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2 December 2005, 04:37 pm
Part 1: January To March
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2005 - ISAF Year In Review

With the memory of Athens still clear in the mind and the post Olympic hangover still affecting the smaller boats, 2005 began with the sailing world's focus turned to the offshore world. The Vendée Globe was well underway and Ellen MACARTHUR looked to be on record breaking time as she continued her single-handed circumnavigation of the world.
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2005 proved to be another memorable year in the sailing world and began in truly record breaking fashion with the World Sailing Speed Record Council soon rushed off it's metaphorical feet as established marks tumbled, seemingly one after another.


MACARTHUR Making Waves
RIOU Wins Dramatic Vende Globe
Orange II Smashes Another World Record
Alinghi Split With COUTTS
SCHEIDT First Headline Maker In Olympic Classes
VEAL Perfect In Moth Worlds
New Faces For A New Year
News Off The Water

Follow the blue links and click on the pictures for more on each story

MACARTHUR Making Waves

MACARTHUR began the year in style, setting a personal best 24 hour run of 484.5 miles to help stretch her two and a half day lead on Francis JOYONs (FRA) single-handed round the world record as she pursued her own round the world record. Within two weeks, MACARTHUR on the trimaran B&Q was flying towards Cape Horn, and close to holding a five day advantage over JOYONs time. Just under 45 days after the start of her record attempt she rounded the final Southern Ocean cape in extremely testing conditions of 30 to 40 knots.

Ellen MACARTHUR's record breaking feat
made news around the world
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Benoit Stichelbaut/DPPI/Offshore

However within a couple of days of sailing in the west Atlantic, the unstable winds were already having their affect on her theoretical lead. Over the next ten days MACARTHUR zig-zagged northwards off the coast of South America and was powerless as her lead over JOYONs time gradually dwindled, until on 24 January with 4,559 of the 21,760 nautical miles remaining it disappeared completely. With the doldrums approaching, things were not looking good.

However, at this point in JOYONs record attempt, the Frenchman had suffered a traumatic time himself, and MACARTHUR was able to re-establish a lead of over a day as she crossed the equator. She made further gains sailing out of the doldrums to lift her back up to three days ahead, before the Azores put the brakes on B&Q cutting MACARTHURs lead and giving her another exhausting day, with only 20 minutes sleep in 24 hours. Within 600 miles of the finish there was further drama as a storm approached, a concerned MACARTHUR expressed her worries to the shore team in a call saying, 'It's pretty bad already, it's going to be horrendous... Going to be lucky to come through this without breaking something or capsizing, to be frank, because its already really rough and its going to get really, really rough. The waves are going to be absolutely huge and we're going to be going straight across them which is the worst thing you could possibly do. I'm really worried. Just got to keep things together for the next 24 hours.'

'I cannot believe it,
I absolutely cannot
believe it.'

Ellen MACARTHUR seemed a little
surprised at breaking the solo round
the world record

MACARTHUR and B&Q survived the storm, bar one hard disk failure on her main navigation computer, but her lead had dropped again, this time to less than two days but less than 400 miles remained and MACARTHUR was within touching distance of the finish. JOYONs record time had seen him power towards the finish, and as MACARTHUR battled to find a favourable course to the Ushant lighthouse, she lost more time to the Frenchman, with her lead now down to barely a day.

But MACARTHUR was not to be denied. At 22:29:17 UTC on Monday 7 February 2005, she crossed the finish line of Ushant, 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds after starting her record attempt, a full day and eight hours faster than JOYON, to set a new solo, non-stop round the world record. Minutes after crossing the line an overjoyed MACARTHUR commented, 'I cannot believe it, I absolutely cannot believe it. It hasn't sunk in yet. I don't think until I see faces again that it's really going to sink in. It's been an absolutely unbelievable journey, both physically and mentally. I'm absolutely overjoyed.'

Two days after crossing the line, MACARTHUR was welcomed back to her leaving port, Falmouth with an overwhelming reception, propelling sailing onto newspaper front pages and television news channels around the world and overnight transforming her into a household name.

RIOU Wins Dramatic Vende Globe

MACARTHUR made her name two years earlier after finishing second in the Vende Globe, and the famous French single-handed race was grabbing the headlines again at the beginning of 2005. Nine days before MACARTHUR rounded Cape Horn, Jean LE CAM (FRA) led the single-handed fleet round the Chilean land mark and in doing so broke the previous fastest time established by Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA) four years previously.

