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Volvo Ocean Race Announces New Team
Istanbul, Turkey: Seven years ago, a couple of young American sailing addicts met on the set of a Disney movie and dreamed of the day that they would launch a campaign in the world's toughest offshore team test, the Volvo Ocean Race.

Today that apparently long-shot ambition became a reality when Team Alvimedica's challenge for the 2014-15 edition was announced in Istanbul, home of the company.

Mark Towill was just 18 when he met Charlie Enright, four years older, as a fellow young star in the Disney sailing movie, Morning Light. The reality film followed a cross-Pacific boat voyage and made use of some of the biggest names in offshore sailing.

Alvimedica, a medical devices company from Turkey, is the perfect match for a team that aims to have a crew predominantly drawn from a pool of sailors under 30.

Knut Frostad was delighted to welcome both team and title sponsor as the Race's fifth confirmed team for the 12th edition.

"This is one of the most exciting new teams I've seen since I've started this job," he said. "Team Alvimedica is everything I have dreamed of since 2008 when I joined the race management: young people taking the initiative to start a project.

"We also welcome a new sponsor coming from Turkey. There has been a lot of interest from Turkey in the last race and it's a country where sailing is growing.

The team's CEO will be Bill Erkelens, a well known name in U.S. sailing who played a leading role in the management of several America's Cup teams.

Team Alvimedica will be joining Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel in the 2014-15 race which will be contested over 38,739 nautical miles and nine months, finishing in Gothenburg on June 27, 2015.

Harry Melges' Star Takes The Lead
Photo by Teri Dodds, Click on image for photo gallery.

Melges 24 Worlds Three races deeper into the 12 race Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 and the visitors unsurprisingly continue to dictate terms.

After the completion of race six in the 10-12 knot sou'easter, Harry Melges' Star and crew Andy Burdick, Jeff Ecklund and Federico Michetti, sailing for New York and Lauderdale yacht clubs, are lead boat and have created some breathing space.

The top three on the ladder are all past Melges 24 world champions.

Today Melges 24 crews milled around to the north of the bay during a short postponement prior to the commencement of racing then right on cue the breeze filtered in.

A hoodoo on the third and final race continued on day two, the fleet general recalled by PRO Hank Stuart twice and allowed through the gate at the third attempt.

There were some new additions to the look of the fleet today, country flag stickers on each mainsail and backstay flags indicating the current divisional leaders that will be presented each morning at the daily competitor's briefing held at the host club.

The Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 wraps up on Sunday, February 2nd 2014. -- Lisa Ratcliff

Series Results (Open) up to Race 6 (Drops = 1)

1. Star Harry Melges, USA
2. Cavillino / Mclube Chris Larson, CAN
3. Blu Moon Flavio Favini, SUI
4. Audi Riccardo Simoneschi, ITA
5. West Marine Rigging Bora Gulari, USA

Series Results [Corinthian] Up To Race 6 (Drops = 1)

1. Redmist Robin Deussen, AUS
2. Roger That Cameron Miles, AUS
3. Amigos Geoff Fogarty, AUS

Ellen Macarthur Trust Benefits From Cowes Ocean Safety Service Point
Ocean Safety The sign is up in the marina at East Cowes and Ocean Safety is open for business at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. The Trust is set to gain regular donations from Ocean Safety following an agreement under which life rafts and other safety equipment can be dropped off for servicing and Ocean Safety will make a donation from each item that the company services.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which helps to rebuild the lives of young cancer sufferers through sailing experiences, is conveniently located at East Cowes Marina. It is easily accessible for yachts, whose owners want to remove life rafts and safety items such as lifejackets, EPIRBs and fire extinguishers. Just call EMCT direct on 01983 297750.

The safety equipment is collected by Ocean Safety and taken to their main service station in Southampton for maintenance. It is then returned to East Cowes Marina, for the owner to collect after the work has been carried out.

Frank Fletcher, CEO at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is delighted to be working with Ocean Safety. "Our base will provide a handy location for yachtsmen to drop off safety equipment for servicing. It is a tremendous benefit to the Trust that it will benefit from the donations Ocean Safety is making."

Shifty Winds Challenge Sailing's Best
Sailors were rewarded for their patience and hours of onshore preparation with a full day of inconsistent and challenging conditions on Thursday at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. The pressure was on, to complete three to four races per fleet on Thursday to catch up to the desired race totals.

Sailors experienced slightly cooler temperatures this morning with considerable breeze ranging from 6 to 8 knots out of the Northwest under overcast skies. The breeze built up to 15 knots in the afternoon on some courses. The afternoon also featured isolated thunderstorms that steadily moved across Biscayne Bay bringing scattered showers.

