Scuttlebutt Europe #2470 - 15 November

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Where To Punch Through
Since Groupama 4 rounded the Cape Verde archipelago, sailing conditions finally match those of her rivals. As such, Franck Cammas and his crew can slip along towards the equator at speed. A little further over to the East than the top trio, the French boat is preparing to make a decision on where to try to punch through the Doldrums.

It was at around 0400 GMT this Monday morning that Groupama 4 was finally able to hang a left and drop down due South towards the Doldrums in some north-easterly tradewinds reminiscent of those of her rivals. The difficult transition between the African coast and Cape Verde, which cost them nearly 500 miles in two days, is behind them now.

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet are flying along at over 17 knots towards what appears to be a fairly inactive and not very widespread Doldrums lounging around at 30 degrees West, with even a possible path through at around 26 degrees West. The two leaders, Telefonica and Puma are set to experience the first signs of this Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone from tonight. In this way, they could well reach the only course mark of Fernando de Noronha as early as Wednesday.

"When we headed East, it was impossible to rejoin the fleet so we had to stick to our option and go at it with all guns blazing, though it was a shame not to be in contact with the others. Right now we have to focus on using what wind we have to best advantage so as to make the equator as quickly as possible. We know we're behind, but we're going to have to get as close to them as we can... We're more motivated than ever to make up our deficit" indicated Franck Cammas on Sunday evening.

Just a day shy of Puma and Telefonica, Groupama 4 is likely to make her entrance into the Doldrums under the cover of darkness: it's not the easiest configuration, even though the crew will benefit from a fine crescent of waning moon. Solely Camper is likely to reach the zone in daylight hours, which gives them a slight edge as the tradewind-ITCZ transition is often pretty violent so it's better to tackle it gradually and be able to see the clouds and the state of the sky and sea.

www.cammas-groupama.com
www.volvooceanrace.com

Australian Duo Shock Sail Melbourne
Melbourne, Australia: Australia's Olympic gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell recorded a shock victory at the ISAF Sailing World Cup on Saturday, comprehensively winning the event less than a month after being paired together in the women's 470 boat.

The duo sent a strong message to would-be rivals at the 2012 London Olympics, leading the Melbourne regatta medal race from start to finish.

Rechichi and Stowell are now targeting at least a bronze medal from next year's Games, though they warned there's plenty of work to do bedding down their new partnership.

"We wouldn't be going again as tourists, just to see it," Rechichi said of the London Games.

"I think it's realistic we could be on the podium in London but first and foremost our focus is on qualifying."

Rechichi, who won a gold medal in the 470 boat at Beijing and Stowell, who took gold at Sydney in 2000, were only paired together for the World Cup regatta in October.

But the partnership gelled instantly in changeable conditions over six days of racing at Port Phillip Bay.

"We won six races out of the ten during the qualifying and then to win the medal race as well was a nice icing on the cake," Rechichi added.

Australia's other elite sailors enjoyed strong results from the first World Cup event of the season.

www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=185852

Musto to Showcase the New 2012 Collection at METS
Photo by CAMPER / Chris Cameron. Click on image to enlarge.

Musto The world's largest exhibition of marine trade equipment takes place in Amsterdam between 15-17 November and the Musto team is pleased to be there.

Come and take a sneak preview of the new 2012 collection including the latest HPX Pro Series developed in conjunction with the CAMPER & Emirates Team New Zealand Volvo Ocean Race team, as well as the Musto & Camper collaborative marine footwear collection.

Also featured is the new Musto HPX Ocean Boot with OutDry® Technology which has been nominated for this year's DAME Design Award. Musto is the first in the marine market to incorporate the innovative OutDry® lamination process which bonds the waterproof and breathable membrane directly to the external layer of the boot, perfectly sealing any possible water entry point.

Visit us in the British Pavilion stand 03.301
www.musto.com

Bruni Unfazed by Chance to Make History
London, United Kingdom: Francesco Bruni stands on the brink of becoming the first Italian to capture the ISAF Match Racing World Championship at this month's Monsoon Cup but remains undaunted by the task that awaits him. Should he win the title, the 1994 Laser World Champion and Olympic and America's Cup campaigner says it will be a career defining achievement.

