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Racing The Front
The final charge towards Ushant began this Wednesday lunchtime as Groupama 3 gybed in a SW'ly wind of a little over twenty knots. Now without fear of being caught up in the calm conditions of an anticyclone, Franck Cammas and his men will still have to be on their guard all the way to the finish as the sea state deteriorates.

In the great round the world marathon, Groupama 3 is beginning the final sprint in a steady yet disturbed SW'ly wind. The current aim for Franck Cammas and his nine crew is to seek to position themselves ahead of a cold front, which should push them all the way to the finish off Ushant. However, the trajectory isn't likely to be direct, initially at least, as the giant trimaran is set to cover a little more ground to the North in order to totally extract herself from the high pressure of the Azores, before swooping on Brittany with the help of a few gybes.

After traversing a front which is in the process of degenerating this Wednesday afternoon, Groupama 3 will find herself ahead of another cold front that is moving across from Newfoundland at nearly thirty knots. As such the aim is to stay ahead of the relatively steady SW'ly air flow, by maintaining a speed of close to that of the weather system itself. Logically, the wind should then continue to pump out twenty-five to thirty-five knots of breeze, with gusts as the front approaches.

The ETAs are becoming increasingly reliable now that Groupama 3 has escaped the high pressure hurdle and she should be able to stay ahead of the system, which is sweeping across the Atlantic as far as Europe. As such the current forecast is suggesting an arrival between Saturday morning and Saturday evening, and then it will take around two to four hours for the giant trimaran to enter the channel taking her into the Port du Chateau marina in Brest. The symbolic fifty day barrier should thus be absolutely shattered!

"We've hooked onto the system, which will continue as far as Brittany: if we don't have any technical issues, we shouldn't have any more fears about the weather. We're now riding the last train of wind which goes all the way to the finish... We must ensure we don't have any mishaps, but there's no reason for us to worry. The seas aren't heavy yet so we can reasonably hang onto some high speeds" added Fred Le Peutrec. -- Translated by Kate Jennings

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

Day 43 (15th March 1400 UTC): 482 miles (deficit = 216 miles)
Day 44 (16th March 1400 UTC): 401 miles (lead = 72 miles)
Day 45 (17th March 1400 UTC): 441 miles (lead = 412 miles)

Jules Verne Trophy record
Orange 2 (2005): 50d 16h 20'

Surviving 70 Knots In The Southern Ocean
Mohsin, Paul and Sidney in tough conditions. Click on image to enlarge.

Majan in the Southern Ocean Oman Sail's A100 trimaran 'Majan' has been battling hurricane force winds in the Southern Ocean on leg 3 of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race en route to the next stop over in Fremantle, Australia. The six-man crew led by Paul Standbridge including new recruit Sidney Gavignet and two Omani crew, who are tracing out this new course ahead of the official race in 2012, have had their mettle tested to the limit in these ferocious conditions. 'Majan' left Cape Town on 10th March and are approximately 2,300 miles into the 4,600-mile leg, with another 5-6 days before arriving in Fremantle.

Mark Covell's log describes the force of the Southern Ocean in all its fury:

It's been a long couple of days. As I woke the first day of this storm Paul, Mohammed and Mike were on watch. The sky was grey with driving rain that stung your face. The wind was around 45 knots touching 55 in the gusts. The noise resembled a badly tuned television, on full volume, hissing out white noise.

If you weren't holding on tight you were smack, bang on the floor, for sure. Most of the crew were tipped out of their bunks a few times. Eventually everyone gave up, and found some place on the cabin floor to sleep - wedged onto a beanbag or nestled between a bulkhead and the engine block. The tighter the space the less damage you did to yourself, in your sleep!

Meanwhile, the roaring wind had started to growl as we saw more and more gusts up in the 60-knot zone.

The air was now constantly full of sharp, biting spray. Every one lung-full you took of breath, you spat out a two mouthfuls of brine. It was time to reduce sail and slow down some more. Down came the J3 beautifully flaking itself as it dropped. Next was to reef the mainsail down from the size of a squash court to the size of a table tennis table. Dropping the sails is a very noisy, wet exercise, exerting yet more shaking on the boat as even these much-reduced sized sails flap violently in the process.

The gybe was interesting because the winds were up in the high 60's and gusting to 70! We are all impressed with how Majan has performed.

There is a B&G (electronic navigational) display in the media station that read over 70 knots. We were happy that it was dark so I didn't need to go out side and try to film the madness. So Mohammed suggested I just film the red B&G display instead, and keep with my lap belt firmly pulled tight to keep me off the ceiling.

WMRT Shares Experience Of Managing Commercial Events
Perth, Australia, 16 March 2010 - Yacht club operators across the world congregated at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Perth, Western Australia, last week to hold their 5th Commodores Forum to meet and share their experience and views. Peter Gilmour, Acting President of the World Match Racing Tour was invited to present what the Tour has learnt and specifically the Monsoon Cup, Malaysia in running commercial events. The main objective of the forum was to discuss how different yacht clubs manage their services and what they can do better.

