There was still plenty of intrigue left in the world of ocean racing however, and records continued to fall throughout April and May. Meanwhile the buildup to the ISAF Youth Worlds continued to gather momentum, windsurfers racing on a purpose built canal came within a whisker of the magical 50 knots and the ISAF Mid-Year Meetings saw ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) at the helm of the ISAF Council for the first time.
Olympic Sailors Clash In Europe
Star Names Meet As America's Cup Clock Ticks Down
Young Eyes Focussed On Busan
Boards Flying High And Fast
Follow the blue links and click on the pictures for more on each story
By the start of April Paul CAYARD and Brian SHARP (USA) were working their magic at the ISAF Grade C1 Star Western Hemisphere Championship in the Bahamas, winning with a race to spare in a fleet which included Olympic silver medallists Ross MacDONALD and Mike WOLFS (CAN).
The ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française saw the start of a trio of high profile European Olympic Classes Regattas and was also set to see the first of a series of format trials in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. However at the start of racing in Hyères all the focus was on the sailors, with plenty of interest in some of the new paths taken by established winners. Olympic Champion in the Europe, Siren SUNDBY (NOR) lined up in the 470, whilst Shirley ROBERTSON's (GBR) gold winning Olympic Yngling team took on a new look with former crew Sarah AYTON (GBR) at the helm.
|The first Olympic Format trials prompted
much debate at the Semaine Olympique
Française and Holland Regatta
|© Gilles Martin Raget/FF Voile|
Moving into the final days, the wind did an about turn, with light winds presenting a new challenge to the competitors and then thick fog making for some unexpected leaderboard changes. DE TURCKHEIM seemed unbothered the conditions however and swept to victory in the Radial as did fellow French sailors Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX in the 470. Meanwhile in the Laser Australian Tom SLINGSBY took advantage of a disastrous last race for leader Milan VUJASINOVIC (CRO) to win his first ever ISAF Graded event.
Wind curtailed the plans for grand final races across the fleet, with eventually just the top Finn and Yngling sailors going head to head. Again though the weather seemed like it just did not want to play ball, and the title went to the leaders at the end of the fleet series, PAPATHANASIOU and BARKOW, HOWE and CAPOZZI.
'We think it will be lots of fun.''I don't really like the idea.'
'It is a good idea. Our sport needs
'It is not fair for the sailor who
Yngling sailor Sally BARKOW, Hong Kong coach Rene APPEL,
The ISAF World Sailing Rankings released 4 May saw some significant changes after the racing in Hyères, with three leaders rising to the top spot. Paul GOODISON (GBR) overtook the absent Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) in the Laser whilst Canada's Keamia RASA grabbed the number one spot in the Laser Radial. Meanwhile back to back Olympic gold medallist Roman HAGARA and Hans-Peter STEINACHER (AUT) reclaimed first place in the Tornado Rankings.
Before the Olympic Classes were to meet again in the Netherlands, the Mistral World Championship saw the world's best windsurfers battle in Mondello, Italy, whilst the ISAF Grade C1 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship took place in Switzerland. Despite some impressive races from 1996 Olympic gold medallist in the Finn Mateusz KUZNIEREWICZ (POL) in his first ever ISAF Graded regatta in the Star with new crew Dominik ZICKY (POL), Robert STANJEK and Markus KOY (GER) proved top of the Star pile. In the Mistral, Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) and Blanca MANCHON (ESP) consolidated on early leads to both claim the respective World titles with a race to spare.
The ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta saw star names (and old foes) Ben AINSLIE (GBR) and Robert SCHEIDT line up again in the classes in which they held the title Olympic Champion. It was to prove a more successful return for the Brit, whose dominant win laid the foundation for perhaps the most emphatic series of displays across any class of boat in 2005. Elsewhere Joeri VAN DIJK (NED) provided the home fans with a victory to savour in the Mistral, whilst CHAN Wai Man (HKG) wrapped up a narrow victory in the women's event. Tom SLINGSBY (AUS), Sophie DE TURCKHEIM (FRA) and Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX (FRA) repeated their Hyères success in the Laser, Laser Radial and 470 Women and the Yngling team of Sarah AYTON recorded an impressive win.