The popular skipper started the 2011 World Match Racing Tour in great form with podium finishes at his first three events but followed that with a series of lackluster performances before fighting to third place at the Argo Group Gold Cup to give his season a timely fillip. In the ISAF rankings he holds the bragging rights as the World No. 1 and in the Tour Championship he sits just six points behind 2-time Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar.

The scene is set for a three-way showdown between Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat, Williams and Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing. While the likes of Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team can still mathematically capture the 2011 world title in Malaysia, Bruni believes "it's unlikely that Torvar, Ian or myself will sail badly enough that none of us make it to the quarter-finals." Ironically, Bruni's worst win rate amongst the Tour Card Holders is against his two chief rivals,

This is Bruni's first full season on the Tour and he will be relatively inexperienced to racing in Kuala Terengganu compared to his two nearest rivals.

The 2011 ISAF Match Racing World Championship will be decided at the Monsoon Cup which takes place from 22-27 November in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.

Overall Championship Standings after 7 stages:

1. Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, 106 points
2. Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing, 100
3. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat, 99.8
4. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, 78.8
5. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team, 75
6. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 74
7. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, 73.2
8. Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners, 71.2
9. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 69.6
10. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing, 64.4

www.wmrt.com

Sayonara's Headed Home
Sayonara leads arch rival Morning Glory in 1996 Big Boat Series. Photo by Erik Simonson, www.pressure-drop.us. Click on image to enlarge.

Sayonara Having been holed up in Holland Michigan since the 2000 Chicago Mackinac Race, Sayonara, Larry Ellison's 80' Maxi is headed home. Her destination, Pier 80 in San Francisco which is currently HQ for Oracle Racing and ground zero for all things Americas Cup on SF Bay until the construction of the new piers on the City Front are complete.

Sayonara was the launching pad for Larry Ellison into the yacht Racing World, his 1st foray into serious competition. In a conversation with his neighbor, one David Thomson back in 1994, the subject of sailing to Hawaii was brought up after listening to Thomson's tales of the Transpacific Yacht Race, Larry was intrigued. David suggested building a Maxi, the largest legally allowed for the race, and without much debate Larry agreed, so long as it was designed to win.

Ironically it was Larrys' desire to excel in yachting's greatest achievements while attempting to dethrone arch rival Hasso Plattner's " Morning Glory" record for the Sydney Hobart which ended Larry's interest in ocean racing, and the concerted effort in Americas Cup campaigns. The 1998 Sydney Hobart was decimated by an unusually powerful storm with winds of 70 knots and seas upwards of 40'. Too far from land to turn back, and likely hood of helo rescue not possible, Sayonara rode out the storm and sailed to 1st to finish in 3 days and 53 minutes, 35 seconds. During the height of the storm, hunkered down in the spartan interior bunk and watching Sayonara's hull flexing with every massive impact, and surrounded by some of the worlds best sailors, barely able to keep from chumming themselves, Larry kept saying to himself: "This is a stupid way to die"

Larry soon thereafter swore off ocean racing all together, and Sayonara, would compete only in buoy events on inland seas and the Chicago Mac, which became her swan song after finishing 1st in the 2000 event,where she was subsequently placed in storage while Team Oracle began focusing on other programs.

Without a Sayonara Campaign, the whole Americas Cup 34 in San Francisco may have never happened! -- Erik Simonson

Full article and lots of historical photos at:
www.pressure-drop.us

Take The Knox-Johnston Challenge

Take the Knox-Johnston Challenge
You're sailing through the Southern Ocean on an Open 60 when your keel is snagged by a massive fishing net. Do you: (a) sail backwards (b) tie a knife to a batten (c) go overboard to free it?

Find out and read a free sample chapter from Knox-Johnston on Sailing by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

www.wileynautical.com/view/0/rkj.html

Garmin Hamble Winter Series
Photo by Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Garmin Hamble Winter Series After a break last weekend, racing resumed in the Garmin Hamble Winter Series this past weekend with bright sunshine and an unseasonably balmy air temperature.

