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Johnie Berntsson Wins 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup
Denmark’s Christian Spodsberg won the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup and Sweden's Johnie Berntsson won the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup. Click on image for event photo galleries.

Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team has won the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup and $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse. Berntsson defeated Eric Monnin (SWI) Swiss Match Racing Team 3-1 in brilliant match racing conditions on Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbour. This is the second time the jovial swede has won the King Edward VII Gold Cup, repeating his triumph of 2008.

Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar and Taylor Canfield (IVS) US One were the two competitors who had reached the Semi Finals with the best record. Coming into the Argo Group Gold Cup they were ranked 1 and 2 on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. They lost to Monnin and Berntsson in the Semi Finals. In the Petite Finals, Canfield defeated Williams 2-1 to claim third place, leaving Williams in fourth.

The Final and Petite Final skippers had sailed in 32 Gold Cup events amongst the four.

Two special trophies are presented at the Argo Group gold Cup. The Wedgwood Heritage Trophy was first presented at the 1990 King Edward VII Gold Cup competition. It is presented to the sailor who best represents the traditional values and history of sailing. This year’s winner is Eric Monnin as a consistent presence at the Gold Cup, always gracious and always a gentleman.

The Jordy Walker Trophy recognizes Marek Stanczyk of Poland as the most improved young match race sailor who competes in World Match Racing Tour events or other events that automatically qualify a skipper for a Tour event. He comes from Poland and has less opportunity to sail in international match racing events and but has improved his skills tremendously.

Jordy Walker, a man who gave his heart and soul to sailing and the sport of sailboat racing, used his time, money and talent to promote the sport he loved, to introduce the modern format of match racing to Bermuda. And, in fact, he brought match racing to the World in 1988 through the establishment of the WMRA and its match racing championship events he helped establish around the globe.

Overall results of Stage 6 Argo Group Gold Cup, Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Denmark's Denmark's Christian Spodsberg wins the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup
Hamilton Bermuda: After three days of racing on the Great Sound, the fleet of 14 International sailors and 26 Bermudians met their final teacher - a tricky, shifty Hamilton harbour course the final challenge to the fleet. The sailors took it on and despite the difficult, light conditions, Denmark's Christian Spodsberg finished today's race in first place with 33 points and is the overall winner of the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup.

"The harbour was much more shifty and difficult than I expected and I had to fight my way up to the top mark where I was in fourth" Spodsberg said who won the regatta. "On the next rounding, through the gate, I was in first so that was very good. It was a great time here overall."

Bermudians placed well in the overall regatta with Adam Larson,13, holding on to his second place with 53 points. Larson sailed very well this week and also earned the award for top Bermudian sailor.

Third place went to Brazil's Joao Emilio Vasconcello with 54 points. He is a tall boy who sailed well in both heavy breeze and super light conditions.

The top female finisher award went to Julia Szmit of Poland, who finished in ninth place overall. -- Laurie Fullerton

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Mark Mills (IRL)
'From Mandrake all those years ago, he just keeps on producing fantastic boats' - Peter Morton; 'Beautiful design and terrific engineering' - Keith Church; 'Mark is the designer I have chosen for my new boat!' - Roberto Lacorte; 'Millsy is a super nice guy and with a brilliant brain' - Brendan Foley; 'The Mills 39 is one great sports car of a boat!' - Andrew McIrvine; 'Surely he's now a lead contender for any campaign chasing a fast boat?' - Dane Ralston; 'Mark's creativity has sparked some great designs' - Tim Perrotti.

This month's nominees:


Iain Percy (GBR)
The team behind Bart's Bash, led by Iain Percy, aimed to raise around £20,000 with their new event in honour of a wonderful friend... as we went to press the running total stood at £276,610 with 26,879 the latest tally of sailors having taken part in the event in the many nations all around the globe. To reach out so far demanded extraordinary work and co-ordination - and the Artemis Racing CEO was not found wanting


Markus Wieser (GER)
After a fiercely fought final race in Medemblik, wrestling with his principal rivals Lawrie Smith and eventual runner-up Pieter Heerema, Wieser eventually came through to take his third consecutive Dragon Gold Cup title. This to add to success earlier this year in Tuscany at the Scandinavian Gold Cup for 5.5 Metres and other one-design prizes hoovered up during the course of perhaps Wieser's best ever season


Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

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Route du Rhum Race Village Open
At 1600hrs local time Friday afternoon the race village for La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe was opened, ready for an estimated influx of up to two million visitors expected over the next week leading up to the start of the four yearly race from the historic walled town of Saint Malo to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe. The mayor of Saint-Malo, Claude Renoult and Alix Nabajoth, President of Guadeloupe's Sports Commission shared the honours in declaring the sizeable village area open whilst the 91 competing craft line the docksides of the basins, in place before today's 1830hrs deadline for the boats to assemble. And so the festivities which are set to be enjoyed up until the start gun, next Sunday November 2nd at 1400hrs local time.

The 1830hrs time limit for the race fleet to muster in Saint Malo ensured that the atmosphere today has been electric. The public turned out in big numbers to see the five different classes assemble, the Ultimes, Multi50, IMOCA Open 60s, Class 40 and the Rhum divisions. Tonight all are safely moored up from the biggest - the 40 metres Spindrift 2 of Yann Guichard to the smallest the 12 metres Acapella of Charlie Capelle and Jean Paul Froc's Bilfo-Group Berto.

Experts and spectators are trying to predict what will happen in the Ultimate Class, which has eight contenders this year, including three boats that are more than 30 m long. "Physically, I am in great shape. I have been working on my fitness, and I realise how important it is every time I set sail," explains Yann Guichard, skipper of Spindrift 2. "I continue to train to work on skills, but I feel strong, which is vital for my confidence. Once the weather forecast becomes clearer and we draw up our strategy for the first few days of racing, I will be ready to go. I know my opponents and I know the limits of solo racing on a boat as powerful as Spindrift 2, but if I have a good race with no technical or strategic errors I know I have a chance. That is why I am so excited about this race!"

Have Your Say
Technology marches on: this is not just an axiom to modern life, but a fundamental principle embraced by most of us who race sailboats. Modern design trends have produced boats that are faster, more exciting and safer than ever before, where 40-footers are now exceeding the speeds of 50-footers built only a decade ago. Accordingly there is a growing interest in building and racing this new generation of high-performance offshore-capable designs.

But as in most arenas of technology, the cutting edge is not always widely accessible: not only are the costs higher for the boats themselves, but also for campaigning them at a competitive level where all of their potential can be realized on the race course. Fair racing with these boats can also be difficult because the existing handicap systems cannot always rate them fairly against other more typical mainstream designs that populate most regattas.

As part of the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation's mission to support the science of sailing, we would like to know more about us with some valuable feedback on how to characterize competitive big boat racing. Your answers will help shape the future of the sport for all concerned.

We would like to hear not only from designers but also from the racers themselves: what are our desires and expectations in relation to modern high performance design, and where are the boundaries of our notions on performance, affordability, seaworthiness, and fair racing. Should 40-foot offshore-capable boats be comfortable to race offshore? if so, what does this mean? Does have does everyone want boats that plane in only 14 knots of wind? or is this too expensive to achieve given current technologies? and if so, what about cost controls: is this desirable, and if so, what should be controlled without stifling the spirit of innovation in design?

We invite all interested parties to take this survey – owners, sailors, designers, builders, sailmakers, race organizers to name a few – who have an interest in supporting the growth and development of competitive high-performance sailing and want to express their views. And we have provided this in two versions: a General survey to solicit your views on the role of high performance boats in the sport, and a more specific Technical version to gauge more specifics on how high performance boats are defined.

Results will be gathered, collated and reported in due course, and should be of interest to all who participate.

Find the survey at

18Ft Skiffs Club Championship - Race 1 - Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy
Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

Sydney Harbour: The brilliant conditions which have prevailed for the opening races of the 2014-2015 Australian 18 Footers League season continued today for Race 1 of the Club Championship on Sydney Harbour.

After all teams registered their new equipment, they took to the harbour in a South-East breeze, which gusted to more than 20-knots.

Two of the top skiffs had major skipper changes. James Francis replaced Seve Jarvin on Gotta Love It 7 and Hugh Stodart replaced Michael Coxon on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.

