Party time is over – 2011 SAP 505 Worlds start today
Most of the crews from the 87 entries entered in the 2011 SAP 505 Worlds enjoyed two days of downtime on tropical Hamilton Island ahead of the Championship which starts today on the Island’s famous Catseye Bay.
Not all took in the delights the Island has to offer, such as snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, golf at the Island’s new course on Dent Island, helicopter rides, sight-seeing, or just relaxing by the pool, some chose training and last minute tweaking, hoping that bit extra might just give them the edge in this highly-competitive class.
As International 505 Class President Pip Pearson pointed out, “You’ve got champions from a lot of different classes and countries here, people like the current world champion, Wolfgang Hunger from Germany, who also won the World’s in 2001 and 2003. He also represented at the ‘84, ’88 and ’92 Olympics in the 470 class.”
Opening ceremony at new HIYC Marina
“Ian Pinnell has won 38 world, national and European titles and it still took him 15 goes to win the 505 Worlds (in 2008),” said Pearson of the British sailor who is here, along with Hunger, with dreams of another title to add to their growing lists.
The international jury too, were up earlier this morning, their fun is also over. At a World Championship of such magnitude, it is inevitable that there will be protests and the jury know that. “Here we go again,” said experienced jury member Tim Went at breakfast this morning.
International Race Officer Kevin Wilson was gathering his race management crew together for a final briefing. They are ready, having had two day’s practice at the SAP Pre-Worlds.
So, can Australia, with its 48 entries, overcome challenges from the USA (14), Canada (2), France (3), Hong Kong (1), Germany (11), Sweden (1), Great Britain (5) and Denmark (2)? By the end of the nine-race series on April 1, that question will be answered.
Family and fans can follow the fleet live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the official site at: www.505sapworldchampionship2011.com/
Di Pearson, SAP 505 Worlds media
Hunger strike on Day 1 of 2011 SAP 505 Worlds
Germany’s Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner struck the first blow at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island today, the defending champions winning the opening two races sailed in difficult gusty conditions on Catseye Bay.
Hunger and Kleiner led Race 1 from the first mark and did not look back, extending their lead at each mark of the course in a 15 knot south-easterly breeze that produced waves and a big swell on the Bay.
South Australians Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh finished the race in second, stopping an all-international assault on the opening race, with the USA’s Mike Holt/Carl Smit taking third.
The rest of the 84 crews who sailed must be wondering what they have to do to overcome the Germans, who recovered after a bad start in Race 2 to pick of the eight boats in front of them one by one to take the lead and extend again, to finish with a sizeable margin over Ted Conrads/Brian Hughes (USA).
Double 49er world champion and Moth world champion Nathan Outteridge and his 2009 49er world champion crew, Iain Jensen, finished a remarkable third in their first 505 competition ever.
The south-easterly breeze had lifted a notch to around 18-20 knots by race two, throwing up some confused and lumpy seas, which threw a few competitors for a loop, including today’s winners.
“It was challenging and mentally difficult to sail in that sea today,” Wolfgang Hunger said. Julian Kleiner chipped in: “We are not used to those sorts of waves; they go everywhere! We are happy we overcame them to win the second race.”
“Wolfgang was very concentrated – it was very hard to be the skipper on a day like this. We are happy to have such a good performance in bigger winds,” Kleiner said.
Hunger added: “It is pleasing to start with two good results, and not a bad one that we have to discard already. We are happy with our boat speed, but there are places where we can make improvements. We were not sure if we would be good in the bigger winds, as we are one of the lighter crews who are happier in the light and mid strength winds.”
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen raised a few eyebrows with their top placings of ninth and third, which puts them sixth overall. They had better results than a number of former world champions, including Ian Pinnell (GBR) from 2008 and Mike Martin (USA) from 2009, who finished their day ninth and 11th overall respectively.
