CQS TAKES LINE HONOURS

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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.”

CQS SUFFERS SETBACK IN RORC TRANSATLANTIC RACE

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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

THE GAMBLE PAYS OFF

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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.

TRIMMED DOWN CREW FOR RORC TRANS-AT

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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.

Deputy High Commissioner accepts trophy on behalf of Australian Supermaxi CQS

Deputy High Commissioner Suzy McKellar (left) and High Commissioner Julienne Hince present the trophy to Brian Clarke

Deputy High Commissioner Suzy McKellar (left) and High Commissioner Julienne Hince present the trophy to Brian Clarke

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.

CQS ON THE PODIUM?

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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.

Racing into Sunday

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By John Roberson 

What a way to spend a Sunday morning! Some people walk the dog on a Sunday morning, others wash the car, while the crew of CQS sailed through the straits of Messina. We entered the southern end of the straits at sunrise this morning, and had a beautiful fresh breeze all the way, as it funnelled between the mountains of mainland Italy, and those on the Sicilian side.

All the way it was a three way tussle between ourselves, Leopard and Momo, the distances between us expanding and contracting as if the three boats were attached by elastic. Often we were close enough to the shore to see the beautiful waterfront properties.

This race is known for its spectacular scenery, and we are starting to find out why.

It had been a strange night, with the wind dying as the sun set, and we had several hours of doing only two to three knots, close along the eastern shore of Sicily. At one stage we seemed to get our own private breeze, and it looked as if we might take the lead, but then the same windless hole that held Leopard and Rambler in its grip, stretch out and grabbed us as well.

Then in the small hours of the morning a fresh breeze sprang up, and we were blasting along at 11 to 12 knots, and had to take in a reef. The temperature was comfortable all night, and we shook out the reef as we entered the straits.

Now we seem set for another beautiful day, with Stromboli the volcano our next turning mark.

CQS STILL DEVELOPING THEIR DSS SYSTEM

Photo by Andrea Francolini

Photo by Andrea Francolini

Valletta, Malta: 20th October 2017.

 

Ludde Ingvall’s CQS will sail the Rolex Middle Seas Race without her DSS foils as they continue to develop the system. The skipper commented, “we are now working on our fourth version, using data and knowledge we have gained over the past ten months.”

 

The CQS design team have found that any foil shape has quite a narrow optimum speed window.

 

Ludde explained, “a foil that gives its best performance at 10 knots, is not very efficient at 30 knots, so although it will help to lift the boat initially, it then loses its efficiency when the boat accelerates to higher speeds.

 

“We are trying to design a foil that has a wider window of optimum performance for CQS, and trying to create foils that are sympathetic to our potential speed and the boat’s size.”

 

Ludde and his team are hoping for light winds during the coming race out of Malta, which will best suit the current configuration of CQS, with her narrow waterline and low wetted surface area.

 

“The current forecast would seem to indicate light winds at the start,” commented Ludde, “and we will be pushing hard right from the gun to take maximum advantage of these conditions.”

The breeze is expected to increase as the race progresses, so an early advantage could be vital to CQS’s chances of a good result, as the conditions turn in favour of the more powerful boats.

 

Predictions suggest that there will be a spectacular start in Valletta’s Grand Harbour, with 12 to 15 knots of breeze, but that will die out quite quickly as the fleet heads north towards the Straits of Messina.

 

The CQS team are keeping a close eye on the weather that is developing later in the race, with winds of 35 knots expected in the closing stages.

CQS ANNOUNCES CREW FOR ROLEX MIDDLE SEAS RACE

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Valletta, Malta: 19th October 2017.

Ludde Ingvall will skipper a strong multi-national crew on CQS for the Rolex Middle Seas Race, starting from Valletta, Malta on Saturday, which it the final event on the team’s European tour.

Watch captains are experienced New Zealand sailors Rodney Keenan and Richard Bearda, while the navigator is Kalle Coster from the Netherlands.

Also in the strong Kiwi contingent on board is boat captain Tony Long, and bowman Logan Andressen who is returning to the crew after an injury.

Mainsail trimmers are England’s James Esprey alongside another Kiwi Martyn Baker.

Sweden’s Andreas Axelsson and Rokas Milevicius from Lithuania are amongst four headsail trimmers, the others being Australian David Ward and Kiwi Phil Maxwell.

Ludde commented about his team, “we have a good mix of long term offshore experience, and some very promising up-and-coming talent. Performances in this race will help us make our selection for crew in the RORC Trans-Atlantic race.”

The Rolex Middle Seas Race is one of the classic 600 mile offshore races, alongside the Fastnet, Sydney to Hobart and Newport-Bermuda races.

The races starts in the historic surroundings of Valletta’s Grand Harbour, with the first leg taking the fleet north to the Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily.

From there the course continues north to round the active volcano Stromboli, before turning west to Favignana off the western tip of Sicily, then south around Pantelleria and Lampedusa, where they turn north again to the finish in Marsamxett Harbour back in Malta.

 

CQS TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC

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Ludde Ingvall’s super maxi CQS is to cross the Atlantic Ocean, instead of returning to Sydney for this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. A change to shipping schedule meant that the boat could not get back to Australia in time to prepare properly for the race to Hobart.

Ludde and his sponsor Sir Michael Hintze took the difficult decision not to contest the Rolex Sydney to Hobart, and instead enter the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Trans-Atlantic race from Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands to Grenada’s Port Louis.

Ludde commented, “the up-side of this change of schedule is that we will have the chance to help support the Caribbean communities devastated by the recent hurricane, by entering some of the events on their circuit.”

Sir Michael Hintze added, “It is regrettable that we have had to pull out of the Hobart, but this is also a great opportunity for us to put CQS through her paces in this long distance race over such a well-known route.”

CQS and her crew will do Malta’s Rolex Middle Seas Race, the last event on their European tour, then head to Lanzarote for the dash across the Atlantic, which starts 25 th November.

The Rolex Middle Seas Race starts 21 st October from Malta’s Grand Harbour, and takes the fleet north through the Straights of Messina, around the Stromboli volcano, then west along the north coast of Sicily, before turning south past Pantelleria and rounding at Lampedusa to return
to Malta.

The schedule of events to be undertaken in the Caribbean has not yet been decided, but the CQS team are in contact with a number of regatta organisers with a view to doing those that can accommodate the boat and bring most benefit to the islands.