Top three by class:

1. Megan Pascoe, GBR
2. Allan Leibel, CAN
3. Helena Lucas, GBR

1. John Pink / Stuart Bithell, GBR
2. Jonas Warrer / Peter Lang, DEN
3. Mads Emil Stephensen Lubeck / Christian Peter Stephensen Lubeck, DEN

470 Men
1. Stuart Mcnnay / David Huges, USA
2. Sofian Bouvet / Jeremie Mion, FRA
3. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS

470 Women
1. Sophie Weguelin / Eilidh McIntyre, GBR
2. Camille Lecointre / Helene Defrance, FRA
3. Lara Vadlau / Jolanta Ogar, AUT/POL

1. Oliver Tweddell, AUS
2. Giles Scott, GBR
3. Jorge Joao Zariff, BRA

49er FX
1. Guilia Conti / Francesca Clapcich, ITA
2. Sarah Steyaert / Julie Bossard, FRA
3. Juliana Senfft / Gabriela Nicolino de Sa, BRA

1. Tonci Stipannovic, CRO
2. Tom Burton, AUS
3. Pavlos Kontides, CYP

Laser Radial
1. Paige Railey, USA
2. Marit Bouwmeester, NED
3. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN

1. Vittorio Bissaro / Silvia Sicouri, ITA
2. Thomas Zajac / Tanja Chiara Frank, AUT
3. Iker Martinez de Lizarduy / Tara Pacheco, ESP

1. Byron Kokalanis, GRE
2. Nimrod Mashich, ISR
3. Ricardo Santos, BRA

1. Bryony Shaw, GBR
2. Flavia Tartaglini, ITA
3. Laura Linares, ITA

1. Alexandra Rickham / Niki Birrell, GBR
2. John McRoberts / Jackie Gay, CAN
3. Ryan Porteous / Cindy Walker, USA

1. Bruno Jourdren / Eric Flageul / Nicolas Vimont Vicary, FRA
2. John Robertson / Hannah Stodel / Stephen Thomas, GBR
3. Alphonsus Doerr / Hugh Freund / Timothy Angle, USA

Jerwood Leads Warren Jones Regatta
The second day of racing started in a light south easterly, which as forecast died away to nothing in the middle of the day and shifted to a solid south wester as Perth's famous "Fremantle Doctor" kicked in at 20 knots plus.

Rookie skipper Matt Jerwood showed remarkable composure today to finish at the head of the points table with 11 wins from 12 races. Round robin 1 is complete and the first flight of Round robin 2 finished today's activities.

Scores after Flight 1 of the second round robin:

Matt Jerwood - 11wins; 1 loss
David Gilmour - 10 wins; 2 losses
Chris Steele - 9 wins; 2 losses
Chris Staub - 6 wins; 5 losses
Will Tiller - 6 wins; 6 losses
Chris Poole - 5 wins; 6 losses
Sam Gilmour - 5 wins; 6 losses
Tristan Brown - 5 wins; 7 losses
Andy Green - 4 wins; 7 losses
Adam Middleton - 2 wins; 10 losses
Kohei Ichikawa - 2 wins; 10 losses
Ash Rooklyn - 2 wins; 10 losses

ORC European Championship In Valencia Open For Entries
The Real Club Nautico de Valencia (RCNV) and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) are pleased to announce that the 2014 ORC European Championship is now open for entries at This event, held under the patronage of HRH the Queen of Spain, the Spanish Armada and Admiral Sanchez Barcaiztegui, and under the authority of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV) and the Valencia Sailing Federation (FVCV), will be held concurrently with the RCNV's 16th edition of the Trofeo SM la Reina. Event dates are between 1-6 July, and for Spanish entries the regatta will be scored as the Spanish National ORC Championship for the Mediterranean area.

The best Spanish ORC boats and teams will be gathering in Valencia, as this is one of the most important events in the country, always held with the support of the Queen, the Royal Family, and the most important figures in the Spanish Navy. But organizers expect to also attract at least 25% entries from outside Spain.

The ORC fleet will compete in the Spanish ORC 0, 1, 2 and 3 classes, which will be forming groups A and B to take part in the races. During July 1-2 there will be Measurement and Registration, and on July 2nd the Practice Race, Skipper's Briefing and Opening Ceremony.

Races are then scheduled every day starting from the 3rd of July until the final day of racing on the 6th of July. All races will be windward-leeward, except on the 3rd of July the fleet will take part in a 70-mile coastal race.

On Saturday and Sunday, the local ORC Open Class will join the rest of the fleet, competing for trophies in the Trofeo SM la Reina.

