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Galway Finish For The VOR
Photo of the Galway stop in the last VOR by Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image for photo gallery.

VOR Galway Following the huge success in Galway when it was the finish of the transatlantic leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, Ireland, will again feature in the new route for 2011-12. The fleet will race from Lorient in France back to Galway on Ireland's west coast.

Galway, whose twin town is Lorient, has fought an intense contest against the other bidding ports to win back the event for a second edition and the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will complete its lap around the globe in Ireland's 'cultural heart', where the final prizegiving will be held.

The Taoiseach (the Prime Minister of Ireland, Brian Cowen), stated:
"The 2009 stopover in Galway made an abiding impression on the sailors, support crews, organisers and media, who were immersed in the warmth of an Irish welcome.

"Their presence, in turn, had an enormous beneficial impact on Galway, the west of Ireland and indeed the entire country. Their arrival here was spectacular and their visit helped generate a massive 55 million Euros for the regional economy, more than one third higher than the original projections

"Given its economic benefits and its importance to Irish tourism, I am more than happy to welcome the return of the Volvo Ocean Race to our shores and pledge our support for the event".

"The interest in hosting the Volvo Ocean Race, particularly in Europe, has been quite overwhelming," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad, as the last of the European ports was unveiled. "I am very proud to confirm Ireland's participation and Galway will be a magnificent port to stage the finish of the event. We have already experienced the enthusiasm that abounds in Ireland for the race and we are looking forward to bringing the competition to its conclusion in a country that really knows how to celebrate," he said.

This announcement completes the list of European cities hosting the event. The remaining ports will be introduced throughout March.

Bacardi Miami Sailing Week / Bacardi Cup
Miami, Florida, USA: Skipper Andy Horton and Crew James Lyne edged up from their fifth place finish yesterday in the standings to secure the top spot Wednesday in the third day of Star Class sailing for the Trofeo Bacardi. Wind conditions increased slightly later in the afternoon to about a 10 knot high in a field that was spread out in comparison to the tight group yesterday. With three more days of Star Class sailing to go in the Bacardi Cup, Wednesday's midway point has U.S. Team Horton-Lyne in first place overall with Ireland's Skipper Peter O'Leary and Crew Stephen Milne taking second. Yesterday's leader, American Skipper Rick Merriman and Crew Phil Trinter faded slightly with a still solid third place finish today while Brazilian Skipper Lars Grael with Crew Ronald Seifort placed fourth and first day victors American Augie Diaz alongside sailing phenomenon Crew Bruno Prada came in fifth place overall to round out the top five in the BACARDI Cup standings.

"The breeze was light again today, but we're expecting the wind to become stronger later in the week with the weather. Today, the real challenge was getting over to the wind, which was tough today, but we managed to spring out of jail and really get out there," comments Skipper Andy Horton.

Wednesday marked the third of six total days of Star Class sailing as competitors reach the halfway point in Bacardi Cup competition. The Bacardi Cup will run on Biscayne Bay through Saturday, March 13th as the flagship event for the inaugural Bacardi Miami Sailing Week.

The day's sailing also included the start of the Viper 640 class competition for the Pan-American Championships at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week. The Viper 640 victory today went to U.S. Team Skipper Barry Parkin, who came out on top in the 21 vessel field alongside Crew John Logue and Sue Parkin. Viper 640 competition will continue through Saturday, March 13th.

Look for more Bacardi Cup Star Class competition continuing tomorrow along with the Viper class through Saturday. Bacardi Miami Sailing Week will also host J24, Melges20, and Melges24 classes beginning tomorrow.

Event site:

Top ten (three races, no throwout yet):

1. Andy Horton / James Lyne, 17 points
2. Peter O'Leary / Stephen Milne, IRL, 26
3. Rick Merriman / Phil Trinter, USA, 29
4. Lars Grael / Ronald Seifert, BRA, 30
5. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA, 31
6. Peter McChesney / Shane Zwingelberg, USA, 31.0001
7. Peter Wright / Nathan Quist, USA, 33
8. Gustavo Lima / Rubrio Basilio, POR, 35
9. Elvind Melleby / Petter Morland Pedersen, NOR, 38
10. Diego Negri / Nando Colaninno, ITA, 45

Full results:


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Gear Failure Puts Finish To A Close Kiwi Vs Italian Encounter
Photo by Chris Cameron / ETNZ, Click on image for photo gallery.

Louis Vuitton Trophy American-based Kiwi Gavin Brady and his largely international team of Latin Rascals took the fight to host Emirates Team New Zealand in their Louis Vuitton Trophy race today, only to lose after a gear failure.

