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Barcelona World Race: Hola, Professor!
While it might be considered bad news by certain competitors (those who'd prefer a more 'open' playing field), the announcement of Michel Desjoyeaux's participation in the next Barcelona World Race was received with great satisfaction by the race organisers in the Catalan capital. The king of singlehanders revealed his plans in Paris, and the least one could say is that he did not summon the press to talk about minor objectives: after all, who else could reveal a programme including two new boats?

Arguably, the Multi One Design (MOD70) side of things (see French News, page 12) captures the attention most immediately, as it triggers a potential rebirth - or replacement - for the lamented Orma 60 fleet. But Michel's latest Imoca 60 campaign is a new adventure too, rather than a simple follow-up.

First of all, the Professor is going back to Brittany-based designers for his new weapon, rather than sticking with the Farr office that helped him to his second Vendee Globe victory last year. By switching to VPLP/Verdier, Michel makes the same move as his former teammate, 'disciple' and PRB successor Vincent Riou, and as his rival Jean-Pierre Dick. Mich Desj knows his new interlocutors very well, since Vincent Lauriot-Prevost designed his former Orma trimaran Geant and the MOD70 itself, while Guillaume Verdier was working with Groupe Finot when Mich's 2000 Vendee-winning PRB was conceived...

Certainly, the dominance of the VPLP/ Verdier designs Safran and Groupe Bel in the Transat Jacques Vabre seems to confirm that this design pairing is really onto something, and the next Barcelona World Race will be a fantastic setting in which to display these boats to their maximum.

Lining up for the Barcelona event was the other surprise Desjoyeaux pulled out of his hat in Paris - not that it seemed unlikely he would participate one day, but he'd not exactly given out any strong hints in that direction.

From the April issue of Seahorse magazine:

Azzurra Delivers Stand-Out Performance On Opening Day
Photo by Christophe Favreau, Click on image for photo gallery.

Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland Azzurra, the Italian boat with the old name and the young crew, defeated Britain's TEAMORIGIN in the closest of four hard-fought races on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland.

Italian skipper and helmsman Francesco Bruni snatched a victory from Britain's three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the first weather mark of their race as their boats rounded the mark overlapped. Sailing above the mark, Ainslie tried to luff his opponent only to see the Italian execute a swift spinnaker set, sail clear and go on to win.

In their efforts to stay on schedule, the race committee spent a long first day on the water. In the morning, cloudy skies killed any chance of a sea breeze developing and delayed racing. The Rangitoto Channel entrance to Auckland Harbour was so glassy at late morning that Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio joked that it appeared to have been paved.

The long wait for wind ended at 2:45pm as the first pair started on the Blue Course at the mouth of the channel between Rangitoto Island and the Takapuna cliffs. The breeze was five to seven knots from the northwest. After a second race in similar conditions, the breeze switched to the south for the third race inside the harbour. The last race didn't start until 7:10pm and finished after sunset just before 8:00pm

Round Robin Provisional Results

Emirates Team New Zealand 1
Azzurra 1
Teamorigin 1
All4one 1
Aleph Sailing Team 1
Mascalzone Latino Audi Team 0
Artemis 0
Synergy Russian Sailing Team 0

Live streaming web coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Auckland is available on the event website,

PUMA International Moth Worlds
Photo by Thierry Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

PUMA International Moth Worlds Andrew "Amac" McDougall still in the lead after three races

Day Two of PUMA International Moth Worlds got to a late start as a foggy haze and light winds lead to a 30 minute postponement onshore. Today was really a pressure game- those who stayed in the pressure were able to get up on their foils and make gains. The fleet had three races today, bringing the total for the event up to four. Races two and three saw light winds and tough foiling conditions. The breeze filled in a bit for race four, allowing the fleet to really get up and moving. The leader board remains relativity unchanged, with Andrew "Amac" McDougall still in the number one spot. After day two, the top five are:

1. Andrew McDougall (AUS)
2. Michael Lennon (GBR)
3. Brad Funk (USA)
4. Scott Babbage (AUS)
5. Chris Graham (UAE)

For images for editorial use please go to Daily videos, brought to you by PUMA and Sailing Anarchy On-The-Water Anarchy are being uploaded to

SMAR Azure In North America
Click on image to enlarge.