2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Color 7 crew Iain Murray, Andrew Buckland and Don Buckley with the Giltinan Trophy. They won for six straight years, 1977 through 1982. Click on image for photo gallery.

Giltinan There are now just four weeks to the 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, which celebrates the 75 years history of the world's greatest 18 Footer event, since the first regatta on Sydney Harbour in 1938.

The historical significance has not been lost on organizers, who are anxious to include as many past winners as possible at the 2014 series from 1-9 March.

Over the next four weeks we will not only preview the 2014 regatta, but also take a look at some of the people and history contributing to the success of this great championship.

World famous designers such as Ben Lexcen, Bruce Farr, Iain Murray and Julian Bethwaite have all been successful as winners of the Giltinan Championship while the list of competitors covers every level of world success in numerous classes.

The Australian 18 Footers League are expecting large crowds, particularly on the two Sundays, and have arranged for additional  spectator ferries if necessary.

Live video streaming, GPS tracking and social media, as well as the support we get from the sailing media/websites around the world will make the event highly visible to all who want to keep up to date throughout the entire championship. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Ellison Threatens To Move America's Cup To San Diego
It's getting closer to the moment where Larry Ellison cuts another deal with San Francisco for the next America's Cup. But he knows he won't get the sweetheart deal he got the first time so he's just putting it out there that they're also looking at San Diego and Hawaii as possible venues.

This news was leaked to the AP. It seems like a transparent negotiating tactic, not wanting to start the ball rolling with San Francisco without making them think he's got other options. But really? Would Larry honestly want to have the race in San Diego when he could do it again right here in his hometown and hold up that trophy again with Alcatraz in the background?

San Diego hosted the Cup in 1988, and again '92 and '95, and Hawaii would have the advantage of being near Ellison's new island - he purchased all of Lanai a couple years back. Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts tells the AP he's "not happy" with how negotiations have gone with San Francisco.

Anyway, Larry can afford to underwrite the whole thing, and he probably should. Also, he still has longterm development rights to Piers 30-32, care of the previous America's Cup deal, and the infrastructure for another race is already built on Pier 27. -- Jay Barmann

Phil Sharp Plans Solo Racing Return at La Solitaire
Jersey sailor Phil Sharp is to return to solo sailing, setting his sights on a top-10 finish at La Solitaire du Figaro in the summer.

Sharp finished 18th in the Figaro event in 2011 but had been out of action as a solo sailor until recently making a return to training.

"The Figaro is an ideal training arena for developing and honing many of the skill-sets required in the bigger ocean racing classes such as strategy, navigation, tuning, and sleep management. "The next few months should hopefully enable me to move my game forward following what has been a two-year break from solo sailing.

"So far the training has gone really well and it's encouraging to be close to the pace of some more experienced French Figaro sailors. However I'm not underestimating the amount of work on the water that I need to put in over the next couple of months before the races start, in order to be consistently near the front of the fleet.

Letters To The Editor -
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 David Evans: So if ISAF is not dictorial, how come we ended up with GBR sail lettering in the UK, plus of course how come Germany ended up with GER, when the county's name is Deutschland and if not DEU why not ALL (Allemande!).

It has been said that this is because of IOC rules. One has to ask why should the IOC have any ruling or impact on anything other than the Olympic games - in my view none at all. After all they now make boats compete with huge National Flags on their mainsails, so does that mean all racing yachts should do likewise - of course not! So saying that adoption of the Olympic lettering system was caused by the IOC is complete nonsense.

From my recollection K sail letters were replaced by GBR around the early to mid 1990's ( at least as far as RORC sail nos were concerned). Also it is worth noting that the one class which the ISAF have exploited and dominated, and made considerable amounts of loot from, doesn't even bother to have national sail letters at all - the Laser!

Whatever the merits or otherwise of the National sail lettering system, how we have ended up with what we now have,  just goes to prove my point, no one was consulted, no one voted, not one was even asked, in fact as I recall it, no one was even given any warning - it just happened to us.

Same as the Star being removed from Rio.

Now we have no 5.5 Metre, no Dragon, no Soling, no Star, no Tempest, (no FD either) all keelboats removed  since Melbourne, so the sport at the Olympics has been changed to competing in boats with two guys standing up ( 49er) or wind/air rowing Finns ( pumping to the point that the boat is muscle powered and not wind powered). With the exception of the Laser, none of the Olympic classes bear any resemblance to the types of boats the huge majority people race, so clearly the ISAF and the IOC have just plain lost the plot.

I suspect the sailing world will increasingly come to ignore the ISAF and the IOC and these organisations will become more and more irrelevant.

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The Last Word
Here's to five miserable months on the wagon and the irreparable harm that it's caused me. -- Stanley Kubrick

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