English Harbour, Antigua: 20th February 2018
Ludde Ingvall and his CQS team have taken the very difficult decision to retire from the RORC Caribbean 600 race, this was due to an undiagnosed problem with the engine that runs the hydraulic systems on the boat.
Explaining the situation they found themselves in before the start Ludde said, “we found out fairly quickly that we had an electronic issue with the software, which on our boats the engine drives hydraulics, hydraulics runs every winch, our canard which is the rudder in front, it runs the DSS board, and runs the keel as well as propulsion.
“The problem we had was that four times the engine cut out in the middle of what we were doing and we didn’t understand why.”
As always, Ludde’s main concern was safety, and if the engine cut out during a critical manoeuvre lives could be at risk. After discussing the situation with his watch captains and safety officer it was decided to retire from the race.
Continuing his explanation Ludde told the race control, “we started with the keel in the middle, which is why we were so slow, and with little sails. We decided to go to the top of the island and if by the top of the island we haven’t got things sorted, we won’t continue.”
Ludde expressed his huge disappointment, particularly for the young sailors who had travelled a long way to take part in the race. However with the nature of the Caribbean 600 having a course that goes close to a lot of island, and through some restricted channels, if the engine problem re-occurred they would find themselves in a very difficult situation.
English Harbour, Antigua: 19th February 2018
Ludde Ingvall’s CQS starts the Caribbean 600 ocean race today with a top crew and a new DSS foil, in what is expected to be a very fast race. Watch leader Chris Dickson commented, “the forecast is for about 25 knots of breeze, a lot of breeze, it’s going to be a tough race, we’re ready to go.”
The race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, starts from English Harbour, Antigua, with the fleet of 88 boats from 22 nations blasting around a 600 mile course using Caribbean Islands as marks.
Since arriving in the Caribbean before Christmas CQS has continued the development of their DSS foil, and have the latest version installed for this race.
Talking before the start Ludde Ingvall said, “I think Rambler will be extremely hard to beat in this kind of race, because there’s a lot of reaching in the 80 to 100 degree wind angle conditions, with lots of breeze. The wind is not perfect for us, but we are going to learn a lot about what the foil does, and particularly this new one.”
The crew includes New Zealand sailing legends Chris Dickson and Rodney Keenan, plus many of the team that sailed the boat to line honours in the RORC Trans Atlantic Race.
In previous races during this Caribbean season CQS has broken the race record from Barbados to Antigua by an impressive 14 hours.
"Arguably the most notable result of the day with a finish time of 4h, 13m, 37s was CQS, the 100ft multi-winged super maxi from Australia skippered by Ludde Ingvall that not only broke the Absolute Monohull record but also established the 100ft and under record.
As she crossed the line this morning, it didn’t take long for her and her super-tuned crew to power up, weave their way through the fleet and prepare for the extreme conditions and big seas at North Point.
Ingvall, a former round the world yachtsman, world champion and record holder, commenting after the race, said: “We are delighted because that is what we came here for. I felt we should have been a bit quicker but we are happy nevertheless.
“It was wild out there and we had 30+knts of wind on the nose going round the north-west/north-east point but the boat performed well recording 24-25kts of boat speed at times off the wind. All in all a good day and lots of good team spirit.”
Ludde Ingvall and his team on the super maxi CQS have taken line honours in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Trans-Atlantic race from Lanzarote, Canary Islands to St. George’s in Grenada.
The sleek blue and white yacht crossed the finishing line off the Port Louis Marina at 12:03:08 having taken 11 days; 0 hours and 3 minutes for the 3,000 mile race, “We achieved what we set out to do. I am proud and happy,” was the skipper’s first reaction.
Ludde paid tribute to his team, who had the courage to make an early gamble in the race, by heading south when everyone else chose a northerly course. “It is not easy to go against the rest of the fleet,” he commented, “It took guts to go south. The models said go north, but experience said go south.
“It looked really bad for a few days, but the team remained calm and sailed really well, then we popped out into the lead.” They finished with a margin of 545 nautical miles over the second boat, Jochen Bovenkamp’s Aragon.
All was going so well until just two days ago when CQS suffered a huge knock down when hit by a 40 knot squall, which blew out sails and temporarily wiped out much of their electronics. A great test of a team is how they react to a crisis, “this team performed brilliantly,” commented the skipper.
During the crossing the CQS team have been raising funds through Team Rubicon to help communities in the British Virgin Island to rebuild their schools after the devastating hurricane season,
Talking about the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s race Ludde said, “I love it, it’s great to be back in the Atlantic and especially nice to be first. We have a young crew on board and it is especially rewarding to give them this chance.” He concluded, “ we have eight nationalities on one boat and everybody was focused on the same finish line. It was tough, but we worked as a team and looked after each other.”
Ludde Ingvall’s super maxi CQS has suffered a set back overnight in her attempt to win the RORC Trans-Atlantic race from Lazarote, Canary Islands to Grenada in the Caribbean.
“We got caught in a bad squall of probably 40 knots at 20:00hrs, which resulted in a number of issues,” Ludde reported from on the boat. There has been damage to sails and onboard electronic systems, but they are still progressing towards the finish.
The co-skipper told his shore team that all the crew are alright.
Describing the damage he said, “part of our electronics has failed, making it hard to sail in the dark, we blew our biggest spinnaker, but it is repairable.