In the final races Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) claimed the honours in the 49er, whilst Mathew BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS (AUS) came out on top in the 470 Men. In the Tornado, Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) won their second regatta of the year in the final races offs, a result from which they would simply not look back.
The ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup in the USA saw a host of the world's top match racing stars gather in California, but they could do nothing to stop the event turning into a Kiwi whitewash. With Chris DICKSON (NZL) securing third place, the final pitted Dean BARKER (NZL) against his mentor Russell COUTTS (NZL). With the three-time America's Cup winner out of the 2007 event, COUTTS had a point to prove, but then so did BARKER having been on the receiving end of a 5-0 whipping back in Auckland two years ago and lining up again for Emirates Team New Zealand in 2007. Youth was to triumph over experience, with BARKER winning 2-1 thanks to a 19 second victory in the final race.
|Peter GILMOUR proved to be the star man on
the match racing circuit
|© Guido Cantini/Swedish Match Tour and
Along with the positive news for match racing development, Team Racing also had a great boost when GREY GOOSE® Vodka were announced as title sponsors for the Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship taking place in New York, USA in September/October.
The sailing world's focus once again shifted to the America's Cup as 29 April and Challenge deadline for the 32nd Cup approached. In the preceding weeks, teams from Malaysia, San Francisco, USA and Australia had dropped their bids, but still the 2007 America's Cup was the be the biggest ever, with eleven challengers set to battle for the honour of taking on Swiss Defender Alinghi in the first ever Cup in Europe. Amongst the twelve teams, syndicates from Germany and China were to provide the Cup with challengers from nations which had never before participated. Whilst the start of the year had seen Defenders Alinghi and Russell COUTTS settle their differences 'amicably', former Team New Zealand boss Tom SCHNACKENBERG took legal action against the team at the start of April.
As the America's deadline passed, the match racing world's gaze shifted to the women's scene, with the top sailors gathering in Calpe, Spain for the ISAF Grade 1 International Women Match Race Criterium. It was to prove a crucial event in the larger scheme of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings with World numbers one and two, Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) and Claire LEROY (FRA) respectively, going head to head in the semi final. LEROY won the battle 3-1 and despite losing to Klartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED), second place was to prove good enough to give her the Ranking top spot on the release on 4 May, displacing BJÖRLING, who had topped the Ranking list since February 2003, but a four month break between June and September 2004.
|'When I woke up today I
knew the starts were
going to be vital.'
After three America's Cups victories it all seems to
In the Open Rankings Ed BAIRD (USA) remained unmovable at the top, although, with the America's Cup now out of the question, Russell COUTTS was now moving back up the list, to seventh in this Rankings' release.
COUTTS was also to the fore a few days later as he began his defence of the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup in Italy. Despite a shaky start, the Kiwi legend was to come up trumps again, defeating World number two Peter GILMOUR (AUS) in the final. However GILMOUR was to storm back a few weeks later at the ISAF Grade 1 Match Race Germany, in what was to prove the first victory of a magical season for the popular Australian. Back in Italy, home sailor Paolo CIAN (ITA) recorded a popular win at the ISAF Grade 1 Albaria Cento Cup.
The match racing circuit moved on to Croatia and the ISAF Grade 1 ACI H1 Cup, with defending champion Bertrand PACÉ (FRA) winning an incredible 17 flights in the opening double round robin. However, the Frenchman came unstuck in the semis, and again it was GILMOUR who took his second straight win, and in doing so getting the better of his rival at the top of the Rankings BAIRD in the last four.
|By May anticipation was growing as the
ISAF Youth Worlds approached
|© Peter Bentley|
As the year progressed so the buildup to the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Busan, Korea intensified. By the start of April, the entries for the Championship were in and promised another huge event, with over 200 sailors taking part from more than 35 nations. ISAF's Athlete Participation Programme offered funding to over 20 nations and as a result both the Bahamas and El Salvador fielded competitors for the very first time.
Meanwhile Great Britain, so close to winning the Volvo Trophy for the best nation in 2004, selected their ISAF Youth World team following the RYA Youth Championship in Largs, Scotland. Amongst the team Laser sailor Giles SCOTT caught the eye after winning with nine bullets and a second in the ten race series. New Zealand also announced their team following the 2005 YouthSail event.
|'I hadn't thought forward to Korea,
in fact when I was in Palma last
month I didn't even know where
the Youth Worlds was!'