The breeze filled in to a patchy ESE'ly, starting at a gusty 20 knots, which dropped to as low as 8 knots in the lulls as the afternoon wore on. Race Officer Jamie Wilkinson set a series of windward-leeward courses stretching up and down the East Solent, and all starts got underway on time. There was some impressive surfing downwind and the odd broach and kite wrap to add to the excitement - but most boats revelled in the shifty, gusty conditions and there were big grins ashore after racing. Some crews said it was the best day's sailing they'd had all season!

In IRC 0, Arcona 430 Tangent Minus 1 sailed a stunning race to beat second-placed Ntanda, an X46, by nearly 10 minutes. As ever, things were much closer in the Sigma 38 class, where Chris and Vanessa Choules' With Alacrity took advantage of an early left shift, maintaining their lead and successfully holding off second-placed Persephone to the finish line.

Racing was equally close in the 15 boat-strong IRC1 class, where Visit Malta Puma held on to Premier Flair's coat tails to beat her by 30 seconds on corrected time. Steady Barker continued her run of form in IRC 2 to add another win to her scoreline, as did Mike and Jamie Holmes' Jika-Jika in IRC 3 and Richard and Valerie Griffith's OutraJeous in the J/109s, who crossed the line first, extending their lead overall.

In IRC 4, Polly finished ahead of rival Impala 28 Trudi, while Hunter 707 Turbulence beat J/80 Jester to top the Mixed Sportsboat class.

www.garminhamblewinterseries.co.uk

RYA Club & Coach Conferences
The RYA Club and Coach Conferences are fast approaching and take place on the 3/4 December 2011 at a venue in each Zone or Region. The RYA is urging all club representatives and coaches as well as anyone wishing to revalidate their Racing Coach Level 2 qualification to book their place now to avoid disappointment.

Taking place at ten different venues across the country, the RYA Club and Coach Conferences are aimed at all those with an interest or involved in delivering, planning or coordinating club training, racing and coaching for both juniors and adults. In addition, the Conferences intend to help committees, volunteers, instructors and coaches to develop ideas and evolve their programmes for next year's season.

There will be updates from the RYA High Performance Managers and Regional Development Officers on what is new, including essential information for sailing clubs and how RYA staff can best help. There will be a choice of workshops, updates including information on the RYA's Sail for Gold Olympic Activation and Race Management schemes, as well as guest speakers on specialist topics at each of the venues.

To apply online (and for venue details) please visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk and scroll down and click on 'RYA Coaching Course'. Reservations must be made at the latest by Monday 28th November 2011.

Ocean Safety's Shows Raceboat Safety Expertise at METS
Click on image to enlarge.

Ocean Safety at METS As METS opens today the UK's leading independent supplier of marine safety equipment Ocean Safety will be showing the products that have caught the imagination of recent race campaigns including the Volvo Ocean Race. All of the crews are carrying the Ocean Safety supplied Kannad R10 Survivor Recovery System (SRS), which, in the case of all but one team, are fitted to Ocean Safety's Kru Sport lifejacket.

The Kannad R10, along with other vital equipment supplied by Ocean Safety, is also being carried by father and son duo Campbell and Ross Field, who have just completed their first leg to Cape Town in the double handed 30,000 mile Global Ocean Race on board their Class 40 yacht. The R10 alerts AIS receivers onboard and on vessels within a four mile radius with precision position information, if a crew member falls overboard.

Ocean Safety will also be demonstrating the branding opportunity of the Kru Sport Pro and other lifejackets in the company's range, which carry team names and logos to shout them out loud. The likes of the Ellen MacArthur Trust as well as the Volvo competitors all get their Ocean Safety lifejackets ready logoed. A new extremely powerful range of See-ME™ lifejacket lights will be on display too.

Visit us on Stand No. 03.304

www.oceansafety.com

Industry News
Sperry Top-Sider® announced today that double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton, Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), has joined Team Sperry Top-Sider, a select group of world-class sailors who support the Sperry brand by wearing its products and providing important feedback for enhanced product development.

Ayton won her first Olympic Gold in the Yngling class at the Athens Games in 2004 and her second in Beijing in 2008.

Ayton lives in Weymouth UK, the home of the 2012 Olympics, with her husband, Nick Dempsey. Dempsey is also a member of Team Sperry and has been selected to represent Great Britain in the men's RS:X windsurfing event at the Olympics 2012.

