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Sail Scene - Long Island Sound

NYYC invitational race planned for September

Twenty teams from around the world will compete in the first New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, scheduled for Sept. 15-19.

NYYC Club Swan 42s such as Conspiracy will compete in the first New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup in September.

The event, for Corinthian sailors representing their yacht clubs and respective nations, will take place on the waters off Newport, R.I., home of Harbour Court, the NYYC’s on-the-water clubhouse.

“The response was greater than we could ever have expected given the current business climate that affects the world,” says NYYC Commodore David Elwell. “Many of the entries actually arrived after the financial crisis became apparent. To date, we have entries from five different continents.”

The event will showcase the finest amateur sailors in the world and will be the most significant event that the New York Yacht Club has hosted in recent memory, according to the club.

Racing will be aboard NYYC Club Swan 42s, the one-design racer/cruisers created by the NYYC in partnership with Nautor’s Swan.

For information, visit

Goombay Smash wins Farr 40 North Americans

Goombay Smash, owned by William Douglass of New York, won the 2008 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship, held Nov. 21-23 in Miami Beach, Fla.

Eight teams representing Denmark, Italy, Turkey and the United States competed for the title. Douglass’ team’s performance was so consistent, it finished in the top three in nine out of the 10 races.

“This regatta represents a big improvement for us,” says Douglass, noting that his last regatta finish was a second at the East Coast Championship in August. “We were fast and our crew work was sufficient to get us around the course. It’s great to be sailing against very well-sailed boats. Nerone and Barking Mad have been doing this a long time, and they set a very high bar. I’m pleased we could improve a lot. We are by no means perfect.”

Going into the final day of racing, it was Douglass’ regatta to lose as he led former world champions Nerone, owned by Massimo Mezzaroma & Antonio Sodo Migliori of Italy, and Barking Mad, owned by Jim Richardson of Boston and Newport, R.I., by four and five points, respectively.

Goombay Smash finished the final day’s races with scores of 2-3-2 to clinch the championship and be named boat of the day for the second day in a row.

Within his first year of campaigning Goombay Smash, Douglass won the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds in Miami Beach last April. This was his first win with tactician Morgan Larson.

Douglass says the team will remain the same for this winter’s Key West Race Week and Miami Grand Prix, before heading to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for the 2009 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in June.

Barking Mad, with tactician Terry Hutchinson, finished in second place, tied on points with Nerone in third. Vasco Vascotto served as tactician on Nerone, which won the Farr 40 Match Race Invitational, held earlier in the week.

Seminars will teach 2009 sail racing rules

U.S. Sailing and North U announced the 2009 schedule of the Racing Rules Seminars. The seminars will help sailors nationwide prepare for the new Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012, which took effect Jan. 1.

The seminar is an intensive full-day program taught by top experts in the field, including “Understanding the Racing Rules” author Dave Perry, “Learn the Racing Rules” DVD creator David Dellenbaugh, America’s Cup chief umpire Brad Dellenbaugh, America’s Cup champion Peter Isler, North U director Bill Gladstone, and international champions like Todd Berman, Andrew Kerr, Dobbs Davis, Geoff Moore and Steve LeMay.

The seminar curriculum covers all of the rules, including those newly adopted in the 2009-2012 Racing Rules of Sailing, such as the revision of Rule 18 concerning mark roundings and the elimination of Rule 17.2.

Topics include resolving conflicts and transitions with position changes, using the rules to shape and control tactics, and understanding the critical difference between a controlling position and right-of-way.

The cost of the seminar is $155; U.S. Sailing members receive a $40 discount. Special discounts are also available for additional crew, U.S. Sailing-certified judges, umpires and race officers, as well as for junior sailors and students.

For information, visit www.ussailing. org or

Sensini, Ainslie named Rolex sailors of the year

Alessandra Sensini of Italy and Ben Ainslie of Great Britain are the winners of the 2008 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year titles.

Sensini, 38, added her name to record books this year when she became the first woman to win four Olympic sailing medals.

“To win the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is an incredible feeling,” she says. “I have done five Olympics and I have won four Olympic medals, but I still feel great emotion to win a prize like this, because it means you are inside the history of your sport and a part of world history — it’s just incredible.”