SMAR Azure In North America Recently, SMAR Azure held a work-shop presenting AzureProject, the unique integrated application to design, fiber layout and optimise any type of sail to Canadian and American sailmakers based along the east coast. The workshop, hosted by Dimension Polyant (CT), was run by Sabrina Malpede and Donald MacVicar. They were were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response and interest received by the seven sailmaking companies that were present.

Both sailmakers and sailcloth manufacturers are increasingly aware of the advantages offered by the "AzureProject" software. Significant savings in both time and materials are achievable, based on the design, analysis and optimization of all types of sails, including "custom membrane" sails, well suited for a wide range of boat types, including multihulls, enjoying increased interest following the recent America's Cup.

Following the enthusiastic response, other work-shop are planned in autumn. The workshop, hosted by Dimension Polyant (CT), was run by Sabrina Malpede, Donald MacVicar and Sandy Goodall.

For more information, please contact:
Sabrina Malpede, SMAR-Azure Managing Director,
Sandy Goodall, North American rep. , (250) 382 6226

New Smaller Boats Lead Audi IRC Australian Championship
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

Audi IRC Australian Championship The opening two events of the 2010 Audi IRC Australian Championship race have proven that you don't need to be a super maxi to be a serious contender for the national Championship title which is endorsed by Yachting Australia.

While it may have been the South Australian Division 1 grand prix yacht Secret Men's Business 3.5 that led at the end of Round 1 (raced at Audi Victoria Week in January), two new smaller yachts have been waiting in the wings, and have now taken the lead in this Championship thanks to the pointscore table which is based on a handicap system.

Aspiring to be named the 2010 Audi IRC Australian Champion and to win a new luxury Audi vehicle - the major prize attached to the title - two brand new small yachts named Aroona and Canute are in a tight struggle at the top of the leaderboard following the two rounds at Audi Victoria Week and the weekend's Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta (6 & 7 March).

The two yachts hail from NSW. Aroona, Harvey Milne's brand new Archambault 31 and Canute, Peter Horn's brand new King 40 are sitting in first and second place on 12.63 points and 12.82 points respectively, less than a point separating the two leaders.

Living Doll, a Farr 55 owned by Melbourne businessman Michael Hiatt is in third place overall after contesting the opening two rounds of the Audi IRC Championship. Hiatt, who competes in the grand prix Division 1 class, has a fourth and third on his scorecard from the two events, but is on 23.29 points, so has some work to do to catch the leader.

Denis Thompson, the Principal Race Officer for the four Audi IRC Australian Championship events, said the revised scoring system was working well to even out the three divisions and make all yachts similarly competitive.

Two events remain in the Championship race; the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race which starts on Saturday July 31 and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in Queensland from 20 – 28 August, which closes the Championship. -- Di Pearson

Clipper 09-10 Race 7: Qingdao To San Francisco
With the first 1,000 miles of the race to California almost completed, the forecasted low pressure system has finally arrived and the skippers who were cursing the lack of wind yesterday now find themselves with more than they bargained for. Strong headwinds have been hard going on the teams and they will all be looking forward to the wind shifting round and a return to the fast downwind sailing the Clipper 68s relish.

What a difference 24 hours makes," says Jim Dobie, skipper of Uniquely Singapore. "Yesterday we were in little wind and then bang! In rushed 30 to 40 knots and it has been with us ever since. The frustrating thing has been the angle we have been forced to sail at and have lost quite a bit of ground to the south. But as the low moves through, the wind will veer round and we can head due north again before the wind settles in behind us and we can get back to the fast downwind weather we love.

For the team on Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, the change in conditions came all too quickly but according to skipper Matt Pike his crew are revelling in the challenge as they push to Scottish boat hard to make gains on the rest of the fleet.

Matt says, "Misty drizzle and a rolling swell was the weather as we chased the small patches of breeze to reach the fleet - all the time knowing soon the wind would fill in. It came in one solid wave and caught us midway between sail changes.

