Archive for » February 14th, 2015«

Women’s crew takes global race gamble to outsmart rivals

ALICANTE, Spain (Reuters) – The only women’s team in the Volvo Ocean Race were hoping on Saturday that a bold tactical move to sail in the opposite direction to all but one other team in the fleet would pay dividends on leg four to Auckland from China.

While their rival boats ducked south in the 5,264-nautical mile (nm) route from Sanya to New Zealand, Team SCA (Sweden) went north in apparently the wrong direction towards Taiwan through the Pacific Ocean.

The only crew to follow their lead was Team Brunel (Netherlands), the boat led by Bouwe Bekking, who is competing in a record-equalling edition of the world’s most prestigious offshore sailing event.

The two boats are likely to sail more than 300nm further in the leg than the rest of the six-strong fleet but the pay-off is probable stronger wind pressure, which could well catapult them clear of the main pack in the long term.

As Team SCA’s navigator Libby Greenhalgh (Britain) conceded in a blog from her boat midweek, it is a strategy that could well take up to a week to play out — for good or bad.

“We are heading towards Taiwan and to the north, which is much the opposite direction to where New Zealand is and sounds a bit backwards in going forward. But looking at the routings and weather ahead, it seemed to be the right thing to do,” she wrote.

“It will appear at first that we have taken a massive loss but in about six days’ time we will see exactly how the cards have played out and whether it was worth taking the risk.”

Team SCA are the first all female team to take part in offshore sailing’s toughest crewed race for 12 years.

So far, after three legs of nine, they have been struggling against their elite male competition, finishing last in the previous two and second-last in the opening stage.

However, there are still six legs to sail in an event that will eventually cover 38,739nm and visit 11 ports plus every continent. It is scheduled to finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The boats are expected to arrive in Auckland on March 1-2.

(Editing by Toby Davis)


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Sailing

While their rival boats ducked south in the 5,264-nautical mile (nm) route from Sanya to New Zealand, Team SCA (Sweden) went north in apparently the wrong direction towards Taiwan through the Pacific Ocean.

The only crew to follow their lead was Team Brunel (Netherlands), the boat led by Bouwe Bekking, who is competing in a record-equalling edition of the world’s most prestigious offshore sailing event.

The two boats are likely to sail more than 300nm further in the leg than the rest of the six-strong fleet but the pay-off is probable stronger wind pressure, which could well catapult them clear of the main pack in the long term.

As Team SCA’s navigator Libby Greenhalgh (Britain) conceded in a blog from her boat midweek, it is a strategy that could well take up to a week to play out — for good or bad.

“We are heading towards Taiwan and to the north, which is much the opposite direction to where New Zealand is and sounds a bit backwards in going forward. But looking at the routings and weather ahead, it seemed to be the right thing to do,” she wrote.

“It will appear at first that we have taken a massive loss but in about six days’ time we will see exactly how the cards have played out and whether it was worth taking the risk.”

Team SCA are the first all female team to take part in offshore sailing’s toughest crewed race for 12 years.

So far, after three legs of nine, they have been struggling against their elite male competition, finishing last in the previous two and second-last in the opening stage.

However, there are still six legs to sail in an event that will eventually cover 38,739nm and visit 11 ports plus every continent. It is scheduled to finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The boats are expected to arrive in Auckland on March 1-2.


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Sailing-Women's crew takes global race gamble to outsmart rivals

ALICANTE, Spain, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The only women’s team in the Volvo Ocean Race were hoping on Saturday that a bold tactical move to sail in the opposite direction to all but one other team in the fleet would pay dividends on leg four to Auckland from China.

While their rival boats ducked south in the 5,264-nautical mile (nm) route from Sanya to New Zealand, Team SCA (Sweden) went north in apparently the wrong direction towards Taiwan through the Pacific Ocean.

The only crew to follow their lead was Team Brunel (Netherlands), the boat led by Bouwe Bekking, who is competing in a record-equalling edition of the world’s most prestigious offshore sailing event.

The two boats are likely to sail more than 300nm further in the leg than the rest of the six-strong fleet but the pay-off is probable stronger wind pressure, which could well catapult them clear of the main pack in the long term.

As Team SCA’s navigator Libby Greenhalgh (Britain) conceded in a blog from her boat midweek, it is a strategy that could well take up to a week to play out — for good or bad.

“We are heading towards Taiwan and to the north, which is much the opposite direction to where New Zealand is and sounds a bit backwards in going forward. But looking at the routings and weather ahead, it seemed to be the right thing to do,” she wrote.

“It will appear at first that we have taken a massive loss but in about six days’ time we will see exactly how the cards have played out and whether it was worth taking the risk.”

Team SCA are the first all female team to take part in offshore sailing’s toughest crewed race for 12 years.

So far, after three legs of nine, they have been struggling against their elite male competition, finishing last in the previous two and second-last in the opening stage.

However, there are still six legs to sail in an event that will eventually cover 38,739nm and visit 11 ports plus every continent. It is scheduled to finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The boats are expected to arrive in Auckland on March 1-2. (Editing by Toby Davis)


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Boat racer who was believed dead posts bail

Andrew Biddle, the champion offshore powerboat racer from Egg Harbor Township who emerged this week to face criminal charges after vanishing nearly seven months ago, remained a free man Friday after posting $50,000 bail, his lawyer said.

Biddle, 45, was declared missing last July after a boating accident. Though some who knew him feared he was dead, local authorities soon came to believe he orchestrated the accident to avoid fraud charges stemming from the boat-sales company where he worked.

On Thursday he turned himself in at Atlantic County Superior Court after calling his lawyer to arrange the surrender. Mark Roddy said Friday that Biddle worked out an arrangement with a bondsman in order to post bail. Biddle does not have a passport, Roddy said, and will return to court next month to answer the charges against him.

Roddy would not say where Biddle will live while the case proceeds. Biddle has children and lived in Egg Harbor with his wife at the time he went missing.

Roddy also said he didn’t know where Biddle has been since last year.

“He didn’t explain it to me, and I didn’t ask him,” Roddy said.

New Jersey State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn said Friday that the agency was coordinating with local authorities on the case to review whether Biddle may have broken other laws.

Biddle and his partner in business and boating, Tracy Blumenstein, were past winners of the annual P1 Superstock U.S. championship, a series of offshore powerboat races in Florida. In 2013, they won championships stateside as well in the United Kingdom.

They face several charges relating to Blumenstein’s company, Professional Boat Sales in Marmora, which Biddle helped operate. Complaints accuse the pair of defrauding customers regarding boat sales. Biddle, who has filed for bankruptcy in the past, also has faced criminal charges and legal troubles in and near Huntingdon County, Pa., where he operated Raystown Performance Marine Sales, to which Blumenstein’s family was also connected.

Biddle was declared missing after a speeding pontoon boat he was said to be aboard hit a buoy and crashed into a jetty near the tip of Longport on July 20. A passenger, Justin Belz, swam to shore and said he could not find Biddle.

The Coast Guard conducted an 18-hour search, and Biddle’s uncle also looked for him. Egg Harbor Township Police have said for months that they believed Biddle was alive.


asteele@phillynews.com

856-779-3876

@AESteele



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