The two got great starts in both races, and in Race 2, picked off a few boats up the first work to round in fourth place. “Then we waited for mistakes from those in front of us,” Outteridge said.
The mistake came when the Danish crew of Jan Saugmann/Morten Ramsbaek first dropped their spinnaker halyard down the run, then fouled the spinnaker during the drop. Ramsbaek had to go over the side to recover it.
“We’re a bit shocked we did so well. How are we going to improve on today? We’ve never sailed a 505 before. We got this one from Iain Murray and spent a couple of days fixing it up to race. We didn’t get much time on the water beforehand,” Outteridge said.
He and Jensen are here for a bit of fun before going back to solid training in the Olympic 49er class. Then they will head off to Europe to compete in all the major events. “We also came to support one of our sponsor’s, Hamilton Island – and it’s such a great place to come and sail,” Outteridge added.
Jensen remarked: “It felt really good being up amongst it. We didn’t expect to be so fast in this breeze. The first time we sailed the boat was a day before the pre-worlds, for about an hour! We were lucky, Ayden Menzies (a former crew of Outteridge’s) helped us set up the boat; he’s sailed one for a while.”
Mike Martin was not so happy with his day. An 11th in the first race, was bad enough, but he and Geoff Ewenson led Race 2 with a little comfort, only to lose that lead to the Danish crew of Jan Saugmann/Morten Ramsbaek and they in turn lost it to Hunger, who went off to the left during the race, when the rest of the front runners had gone right. It only went downhill from there.
“We lacked speed; we’re not very happy. We had a big capsize at the turn mark. We made a few mistakes here and there, so we’ll have to do some fine-tuning before we race tomorrow and we’ll be analysing from the SAP analyses tonight,” Martin said.
After two races, Hunger/Kleiner lead Ted Conrads/Brian Haines (USA) and Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh in the overall standings, the latter two are on nine points each, both having scored second and seventh places.
In other news, Ian Burford/Dave Christie (AUS) ran into a turtle on the course area and ripped the transom of their boat out, rendering them non-finishers in both races.
Others were scored DNF in Race 2 when they did not make it through the start gate in the allotted three minutes, while some suffered spinnaker mishaps and capsizes, costing them valuable time.
Race 3 of the SAP 505 World Championship is set to get underway from 1.00pm tomorrow, Race Officer Kevin Wilson deciding to bring the race forward by one hour.
Provisional top 10 overall following two races:
1. GER 9027 Wolfgang Hunger Julien Kleiner 1 1, 2
2. USA 8878 Ted Conrads Brian Haines 7 2, 9
3. AUS 8946 Sandy Higgins Paul Marsh 2 7, 9
4. USA 9002 Mike Holt Carl Smit 3 6, 9
5. GER 8875 Jens Findel Johannes Tellen 5 5, 10
6. AUS 8626 Nathan Outteridge Iain Jensen 9 3, 12
7. USA 8762 Howie Hamlin Andy Zinn 4 10, 14
8. AUS 9036 Mike Quirk Sam Heritage 6 12, 18
9. GBR 9032 Ian Pinnell Charles Dywer 8 13, 21
10. GBR 9056 Luke Molloy Jim Turner 14 11, 25
SAP 505 Worlds racing abandoned for a second day
Conditions have worsened at Hamilton Island where the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship is being held, so Race officer Kevin Wilson has had no alternative but to abandon racing for a second consecutive day at 11.00am, declaring the course area “too dangerous to send the competitors out on.”
Wilson said the plan is to run two races back-to-back tomorrow, with the first warning signal set for 10.00am.
Event organiser, Carter Jackson commented: “We’re all disappointed we can’t go racing, but the waves are in excess of 3 metres and it’ll get worse at 12.40pm local time, when the tide turns.”
The abandonment did not come as a surprise, the local radar and forecasts showed what was on offer and the foul weather may continue into tomorrow as well – teeming rain and all!. So what will the sailors and officials do with their day off?