Sensini’s career began when she was 13 and first competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. She won her first bronze medal in 1996 in the Mistral Class at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. At the 2000 Games in Sydney, Sensini tasted gold, an achievement that saw her nominated for the first time for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. She was nominated a second time in 2002 after a victory at the ISAF World Sailing Games in Marseille, France, where Sensini won every one of the nine races.

She brought home another bronze from Athens in 2004 and that same year was appointed to the ISAF Windsurfing Committee.

Sensini’s 2008 season began with a gold medal at the 2008 RS:X World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, and a gold at the HRH Princess Sofia Trophy MAPFRE in Palma, Spain. At the 2008 Olympic Games, Sensini posted impressive results, finishing every race within the top 10 and ending the competition with the silver medal, making history for female sailors.

“In China, I was competing with girls that are 20 years old or even younger, making it a really tough job,” says Sensini.

Ainslie won the award twice before: in 1998 and in 2002. He is the only sailor to have won the award three times.

“The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award is a massive honor,” Ainslie says. “For any sailor, it’s huge. It’s a great list of nominees and for me to win it this year is fantastic and it’s made my year absolutely — I’m just really, really happy.”

Ainslie is Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor, with three gold medals and a silver. Born in 1977 in England, Ainslie has been sailing since the age of 9 and by 16 he was already the Laser Radial World Champion. He competed in his first Olympic Games in 1996 at 19, taking home the silver medal in the Laser class. Ainslie’s success continued in the Laser with world championship wins in both 1998 and 1999, and he went on in 2000 to win his first gold medal at the Sydney Games.

Ainslie switched to the Finn class in 2002 and wrapped up three consecutive world championships before heading to Athens, where he once again won gold. He has remained unbeaten in the Finn class ever since, winning the gold once again at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“China was a really, really tough Olympics,” Ainslie says. “The sailing conditions were the toughest we’ve ever seen and were really light. For all of us, it was a great challenge, and for me it was really a great relief to come away with the gold medal, which is what I had set my sights on.”

Ainslie has the America’s Cup and the 2012 London Games as his future targets.

“The America’s Cup is really the next biggest challenge for me and Team Origin. So that is my next challenge, and after that, I think we are all looking forward to the 2012 Olympic Games in London as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ainslie says.

Online registration for Rolex Miami OCR

Mandatory online registration for U.S. Sailing’s 2009 Rolex Miami OCR is open at before Jan. 19. There will be no on-site registration.

The event, scheduled for Jan. 25-31, is one of seven events chosen by the International Sailing Federation for the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup.

The Miami OCR is open to the classes chosen by ISAF for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions, except for the equipment used for women’s match racing. ISAF announced in November that the three-person Elliott 6 would be the equipment used in the Women’s Match Racing Event for the 2012 Olympic Games, replacing Women’s Fleet Racing. Because that boat is not available in time for this event, the regatta will use the SB3 Laser Standard with an asymmetrical spinnaker.

The Olympic classes competing at the Rolex Miami OCR are: Laser Radial, Laser, Finn, RS:X Men, RS:X Women, 49ers, 470 Men, 470 Women, Star and SB3 Laser Standard with asymmetrical spinnaker. The three Paralympic classes are: 2.4mR, SKUD-18 and Sonar. The event will also be the only ranking regatta for American athletes who aspire to make the 2009 U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and U.S. Disabled Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

Ericsson Team holds monohull world record

The World Sailing Speed Record Council confirmed that Ericsson 4 holds the new Monohull 24-hour record.

Ericsson 4 recorded 596.6 nautical miles in 24 hours.

Ericsson 4 recorded 596.6 nautical miles in 24 hours, while sailing the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Alicante in Spain to Cape Town in South Africa.

The previous record of 562.96 nautical miles was held by ABN AMRO TWO, skippered by Sebastian Josse in the 2005-’06 Volvo Ocean Race.

The crew averaged 24.85 nautical miles during the 24-hour period, while sailing one crewmember short.

Richard Brisius, managing director of Ericsson Racing Team, says in the right conditions, Ericsson 4 is capable of more than 600 nautical miles.

This story originally appeared in the February 2009 issue.