Brady, with American tactician Morgan Larson calling the shots, pulled off a risky pre-start strategy against skipper Dean Barker on the New Zealand boat, pushing ETNZ deep into the start box after a dialup but breaking clear with immaculate timing to grab the start he wanted - a port tack cross at speed, right at the committee boat.

Minutes later as they came back together, Brady had a two boat-length advantage that he parlayed into a 22 second lead at the first weather mark. Down the run, the New Zealanders split away and Brady let them go, only to concede the right side of the course when they rounded opposite gates starting the second beat.

Brady's lead had evaporated but the fight had just started. Half way up the weather leg Mascalzone barely had her nose in front as they sailed into a building breeze when the jib came crashing down. "That was our race to win," said Brady. "And a tough way to lose!"

Out on the Waitemata Harbour today, the wait for a good breeze stretched out to three hours but the competitors were rewarded with superb sailing conditions under a bright sunny sky. The sea breeze filled in from the southwest, starting at five to seven knots and building during the afternoon to nearly 15 knots before softening a little in the late afternoon.

The boats raced on 1.2-mile legs on the black course, bounded by the Devonport shore and the natural grandstand of North Head on one side and Bastion Point on the other. Spectators high on North Head were rewarded with birds-eye views of the competition.

Provisional leaderboard after Flight Two:

Emirates Team New Zealand, 2
Azzurra, 2
Artemis, 1
All4One, 1
ALEPH Sailing Team, 1
Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 0
Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 0

San Francisco Venue Shortlist
The City is narrowing down the list of waterfront sites that could host the America's Cup yacht race and hopes to have a very short list by the end of the month, Mayor's Office officials said.

It doesn't appear that any site north of the Bay Bridge - including future cruise terminal Pier 27 and Fort Mason - is large enough to host the international race, said Michael Cohen, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

But the 13-acre site at piers 30 and 32, in the shadow of the Bay Bridge, may have a jump on other southern waterfront sites. The southern sites are more likely to have longer unbroken stretches of flat area ideal for Cup support venues. The site was explored as a potential host by billionaire Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing team four years ago, when it hoped to win the previous America's Cup and bring the race to San Francisco, said Peter Dailey, maritime director of the Port of San Francisco.

In a meeting Tuesday, the Port Commission voted to do "everything possible" to bring the 34th America's Cup race to San Francisco.

Dailey said the Port has spoken with the Coast Guard and the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association and both have given a thumbs-up to the idea, despite the constant traffic of commercial vehicles in the Bay corridor.

"It'll be a little like running a drag race on a freeway, but it can be done," Dailey said. -- Katie Worth

Full article on the San Francisco Examiner:

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Atlantic Roll
The current phase offshore of the Brazilian coast isn't the easiest section on this round the world, with a mass of storm squalls making it difficult to anticipate the trajectory. Navigator Stan Honey, in collaboration with the onshore router Sylvain Mondon, is constantly having to adapt Groupama 3's course in order to extract her from this zone and finally make it through to the tradewinds to the North of the 22 parallel.

The forecast wind report isn't yet tallying up with the current situation on the water. The atmospheric sounding didn't predict the gale which ripped through the navigation zone to the SE of Rio de Janeiro at 40 knots with very choppy seas last night. The fatigue related to this round the world is beginning to weigh on them now and the crew has lost weight since leaving Ushant. Furthermore this transition around 300 miles to the North, at the mercy of the wind, may well prove to be the key to this Jules Verne Trophy.

Right now there are zones of high pressure to the left and to the right. The calm zones have got Groupama 3 surrounded and she is having to zigzag her way between the squalls, which are causing massive changes in both the strength and direction of the wind, with shifts of over 60° and a breeze oscillating between 10 and 20 knots.

"We hope to make it into the tradewinds during the course of Thursday night. However, for the time being, our progress northward is really being hampered. When we head to the left towards the Brazilian coast, the wind heads us as it switches round to the NW and we stumble in a line of squalls. And when we head to the right, the wind veers to the NE as it eases! We're forced to tack on a constant basis to remain in the centre. weaving our way along in line with the breeze. Fortunately, given that Groupama 3 makes such great headway in light winds, we're managing to manœuvre well. Orange 2 wouldn't have made such good progress in winds like this!" -- translated by Kate Jennings

Groupama 3's log (departure on 31st January at 13h 55' 53'' UTC)

Day 35 (7th March 1400 UTC): 382 miles (deficit = 100 miles)
Day 36 (8th March 1400 UTC): 317 miles (deficit = 326 miles)
Day 37 (9th March 1400 UTC): 506 miles (deficit = 331 miles)
Day 38 (10th March 1400 UTC): 321 miles (deficit = 384 miles)

Gliss Returns To Defend Her Title
With preparations now well underway for the 2010 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, the list of yachts planning to compete at this year's event is growing almost daily.