Peter strongly endorsed the role that yacht clubs play in events, however he contemplated that clubs looking to host commercial sailing events without wanting to take the risk of affecting their core business can set up a separate entity to do so.

He said that most yacht clubs were not originally established by their members to organise commercial events. "However, they can establish a separate entity with a Board of Directors as event promoters capable of taking on risk, establishing a balance sheet, seeking commercial partners and making contracts for service"

With such a structure in place, the yacht clubs can then leverage the benefits of a commercial event. He elaborated that, "Some of the biggest yacht clubs in the world have been successful in organising such events with an entity set up alongside their usual operations."

Full article at

Newport Bermuda Race

Newport Bermuda Race
The Newport Bermuda Race has more than 160 boats entered with two weeks to go before entries close. Two-time St. David's Lighthouse Trophy winner SINN FEIN will go after FINISTERRE's record of three straight wins, and the first two boats on elapsed time in 2008, SPEEDBOAT and PUMA, will resume their duel.

Entries close April 1. The race starts June 18.

And Then There Were Six!
Photo by Christophe Favreau, Click on image for photo gallery.

Louis Vuitton Trophy The Synergy Russian Sailing Team and ALEPH Sailing Team from France were eliminated from the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland regatta today, leaving six international teams fighting for supremacy over the next four days.

Top seed Emirates Team New Zealand and second-ranked Mascalzone Latino Audi from Italy each won their races and went through to the semi-finals to be sailed on Friday.

Saved from sudden death by their ranking and/or their performance today, the other four teams were paired for best-of-three matches to be raced tomorrow. Third-seeded All4One skipper Jochen Schuemann chose to race Italy's Azzurra. Sweden's Artemis will race Great Britain's TEAMORIGIN.

Auckland's harbour lived up to its name today. Waitemata means "sparkling waters" and whitecaps dappled the course in mostly bright sunshine and gusty, shifty southerly winds that ranged from 15 knots to 30 knots. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's race committee delayed racing three times waiting for squally weather to move through.

Paul Cayard, skipper of Artemis and chairman of the World Sailing Teams Association that is a co-organizer of the event with Louis Vuitton, put it best. "It's a big breeze today and exciting for our fans and exciting for us," he said. "It's fantastic racing. We're flirting with that threshold of tolerable winds and so far, so good, we're dancing on the right side of it. We're providing spectacular racing."

ALEPH, the seventh seed, was eliminated in the third race of the day, beaten by Mascalzone Latino Audi. French skipper Bertrand Pace was already planning for the next Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in La Maddalena, Sardinia, but was quick to praise the boats and the organization in Auckland.

"It was a fantastic regatta," he said. "The wind was hard to sail, the boats were fantastic as well. We enjoy a lot sailing these boats. For us it was a great event. For sure I thank all the Kiwi organisers. I still love Auckland. Even though Grant Dalton doesn't like losing to the French!"

Karol Jablonski, the veteran Polish match racer who skippers the Synergy Russian Sailing Team, was philosophical. "We are out, but we sailed a good race," he said. Noting the crew's lack of opportunity to practice, he added, "the crew work was coming along, but obviously in these tough conditions 22-23 knots with current against you, you need more hours on the water together.

Les Voiles De Saint-Barth
With just a few weeks to go to the launch of the Voiles de Saint Barth, the latest date on the Caribbean racing calendar, all of the island's authorities are getting ready to host a long week of racing out on the water and a lot of celebrations ashore from 6th to 11th April.

The Voiles de Saint Barth promises some exciting duels. We can look forward to a battle between the British entrant, Mike Slade's Icap Leopard, a super maxi designed by Farr with other equally prestigious boats, such as Rambler, the large sailing ketch, Sojana, the Swan 90, DSK, the 148-foot Saudade and the Briand-designed Hamilton II, which are sure to offer some great moments of yachting.

Those who love elegant hulls and classic sails will enjoy the fine racing that we have come to expect in these waters from traditional hulls such as Kate, White Horse, White Wings and Lone Fox. Kate will be making her long-awaited return to St. Barts before her winter rest. A magnificent sloop, she was built in 2006 based on designs by Alfred Mylne dating back to 1908. She will be doing battle with the extremely elegant W-76 class yachts, White Horse and White Wings, paying homage to the fantastic J-Class and 12 Meter yachts of the fifties. Juno, the magnificent schooner designed by Nat Benjamin will be one of the boats people will be waiting to see. Always a great sight, elegant and gracious, the 6 M International class will be well represented by Nada.

Extreme Sailing Series Europe 2010 Debuts In Sete, France
Sete on the South Coast of France, has been chosen as the opening venue of the Extreme Sailing Series Europe 2010 from 27-30 May. The first event will coincide with the city hosting the "Escale a Sete", a historical maritime festival, when the 40,000 population is boosted by tourists and sailing fans from across the region - bringing together both spectrums of the sailing world from the traditional ships to the modern Extreme 40 catamaran class that has changed the way sailing is seen.

Sete has a history of hosting top international sailing teams: the city played host to Alinghi and Victory Challenge in 2002 prior to their departure for Auckland, New Zealand and French Kiss in 1986 before the America's Cup in Fremantle, Australia.

