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Memories Of A Great Man
Conny Van Rietschoten being interviewed on the Auckland dockside after leading the Whitbread fleet to New Zealand in 1981. Photo Onne: Van Der Wal / PPL. Click on image to enlarge.

Conny van Rietschoten Conny van Rietschoten, who died yesterday at the age of 87, was Holland's most famous yachtsman, winning the Whitbread Round the World Race, not once but twice in 1978 and 1982 with yachts both named Flyer. He and his crew so dominated the second race with their 76ft Frers designed maxi, that they capture both line and handicap honours - another first. In doing so, the Dutchman and his crew also set two world records: The fastest Noon to Noon run of 327 miles, and the fastest circumnavigation of 120 days.

Conny was introduced to sailing at the age of 3, joining his Father Jan Jacob aboard the family's 12-metre yacht Copeja, in races run by the Royal Maas Yacht Club in Rotterdam but it was not until 1977 that the world at large got to know about this shy, but fiercely competitive Dutchman. Then 45, he had retired from active business and looking for fresh challenges. Intrigued by newspaper reports about the first Whitbread Race in 1973, he saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime, and grabbed it with both hands.

Van Rietschoten returned for the 1981 / 1982 Whitbread with the second of his Flyer yachts, this time a 76ft maxi sloop purpose built to win line honours. She was matched against Peter Blake's 68ft Ceramco New Zealand, a lightweight down-wind flyer designed to excel in the Southern Ocean. The Kiwi yacht was dismasted during the first leg, handing Flyer a run-away leg victory but from there on, the two yachts raced neck-and-neck around the rest of the world.

It was at the height of this competition that Conny displayed to his crew at least, the steely side of his character. He suffered a heart attack and swore his crew to secrecy, even though Ceramco had a cardiologist within her crew and was just a few miles behind. "The critical period after a heart attack is always the first 24-36 hours, and the nearest port (Fremantle, Australia) was 10 days away", Conny recounted later. "Ceramco was already breathing down our necks. If they had known that I had a health problem, they would have pushed their boat even harder. When you die at sea, you are buried over the side. If that happened, the Ceramco boys might then have spotted me drifting by... and that, I was determined would be the only thing they would see or hear from Flyer on the matter!"

Conny and his crew finished first again back at Portsmouth, to take line honours for the Race, and when Charles Heidsieck III, their nearest rival on handicap fell into calms near the Azores, they became the first in the history of the race to scoop handicap honours too.

Conny's death follows the announcement that his first Flyer, is to return to Holland to be restored to her former glory as a lasting legacy for future generations to sail on. There are even plans to race her again against Kings Legend, and that pleased him very much.

Detailed models of the two Flyer yachts have been bequeathed to the Maritime Museum, Rotterdam and all Conny's trophies and memorabilia from the two races are destined to go on display at the Royal Maas YC. -- Barry Pickthall

Light, Tricky Breeze On Day One at the Palamos Gaes Christmas Race
The 38th GAES Christmas Race kicked off in waters of the Bay of Palamos with around 300 teams. It was registration and measurement for the 29ers that will start racing tomorrow. The other classes sailed today's races with a light SW Garbi breeze, 6 to 12 knots.

Top three by class after day 1:

Laser Standard
1. Jesus Rogel (ESP), 4-1-1, 6 points
2. Joaquin Blanco (ESP), 1-2-5, 8
3. Lorenzo Brando (GBR), 3-3-9, 15

Laser Radial women
1. Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), 2-2-1, 5
2. Agata Barwinska (POL), 4-1-2, 7
3. Monica Azon (ESP), 1-3-3, 7

Laser Radial men
1. Dmitry Trtyakov (RUS), 3-2-1, 6
2. Mon Canellas (ESP), 1-6-3, 10
3. Hector Dominguez (ESP), 2-5-4, 11

1. Dennis Karpak (EST), 7-2-2, 11
2. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), 6-6-1, 13
3. Alejandro Muscat (ESP), 5-5-6, 16

470 men
1. Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (FRA), 3-1, 4
2. Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo (ESP), 5-3, 8
3. Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp (ESP), 1-10, 11

470 women
1. Annika Bochmann and Karoline Göltzer (GER), 1-5, 6
2. Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter (GBR), 3-4, 7
3. Linda Fahni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI), 2-8, 10

1. Lauri Lehtinen and Kalle Bask (FIN), 5-4, 9
2. Jonas Warrer and Peter Orster (DEN), 1-12, 13
3. Carlos Paz and Iago Lopez (ESP), 8-6, 14