Royal Huisman's 32 metre Gliss, designed by Philippe Briand, will be returning to defend her title in 2010.

The latest yachts to register include Southern Ocean Marine's 32 metre Liara and the 30 metre, Frers Designed Wally Dark Shadow. We are also pleased to welcome back Barry Houghton racing on his new, Dubois designed, Fitzroy built 45 metre Salperton - "I am delighted to be returning to Porto Cervo this year with my new Salperton for the Loro Piana Regatta. The fleet registered so far will make for exciting competition and I have no doubt that the teams at Boat International Media and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will once again put on a fantastic social programme."

Click here to see the latest entry list

The Even Keel Project Is Going Global In 2010
The Artemis 20 keelboat. Photo by the Even Keel Project. Click on image to enlarge.

Even Keel Project Sailing is one of very few sports in which having a physical disability does not have to be a disadvantage. Through its adaptive sailing programme, The Even Keel Project is providing able bodied and disabled enthusiasts with the opportunity to participate together in a sailing activity that would otherwise be normally outside their reach.

Of particular note at the start of the new sailing season is the developing interest from overseas organisations in establishing centres of excellence through The Even Keel Project in their regions, particularly in the USA, Netherlands and Ireland.

After a busy weekend exhibiting on the Sailability stand at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show, The Even Keel Project is now gearing up for The British Leisure Show at Windsor Racecourse between 19-21 March (on Stand BW410) and they are also holding an Open Day at the UKSA in Cowes, Isle of Wight, on Friday 9th April to encourage anyone interested to come along and Try Sailing!

There's a full calendar of on-shore and on-water activity on the Project's website:

Cape Town's Signal Hill Noon Day Gun Releases Majan On Leg 3
The giant A100 Trimaran 'Majan' shot across the Cape Town start line of the third leg of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race just off Table Bay harbour's breakwater at exactly midday (12:00 Local time) today to track a course down south to the treacherous seas of the Southern Ocean for her next stop in Fremantle, Australia.

With skipper Paul Standbridge at the helm, the speed machine quickly built pace of over 23 knots in a brisk 14 knot south westerly breeze and dark rain threatening skies.

On the crew is world famous French round the world sailor Sidney Gavignet,crack French America's Cup sailor Thierry Douillard, former Team Shosholoza sailor Michael Giles from Port Elizabeth, Omani sailor Mohsin Al Busaidi who became the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world last year, Mohammed Al Ghailani a young Omani trainee sailorand Olympic sailor Mark Covell who is the media crew on board.

Cape Town is a designated as the first stopover for the race which is planned in 2012. Conceived by OC Events and campaigned by Oman Sail, the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race will be the first ever yacht race to link the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia and the first ever race of its kind in the Indian Ocean.

Follow Majan on its Indian Ocean, 5 Capes Race at :
See also:

Rescue Revolution
An announcement by the UK government that they have decided on their preferred bidder for a new search and rescue contract has raised questions about the changes being planned.

Search and rescue (SAR) services are to be part privatised in 2012, a very long-term plan that has been shaped by the government's adoption of Public Finance Initiatives for procurement.

A lot of yachtsmen are worried about what it might mean for civilian rescue. Does this herald a future reduction in military SAR operations, perhaps even the start of a privatised system where the user pays?

Here are some answers based on released information as well a recent interview with Stuart Carruthers, the cruising manager of the RYA, who has been following developments closely.

What is the new search and rescue contract?

The contract is a Public Finance Initiative that will provide and maintain rotary wing aircraft for search and rescue for the next 25 years. The contract is worth £6 billion.

What is Soteria and what are they bidding to do?

Soteria is a consortium made up of CHC, Thales UK, Sikorsky and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Among the criteria for the bid is to maintain or improve current levels of service, so coverage of the UK's sea area (3.6 million km2), speed of response, time to location and time that SAR crews can spend on location are all stipulated.

Why is this change considered necessary?

Mainly because the Sikorsky Sea King helicopters being used by the Royal Navy and RAF are ageing fleets, expensive to maintain and heading towards obsolescence. The design dates from the early Sixties.

Full report from Elaine Bunting on her blog:

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 Peta Stuart-Hunt: I only heard a couple of days ago that yachting scribe Stuart Alexander was 'run down' (presumably by a car) in Auckland's Viaduct Basin where he was based covering the Louis Vuitton Trophy. It also happened to be the day, 2nd March, that he was meant to be celebrating his birthday with a special dinner in Auckland that evening. As it turned out he was rushed to hospital and has only just come off the critical list and out of intensive care having suffered some very severe injuries. I am sure I will be joined by many in wishing Stuart a belated Happy Birthday but more importantly sending our warmest best wishes for a full recovery.

Featured Brokerage
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The Last Word
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