Giles SCOTT seems a little unprepared for his forthcoming
Away from the top level competition at the ISAF Youth Worlds there was still plenty going on for young sailors around the globe. The USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festivals for one took fun on the water sailing programmes around 18 states and in Venice, Italy 2004 Optimist World Team Racing Champions Poland produced an impressive display to lift the Trofeo Marco Rizzotti. Meanwhile the International 470 Class Association launched two new programmes designed to assist youth and junior sailors.
|Windsurfers provided plenty of spectacal
throughout the year
|© Masters of Speed and PWA/Carter|
In the windsurfing world there was good news as the new Olympic equipment, the Neil Pryde RS:X went into production. Whilst windsurfers with Olympic pretensions were waiting with baited breath to get their hands on the new equipment, over on the purpose built canal at St. Maries de la Mer, France another side of the sport grabbed the limelight.
Over the years the outright sailing speed record as oscillated between boards and boats, and British Virgin Islander Finian MAYNARD reinforced the former's claim the throne on Sunday 10 April, breaking his own record to lift the outright mark to 48.7 knots. MAYNARD's fantastic performance, covering 501 metres in just 20 seconds was to earn his recognition throughout the year. On the same day, Karin JAGGI (SUI) beat the eleven year old women's record, posting an average speed of 41.25 knots.
|'This is windsurfing and
we are quick.'
It is hard to argue with Finian MAYNARD
Spectacular speeds became spectacular stunts as the PWA World Tour took eye opening windsurfing around the world. In Hawaii at the start of April Josh ANGULO (USA) and Daida MORENO (ESP) turned on the style to win the Jeep Hawaii Pro. World Champion Matt PRITCHARD (USA) went on to take the honours in the first PWA Super X World Cup of the year at the Mondial du Vent in Leucate, France.
Although the Volvo Ocean Race was not scheduled to start until November, already the VO70s were making waves on the world's oceans. On 4-5 April Bouwe BEKKING (NED) skippered Spanish boat movistar to a new 24 hour distance monohull record of 530 nm at an average speed of 22.09 knots. Already the Spanish entrants were looking like a formidable team. The first ever Brazilian team to enter the famous round the
|Eric BROUGLAZET captured the Trophée BPE, whilst the Rolex
Transatlantic Challenge got off to a spectactular start in New
|© Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex and Pen Duick|
With against the clock sailing taking up so much of the focus of the offshore scene during the first part of the year, the Trophée BPE arrived to the relief those desperate for a bit of 'human' competition. Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA) on Credit Maritime-Zerotwo won 4,265 nm race from St.Nazaire, France to Cienfugos, Cuba.
Record breaking boats were never far away however, with CityJet breaking the Round Ireland Monohull record on 6 May. Within two weeks another record had fallen with Jean Luc VAN DEN HEEDE (FRA) on Adrien annihilating the Round Britain and Ireland single-handed record.
|'The boat literally flew!'|
Spain's Olympic gold medallist Iker MARTÍNEZ
With so many groundbreaking boat designs smashing records around the globe, the start of the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge came as a timely reminder of the sports long ancestry, although predictably the headlines were taken by the predicted battle between the two maxi monohulls Mari Cha IV and Maximus.
As May drew to close Ellen MACARTHUR once again grabbed the headlines, and not just in the sailing press, winning the Alternative Sportsperson of the Year at the Laureus Sports Awards.
|Paul BORG and Don SCOTT sailed flawlessly
to win the International Match Racing
Championship for Blind People
|© David Staley|
For disabled sailors around the world there was great news a fortnight into April with the announcement from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) that sailing would gain an additional event, taking it to three in the 2008 Paralympic Games. The two-person keelboat joined the single-person and three-person keelboat events.
Meanwhile at the International Match Racing Championship for Blind People in Port Maurizio, Italy, Australians Paul BORG and Don SCOTT (AUS) sailed a perfect eight from eight series to take the title. It was also announced that the soon to be restored Gipsy Moth IV would be offering berths on her global circumnavigation to disabled sailors.
