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Copa Del Rey: The Favourites Take Positions
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Copa Del Rey After finishing the fourth racing day; the rankings begin to give clues about the candidates to win the title of the 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE.

Today's menu consisted of two windward / leeward races for all classes except for Gaastra IRC 1, BMW ORC 1 and BMW ORC 2, which sailed a 20.93 nautical miles coastal race around the bay of Palma. The one-design classes Nespresso X-35 and Herbalife J80 have reached eight races sailed, so all the teams can discard their worst result of the week.

At the top of the provisional overall there are Americans "Shockwave" (Gaastra IRC 0) and "Quantum Racing" (Barclays 52 Super Series), Italians "Hurakan" (Gaastra IRC 1) and "Lelagain" (Nespresso X-35), Russian "Bronenosec" (Gazprom Swan 60) and Spanish "Rats on Fire" (BMW ORC 1), "Movistar" (BMW ORC 2) and "Noticia" (Herbalife J80). With just two days for the end, the candidates to the title begin to stand out at the top of the rankings, but nothing is decided yet.

The thermal wind was on time again to its appointment with the fleet, with intensities between nine and 12 knots all day long, always from the south-southwest. A similar scenario is expected for the rest of the week.

The competition will continue Friday with two windward / leeward races scheduled for all classes. The first start of the day will be at 13h00.

Artemis Challenge
Some of the hottest professional names in sailing and the sport's rising stars jostled for position alongside royalty, rugby and rock 'n' roll stars in the Artemis Challenge - the 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight (Thursday, 7th August).

The eighth edition of the Artemis Challenge, that first took place in 2007, has become a 'stand-out' event of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week and adding a touch of glamour, as well as their sporting prowess, were Zara Phillips, Mike Tindall and Simon and Yasmin Le Bon.

Six ocean-going racing machines competed in today's 2014 Artemis Challenge and the calibre of sailing talent was impressive - Volvo Ocean Race skippers Samantha Davies, Team SCA; Charles Caudrelier, Dongfeng Race Team; two time Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing; alongside ocean racing masters that included multiple round the world record holder Brian Thompson, Artemis Ocean Racing; Damian Foxall, skipper Musandam Oman Sail and Lionel Lemonchois, Prince de Bretagne. And alongside eight 33-foot Beneteau Figaro IIs lined up carrying the next generation of offshore sailing talent racing including Sam Goodchild, Jack Bouttell, Sam Matson and French Figaro skipper Charlie Dalin.

At 1000am, 14 Artemis Challenge competitors set off in light airs anti-clockwise around the Isle of Wight. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, the fleet of three Volvo Ocean 65s, two trimarans, eight Figaros and one IMOCA 60 had just 4 knots of wind in the Solent, making it a long slog round to the Needles Fairway.

Due to the light conditions, the race was cut short at Bembridge Ledge, seeing French team Prince de Bretagne take the eighth Artemis Challenge win in a time of four hours, 16 minutes and 35 seconds. Oman Sail - Musandam was the second boat over the finish line, while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing bought home the glory in the monohull class.

From just 17 of the skippers and crews competing in today's Artemis Challenge, between them they have competed in 60 Solitaire du Figaro races which is the critical starting point for many of the world's leading round the world sailors.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week Day 6
A hopeful wait for a sea breeze to become established rewarded competitors in the classes scheduled to start from the Black Group committee boat with some first-class racing. However, for others the long wait was not so fruitful - despite promising indicators, the sea breeze failed to reach the central Solent until too late in the afternoon for race officials to be able to start racing from the Royal Yacht Squadron and Bramble lines.

The classes starting from the Black Group committee boat, stationed near Lymington, were given windward-leeward courses, with the big boats racing to marks in the Needles Channel, which benefitted from a stronger breeze than the waters inside Hurst Spit. In IRC Class 2 Adam Gosling's Corby 36 Yes! crossed the finish line six minutes ahead of Jim Macgregor's Elan 410 Premier Flair to take his fifth win of the week.

In the First 40.7 class Paul McNamara and Tony Lowe's Incognito won today's race by a margin of almost three and a half minutes over Nick Rawbone's Playing Around, with Pete Newlands' Anticipation finishing third two minutes later.