1. Ida Marie Baad/Marie Thusgaard (DEN), 1-1-1, 3
2. Lin Ea Cenholt/Anders (DEN), 5-3-2, 10
3. Phillip Müller (GER), 6-2-3, 11

420 1. Max Clapp/Joseph Burns (GBR), 1-5-1, 7
2. Manuel Palacin/Alfredo Dávila (ESP), 4-7-3, 14
3. Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska (POL), 6-2-7, 15

Ramsgate Performance Sailing Suit - The Swiss Army Knife Of Sailing Suits
Marine Pool More than 22 years of experience and expertise are behind every functional garment designed by Marinepool. Cutting edge technology, optimized down to the smallest detail. Developed, tested and chosen by some of the world´s finest sailors and worn on the fastest yachts on the planet like giant trimaran Spindrift2, the MOD70 Oman Air and other leading offshore teams.

Marinepool's new Ramsgate performance sailing suit takes fabric innovations to the next level. Ramsgate is entirely made from Dermizax® NX membrane which is renowned for minimum weight, extreme breathability, highest waterproofness and ultimate elasticity. Indeed, the utilization of this NX membrane in sailing clothing is absolutely unique since the creator of the membranes Toray supplies Marinepool exclusively with fabrics made to the innovative NX formula.

Crucially, important but usually contradicting qualities are incorporated in one product without compromise. Despite ultimate breathability and enormous elasticity of the fabric, Ramsgate is extraordinarily durable and robust and indeed the perfect choice for the demanding conditions of ocean sailing when the going gets tough. 

Ramsgate jacket and trousers are available in two colours: orange and dark grey. Ramsgate convinces with a very dynamic, fashionable and attractive design that simultaneously meets the demands of professional sailing due to intelligent features. These include for instance highly abrasion resistant reinforcement patches on shoulders and sleeves, reflecive patches by 3M, a high offshore collar, an adjustable hood in signal yellow, smart eyelets and loops to fix equipment as well as a separate intelligent YKK zipper system for the integration of an optional fleece into Ramsgate jacket.

The new Ramsgate by Marinepool. Design. Technology. Passion.

Belfast Harbour Marks 400 Years Of Maritime History
Belfast's 400 years of maritime history is being recognised in a new exhibition 'A Port that Built A City'.

The new heritage space in Belfast Harbour details the city's emergence as a major port and its subsequent growth and development as an industrial hub.

As well as interactive displays examining the Harbour Office and its unique art collection, the space also includes a stunning new stained-glass window by local artist, Ann Smith, the 'Titanic table' and artefacts from the harbour's past.

Through the centuries Belfast and its harbour have been intimately linked, it's impossible to think of one without the other," said Len O'Hagan, Belfast Harbour's chairman.

"Belfast's fortunes have largely been tied to the manmade creation of a harbour which gave the city access to markets across the world, and its development of infrastructure which paved the way for Belfast's shipbuilding and aviation industries."

Photographs of the exhibition:

Good For Another Four Years
Alex Thomson Racing together with Five West have today announced a new four year sponsorship deal with HUGO BOSS.

The signing marks the continuation of one of the most successful sponsorships in sailing. HUGO BOSS has sponsored the British skipper since 2003.

As part of the renewed commitment to the solo-round-the-world skipper, Alex will be participating in the 2014 Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race, the 2014 Barcelona World Race and has his sights firmly set on winning the 2016 Vendee Globe.

Earlier this year Alex broke the British solo monohull non-stop round-the-world record when he finished on the podium of the Vendee Globe for the first time in his sailing career, coming in after 80 days alone at sea in the gruelling race.

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Bora Gulari (USA)
'Olympic champions, AC and Volvo sailors, he beat 'em all' - Eric Aakhus; 'Terrific sailor and an insane innovator' - Brent Ruhne; 'It wasn't just about the fairings, he never dropped a tack and sailed brilliantly throughout' - Dave Chisholm; 'That Bora is one happening D-town Turk' - Nairb Orresent; 'He also won the nice guy and the coolest boat award' - Tony Kotoun; 'Bora is one of the most humble, unassuming and accomplished sailors I have met' - Neal Turlock; 'Bora rocks. Yes, it's that simple!' - Charlie Ainsworth

This month's nominees:

Russell Coutts (NZL)
The man who Sir Peter Blake described as the 'most determined competitor' he knew showed exactly the same fortitude in sticking to the plan through the agonisingly long period when AC34 looked to be coming unravelled. In the final analysis, the only one that matters, AC34 delivered a stunning sporting spectacle which put everything that had gone before it firmly in the shade. And guess who won it.