Vincent RIOU sailed to a stylish Vende
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Benoit Stichelbaut/Effets Mer

At that stage LE CAM was 190 miles ahead of Vincent RIOU (FRA), with third place Mike GOLDING (GBR) also within striking distance as the leaders entered the Atlantic. Within two days of passing the Horn, the gap between the top three had narrowed to just 93 miles and by 9 January, after 18,000 miles of racing just a paltry five miles separated them. Three days later, after 66 days and with over 18,000 miles covered GOLDING seized the lead, but it was to be short lived with RIOU regaining pole position as GOLDING fell into a small depression.

RIOU then turned the screw, gradually extending his lead so that when he crossed the equator on 19 January he led by over 100 miles from LE CAM and over 200 miles from GOLDING. As the finish approached a record time was looking more and more likely, but just who would set it was still undecided. Although RIOU still maintained control, the distance between him and the two chasers was shooting up and down. As the front trio passed through the 1,000 mile to go barrier the battle for first intensified before on 31 January, with 615 miles to the finish LE CAM snuck into the lead, moving 0.7 miles ahead of RIOU.

'I am awash in a
sea of happiness.'

The normally restrained Vincent
RIOU has a flash of poetic
inspiration as the finish of the
Vende Globe approaches

Once again though RIOU was to display his resilience and calm under pressure, quickly hauling in his fellow countryman and then rapidly pulling out a 100 mile lead as he came within 100 miles of the finish at Les Sables dOlonne. At 22:49:55 UTC on Wednesday 2 February RIOU skippered PRB across the finish line to a rapturous reception and to smash the race record by almost six days. After 23,680 miles of racing it was just a mere six and a half hours before LE CAM came in to finish second, with GOLDING completing a dramatic race by nursing Ecover in for the final 50 miles after his keel broke off.

Orange II Smashes Another World Record

There was to be further French round the world success courtesy of Bruno PEYRON (FRA) and his team onboard the maxi catamaran Orange II. On 24 January they crossed the start line of the Jules Verne Trophy between Ushant and Lizard Point on their way around the globe with two aims in mind - beating the 63 days, 13 hours and 59 minutes it took Olivier DE KERAUSON (FRA) and Geronimo to claim the Jules Verne Trophy and then bettering the round the world record of American Steve FOSSETT and Cheyenne of 58 days, 9 hours and 32 minutes. What followed was one of the most impressive displays against the sailing clock ever seen, with PEYRON and his 13 crew obliterating both records as Orange II sped across the worlds oceans.

Bruno BEYRON led Orange II's blitz around
the world's ocean
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Gilles Martin-Raget

After just seven days at sea, and in spite of unexpected weather conditions, latitude 0 was crossed and within a fortnight of starting Orange II had hit the Roaring Forties, covered nearly 2,000 miles in just three days and was close to breaking the 24 hour world speed record. PEYRON was obviously delighted, but his experienced head was always thinking ahead, as he looked to find a compromise between 'surrealistic' speeds of 30 knots plus and the need to spare men and gear for the voyage ahead.

By 16 February, after just 23 days at sea Orange II had reached the halfway point of her journey running a massive 2,000 nm ahead of FOSSETTs record time. The record pace continued as PEYRON and his team headed towards Cape Horn with the Frenchman growing in confidence as the days passed by, commenting, each day makes us stronger, each day makes us more efficient.'

After 32 and a half days Orange II rounded Cape Horn, crossing the South Pacific in a record breaking sub eleven days. However after rounding the Cape trouble emerged in the form of a whale, struck in a collision whilst Orange II was racing along at 25-30 knots. The whale hit both the port daggerboard and the rudder, and PEYRON was forced to wait a couple of days before calm seas allowed a diver to repair the damage. However the check bought positive news with no major damage. Now it seemed that the greatest threat was the awaiting doldrums. On day 43 the catamaran hit a ridge of high pressure which cut her speed in half.

'For the moment,
all things considered,
its not been so bad!'