The 'Little Venice' of the Languedoc Roussillion region in France promises excellent race conditions which will see the fleet demonstrating the thrilling close quarter combat the Extreme Sailing Series has become renowned for.

Two other Extreme Sailing Series Europe venues have been announced to date: Trapani will host the penultimate event at the end of September before the circuit finishes in Almería, Andalucía. The final two venues in the UK and Germany have been confirmed and will be announced shortly.

Three French skippers are anticipated to take part in the European circuit, joining at least five other international teams, all of which will be announced shortly.

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

As expected the 33rd America's Cup was decided before the first start gun finally sounded. But at times it was closer than expected... or was it?

Andy Rice sat down with BMW Oracle's Mike Drummond and James Spithill to unravel some of those rather good early decisions

Life's not so different at the other end of the sailing spectrum. Martin Wadhams and Paul Handley look at how a leading manufacturer sets about researching the decisions needed to create a successful new small boat class from scratch

Dobbs Davis talks to Dan Neri and JB Braun about the commercialisation of the original Alinghi Black Sails project

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...

Industry News
* World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), the world's leading professional sailing series, has announced Fast Track Sailing as their public relations agency for the 2010 Tour starting this coming April in Marseille with 'Match Race France'. Fast Track Sailing is part of Fast Track, 'ranked number one UK sports marketing agency by Marketing Week Magazine' and is a member of the Chime Communications Group which includes 50 international agencies covering public relations, marketing and market research, advertising and specialised sports marketing services.

Fast Track Sailing will assist WMRT with international public relations across a number of different media sectors in order to boost overall awareness of the Tour.

The Tour covers 10 events running from April - November 2010. Fast Track Sailing will be on site for 4 events including; Match Race France and Germany during April / May as well as Korea and Portugal Match Cup during June. --

* James Powell the owner of Lymington based chandlery 'Yachtmail' is celebrating 25 years of continued success with the acquisition of a new 'mega- site' in Hamble.

The 5,000sqft store is based at Hamble River Boat Yard, opposite Swanick Marina

At present the site is undergoing a major overhaul and face-lift and will be ready to start trading mid-April this year.

* Jack Holt Ltd went into administration on February 23, 2010, with Simon Thomas and Fred Satow of Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP appointed as joint administrators. They've sold Holt to Holt Marine, which was set up on February 19.

The sale is on a going concern basis, that Moorfiels says will save a number of jobs and will allow the well established Holt brand to build on its historic success and flourish once again.

While the spokesman remained unnamed after Moorfields told BB it had been asked not to divulge the information, we can report Holt Marine Ltd was registered at Companies House on February 19 with an address in Burnham and two directors - Peter Buckley and Richard Simpson. -- Boating Business,

* McMurdo Ltd, a company of the Orolia Group (NYSE Alternext Paris - FR0010501015 - ALORO) announces today that the FAST FIND 210 PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) received a top industry award in Finland when it was voted Boating Product of the Year at the Helsinki Boat Show.

The FAST FIND 210 PLB was a clear winner when voted for by the visitors to the show.

The FAST FIND is currently the smallest 406MHz personal location beacon available in the world. At only 150g and 106mm in length, the mobile phone-proportioned life saver has been extremely popular since the moment it was launched back in February of last year.

* Organisers of Beirut Boat, jointly organised by Messe Düsseldorf and International Fairs and Promotions, have announced that the 2010 edition - the 6th International Boat and Super Yacht Show - is to take place at La Marina Joseph Khoury from May 19-23, 2010.

First held in 2000, the show was temporarily suspended from 2006 to 2009 owing to political uncertainty and economic problems in the Lebanon.

According to the organisers industry statistics point to accelerating growth for the boating sector across the region. US$1 billion has already been spent on marinas and seafront developments in Lebanon alone, and a further US$20 billion is to be invested in the sector over the next five years. -- International Boat Industrynews,

* A group of highly skilled industry experts have formed a new company in Rhode Island committed to building excellent custom carbon yachts. Carbon Ocean Yachts offers a US based composites builder who combines all the aspects of a world class carbon yacht.

The core of the team consists of David Lake, Britt Colombo, Toby Mueller, Lew Davies, and Mike Danks.

Members of the team have been involved with building high profile racing yachts and cruiser/racers including the Deed of Gift multis, AC version V, Volvo 70s, Open 60s, TP 52s, custom racer/cruisers, custom IRC and entire optimization projects.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1977 Custom 12 Metre, US$490,000. Located in Newport Rhode Island, USA.

Enterprise, 12 Metre US 27 Modern Division. Sparkman & Stephens design built by Minneford Yacht Yard for Lowell North's Syndicate, sailed in 1977 America'c Cup finals and was narrowly defeated by Courageous. Served as trial horse to Freedom in 1980, Azzura in 1983 and French Kiss in 1987. Purchased by French Yacht builder Christian Trehard who added mechanical advantages and installed a tasteful, removable "cruising" interior with accommodations for six. Brought back to the USA in 2007 she has been upgraded for racing and certified to charter by USCG.

Brokerage through Paul Buttrose Yachts:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy. -- Groucho Marx

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