Robert Scheidt (BRA)
Another titan of the sport. When the Star was dropped from the line-up for Rio '2016 later he and Bruno Prada won the debut Star Sailors League in Nassau. Scheidt quietly got back in his Laser, scoring well at regional events. Then at the age of 40 Scheidt travelled to Muscat for the world championship, which he led from early on before closing the deal in a highly pressured final race. Two weeks. Incredible.

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click

Introducing The Fast40+
There is today a multitude of 40ish foot long fast inshore race boats that designers and builders are touting - the Ker 40, Soto 40, Carkeek 40 (now in its Mk2 form), the Botin 40, the GP42, the Hakes 42, Farr 400, McConaghy 38, etc.

With this in mind Rob Greenhalgh has joined the dots and is in the process of setting up the FAST40+ to provide an opportunity for such boats to race in the UK, and, in due course, overseas: "All we're interested in is going sailing, getting some good racing in and trying to encourage fast sailing. I don't think people want to go sailing anymore in Ker 39s and King 40s, slow boats with interiors they'll never use: It is just too boring."

The intention is for these boats to compete in a relatively narrow band to keep the racing tight. "I only want three minutes an hour, so you are in the same bit of water. As things go on, people will migrate to similar boats, the band will get narrower," continues Greenhalgh.

At present the aim is to include the Ker 40 as the slowest boat within the band and at present there is no limit on what the fastest can be, with the Carkeek 40 at present topping the scale as the fastest. -- James Boyd in The Daily Sail

2014 ISAF Athlete Participation Programme
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) invites applications to the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme for the 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship.

The ISAF Athlete Participation Programme (APP) was created in 2002 and assists athletes with attending the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship by offering coaching support and financial subsidies towards the entry fee and travel costs. The World Youth Sailing Trust provides a Championship coach. The APP is targeted at sailors from nations in Subscription Categories 1 and 2.

Priority will be given for new countries and for countries that have not participated in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship during the last two years.

Thanks to APP funding, sailors from the Cook Islands, Cuba, El Salvador, Serbia, Botswana and Paraguay have been able to compete at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship.

The 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship will take place in Tavira, Portugal from 12-19 July 2014.

The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship is open to competitors aged under 19 in the year of the championship (i.e. for Ireland, under 19 on 31 December 2014) in the events and equipment listed below (all supplied), the Youth Worlds occupies a unique place in the sailing calendar. Simply getting to the championship is a major achievement for most as entry is limited to one boat per nation, per event, meaning sailors first having to win through their national qualification series.

Event - Equipment
Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5m2 sail
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5m2 sail
Open Multihull - Sirena SL16
Open Skiff - 29er

Sailing Into The Top Spot
Polkerris Beach Company picked up the Gold accolade at the 2013 Cornwall Tourism Awards, winning the county's Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience Of The Year Award.

This is the third year that the mid-Cornwall watersports company has received an award, with Silver in both 2010 and 2011. The shortlist competition was especially tough, with the Polkerris-based family business up against St Martin's Dive School from the Isles of Scilly and Mawgan Porth-based Kingsurf.

Polkerris Beach Company runs a range of watersports courses for locals and visitors to Cornwall. It distinguishes itself from mainstream offerings with a personal approach which owner, Bob Shillito, says is the key to its success: "Our sailing taster and windsurfing sessions are really popular, and their success is down to the quality of our team of instructors who are trained to assess our customers' confidence and proficiency and match these to the weather and sea conditions." -- RYA

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1999 Nautor Swan 48 Regatta. A$ 490,000. Located in Sydney, Australia.

Nautor's Swans have had an enviable reputation for their combination of seaworthiness, performance, and high quality interiors.

CARRERA is a fine example of this. Professionally maintained with a detailed inventory, this beautiful boat is priced to sell and available for inspection at Rushcutters Bay.

Brokerage through Vicsail International:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. -- Will Rogers

About is a highly powerful and effective global marketing solution for the boating industry. With half a million new and used boat listings, offered across the globe by manufacturers, brokers, dealers and private advertisers, it is the most comprehensive site in the World. Over 1.4 million boating consumers visit our sites every month, generating up to 16.5 million page views, with over 500,000 of these visitors coming from within Europe. Whether you are providing a product or service or selling new or pre owned boats, offers an extensive and varied range of solutions, tailored to suit all marketing budgets offering extensive local and international coverage.

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

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