reliable sea breezes of 15-20 knots, and uniform currents across the course make for exciting racing, with Nantucket’s legendary beauty and island life to return to after racing.
Formed in 1998, the Nantucket IOD Fleet is based on a unique concept. Rather than the traditional system of sailors owning their boats individually, the fleet is owned by an association consisting of fifteen syndicates, each of which owns an undivided interest, or share equivalent to one fifteenth of the entire fleet. The boats are identical in every way: hulls, standing and running rigging, sails, supplied equipment, instruments (just a compass!), tuning, and even the bottom paint. Syndicates rotate boats on a weekly basis. It is truly one-design racing at its purest.
Nantucket Community Sailing
Nantucket Community Sailing (NCS) was recently recognized by US Sailing as the Outstanding Seasonal Community Sailing Program in the United States. The IOD Celebrity Invitational is a fundraising event to benefit Nantucket Community Sailing. NCS is a non-profit organization focused on providing sailing instruction and affordable access to water sports for the Nantucket community. NCS serves 2,000 sailors in its sailing programs, and provides equipment and instruction through many community outreach programs, including sponsoring and coaching Nantucket’s High School Sailing Team, sailing scholarships to island youth, free water sports to other non-profits, sailboat races for all levels and teaching adaptive windsurfing for disabled athletes. Nantucket Community Sailing needs to raise over $800,000 each year to support its programs. Nantucket Race Week is an essential aspect of the fund-raising effort, contributing 25% of the total. The IOD Celebrity Invitational is a major component of this success!