“As we went into a gybe the engine stalled and we lay flat on our side for a while, which resulted in a diesel spill inside the boat, so the smell is terrible in the heat.”
He added, “we broke the top three battens in the mainsail, but we are still sailing towards the finish at reasonable speed, in pouring rain. We will assess the situation at first light.”
At the time of the incident CQS was more than 400 nautical miles ahead of the second place boat, Aragon, and was placed first under ORC handicap. With 755 nautical miles to go to the finish, the team will be fighting all the way to hold onto their position
Ludde Ingvall’s super maxi CQS now leads the fleet in the RORC Trans-Atlantic Race, having taken an early gamble on a southerly route which seemed to defy the weather predictions.
Heading south as soon as possible after the start, CQS was not amongst the front runners for the first five days of the 3,000 nautical mile race, while those that had chosen the northern option seemed favoured.
However since hitting the trade winds Ludde and his team have stormed into the lead, with an advantage of 150 nautical miles over second placed Southern Wind Sorceres
Since the start of the race on 25th November the tactics have been polarized, with the majority of the fleet opting for a northerly route, and looking good initially.
With a divide of 800 nautical miles between the most northerly and most southerly boats in the fleet, Ludde’s early sacrifices in heading south are now paying dividends as CQS surges towards the finish in Port Louis, Grenada, some 2,000 miles away.
Only two days ago the CQS team were fifth in the race for line honours, but having found the breeze they wanted have now grabbed the advantage and are in a very strong position.
The team made a great start in Lanzarote, leading the fleet at the first mark, but then while others chose a more northerly route, Ludde dived south, using his experience from over 15 Atlantic crossings.
For several days the boats in the north were making better progress towards the finish, but yesterday it all changed and the advantages of going south became apparent.
There is of course still a long way to go in this race, and the wind gods can be both fickle and devious, but at the moment the Trade Winds look stable, and will hopefully provide a good ride to the finish.
Ludde Ingvall has selected a trimmed down crew of just fifteen on his super maxi CQS, for the Royal Ocean Racing Clubs Trans-Atlantic Race, starting from Lazarote, in the Canary Islands tomorrow, 25th November.
Sharing the skipper’s duties with Ludde is Finland’s Ken Thelen, while there are three watch leaders, Rokas Milevicius from Lithuania, England’s Robin Elsey and New Zealander Malcolm Paine.
The 3,000 mile race finishes in Granada, one of the Grenadine Islands in the Caribbean, where the fleet will be hosted by Camper & Nicholsons' Port Louis Marina, and is expected to take about ten days.
For the most part Ludde’s crew are up-and-coming young professional sailors, and a great part of his motivation to keep going is passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation, and giving them a chance to sail big boats.
“In my early days I had the pleasure of racing with Harold Cudmore and we are still great friends,” he said. “I remember meeting with Harold and asking him what drives us on, now that we have been racing so many years. He replied we must 'pass it on' and that is what we are doing for young sailors that show great ability and the attitude to succeed.”
Weather forecasts for the race are showing a strong bias towards a more northerly course across the Atlantic, which is unusual at this time of the year. The fleet should experience downwind conditions right from the start of the race, which could signal at fast passage to Granada.
Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Malta kindly stepped onto the podium for Ludde Ingvall and the CQS team at the prize giving for the Rolex Middle Sea Race, in Malta at the weekend.
Suzy McKellar, who works at the High Commission, which is situated right behind the Royal Malta Yacht Club, collected the trophy that Ludde and the team won for finishing second in Class 1 of the ORC rating.
Unfortunately, with CQS due to start the RORC Trans-Atlantic race later this month, the team had to leave Malta before the prize giving, in order to get to Palma, Mallorca, for repairs after the severe conditions experienced during the Middle Sea Race.
Australian High Commissioner Julienne Hince commented, “we were delighted to be able to help out the CQS team and collect their trophy, it was great to have an Australian boat here and see then do so well.”
On Tuesday crew member Brian Clarke was back in Malta on business, and was able to collect the trophy from the High Commission, with both Julienne Hince and Suzy McKellar greeting him.
After repairs and maintenance in Palma, CQS will head for Lanzarote, Canary Islands, for the start of the race 25thNovember, which finishes in Grenada.
Valletta, Malta: 24th October 2017-10-20
With boats still on the race track of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Ludde Ingvall’s super maxi CQS is provisionally second in ORC Class 1. They crossed the finishing line in Malta’s Marsamxett Harbour, at 02:51 local time on Tuesday morning in fourth place on line honours.
“We had a bit of everything during the race,” said Ludde, “we almost came to a standstill between the Straits of Messina and Stromboli, then we hit 36.7 knots on the way down to Lampedusa.
“For the first part of the race we were having a great fight with Leopard and Momo, but then Leopard managed to get away when we made a tactical mistake, and Momo retired.”
The attrition rate has been high, with 59 boats of the 103 starters forced to retire from the race so far, many with damage caused by the big seas and winds that gusted up to 40 knots during the worst of the storm.
This is the first time that Ludde has done the Rolex Middle Sea Race, one of the races on his “bucket list” now ticked off. “I like the Rolex races, they are all classic offshore races that test you,” he commented.
The 608 nautical mile race takes the fleet from Malta, north up the east coast of Sicily, then around the Stromboli volcano and on anti-clockwise around Sicily, before heading south around Pantelleria and Lampedusa, then back to the finish in Malta.