Bruno PEYRON's reaction after Orange
broke three records after rounding
Cape Leeuwin

Facing four to five days of slow progress PEYRON was pragmatic, It could be worse. Weve known for some time that this was going to be difficult. Weve been preparing for it and were doing what we have to do he commented. All the Frenchman could do was grin and bear it as the days slipped by and Orange II continued to cruise along. By day 45 it looked as though the magical 50 day barrier, for so long a very realistic prospect, was now out of Orange IIs grasp. PEYRON could not help but reflect that, 'If we had had the same conditions as Cheyenne after the Horn of Brazil, we would have finished in 48 days.

Within a few days and as the finish at Ouessant beckoned, the mood changed from the what might have been 50 days, to a focus on getting to the finish as fast as possible and a 30 knot south southwesterly duly obliged to accompany the catamaran to the finish. On day 50 at sea PEYRON reflected on the surge of delight on board as their record breaking voyage drew to a close, 'You have to savour the last few miles, the last few hours... Its so good to see the look in the eyes of all the crew. There is no need for a long speech to understand what is happening between us. In principal, we are 24 hours from the finish. There is a regular 30 knot airflow and the sailing is good. We are gliding along in complete safety. We couldnt have dreamt of a sweeter note to end on.'

50 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 4 seconds after setting out, and after circumnavigating the globe at an average speed of 22.2 knots, Orange II crossed the finish line to smash both FOSSETT and DE KERSAUSONs times. An emotional PEYRON was on the radio just after crossing the finishing line to describe the atmosphere onboard, 'It's more emotion than joy. It corresponds to the long hard slog. So there's no explosion. It's intense, violent, just like this round the world voyage. I really love this night, and we're going to try to make the most of it.' Compliments and well wishes flew in from all sides with ISAF President Gran PETERSSON (SWE) and French President Jacques CHIRAC amongst those sending messages of congratulations. For PEYRON, twelve years after first setting the Jules Verne Record, the Trophy was again back in his hands.

Russell COUTTS and Alinghi said goodbye
to one another at the start of 2005
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Getty Images

Alinghi Split With COUTTS

The start of 2005 may well have been dominated by goings on offshore, but unsurprisingly their was plenty of drama supplied by the

'Both parties have
agreed to make no
further comments.'

The Russell COUTTS/Alinghi saga
comes to an abrupt end

to-ings and fro-ings of the Americas Cup syndicates as the deadline day for acceptance for the 32nd Cup in 2007 approached. China Team joined forced with Le Defi to emerge as the first Chinese syndicate to challenge for the Cup, but the biggest story proved to be one centring around who would not be racing in Valencia, Spain in two years time. Russell COUTTS (NZL) and Defenders Alinghi (SUI) announced they had amicably settled their differences, but this would mean COUTTS would have no chance of a fourth consecutive Cup win, and Europes first ever Cup winners, and the Cup itself, would be without its star man.

However Alinghi still seemed to have the magic touch when it came to the action on the water as their latest recruit Ed BAIRD (USA) swept to victory against Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) in the final of the ISAF Grade 1 Marseille International Match Race in France.

BAIRDs winning ways were reflected in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, were he held continued to hold the number one spot through both the 14 January and 23 March Rankings releases. By the end of March BAIRD had held on to the top spot for eight consecutive months, the experienced American a seemingly unmovable force since winning his second consecutive ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Russia back in July 2004. In the Womens Rankings Marie BJRLING (SWE) was equally untouchable at the top.

SCHEIDT First Headline Maker In Olympic Classes

Paige RAILEY won her first senior regatta in Miami
whilst Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU
celebrated victory at the Star Worlds
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Daniel Forster/Rolex & Diego Yriarte

Over in the Olympic Classes, 2005 got off to a predictably slow start with many of the Olympic stars taking a break after the intensity of an Olympic campaign. However for Robert SCHEIDT (BRA), fresh from a second Olympic gold medal in the Laser, the year began in earnest after just four days with the start of the ISAF Grade C1 Star South American Championship. After three successful Olympic campaigns in the Laser, SCHEIDT hinted that his future in the Olympics could be elsewhere and he teamed up with Bruno PRADA to great success in January, finishing second behind Lars GRAEL and Marco LAGOA (BRA) in only his second ever ISAF Graded Star regatta and then headed to the Worlds in Buenos Aires, Argentina in February. SCHEIDT and PRADA sailed with great skill in Argentina, but with a fleet packed full of the worlds very highest achievers they could not quite pull off a podium finish. They ended sixth overall, whilst Frenchmen Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU claimed the title ahead of Olympic Champions Torben GRAEL and Marcelo FERREIRA (BRA).

