Rambler on a roll
"Whatever you do, don’t change anything. It’s perfect!" commented American Ken Read, tactician on board the maxi Rambler at the Voiles de St Barts, and this week confirmed as skipper of a second Puma Ocean Racing campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race.
The easterly trade winds, which again blew at 20+ knots throughout the day allowed another coastal course to be set up today, at 19 miles long for the smaller boats and 30 miles for the big ones. This involved going half way around the island, starting from in between the luxury motor yachts off the Sugar Loaf, going right through the middle of the turbulent waters in the channel between Goat Island and Frigate Island, before a downwind run towards Forked Island.
The match racing continued between the two modern classics - Donald Tofias’s Wild Horses and the women on sistership White Wings, who have remained close to each other throughout the regatta. It was Faraday Rosenberg’s all-female crew that went on to win in the end.
Despite of the presence on board of the French sailors Lionel Péan, Jacques Vincent and Loïck Peyron and reaching speeds close to 20 knots, Peter Harrison’s Sojana was not at ease during manoeuvres and particularly suffered upwind, against the thoroughbred race George David's Rambler.
At the half way stage, the results are starting to look a little clearer. In the Racing Cruising group, a trio seems to have left the others way behind. There is a tiny difference in the number of points between the provisional leader, Robert Velasquez and his First 45 and his nearest rival, - local hero, Raymond Magras on his Dufour 34 Speedy Nemo and the Irish J/109 Pocket Rocket belonging to David Cullen.
Two yachts have managed to stand out in the Racing group and have been fighting a merciless duel throughout the varied courses that the race directors have chosen for them each day; James Dobbs and his J/122 Lost Horizon is clinging on to Patrick Demarchelier’s Swan 45 which has won three races with her more advantageous rating.
In the Classic category, the two W class 76 footers, designed by Joel White remain glued together and at the halfway stage the advantage goes to Wild Horses, which completed yesterday’s race in amazing style under spinnaker. However, the ladies’ disappointment was only temporary and Faraday Rosenberg’s crew gained their revenge today by winning by a few minutes. The two crews know each other well and the potential of the two beautiful boats inspired by the 12 metre boats of the 1950s is similar...
Rambler, Sojana and Jim Swartz's Swan 601Moneypenny are putting on a great show in the superyacht category. This looks set to be down to the final race to find out whether Sojana, the biggest and heaviest, will manage to overcome her corrected time handicap against leader Rambler. Moneypenny tended to be left in the shadows early in the week, but today came in between the two giants.
Ken Read commented: "With what I’ve seen since the start of the week, I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll soon be attracting a thousand boats to this event! Seriously, the sailing conditions are quite simply fantastic, quite exceptional. St. Barts is now in my Top five favourite locations in the world for sailing! The island is magnificent, the race committee is doing a remarkable job and the sailing conditions go beyond my wildest dreams!
"We are giving it our all here for Peter (Doriean). He would not have wanted anything different and his wife, Nikki insisted that we sailed in his honour. So our pleasure is rather tempered, but for us it’s a question of honour to give it 200% to win and honour Spike’s memory. His wife, Nikki will be here tomorrow. Sailing is the best way for us to overcome our emotions and to pay homage to the memory of our friend."
Results after three races:
1- Wild Horses, Donald Tofias
2- White wings, Faraday Rosenberg
3- Duende, Randy West
Racing division (RAC)
1- Lors Horizon, James Dobbs
2- Puffy, Patrick Demarchelier
3- Black Holes, Jeroen Hin...
Racing Cruising Division
1- L'espérance, Robert Velasquez
2- Speedy Nemo, Raymond Magras
3- Pocket Rocket, David Cullen
Super Yacht division
1- Rambler, George David
2- Sojana, Mark Fitzgerald
3- Moneypenny, James Schwartz