IRC Class 0 saw Irvine Laidlaw's Reichel Pugh 52 Cape Fling ll finish with a big lead on the water ahead of Michael Barthlomew's GP42 Tokoloshe ll and Piet Vroon's Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3. The latter two boats had a tight fight on their final beat, with Tonnerre crossing the line two seconds ahead of Tokoloshe, but the latter's lower rating saw her gain a 46 second advantage on corrected time.

There was also a shorter race in the Solent today for the Artemis Offshore Academy's fleet of Figaro lls. Rich Mason's Artemis Figaro 77 took a commanding lead to finish almost 10 minutes ahead of GAC Pindar. However, the fight for second and third places was much closer, with Sam Matson's Artemis Figaro 21 finishing just 68 seconds later in third place.

Today also saw the presentation of this year's winner of the Ladies' Day trophy, which is awarded in recognition of an outstanding contribution, commitment, or achievement of a woman in sailing. This year's winner, Dee Caffari, is one of the world's most successful offshore sailors, with a string of racing successes and round the world records to her name, and is about to set off on her fifth circumnavigation as a member of the all-women Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race. -- Rupert Holmes

Van Rijsselberge (NED) and Picon (FRA) Take Rio RS:X Honours
Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) and Charline Picon (FRA) took the Men's and Women's RS:X honours at Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta 2014 as the Medal Races on Pão de Acucar brought the windsurfing proceedings to an end.

Giles Scott (GBR) wrapped up gold in the Finn with a race to spare whilst the Medal Race places were confirmed in the 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Nacra 17.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was plagued with light winds across the five race areas making life difficult for the Race Committees and the sailors. A light south easterly breeze was present with all fleets, bar the 49erFX and Nacra 17, getting at least one race in.

Racing resumes at 12:00 on Friday 8 August. The Finn Medal Race will commence first on the Pão de Acucar race area and will be followed by the Nacra 18 at 12:50, the 49er at 13:45 and the 49erFX at 15:00

The remaining fleets will start at 12:00 inside Guanabara Bay.

Light and Tight Offshore Race Makes The Cut at ORC Worlds
Kiel, Germany: Light air and close racing once again characterizes the fourth day of competition at the 2014 ORC World Championship, with the fleet racing on their second offshore race of the series around the Kieler Bucht in variable conditions of 3-8 knots of wind. The slow going has prompted race managers to shorten the course for the fleet from its original length of 54 miles to 49 miles for Class A, 44 miles for Class B and 37 miles for Class C.

The significance of today's sixth race in the event is that while it is weighted the same as that of any inshore race, it is the final race in the Qualifying series for the two groups each in Class B and Class C who are trying to finish in the top ranks and advance to the next stage of the competition. Only 30 Gold fleet competitors in each class will then be eligible to win podium trophies in the remaining two days of racing, while the rest will race in the Silver fleet.

Inshore racing resumes Friday at 10:55 AM local time, and after the completion of the first race all will get their first scoring discard, which promises to compress the results in all classes even further.

Seahorse September 2014
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

A fascinating (and challenging) task - Part 2
Dr Ian Ward describes how the ambitious flying Laser foiling programme was turned into a practical as well as an affordable reality

Terry Hutchinson gets a sobering reality check amid all the day-to-day regatta activity and travelling, Bill Hardesty does his new young team proud with another Etchells world title and Oracle Racing USA’s Paul Bieker is never one to let his feet float too high off the ground...

IRC column
Maintaining a (sometimes tricky) balance... James Dadd

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Second Stage Start: Back To Les Sables
With a few minutes late, the race committee finally released the 32 solo sailors still in the Les Sables - Les Acores - Les Sables race for the Mini 6.50 Class. With a fair wind southwest of twenty knots, spinnakers were flown.

The only technical problem at the start was for Nolwen de Carlan (Reality) who returned briefly to Horta to repair his bowsprit. He returned to the race after an hour.

A few hours into the race, Olivier Jehl dismasted; he sailed into Terceira with a jury rig.

