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Sir Ben dedicates sailing record to the late Andrew Simpson

Sir Ben dedicates sailing record to the late Andrew Simpson

Sir Ben Ainslie, second left, celebrates with his record-breaking team

FOUR-TIME Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie has described smashing the Round the Island Race record in memory of the late Andrew Simpson as a “very special” achievement.

Ainslie and his crew aboard the JP Morgan BAR AC45 catamaran sailed around the Isle of Wight in two hours 52 minutes and 15 seconds, more than 16 minutes quicker than Francis Joyon’s previous best time set in 2001.

Saturday’s record-breaking feat came less than 24 hours after Ainslie had been a pall-bearer at Simpson’s funeral in Sherborne.

Beijing Olympic gold medallist Simpson died in a training accident last month during preparations for the America’s Cup, he was only 36.

After shattering Joyon’s 12-year mark, skipper Ainslie said: “It was a beautiful race and the conditions were perfect for us.

“The boat performed incredibly and the team sailed her really well, so everything fell into place and we ended up breaking the multihull record.

“For us, that was a real bonus because we really wanted to do the race in Andrew’s memory.

“Yesterday (Friday) was such a difficult day to come out today (Saturday) and have such a wonderful race and to do it in his memory was very special.

“He’d have loved to have been out here today and it’s nice to do it in his memory.”

Before the race, tributes were paid to Simpson when the Island Sailing Club’s ensign was flown at half-mast.

Simpson, nicknamed Bart, took part in the Round the Island Race in 2011 and this year nearly 1,500 boats and up to 16,000 sailors took part.

Ainslie and his four-strong crew set-off at sunrise in almost perfect conditions and rapidly caught up with the earlier starters on the 50-mile course, JP Morgan BAR had taken the lead by the time it had reached the Needles and were well on course for the record by the halfway stage.

Gusts of more than 25 knots on the south section of the island proved tricky but once around the Fort on the west side of the course Ainslie and crew were back on track.

And in a grandstand finish, a flotilla of boats came out to welcome the crew back as they crossed the finish line 16 minutes and 14 seconds ahead of the old record set by Frenchman Joyon.

Second across the finish line was ICAP Leopard, skippered by Mike Slade, who took more than 10 minutes off the monohull record.

Meanwhile, Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas reported splitting a spinnaker in half between the Needles and St Catherine’s Point.

The JP Morgan BAR crew was; Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) – skipper, Matt Cornwell (GBR) – bowman, Andrew Mills (GBR) – runner/floater, Mark Andrews (GBR) – wing trimmer and Andrew McLean (NZL) – head sail trimmer.




11:38am Sun 2 Jun 13

Bart was there with you Ben, well done….

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Cool spring chills sales at some local businesses

Firms reliant on warm, sunny weather see slump

Perrysburg resident Ken Walters cleans his 24-foot Four Winds boat last week at Pier 75 Dry Rack Marina. “My family enjoys going out to the docks, and having dinner,” Walters said of his summer boating plans. “We just like to be out on the river.”


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Warm-weather businesses received a cold reception in the spring of 2013.

The cool weather — especially when compared with last spring’s unusually high temperatures — has led to slow sales for Toledo-area businesses reliant on sunshine.

Although above-average temperatures are expected for June, July, and August, business owners said the spring slump will decrease sales throughout the season. The window to use boats, swimming pools, and other summertime staples has been cut short, they said.

On the flip side, businesses that did well during the spring don’t anticipate overwhelming sales later in the summer.

At Brenner 75 Marine in Toledo, business has fallen by about 50 percent, Service Manager Craig Kennedy said. People are just now readying their boats to take out on the water.

“It was a lot busier at this time last year, absolutely,” Mr. Kennedy said. “The best thing we would sell would be marine fuel. People need gas.”

No one wants to cruise around on the lake when it’s chilly, he said.