The current Sperry Top-Sider team includes 16 athletes from the USA and 16 from Europe.

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Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight has been sold but the identity of the buyer is unlikely to be revealed until the new year.

Bembridge Harbour Trust, a registered charity, which had hoped to buy the harbour and preserve it as an area of natural beauty, while maintaining its boating facilities, has announced that its bid was unsuccessful.

"We're very disappointed", said Michael McInnes, chair of the trust, but he added, "We're not closing the door on our objective of acquiring the harbour or being involved in any way in its future ownership or its future management."

Portsmouth agents Vail Williams will announce the name of the successful bidder once due diligence checks have been carried out.

www.motorboatsmonthly.co.uk

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Hanse Yachts has new majority owner. Aurelius AG now holds 72.5 percent of the shares of Germany-based Hanse Yachts AG, the company announced.

Hanse Yachts AG was founded in 1990 and in the last 21 years has established itself as the third-largest production-line builder of sailing yachts worldwide. Hanse Yachts AG's shares have been listed on the General Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since the company went public in March 2007.

"As a result of economic circumstances Hanse Yachts has had to report negative results for the last three fiscal years. Thanks to the overall economic recovery and successful introduction of new and innovative models, Hanse Yachts has nevertheless been able once again to gain significant additional market share and to improve its results for fiscal year 2010/2011," the company said in a statement.

www.tradeonlytoday.com

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In the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, sailing was shown how a big, well funded, marketing savvy consumer brand does sports marketing. Now with Franz Koch at the helm, PUMA is doing more than many to promote sailing to a wider, perhaps younger audience, by once again bringing its marketing savvy to the race.

Koch, 32, was promoted to the position of CEO of PUMA in March and perhaps luckily for sailing has a passion for watersports. Having grown up in the German town of Lubeck, Koch said he was "a water man" who took every opportunity to windsurf, surf or sail with his mates.

PUMA have recently announced clothing sponsorship deals with the America's Cup and Oracle Racing, but the presence at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race was significantly bigger than any activation done at the AC World Series so far. Being the sponsor of a Volvo 70 means that the brand is activating in a big way at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, with outdoor posters, branded buses and stand-up (SUP) paddle boarding experiences too.

www.yachtracing.biz

Full Speed Ahead at Solent Refit - The Cost-Effective UK Superyacht Centre
Click on image to enlarge.

Solent Refit There are a number of big projects ongoing at the yard including four vessels in excess of 38m. Two more 100m projects on their way. The benefits of the 1500 ton horizontal lift, rail transfer system, 10,000m2 of undercover work space and a full open yard policy offers a great attraction to big yacht projects, in addition to the considerable cost savings.

Development of the facility continues. Low level walkways have been installed to improve work efficiency for vessels on the outer pontoons. The main shed has also been developed to allow more work space, making the rail transfer system even quicker and more efficient. And a new Helipad at the top of the main slipway will provide more convenient access for owners to their vessels.

For more information, visit www.solentrefit.com, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Rory Garland: Great to hear about the fiesta atmosphere at the ARC in Gran Canaria, but spare a though for all those that were turfed out of Las Palmas Marina to make way for them. Not only that, but non-ARC boats have not been allowed into Las Palmas marina since the beginning of October to keep space clear for the ARC boats (even though most didn't turn up until mid-November). Thus denying access to the esstential repair, chandlery and other facilities that are centred in Las Palmas.

The ARC is a great institution and provides the opportunity for the less experienced to cross the Atlantic in company. But it seems to have become exclusive rather than inclusive. This year there has been much frustration expressed among non-ARC boats preparing to sail to South America or the Caribbean about the inability to access Las Palmas (the main city in Canary Islands).

Perhaps the ARC should consider ways of lessening the impact of over 200 boats (and maybe spreadfing the benefits). Maybe starting from several points such as Gran Canaria Lanzarote and Tenerife,..

* From Katrina Johnson: I am sure we have all met judges who are out of touch with the sport or the classes they are judging and know that ISAF is certainly a law unto itself. However, if Mr Shanks highest cost in organizing an event was the jury he must take most of the responsibility for it. Yes there are judges who demand a 5* lifestyle but more fool any class or organizer if they use them. Classes and clubs must take responsibility for the organization of the jury. I have been involved in organizing several major events and make sure the judges know what will be paid for before they accept the invite.