At 6:20 PM local time, Nicolas Boidevezi ( ImaginAlsac e) has already traveled over 200 miles in about twenty hours of racing

Top five Series boats at 20:00 French time:
1. Tanguy Le Turquais, Terreal-Reve d'enfance, 1049.4 nm to finish
2. Damien Audrain, EPC-reves De Clown, 5.9 nm to leader
3. Antonio Fontes, Leonor, 6.6 nm
4. Francois Jambou, Kairos, 7.6 nm
5. Jonas Gerkens, Netwerk, 8.7 nm

Top five Protos:
1. Nicolas Boidevezi, ImaginAlsace, 1029.2 nm to finish
2. Giancarlo Pedote, Prysmian, 14.3 nm
3. Michele Zambelli, Fontanot, 16.8 nm
4. Fidel Turienzio, Satanas, 17.1 nm
5. Ludovic Mechin, Microvitae, 21.3 nm

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has lodged a challenge for the 35th America's Cup.

Out-going Commodore Steve Burrett announced that the challenge would go ahead at the Squadron's annual meeting last night.

The Squadron will be represented by Emirates Team New Zealand. Challenges must received by the defending yacht club, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, by midnight Friday, San Francisco time.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has been involved with all but one New Zealand America's Cup campaign since 1987, winning at San Diego in 1995 and successfully defending at Auckland in 2000.

Mr Burrett said: "New Zealand has a distinguished history in the America's Cup and we expect Emirates Team New Zealand will once again make New Zealand proud, just as it has done many times in the past.

"We wish the team well and we look forward to contributing to the success of the 35th America's Cup."

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton says the team is pleased to be able to be in a position to challenge with the confidence of being able to represent the country well. "This is the official start of a long, hard journey. We do not under-estimate the challenges ahead.

Sir Ben Ainslie at Volvo Gill Optimist British and Open Championships
Sunshine and wind every day of the week has made for one of the best Volvo Gill Optimist British and Open Championships in recent memory, and today [Thursday 7 August] was no different for the Optimist sailors at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Light wind in the morning averaging 6 to 8 knots gave the advantage to light weight sailors and those that are tactically aware. Around midday, the sea breeze started to fight the gradient wind, which resulted in an hour of waiting until the sea breeze won, giving the Optimist sailors 10 to 12 knots for afternoon racing.

Overall the shift breeze proved challenging for the race organizer and sailors, however both the Senior Fleet (Main) and Junior Fleet (Main) had three races. These were marked by the most start line penalties of the event so far, indicating a rise in competitiveness from the sailors on the penultimate day of the Championships.

Top sailors from abroad continue to dominate the Senior and Junior Fleets (Main), indicating that international countries have chosen to send their very best sailors; a credit to the quality of event that the organizers have put on and a good experience for British sailors. Alexandra Schonrock continues to be the top sailor in either of the Main Fleets, sitting second overall in the Junior Fleet (Main).

Sir Ben Ainslie made a special appearance after racing and spent some quality time with the next generation of sailors. After a short talk, the Olympic champion and America's Cup winner, signed everything from t-shirts to Optimist rudders. Excitement in the boat park continued as the sailors took part in a 'fun run' held by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, which was started by Sir Ben Ainslie, who is an ambassador for the charity.

Racing is scheduled to continue Friday morning at 11.00 AM with only one race left to go to complete the entire series.

Francis Joyon Competing In His Fifth Route Du Rhum
It's now official: in just under three months from now, on 2nd November, Francis Joyon will be setting off on his fifth Route du Rhum between St-Malo and Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe).

Francis Joyon appears calm and is looking forward to the race as he prepares his fifth attempt at the Route du Rhum, the second on board his IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran. For the time being, the sailor is fine-tuning his boat, which is currently out of the water. No major transformations are planned, and this is a general overhaul, particularly concerning the deck hardware. The boat will be relaunched in mid-September giving him enough time to check over the choices that have been made, chiefly involving the new sails. Francis Joyon will go through some intense training off la Trinite-sur-Mer. To prepare himself psychologically, the skipper of IDEC SPORT will be making his way alone to St-Malo, where the Route du Rhum begins on 2nd November.

Francis will be facing some tough competition in the Ultimate category. Armel Le Cleac'h, Thomas Coville, Lionel Lemonchois, Yann Guichard, Sidney Gavignet and Sebastien Josse..."The standard in the Ultimate category is even higher than four years ago, which is quite amazing... We recently discovered that another serious contender will be competing: Yann Elies. As a fan of multihulls, I'm bound to be pleased about such a line-up. It's interesting, as there are some very different boat designs in this class. Each boat has some weather conditions that are favourable, and others which could be crippling. Given this context, it's hard to say who will be finish first in Guadeloupe," explained Francis Joyon.

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