According to the National Weather Service station in Cleveland, May of 2012 was 5.1 degrees warmer than normal, with a monthly average of about 65 degrees. This year’s average, 61.4 degrees, was only 2.1 degrees above normal. April also was colder than last year, averaging 49.4 in 2012 and 46.4 this year.

Brenner 75 Marine is affiliated with two other boating operations — Brenner 75 at Harrison’s and the Toledo Skyway Marina — and business has been a bust at both, said Donald Smith, president of the marinas.

All three allow people to store boats, dock them in the water, and provide services that allow people to call ahead and have their boat ready and waiting.

“The season will turn out to be a decent season,” he said. “Everybody wants to get back out in the water, but we just need Mother Nature to cooperate a little bit.”

The three boating operations store about 550 boats during the winter and service about 400 in the summer. The other boats are kept at yacht clubs or similar venues during the summer, Mr. Smith said.

Most boaters will spend less money than last year, he said.

“You clearly lose the sales from the gas side of the business and the parts,” Mr. Smith said.

Perrysburg resident Ken Walters delayed taking his family skiing and tubing this year because of the unfavorable weather. It wouldn’t have been enjoyable to open his boat before last week, he said.

“[Last week] was the first time we had it out for the year. We always do a test run just to make sure everything is working properly on the boat. … As far as the weather … it hasn’t really been nice enough.”

The decrease in temperature also has meant a drop in sales at D R Pool Sales. People who own pools have waited to open them, owner Ron Wetzel said.

The sale of pool-cleaning chemicals is down and won’t match last year, he said.

“It is down big time from last year because it was astronomically warm in March and April,” Mr. Wetzel said. “[Last] weekend was down 40 percent because it rained all weekend. Cold weather is the main problem.”

Last year’s warm weather, however, did result in a boost in pool sales, Mr. Wetzel said. People are installing them even if they can’t enjoy them yet.

Sales at sporting goods, book, music, and hobby stores increased by 5.6 percent from March to April, according to adjusted retail data from the U.S. Census Bureau. People have taken advantage of the dismal weather to stock up for summer at the Bass Pro Shops in Rossford, said Jarron Ritchie, general manger of the store.

“Sales for us still have been pretty strong. The impact you’re going to see is when we have nice weather there is more of an emphasis to go outdoors and not shop,” he said.

“We’ve continued to see strong sales in spite of the weather. You’ll see less of that as the summer goes on.”

Contact Kris Turner at:

or 419-724-6103.

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Barbara Veneri: Weather made for tough sailing at Figawi

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Last weekend’s miserable weather — which managed to improve onshore later in the weekend — kept a lot of racers from finishing the 42nd Figawi race from Hyannis to Nantucket. And it forced cancellation of the Figawi Redux on Memorial Day.

Nearly 200 yachts attempted to race across Nantucket Sound in dismal overcast and unsteady winds on Saturday, May 25. Many skippers gave up as the time limit approached and the wind died down. They fired up the engines and rumbled over to the island for the festivities onshore, no doubt anticipating a better race home. However, 25 to 30-knot gusts set a race mark adrift on Memorial Day, forcing cancellation of the Figawi Redux (formerly the Return or Reverse Figawi).

There were two reported injuries at the start of the race, with one crew member hit by a spinnaker pole, sustaining a bleeding injury on his head. The unidentified man was taken off the rescue boat by ambulance and treated at Cape Cod Hospital. Another injury was reported aboard a different boat, but no further information on that incident is available.

New Bedford area skippers fared very well — maybe this first big yacht race of the season provides a venue for them to show off their skills and experience dealing with fair, foul, and horrendous weather on either side of Woods Hole.

In the non-spinnaker divisions, Bob Warren of the Mattapoisett Yacht Club took top honors in Division G, finishing aboard his Dufour 38 In Deep in 4 hours 26 minutes and 54 seconds. Also in Division G, Steve Clark of Marion finished 4th aboard his Swan 42 Acadia.

