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Volvo Leaders Finish 3 Minutes Apart

May 8, 2015 – Newport, RI

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Regardless of sea conditions, spray in the face is nearly constant aboard VO 65s. Here, Dongfeng Race Team is on its way to a first place finish at Newport. 

© 2018 Sam Greenfield / Dongfeng Race Team / VOR

Maintaining their previously unthinkable level of parity and competition, the Volvo Ocean Race’s fleet has just come storming into Newport, Rhode Island with the leaders again separated by just three minutes after 17 days of close and intense racing from Brazil.

Now more than 80% of the way into their epic round-the-world journey that comprises nine legs (and one pit stop) and nearly 40,000 miles of sailing, the fleet of six VO 65s will again be torn apart and meticulously prepared for the notoriously windy and gear-busting 2,800 nm transatlantic passage from Newport to Lisbon, Portugal, where the rebuilt Team Vestas Wind will rejoin the fleet after her now-infamous grounding in the South Indian Ocean during Leg 2.

Framed by a splendid rainbow, 'SIFI' Fisher and 'Chuny' Bermudez of Abu Dhabi Racing grind in a reef during the long trip north to Newport. 

© 2018 Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Racing / VOR

Overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are doing everything they can to seal the deal and win this twelfth edition of the race, but to do so they’ll have to fend off a rejuvenated Dongfeng Race Team that is coming on strong after a Leg 5 dismasting. Barely making it to the start line and plagued by watermaker issues during the early stages of Leg 6 (Brazil to Newport), the Franco-Chinese team persevered to overcome their problems and made multiple gutsy tactical calls that led them to nip Abu Dhabi at the finish line in Newport by an incredibly small gap of three minutes — once again setting up a close battle during the event's final three legs, with the ultimate finish in Sweden (Leg 9).

Old meets new on the Newport docks, as the fleet of VO 65s has arrived. Now gussied up to meet the public, you'd never know they just raced 5,000 miles from Brazil. 

© 2018 Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier was a member of the Groupama team that came from behind to win the 2011-12 edition of the race, having also dismasted on Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajai. This time, their Leg 6 victory put their championship hopes back in focus. Team Brunel and MAPFRE finished third and fourth, roughly an hour behind the front two, while Alvimedica came in four hours later to finish fifth, with the ladies of Team SCA rounding out the fleet in sixth.

Leg 7 from Newport, Rhode Island to Lisbon, Portugal begins on May 17 with in-port racing the day before. Find much more on the official website.

- ronnie simpson

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Latitude 38 Crew List

Classy Deadline the 15th

See the current magazine here

See the current magazine here.

New: Golden Gate Racing Challenge

May 8, 2015 – San Francisco Bay

With the America’s Cup situation in more chaos than ever, Tom Ehman, who is the vice commodore of Golden Gate Yacht Club and who has been part of the America’s Cup for, well, just about forever, is proposing something of an alternative to the America’s Cup. To be called the Golden Gate Racing Challenge, it would be an annual event on San Francisco Bay starting in July 2017 featuring "updated versions of the venerable 12 Meter class."

Although the idea of racing 12 Meters may sound archaic to some, there is still nostalgia for the 'good old days' of monohull racing — particularly in strong winds — and there are still plenty of 12s around. 

Photo Courtesy SailFeed
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"This is an opportunity to do something for the sport and the former cup community," Ehman said. “There is a crying need in the world of yacht racing for such an event, especially in monohulls, and especially in a lot of breeze. We’re seeing that because of what's happening or not happening in other parts of the sport and in other parts of the world."

Ehman insists he is not going into competition with the America’s Cup.

"I think the America's Cup is off on its own, and always has been. The America's Cup will survive the current situation. But there is obviously strong interest in monohull racing with strong teams, in boats everyone has heard of and loves. There is a nostalgia and romance with the 12 Meters, and to have those boats racing in a lot of breeze on San Francisco Bay, where people can watch, will remind people of how great the America's Cup was in Fremantle in 1987 in windy conditions."

Ehman hopes to attract team owners who have been priced out, or turned off, by the America's Cup, of whom there are quite a few. There will be a $500,000 purse. Despite the name, the event will not be affiliated with the Golden Gate YC.

Latitude likes the idea of a less expensive annual alternative to the America's Cup on San Francisco Bay, but the devil will be in the details. After the AC72s, is there still interest in much slower monohulls? And are there enough disaffected team owners willing to sign up for an unproven event? Only time will tell, but we wish Ehman the best of luck.

- latitude / richard

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Weekend Racing Preview

May 8, 2015 – California

Hosted by South Bay Model Yacht Club, the International One Metre World Championship starts today on Foster City's Central Lake and runs through next Saturday the 16th. The 76 entries come from 21 countries.

With Mother's Day on Sunday, a lot of Bay Area races are packed in on Saturday this weekend, including the second race in the OYRA season, the Full-Crew Farallones Race.

Atalanta's hull dips behind a wave crest

The hull of the Farr 53 Atalanta disappears behind a wave crest in the big swell of the 2012 OYRA Farallones Race.

© 2018 Peter Lyons /

The folks at Tiburon YC would like to alert us to their "Sinko" de Mayo Race, "or shall we call it a Fiasco," on May 9. "We will run this race similar to the Three Bridge Fiasco, only it will be raced off Paradise Cay. Margaritas after the race at the club!"

Saturday the ninth will have a lot of seconds: Sequoia YC will run their second Single/Doublehanded Series race, and Stockton Sailing Club will run their second Long Distance race. The second South Bay InterClub Series race will be held, as will Vallejo YC's second North Bay Series race.

Mercury sailors will race for the Homecoming Trophy in the NorCal Regatta at Encinal YC, while Laser sailors are invited to Monterey Peninsula YC for their Laser Championship. El Toros will sail on Fremont's Lake Elizabeth in the Flight of the Bulls.

"The Congressional Cup is the granddaddy of modern match racing, with the world’s top-ranked sailors playing bumper boats right off Long Beach's Belmont Pier," writes Betsy Crowfoot of regatta host Long Beach YC. "We are encouraging sailors to come out and see the races. The Ficker Cup feeder starts today, and Congressional Cup is 5/13-17. We have free parking, seating, live commentary, special guests (Olympians, race car drivers) stopping by, food and drink vendors, booths — quite festive. Oh, and great racing!"

Spinnaker sailing in last year's Congo Cup

A match-up in last year's Congressional Cup.

© 2018 Bronny Daniels /

Gerry Driscoll from San Diego YC won the first Congo Cup in 1965; 26-year-old Taylor Canfield, from the USVI, won last year and will be back to defend his title.

For more events this weekend and this month, see our Calendar.


- latitude / chris

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