Archive for » June 27th, 2014«

Sailing: Erratic breeze taunts crews at St Petersburg

Day 2 of racing in St Petersburg for the Extreme Sailing Series was about as tough as they come for any race committee or sailing team.

If anyone wanted a lesson on the intricacies of wind then today was the day. It came, it went. It was left, it was right. It blew then didn’t blow at all and did that all over again on several occasions.

Helmsman Peter Burling: “Bottom speed today was probably zero, or actually even in the negatives. A few times we were drifting out to sea. Our top speed was probably 13-14 knots, so we had it all.”

Postponements, attempted starts, general recalls, the race committee had its hands full today on the River Neva, valiantly attempting to get as many races in as possible. Its toughest call of the day enforcing the time cut off rule, which saw boats finishing later than a calculated amount of time after the race winner be given a DNF and minimum one point.

Not only was the fleet racing each other but they were also racing the clock.

Fortunately for Emirates Team New Zealand they narrowly missed the cut off point crossing the line less than a minute before time was up. Alinghi missed the time by only seven seconds in the second race of the day giving the other top teams a prime opportunity to close the gap up on the leaders.

Peter Burling: “The race committee tried to get a fair few races away, which didn’t eventuate today. Finally we managed to get a couple of races in which were really happy to get a second and a fifth.”

“In the first race we had a pretty good opportunity to win but finished second. in the second race we were pretty deep and fought back to finish fifth. So it was swings in roundabouts and we are really happy to gain a few points on Alinghi today and that was definitely the target.”

Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, although the weather does not look promising. Winds from 2-4 knots are forecast. But as wed have seen this week, anything can happen on the River Neva.

Leader board after two days – six races

1st The Wave, Muscat 46 points

2nd Alinghi 43 points

3rd= Emirates Team New Zealand, 40 points

3rd= Realstone, 40 points

5th J.P Morgan BAR, 35 points

6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team, 31 points

7th Groupama, 27 points

8th GAC Pindar, 22 points

9th Oman Air, 21 points

10th Gazprom Team Russia, 17 points

11th Red Bull Sailing Team, 12 points

12th Russian First, 5 points

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'Insane' foiling boats force changes in sailing circuit

“It’s a crazy sensation,” said Carr who recently joined Sir Ben Ainslie’s
British campaign for the next Cup.

“The thing you notice first is the G-force. You are hanging onto the pedestal
grinding and you feel yourself getting thrown over the side of the boat as
you go from 25 to 40 knots in 8 seconds and basically start flying. You have
no idea about the speeds until you look behind you and see the chase boats
going flat out trying to keep up.”

Carr is not alone in seeing foiling as the way forward. Extreme 40 skipper
Paul Campbell-James was also on Luna Rossa in San Francisco and won the
Round the Island Race last week in a new boat, the GC32, which appears to do
30 knots in a mere puff of wind.

The GC32 was launched two years ago and already, there are said to be 45 boats
on order with a new European circuit set to kick off in July.

“It might turn things upside down because the boats are awesome and you have
all the top professional sailors involved because the boats are so awesome.
In a perfect world, the Extreme circuit would be raced in GC32s but the
advantage of the Extreme 40 is they are simple and we had a lot of break
downs in the GC32s.

“Nothing beats getting 12 Extreme 40s on a race course that’s built for tiny
Optimist dinghies but the boats are now ten years old and no longer as
exciting as they were.”

Extreme organisers, who had the idea of bringing sailing into city centre
‘stadiums’ in rivers and harbours long before the America’s Cup highlighted
it, are well aware of the need to update their boats to keep the top sailors

But foiling at 35 knots in a venue such as Singapore where the race course is
surrounded by tower blocks and shopping malls, would be impossible, says
Extreme Sailing Series event director Andy Tourell.

“The world is going foiling and we are always looking at whether there is an
evolution to suit us in future years but currently the 40s suit the
purpose,” said Tourell.

“It is fundamental the sailors are excited by the boats but to go foiling, we
would have to increase the size of the race course to accommodate the higher
speeds and that would compromise the stadium racing concept which is core to
our circuit.

“But we are looking at a dual mode where we could have one day of foiling
offshore and three days of non-foiling on stadium courses. These X40s boats
will almost certainly remain for next year but the dual mode option is
really exciting because it achieves the balance of moving with the times
while staying true to our roots.

“At some point a redevelopment or transition will definitely be needed but
whether that is 2015 or a year later remains to be seen.”

For the moment, the Extreme 40 circuit remains the leading one in Europe and
American skipper Morgan Larsen of Alinghi is once again on top of the
leaderboard after a strong first day’s performance at St Petersburg.

His long running dual with Leigh McMillan, skipper of two times series winner
The Wave, Muscat looks set to dominate this Act as the two experienced
campaigners find ways of getting round the Neva river course, marked by a
strong current, in very light winds.

After four races, Alinghi was ahead of the Omani boat by nine points but with
winds too light to get the boats across the tide, racing on Friday was
suspended until the breeze picked up.

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Boat-builder Don Parke downs tools for last time

LABOUR OF LOVE: Don works on his replica of the Americas Cup winner.
LABOUR OF LOVE: Don works on his replica of the America’s Cup winner. Rob Williams

DON Parke treasured two great loves in life: his family and building boats.

The 86-year-old could often be found out the back of his Raceview home building or repairing wooden boats with uncompromising craftmanship.

Don started building small boats from the age of 14, gradually working his way up to much bigger powered cruisers and sailing catamarans.

It was a passion that lasted more than 70 years and one that saw the great-grandfather build about 50 vessels.

At family gatherings, Don was always keen to update relatives about his boats and proudly reveal his ambitious plans for future projects.

His dream was to create a scaled-down replica of the vessel that took out the inaugural America’s Cup.

In preparation, he spent several years carefully researching and planning for the project before he started crafting the skeleton of the 10m schooner.

Don believed boats had souls and he had a need to nurture those souls.

For that reason, he always built his boats from wood, because it was a living material.

On occasions he was assisted by his late wife of 31 years, Tricia, who shared his enthusiasm for boating and woodwork.

The retired couple had planned to sail the replica schooner around Moreton Bay, living on board several days at a time.

Sadly, old age and rheumatoid arthritis slowed Don down and he wasn’t able to complete his labour of love before he died earlier this month.

But he was able to keep his passion alive, continuing to make adjustments until the very end.

An only child, Don was born in Brisbane on February 6, 1928, to Charles Parke and Rosa Page.

Don’s passion for boats was enriched by spending his early years fishing and sailing.

During his childhood, he won numerous sailing races as a junior and was often featured in the local news.

Don is survived by three sons, six step-children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren – with one more on the way.

He married three times – to Delma and Margaret before Tricia.

Don’s youngest son Anthony Parke said he would fondly remember how his dad taught him to sail and the countless hours Don spent tinkering away in his workshop.

“He was a real handyman, always fixing things,” he said.

“He was also a bit of a character too and enjoyed joking around with others.”

Above all, Anthony said his father was a very likable man and would be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Celebration of life

  • Donald Eric Charles Parke
  • 1928 – 2014
  • Known for his work constructing about 50 hand-built boats.
  • Believed boats had souls.

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