Meanwhile, back in Qingdao, Team Finland's crew will be keeping a close eye on the fleet's progress as they await the arrival of their replacement mast. The 90-foot spar has left Luxemburg and whilst the Clipper Race team is doing everything to ensure a timely delivery in Qingdao the journey is at the mercy of shipping agents, airlines and customs. Team Finland is just ten points behind overall race leaders, Spirit of Australia, having been awarded one point by the Race Committee for Race 6 from Singapore to Qingdao. They will therefore be hoping for a fast run across the Pacific if they are to close the gap and regain the top spot once more.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Monday 8 March

Boat 1 Spirit of Australia, 4662 nm to finish
2 California, 50 nm to leader
3 Qingdao, 6 3nm
4 Cape Breton Island, 84 nm
5 Hull & Humber, 85 nm
6 Jamaica Lightning Bolt, 89 nm
7 Uniquely Singapore, 104 nm
8 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 116 nm
9 Team Finland, 180 nm
10 Cork, Did not start

Rolex China Sea Race
With the start of the Rolex China Sea Race just three weeks away, a competitive fleet is lining up for this 565-nautical mile Asian offshore classic. To date, 29 boats are registered, with several more anticipated to enter the race, which starts on Thursday, April 1 in Hong Kong and finishes in Subic Bay, northwest of Manila, the Philippines.

Organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, in co-operation with Manila Yacht Club and the Subic Bay Yacht Club, this will be the 25th edition of the biennial blue-water race that will start, weather permitting, amidst the hustle and bustle of seagoing activity - sampans, ferrys, and ships - of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.

From the starting line off the RHKYC, there is a short leg to a windward mark before the fleet heads eastwards across the South China Sea, along the west coast of the Philippines to the finish off Subic Bay. That is the simple geographic course description of course; seasoned competitors know it is never that easy, as typically the weather the first day and night in the South China Sea can feature a boat and crew-testing combination of lumpy seas and a strong headwind. The race then becomes fairly strategic as tacticians and navigators have to decide how close to sail to the Philippine shoreline in search of breeze.

RHKYC Commodore Warwick Downes, an enthusiastic competitor, will be a helmsman onboard Avant Garde, a new Archambault 40 owned and skippered by Greg Kearns.

The current race record of just under two days was established in 2000 by local yachtsman Karl Kwok on his Volvo 60, Beau Geste, with an elapsed time of 47h 43m 07s. This year's entries include several strong contenders to challenge Kwok's race record, with 2008 RCSR line honours winner, Neil Pryde on his modified Welbourne Custom 52 Hi Fi; the TP52's Geoff Hill's Strewth, Ray Robert's Evolution Racing (AUS), and Sam Chan's FfreeFire 52; and Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns' Mills 51 EFG Mandrake. Also in the lineup is FfreeFire 70, a ULDB sled, skippered by Lowell Chang, as well as the 2008 RCSR handicap winner, Ernesto Echauz' Subic Centennial (PHI), a Sydney 46, back to defend their win.

Seahorse April 2010
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Terry Hutchinson digests Cup World 34, GILLY'S (big) Tour plans, and good pickings in Rio for Percy, Bart and the Grael empire

Mich Desj gives the MOD 70 programme his blessing... and gets yet another new Open 60, Dicko keeps smiling (as well he might), as does Thomas Coville, the flying bulbs reach Australia... and Key West reflections. Ivor Wilkins, Rob Mundle, Patrice Carpentier, Carlos Pich, Dobbs Davis

Getting started... time for the reality check

Barcelona World race - Hola, professor! Jocelyn Bleriot catches up with the world's greatest offshore soloista...

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

International Rolex Regatta
St.Thomas, US Virgin Island: It just arrived on a yacht carrier in St. Thomas: Austin and Gwen Fragomen's Judel/Vrolik 52' Interlodge, a newcomer to the International Rolex Regatta, which this year is scheduled for Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28. The three-day event, hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club, has a track record - spanning 37 years - for delivering the goods when it comes to racing and island-style hospitality.

Sailing in IRC class will give the Fragomens a chance to show that their class third and top TP52 finish at this year's Key West Race Week was no fluke. Interlodge, built in 2006 and formerly sailed on the Audi Med Cup Circuit as Cristabella, got an IRC makeover - a new keel and a modified transom - shortly after the Fragomens bought it and before they re-launched it last October. Though sailing under the CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) measurement rule is popular in the islands, this will be the third year that the International Rolex Regatta has offered dedicated IRC racing under the more international IRC rule, making it the only regatta in the Caribbean where it is not required that IRC boats also hold a CSA certificate for dual scoring.

Currently registered are a dozen IRC boats, which will most likely be split into two groups. Among the larger of them are Bill Alcott's (Detroit, Mich.) Andrews 68 Equation, Richard Matthews' (UK) Humphreys 42 Oystercatcher XXVI, Jim Muldoon's (Wash., D.C.) Custom 72 Donnybrook, Freddie Mills' Frers 80 Kialoa V, and two Farr 65s entered by OnDeck Racing.