International jury member Tim Went from South Australia: “I’ll probably have a snooze and read a book. I haven’t had much sleep, because my room-mate Andrew (Davies) keeps waking me up for a chat in the early hours of the morning!”
Fellow jury member Vicki Gilmour from the USA also thought she might get some reading in, and “Maybe I’ll get Andrew (Davies) to show me how to use skype. I’ll also watch the weather from my room’s window.
Glenys Wilson, part of the shore team management: “I might finish my book and then go to the gym. Then I’ll probably spend some time with my husband (Race officer Kevin Wilson). We’ll be going to the event barbecue later too.”
Victorian competitor, Jonathan Ross: “If I had a sailboard, I’d be out on it – this is great sailboarding weather. Patrick (McGale) and I sailed the Worlds together in San Francisco, and we had some of the same weather there, so we drank a lot of coffee. We’ll probably do that again.”
Patrick McGale, a UK skipper: “Like Jonathan said, we’ll drink a few cups of coffee. It’s a great time socialise.”
Nicola Birkner, a German skipper: “A few of us will just be hanging around and maybe having a tea ceremony with friends like we did yesterday and talk to friends. It’s also fantastic to be able to use the great technology that SAP has provided us in the marquee.”
Along with lots of others who brought their families to Hamilton Island, Shore Manager Frank Karlovecz was wondering how he and his wife were going to keep their pre-five year-olds entertained indoors for the second day in a row. “It’s quite hard, because they don’t like being shut inside for too long, and neither do we!”
At least most were kept entertained by the football on television yesterday, but being Monday, that option is not there.
Family and fans can follow racing live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the official site at: www.505sapworldchampionship2011.com/
29 March, 2011
Veteran takes on the pros at SAP 505 Worlds
Sailing is one of those sports where even at the elite level, age can a benefit rather than a barrier, and that is the case with 67 year-old Brisbane skipper Earle Alexander, who is competing at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island this week.
Alexander, who will turn 68 in June, and is a survivor of prostate cancer, reckons big boat yacht racing “is for old blokes – and I’m not old enough.” That line has insulted some big name yacht racers, but Alexander doesn’t care. He wants to keep sailing the highly technical and fast 505 double-handed trapeze dinghy.
Not only is the dinghy a hard one to sail, Alexander has pitted himself against some of the world’s finest sailors, including Olympic medallists, Volvo Ocean Race crews, America’s Cup sailors and quite a few world champions from various classes, including the 505. He is currently 37th in the 85-boat fleet.
Age has not wearied this competitive sailor who “mucked around in Moth’s at Balmoral in Sydney where I was born.” However, university study, then his career as a mining engineer took precedence over everything else when the sailor moved to the bush.
Eventually, he married, had children and moved his family to Mt Isa in Queensland. While living there, he bought a Corsair and sailed it with his sons on the dam. A few years later, his sons grew and pursued sailing with friends.
Both Kim and his younger brother Nick won 420 double-handed sailing national titles – both with recognised Olympic campaigners of the future, Adrian Finglas and Teague Czislowski. It tells plenty about their ‘old man’s’ sailing talent.
Alexander moved to Brisbane and in 1985, purchased his first 505 as a member of the Humpybong Yacht Club. Dave Porter and Dean Blatchford were just two of the famous names who came to help set the class up.
There were half a dozen or so 505 dinghies at the Club, which prompted the veteran sailor to buy one. He hasn’t looked back and still relishes every opportunity to sail. “Everything in moderation though. You have to make time for your family, work and other things too,” Alexander says.
He and crew and friend of 25 years, Australian 505 president Ian Gregg, have sailed together for six years now. “I was very ordinary for a long time. I didn’t really get it (how to sail the boat) until Ian came along,” Alexander says.
Now sailing at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Alexander admits: “We took a quantum leap from there, because we started calibrating the rig and settings. We got a lot of help from people like Howie Hamlin (USA), Ian Pinnell (GBR) and Holger Jess (the German 505 builder and competitor).