There will sometimes be the need to fly a judge in from across an ocean but particularly here in Europe we can put together a jury from different countries that are very close to each other and therefore relatively cheap travel. It is polite to give each judge a room of their own but it needs only to be local B&B type accommodation or perhaps with club members. A good jury will be at the club from first thing in the morning to well after most competitors have left so will not need a hotel with extra facilities!

Remember that the jury decisions are final so you will be able to have that prize giving at the end of the week and not wait for and appeal to be heard. Of course we could do away with the jury completely, all it needs is people to sail to and follow the rules!

* From Euan Ross, Alresford: It's only a game

Flicking through 'Seahorse' this month, a magazine with a good feel for the pulse of the yacht racing community, it seems that emerging tensions within the sport may be irreconcilable. The main questions are: who is driving the latest trends and is this agenda to the benefit or detriment of the yacht racing community as a whole? and; why isn't sailing as much fun as it used to be when the equipment is so much better (though unnecessarily butt-breaking, but that's another story)?

A more or less unique quality of our sport used to be that ordinary guys could gauge themselves against the very best on the same racecourse. Back in 1970, as a wide-eyed 18 year-old, I pitched up at Pwhelli with a Merlin I'd built myself over the winter from a Bob Hoare shell. We scrapped into the top 20 of that record-breaking fleet; but the real buzz for me was placing ahead of the legendary Rodney Pattisson, who was competing in Bob's own boat of the same design. Over the years I took part in competitive sailing, Olympian and other champion 'scalps' were always more important that a cupboard-full of silverware pot-hunted among lesser opposition; and I know I was not alone in this. Alas, these halcyon days are gone forever. On the rare occasions that amateurs and professionals meet our only hope is a hacksaw. It's time to move on.

Many keen, competitive yachtsmen are clearly uncomfortable about the paradigm shift to 'dog and pony shows'. The last Olympic Regatta was staged in a venue which redefined 'challenging'; the World Match Racing Finals are entrenched in a muddy, fast-flowing ditch at the end of the World, and; the Volvo has sold its soul to the Devil. Add to that two 'cage fight' circuit-racing programmes for high performance cats (one 'good clean entertainment' and the other a spectacular curiosity) and there is a clear shift towards stadium sailing at the top of our sport. But what is really worrying is that we seem hell-bent on following the professionals down this dubious path. The rot set in some time ago with the introduction of short-course racing over windward - leeward laps. This summer, I watched the Scottish Flying Fifteen Championships take place in front of my house at Holy Loch in a brisk South Easterly (won of course by a 'sailmaker'). There, we had the World's first planning sports-boat trundling placidly down-wind in displacement mode and Uffa's genius squandered.

Surely now it's time for yachtsmen to bite the bullet and pack our professional shipmates off to the three ring circus. If these guys want to be entertainers, that's great. I have my doubts that sailing can ever be a mass audience spectator sport, but I enjoy it and I hope it all works out. As for the rest of us, let's rejig the agenda: no one wants to watch other people having fun, so let's rediscover our yachting heritage and reclaim this fabulous sport; let's have varied, enjoyable courses with time for a breather on the run and some reaches to give us reason to holler; let's have rules that allow us to bring guests on board without subjecting them to discomfort and indignity; let's be accessible and family friendly grow the grass-roots of the sport once again.

This requires a clean break, sailing without professionals onboard in all the classic regattas and race series. Ok, on really big boats there are safety issues and who would have that many friends; and then definition of 'professional' might need a bit of work, but let's be honest, none of us are owed a living.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1985 Borresen BB10 One Design Racing Sloop. A$ 69,900. Located in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Flawless Danish design, construction, and still an outstanding IRC performer on Port Phillip Bay winning everything and everything over the last few years. The yacht is meticulously maintained with no expense spared including a complete regatta and club sail wardrobe. The boat is rated IRC (TCC 0.933) and AMS (TCC 0.846) and is in first class condition.

Brokerage through Maurice Drent Boating Services:
www.yachtworld.com/mdbsaustralia/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at
uk.yachtworld.com

The Last Word
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. -- Thomas Merton

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