Bob Luiz of Fairhaven scored a first place in Division K aboard his Pearson Flyer Tequila Sunrise finishing in 4 hours 35 minutes and 9 seconds. Charlie Prefontaine of Mattapoisett sailed to first place, as he has done 13 times before, in Division O in his Alberg 35 Helios finishing in 4 hours 33 minutes and 52 seconds. John Pinheiro sailed his Bristol 42 Faial to a 5th place finish in Division F.

In the spinnaker divisions, Ira Perry of the New Bedford Yacht Club scored a second place finish in Division C aboard his J-29 Seefest, crossing the finish line in about six minutes behind first place finisher Robert Reed of Seekonk aboard his Pacific Seacraft 39 Nepenthe.

Other area boaters who managed to cross the finish line without burning any fossil fuels included (division, skipper, hailing port, boat mfr/length, boat name, place): Division A: Kevin McLaughlin, Fairhaven, Baltic, Crazy Horse, 6; Mass. Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, Andrews 68, Shindig, 8;Division B: MMA, Buzzards Bay, Frers 41, Sarabande, 7; Division H: Jib Babbitt, South Dartmouth, Tartan 37, Goombay, 6; Division L: Brad Curtis, South Dartmouth, Passport, Cricket, 11; Division N: Richard Trethewey, Fairhaven, Sparkman and Stephens, Liberty, 7; Division O: Robert Raymond, Marion, Catalina 30, Blue Tangent, 5; Division S: Lisa Schmitt, Bourne, J-105, Hardtack, 6.

In team racing, Faial, Seefest and Crazy Horse teamed up with Team Buzzard to finish in a tie for 7th place with Team Old Sigh Racing, consisting of Hardtack, Dark and Stormy and Eiderdown. Team Mattapoisett YC, consisting of In Deep, Helios and Lynley III finished 8th. Team I Can’t See You, consisting of Seefest, Simpatico and Ruse, finished 9th. The Mass. Maritime teams, Buccaneer V1and Buccaneer V2, finished 12th and 13th respectively.

Marion Bermuda on the Horizon

The countdown is on. By the time you read this, the 19th Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race will be less than 12 days away, taking off Friday June 14 from the waters off Centerboard Shoals in Buzzards Bay, hosted by the Beverly Yacht Club.

According to Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association Executive Director Allan McLean, this year’s race continues the race mentor program, developed for new skippers who have never done the race before.

In 1977 when the MB race began, only celestial navigation was allowed; in 1997, the race added electronic navigation. In 1977, the average length of a cruising boat was 38 feet. Now, the average boat size is 47 feet, and a number of boats are more than 70 feet long. The winner of the last Marion Bermuda race, Lilla, is 79 feet long.

“The challenge of this ocean passage, the camaraderie of the crew, and the personal reward of a good finish in this competitive event remain unchanged,” said McLean.

Since its inception in 1977, the biennial Marion Bermuda Race has been a premier 645 mile ocean race and sailing event which appeals to a broad range of cruising and racing enthusiasts. The Marion Bermuda Race is organized and run entirely by hundreds of volunteering members of the Beverly Yacht Club (BYC), the Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) for the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association.

Pursuit for Courage

Organizers of the first Pursuit for Courage race are hoping to get at least 50 entries to make it the largest single-day race on Buzzards Bay in its inaugural year. Since the American Cancer Society Pro-Am Regatta ended its six-year run in 1999, no other organization has run a benefit regatta from New Bedford Harbor. As of this weekend, 40 boats have entered the race.

The Pursuit for Courage, scheduled to race for the benefit of the Wounded Warrior Project on Saturday, June 29, will be based at Pope’s Island. Organizers include local sailor Ryan Walsh, Mattapoisett Yacht Club Commodore Meghan Girouard and others.

To register, visit and click The Race for registration details.

Barbara Veneri writes about boating and sailing for the Standard Times. Contact her at

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