The first major Olympic Classes regatta of the year, the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne in Australia felt the full brunt of the Olympic hangover, with just three of the eleven classes receiving sufficient entrants to meet the ISAF Grading criteria. Victories went to Roope SUOMALAINEN (FIN) in the Laser, Mathew BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS (AUS) in the 470 and CHENG Kowk Fai (HKG) in the Mistral.

'Its just so exciting to be here.'

Paige RAILEY looks forward to her first ISAF Graded
event, which she promptly went on to win

By the time of US SAILINGs ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR in late January the fleets were filling out and the competition heating up. In the new Olympic equipment for the Womens One Person Dinghy, the Laser Radial, former ISAF Youth Worlds Champion Paige RAILEY (USA) got her senior career off to a flying start with a win in Miami followed by a victory at the ISAF Grade 1 Laser Midwinters East. Results which gave her joint first place in the inaugural release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for the class along with Laser Radial World Champion Krystal WEIR (AUS). For the young American it was to be the start of a fantastic debut year. Amongst the first place finishers understandably dominated by the home Americans were Olympic silver medallists John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA).

RAILEY and WEIR were amongst 55 women on the very first release of the Rankings for the Laser Radial on 2 February, a number which had more than doubled to 115 by the third release of the Rankings on 30 March.

The Tornado Rankings reflected some of the most interesting action in the first three months of the year. In part thanks to their win in Miami Americans LOVELL and OGLETREE rose to the number one spot on 30 March, but perhaps of more significance was the new name in the top five on 2 February. It would prove fitting that Spanish Tornado team Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ made an impact on the very first Rankings release of 2005, a year in which they would go on to sail superbly. In March, at the ISAF Grade 2 Barcelona Sailing Week, they justified their high Ranking by taking victory and swiftly followed it up with another strong performance on their home waters to finish fourth at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma de Mallorca.

Olympic silver medallist in the Finn Rafael TRUJILLO carried on the theme of Spanish success, having risen to the top spot in the Rankings for the first time in February. He maintained that position in the Rankings of 4 March and 30 March thanks to a second place in Barcelona and a sixth at the Princess Sofia. The action in Palma also saw RAILEY to the fore again, scoring her third successive victory in the Radial after also winning the ISAF Grade 1 Laser Midwinters East in the USA.

Amongst the other Olympic Classes, the top spots shuffled around as sailors took a well earned big, whilst long time leaders Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) in the 470 Women, Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) in the 49er, Faustine MERRET (FRA) in the Mistral Women and Fredrik LF and Anders EKSTRM (SWE) in the Star stayed firm in their number one spots.

Meanwhile for SCHEIDT, despite his temporary deflection to the Star, such was his success in the Laser that he held the top spot right in all three of the early 2005 Rankings releases.

Rohan VEAL hydrofoiled to unbeaten success
at the Moth Worlds
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Sport The Library

VEAL Perfect In Moth Worlds

If RAILEY was impressive in Miami on her home waters, then Rohan VEAL (AUS) was completely outstanding on his during the Moth World Championship. Taking place as part of Sail Melbourne, the Moths raced off Port Phillip Bay, with VEAL using his hydrofoil to

'I had plans in place
for the last Worlds in
France, but they did
not come off. This
time was different.'

Rohan VEALs brief appraisal of his eight bullet
from eight race victory at the Moth Worlds

unparalleled success, winning every one of the eight races to take the World title at a canter. Brad SUMNER and Belinda WALKOM (AUS) produced an equally decisive display to take the very first World Championship of the year in the Hobie 18, again decided at Sail Melbourne. In fact not only did they manage 100%, but they did it over a 13 race series. There was more home success at the Hobie 17 Worlds, held concurrently with the Hobie 18s, thanks to Aaron WORRALL (AUS), whilst Richard PERINI's (AUS) Evolution continued the Australian winning streak at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in March, just clinching an incredibly tight series on countback from Neville CRICHTON (AUS).