“Those guys are the best and they’re happy to share their knowledge. Why reinvent the wheel when you can get what you need from these guys,” he asks.
An exponent of the class, Alexander says: “I love the 505’s. They’re good in all conditions. I once sailed at Hayling Island (UK) and we got a 42 knot gust and we were still sailing along OK.
He still remembers his and Gregg’s best result, a sixth at the 2008 Nationals, also sailed at Hamilton Island. “We won on the windiest day, and backed up for second the next day, which was also windy. I love the big weather best.”
There are some, but not so many guys still sailing dinghies and skiffs into their sixties. Alexander puts some of his fitness down to, “eating properly and sailing as much as I can.
When questioned, rival competitors confirm Alexander is competitive, and not just there to make up the numbers and they find him inspirational – and why wouldn’t they? These are not easy boats to sail.
“I got prostate cancer five years ago and luckily I recovered. From that, I’ve learned to be more relaxed and to stay fit; and that’s a good thing, because I travel the world as a consultant now, and I sail at different venues around the world, so relaxing and staying fit are necessary,” Alexander confides.
When does the Queenslander see himself giving 505 sailing away? “I don’t. I’ll do it till I fall off my perch. I’ll just take each year as it comes,” he says.
30 March, 2011
SAP 505 Worlds: USA and Aussie raid closes gap on Germans
Finally, two more races sailed at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship as the wind god of Hamilton Island played ball, offering up superb 15-20 knot winds, some great surfing waves and brilliant action that has bought a few competitors much closer to the leading Germans.
An excellent but by no means easy win for Mike Holt and Carl Smit (USA) in Race 3, and a double celebration for Californian Holt, who celebrated his 43rd birthday yesterday, but as he explained: “It’s today in California – so I’m taking that with our win.”
Race 4 winners, Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh, along with American’s Howie Hamilin/Andy Zinn and Luke Molloy/Jim Turner (GBR) were the last three boats Holt and Smit had to wear down to cross the line in first, surfing big waves and overcoming shifty unstable winds along the way.
“It was a tough race,” admitted Smit who with Holt finished World’s runners-up in 2009. “Crews kept swapping places back and forth in the top eight or so. The pressure kept changing and we just tried to keep grinding the opposition down.
“Mike had to hike so hard going up the last beat where we got ahead of a couple of boats when we picked the right hand shift, then coming down the run we got the last of them and got away a bit,” Smit said.
“It (the pointscore) is so much closer now, because Ted (Conrads) and Brian (Haines) came second in the second race and Sandy Higgins won the second race, so it moves everyone up closer to Wolfgang (Hunger) and Julien (Kleiner), the German series leaders.
In fact, only three points separates the top three, with Hunger/Kleiner leading Holt/Smit by two points and Higgins Marsh by a further point. The Germans had an ordinary 15th in Race 4, which has been used as their drop, a far cry from the two bullets they scored on Day 1.
South Australians Sandy Higgins and Andrew Chisholm looked set to win Race 3, but as Chisholm explained, “we stuffed up the third beat, were trying to get leverage, but we went the wrong way and finished third.”
Not to be deterred, the two, whose World’s best was a third on home turf in Adelaide in 2007, led Race 4 from go to whoa.
“We handled the conditions nicely in that one. The breeze had dropped a little, but we did well to hang on in a decent swell and reasonably confused seas,” Chisholm said of the residual effects left from the past few days’ bad weather.
“We had a fairly good hold on the rest of the fleet, but it was close racing all the same,” he allowed.
Like Holt, Chisholm was pleased to be able to close the gap on Hunger and Kleiner. “It’ll be a much closer series now,” he said smiling.
Howie Hamlin/Andy Zinn, Molloy/Turner and Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen (AUS) did enough today to stay in touch with the leaders.