The start of April saw Puerto Ricans Enrique FIGUEROA and Jorge HERNANDEZ celebrate their triumph at the Hobie Tiger World Championship
|Capri and Antigua both saw stunning yachts on the water
for their respective Sail Weeks
|© Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex and Tim Wright|
Over in the Caribbean, the Antigua Sailing Week saw a dominating performance from the fancied Titan XII of Tom HILL, whilst later in May the Angostura Tobago SailWeek saw success for Barbadian yacht Blazin.
Meanwhile over in Dubai, UAE Horizon won the first ever Maktoum Sailing Trophy, whilst Ray ROBERTS (AUS) skippered Ambil Angin to a runaway victory in the IRC Racing class at the Borneo Cup on the Malaysian Islands of Sarawak and Labuan.
Towards the end of May Roman KOCH, Maxl KOCH and Gregor BORNEMANN (GER) raced to an emphatic win at the Soling Worlds in Italy. Then as May drew to a close, Italy also hosted some of the world's most stunning yachts at the Rolex Capri Sailing Week.
Off the water the new ISAF Equipment Committee met for the first time since being appointed in November 2004. Made up of representatives from various areas of the sport including Olympic gold medallist Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE) and fellow competitor in Athens in the 470, Marta WEÖRES (HUN), the Committee met in Southampton, Great Britain just before the ISAF Mid-Year Meetings in Stockholm, Sweden in May.
|Neil PRYDE and ISAF President Göran PETERSSON put pen to
paper on the Neil Pryde RS:X
|© Neil Pryde|
ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) presided at his first ISAF Mid-Year Meetings since being elected back in November 2004. On the agenda were the qualification system for the 2008 Olympics and ISAF's strategy and objectives for the next four years. The ISAF President solidified the relationship with the designer of the new Olympic windsurfing equipment Neil PRYDE, with the two men signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the production of the Neil Pryde RS:X. Final details on the price control, production, distribution and availability were also approved by the ISAF Council. In partnership with Adecco, ISAF also announced the launch of the Athletes' Career Programme for sailing.
ISAF President from 1994-2004 Paul HENDERSON (CAN) was awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy in recognition of his services to the sport at an evening hosted by Sanpellegrino. It was a fitting tribute to the Canadian, the first non-European President, who was originally encouraged to join the IYRU back in 1970 by Beppe CROCE (ITA) himself.
Awards also took centre stage in Canada, where ISAF President of Honour, His Majesty King Constantine announced plans for the new Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame, whilst Olympic silver medallist Ross MACDONALD (USA) won the Male Athlete of the Year award at the 2005 Sport BC Annual Awards.
Sailing also further increased it's representation within the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with the news that 1992 Olympic champion Barbara KENDALL's (NZL) appointment to the IOC Athletes' Commission was accepted by the IOC Executive Board during their meeting in Berlin, Germany.
'We all owe Paul a tremendous debt
ISAF President Göran PETERSSON's tribute to his predecessor
Another Kiwi sailing legend, Olympic and America's Cup sailing veteran, Rod DAVIS (NZL) took over as Olympic Director as Yachting New Zealand, whilst fellow Olympic gold medallist Tom KING (AUS) was elected Chairman of the inaugural Yachting Australia Athletes' Committee. Meanwhile Philippe ROGGE (BEL) stepped down from his position as International Finn Class Association President.
For ISAF Race Officials, the International Umpires and Match Racing Manual Edition 6/05 became available to download from the ISAF website at the start of April.
|Göran PETERSSON awards the
ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy to
As 2005 approached the halfway mark, the year in sailing was beginning to feel the pull of the tide towards the major events lined up during the European summer, heightened by the anticipation surrounding the America's Cup Acts set to take place in Spain, Sweden and Italy. If the offshore world had taken the limelight at the start of the year, the Olympic Classes were beginning to wrestle back the attention of the sailing world, and with Olympic Format trials set to continue through the next few months, the action on the water was set to be far from the only turning point.
However first would come the ISAF Youth Worlds, as a proven breeding ground for future success at the highest levels, the Championship in Korea was set to give sailing's new breed there first chance to hit the front pages…
Part 3 of the ISAF Year In Review will be published Friday 16 December. Subscribe at ISAF Sailor.