Other World Championship titles at the start of the year went to Jochen SCHMANN and Ronald PIEPER in the Swiss boat Artemis XII in the 5.5 Metre. Lindsay IRWIN and Andrew PERRY (AUS) took the World crown in the International 14, as did fellow Australians Nick JERWOOD Janet JERWOOD in the Flying Fifteen.

New Faces For A New Year

Whilst the stars of sailing were competing in Miami, Melbourne, Marseille et al or racing across the worlds oceans, the young hopefuls

The stars of the future were out in force at
the beginning of the year
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had their eyes firmly set on Busan, Korea and the forthcoming Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. The Australians were one of the first nations to name their team, after the Australian Youth Championship in the first fortnight of the year. A few weeks later the Dubai International Junior Regatta saw some of the top tips for the future gather in the UAE, with Sweden taking home the team trophy.

Back in Australia on the match racing scene, Kiwi Simon MINOPRIO upset home sailor Michael DUNSTAN to win the Warren Jones Youth Regatta in Perth for the second year in succession. Back in the fleets, Adel KHALID (UAE) sailed a superb series to win the Sail The Gulf regatta in Doha, Qatar with over a day to spare in February.

Moving on to March and US SAILING announced their team for the ISAF Youth Worlds, with Paige RAILEY returning to the youth scene one last time to spearhead her nations medal drive in the Laser Radial. Meanwhile over in Italy, the Lake Garda Optimist Meeting once again boasted an enormous fleet of over 600 young sailors. Paul SNOW-HANSEN (NZL) also made his mark in the Optimist on his home waters in New Zealand, completing the 'triple crown' of Junior Sailing by adding the Optimist National Championship title to his wins in the Tanner and Tauranga Cups.

News Off The Water

Away from the water ISAF awarded former member of the ISAF Medical Commission and ISAF International Race Officer Frank NEWTON (GBR) with an ISAF Silver Medal in recognition of his many years of outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing and ISAF. Meanwhile in January, Serge JORGENSEN (USA) took the helm of the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) after the retirement of Ian HARRISON (GBR).

In Great Britain their was great news for deaf sailors with the charity Deaf Sailing UK set up to work alongside RYA Sailability. In the USA an all-time record of more than 250 sailing programme directors, organizers, and volunteers travelled from across the country to Miami, Florida, to attend US SAILING's National Sailing Programmes Symposium. Meanwhile in the US Virgin Islands, the St. Thomas Antilles School sailing team found a novel way to promote itself by issuing a team calendar, just one of the many examples throughout the year of the efforts made to get out on the water around the world.

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chaired the ISAF Executive Committee
in February
There was no let up for the Race Officials at the start of the year, before 2005 was even a month old the volunteers that make racing in our sport possible were gather in Dubai, UAE for an ISAF Judging Clinic tied in with the Maktoum Sailing Trophy. Later in the year in March, the ISAF Chief Umpire Seminar And Performance Assessor Workshop brought together 53 International Umpires from 20 nations in a seminar designed to give them the information and tools for the them to become Chief Umpires.

Moving from the governance of the action on the water, to the action off it, ISAF President Gran PETERSSON (SWE) chaired the first formal meetings of the recently elected ISAF Executive Committee from 6-8 February. Amongst the issues discussed was the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition Format an unsurprising hot topic which would reappear throughout the year.

The first three months of 2005 had seen the sailing world successively gripped as they followed the progress of record breaking boats, day-by-day, hour-by-hour and even minute-by-minute on internet, radio, television and in the newspapers. Ellen MACARTHUR, Vincent RIOU and Bruno PEYRON demonstrated the fortitude, intelligence, skill and sheer bloody-mindedness that encapsulates the great offshore sailors and the advancing world of technology allowed an insight to their travels never before seen. Whilst RIOUs victory displayed all the tactical nouse a race around the world demands, MACARTHUR and PEYRONs battles against the clock saw emotions rise and fall as depressions approached and speeds soared. All in all the start of 2005 was a time when sailings ocean goers took centre stage.

But what of the rest of the year? More records would fall, Olympic stars would return and the changes would just keep on coming.

Part 2 of the ISAF Year In Review will be published Friday 9 December. Subscribe at ISAF Sailor.

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ISAF. Image, Ellen MACARTHUR got 2005 off to a record breaking start and put sailing on the front pages:© DPPI
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