Another 52 competing will be Richard Oland's (CAN) Vela Veloce, while Richard Alan Fougere's (Pocasset, Mass.) J/160 Avatar (at 53 feet) and William Coates' (Bellaire, Texas) J/122 Otra Vez (at 40 feet) are sure to add compelling IRC racing variables from the States.

The event is part of the hotly contested 2010 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series and directly precedes the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, which is held next door and links the two to make Virgin Islands Race Week.

Short Tacks
* A live webcast is available for the Oliver Hazard Perry Educational Symposium on March 12th from 1 to 4 PM US Eastern TIme.

This free Educational Symposium, co-hosted by OHPRI, the University of Rhode Island Foundation and the Newport Chamber of Commerce and funded by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, is designed to explore how educators can create customized courses by combining academic and experiential programs on board the SSV (Sailing School Vessel) Oliver Hazard Perry, which when completed in 2012 will sail as a 207-foot, three-masted, square-rigged Class A school ship.

In addition to an introduction and history of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry there will be sessions addressing OHPRI's vision and new initiatives, the ship's architecture, marine technology expectations, and integration into school curriculums, including middle and secondary school educational opportunities and undergraduate educational interests. Educators from the University of Rhode Island, Rocky Hill School and the Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS) are among those signed up to participate.

To view live coverage of the Educational Symposium, go to:

* An expedition is to be launched this summer to reclaim the tiny island of Rockall for the UK.

Adventurer Andy Strangeway has been given permission by the Government to fix a plaque on the island, ownership of which is disputed by the UK, Ireland, Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Fewer than 100 people have ever landed on Rockall, which lies deep in the Atlantic 187 miles west of the Scottish island of St Kilda and 267 miles northwest of Donegal.

Royal Navy personnel from the survey ship HMS Vidal were landed on the island by helicopter in 1955, but the plaque they left cemented in place has since disappeared.

Mr Strangeway, who hopes to mount his expedition in June or July, said that landing on Rockall was a hazardous venture.

"Even in calm conditions it can be impossible," he said, "it is very dangerous."

* The 2010 Kiteboard Course Racing World Championship will be held from April 21 till April 25, 2010, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

20,000 USD prize money is up for grabs, and registration is open from now on. Please find all the details and registration form here:

The website will be updated regulary with the latest information, travel advice etc. All the best kiteboard racers in the world like reigning word champions Sean Farley and Steph Bridge as well as the top riders from the mens and womens world rankings like Bruno Sroka, Kristin Boese, Dirk Hanel are expected to attend this event.

* All yachts competing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race must have at least 30% of the crew trained to Section 6 of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations.

For those who fancy something more extreme than the standard course, KTY Yachts are running an "Extreme RYA/ISAF Offshore Safety Course", this course is the same as the one that the crews in the Volvo Ocean Race did. It will be held on 24-25 April in South Shields Nautical College where they have an "extreme environment pool", which means one metre seas, force 7 wind, rain deluge and thunder and lightning. So if you want to find out what it really could be like contact Yvonne at KTY to book a place. +44 (0) 1489 570 302

If you would rather do the usual course you can find a list of training establishments here.

* In this week's Volvo Ocean Race podcast we talk to Team Origin Team Director Mike Sanderson ahead of the Louis Vitton Trophy in Auckland, hear from Sidney Gavignet as he heads to Cape Town with Oman Sailing and Lorient is named as a Volvo Ocean Race stopover, as is Lisbon - we also talk to Joao Cabecadas, late of Alinghi.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1974 38' Nautor Swan, 95,000 GBP. Located in Pwhelli, United Kingdom.

Nautor Swan's most successful model designed by Sparkman and Stephens from 1974 still competitive offshore and a truly safe cruiser in all conditions.

Virtually everything replaced in the last 10 years including
New teak deck
9 deck winches
Gel shield protection
All deck blocks
Mainsheet traveller
Standing rigging replaced in 2000 with new rod rigging by Spencer Rigging I O W
Dynema running rigging
2002 new fridge
Chartplotter and Radar 2001 linked to 2 GPS units
New sails including roller furling genoa and main in 2007
2008 new toilet, stern gland and VHF Radio with cockpit repeater
2009 new sole 29 diesel engine and gearbox

Brokerage through Nautor's Swan UK:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can't laugh and be afraid at the same time - of anything. If you're laughing, I defy you to be afraid. -- Stephen Colbert

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