Posts Tagged ‘Team Shockwave’
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.
Laced with the Who’s Who of the sailing world, the Mini-Maxi Class (IRC0) in this year’s Copa del Rey regatta provided very close and exciting racing throughout the week long, 10 race event. Leading from start to finish was the oldest boat in the fleet – the Reichel/Pugh 72 Shockwave – skippered by George Sakellaris and powered by Doyle Sails, including her latest Stratis ICE headsails. This inshore regatta win complements the Shockwave Team’s offshore victories in this year’s Newport-Bermuda Race where Shockwave was the elapsed time winner, while sweeping 1st overall in the Gibbs Hill Division under IRC and ORR. In the spring of this year Shockwave won overall the rough and tumble Caribbean 600 Race.
The secret to Shockwave’s success has always been the combination of all aspects of the latest technology driven by a close knit team sailing the boat. Doyle’s CFD Team led by Tyler Doyle worked with Reichel/Pugh to fine tune the keel and bulb, and worked with the Future Fibre’s team to optimize the mast in terms of weight and windage. Similarly all sail decisions in terms of inventory, and shapes are done with in-depth CFD analysis with the CFD team working with the sail design team to analyze effects on performance and rating.
One of the latest advances for this regatta came from utilizing Doyle’s latest Stratis ICE fiber, which allowed the team to create a new jib which maintained the standard ultra-light weight requirements of the program while still maintaining its shape through a wide range, so that a single jib could be used from 10 to 22 knots.
Four out of the five Mini Maxi boats won at least one of the 10 races held, and the top three teams faced the last day separated by only three points. The title was decided in the final race with victory and championship for Shockwave with 19 points, and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente, with a partial Doyle inventory, on 22 points, and Roberto Tomasini’s Robertissima III, on 23 points, completing the podium.
For full results, please visit here.
To learn more about Stratis ICE, please visit here.
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
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.
by Robbie Doyle, Shockwave’s Tactician/Navigator
The 2012 Newport to Bermuda Race was about record breaking speed and problem-free sailing in challenging conditions. This year’s overall fleet winner in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division under both ORR and IRC was the 72′ Shockwave owned and skippered by George Sakellaris and powered by Doyle Sails. Key to Shockwave’s success was selecting the ideal inventory for conditions and the ability to deploy and furl her Code 0, with complete confidence and full control in very challenging conditions. The sail had to roll tightly, so it could be left up for periods of time. Doyle developed a unique top down furling Code 0 to make this a reality.
Most significant was Doyle’s use of high resolutions RANS CFD to analyze Shockwave’s sailing characteristics versus her sail carrying ability. Doyle analyzed five different sail combinations to evaluate the driving force versus heeling moment to determine the optimum sails to carry aboard for the race. Specifically the analysis compared a conventional double head rig, a mast head Code 0, a fractional Code 0, an A3 and an oversized reacher (a large LP headsail with penalty.) Initial CFD analysis revealed that Shockwave would require more power than the standard jib top and genoa staysail, double head rig could provide. Further analysis illustrated there would be a very narrow window where an A3 could be successfully carried from a stability standpoint. The free luff of the A3 would also make it a difficult sail to drive through waves. Yet, knowing that with the right sail combination Shockwave had break-a-way speed potential it was ultimately determined that a mast head Code 0 delivered the most driving force over a wider range of conditions for a given heeling force than the other combinations. The tight luff of the Code 0 provided additional benefits as well. The sail could be depowered without fear of collapse, and it would be very stable for driving hard in offshore conditions.
The next step was to apply the CFD derived sail forces to a FEA structural model of the sails to determine the lightest Code 0 that could be built for Shockwave. The CFD/FEA analysis suggested that a sail half the weight of the existing Code 0 provided by another sailmaker. The weight savings would also make the sail much easier to handle.
Not satisfied with the current state-of-the-art in Code 0 furling Doyle partnered with Future Fibres and KZ Marine to develop top down furling for a Code 0 with an internal torque cable in the luff. Previously, top down furling has been used for free flying, downwind sails with the torque cable external to the luff of the sail. Shockwave’s Code 0 was designed from the outset to use top down furling gear with the torque rope in the luff. This new adaptation of top down equipment created a system that worked flawlessly during the race. The top down approach rolls the head of the sail very tightly and the tight roll continues down to the tack, compared to conventional furling gear that furls the sail tightly at the tack and loose in the upper leech where the roach often never furls properly. The tightness of the furl Shockwave minimized windage when the sail was left furled during rapidly changing conditions and greatly improved handling the sail. The crew was always confident that the sail could be deployed without prematurely unfurling and the tight furl made dropping the sail to deck much easier.
Ultimately, Doyle’s diverse engineering capabilities combining CFD/FEA, sail design and design of the sail handling systems for the Code 0 were a significant contribution to Shockwave’s victory over her newer rivals.