The change on the '7'red machine made little difference as Gotta Love It 7 (James Francis, Sam Newton, Scott Babbage) scored another brilliant victory - by 2m58s.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Charles Dorron), sporting a brand new #2 rig, finished in second place, with Smeg (David Witt, Tom Clout, Reece Goldsmith) a further 1m30s back in third place.

The Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy for the handicap section of the race went to John Winning's Yandoo.

A wonderful result when the trophy honouring one of the greatest 18 Footer men of the past (Alf Beashel) is won by one of the present great 18 Footer men. -- Frank Quealey

Giles Scott Claims British Sailing's Athlete Of The Year Prize
Giles Scott claimed top honours at the British Sailing Team's annual awards, winning the Athlete of the Year prize after his unbeaten run in the Finn class this season.

The 27-year-old paid tribute to his coach Matt Howard, his Finn class training partners and the team's support staff as he collected the award following his dominance since returning to the heavyweight dinghy just over a year ago after an America's Cup sabbatical.

Megan Pascoe was named the Paralympic Classes Athlete of the Year after a consistent season in the 2.4mR class, which saw her win the European Championships and claim podium finishes in all five of the World Cup and EUROSAF events she contested.

Scott's coach Matt Howard picked up the British Sailing Team's 'Golden Funnel' award for coaching excellence, with his name now appearing on the trophy for a third time in the nine year history of the prize, while Lorenzo Chiavarini was the runaway winner of the Podium Potential Sailor of the Year Award following his victories at the Laser u21 World and European Championships, and his 11th place at the senior World Championships in Santander.

British Sailing Team members were also invited to vote for the colleagues they felt best displayed some of the team's core values of 'Collaboration', 'Passion', 'Committed to Excellence' and 'Gold Driven', with Head of Sports Science and Medicine Paul Mullan and Finn sailor Ben Cornish both emerging as double award winners.

The full list of recipients at

China Cup International Regatta: Late Victory For Vatti Sailing In Simpson Passage Race
Shenzhen, China: The opening day of the 105-boat China Cup International Regatta saw old rivalries renewed in the Beneteau 40.7 class, as Vatti Sailing stole victory from Vanke Longcheer in the opening Simpson Marine Passage Race from Hong Kong to Shenzhen.

With the wind blowing 14 to 18 knots, and some big waves on the upwind course, Huang Jianhua's Vanke Longcheer held the lead for the majority of the three-hour race. But in the final stages of the 18-mile course, Vatti Sailing managed to find a way past their rivals to steal victory just before the finish.

This was Vatti Sailing's third consecutive victory in the Simpson Marine Passage Race, although last year Jono Rankine's professional crew were concerned at the speed of Vanke Longcheer which went on to win the regatta overall. This generated a controversial dispute within the fleet, with Vanke Longcheer bringing their own suit of racing sails while the majority of the fleet were using standard suits provided for the regatta. A change in the rules has put an end to that problem for this year, so the hope is for a closer contest between more evenly matched boats.

The China Cup International Regatta 2014 takes place on 24th to 27th October 2014 in the waters of Shenzhen and Hong Kong. There are 105 entries representing more than 30 countries and regions including: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, USA. -- Andy Rice,

Disabled Kitesurfer Chris Ballois Sets New Speed Sailing Record
Chris Ballois has set a new world record for disabled speed sailing. The French kitesurfer hit 42.94 knots, at the 2014 Luderitz Speed Challenge. Ballois was motivated. He wanted to break the 40-knot barrier, and after an inaugural run at 39.14 knots, he was able to drive his kite at 79.52 km/h over 500 meters. Chris Ballois was able to do what many non-disabled kitesurfers can't.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Luderitz Speed Challenge continues delivering excellent wind conditions. Several new windsurfers have arrived and had their go on Namibian speed channel for the first time.

Jacques van der Hout made 43.57 knots; Alain de Gendt hit 41.44 knots, and Erik Beale raced at 41.87 knots. Alain Moutauzou is already in the 40.61 knots, Jim Cloarec accelerated at 40.58 knots, and Christophe Richaud made 40.29 knots.

With stronger wind in the forecast, records will keep falling. Erik Beale, the first sailor to hit 40 knots, and Thierry Bielak, are ready to raise the 1990s sailing class flag.

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 John Burnie: I have often heard people questioning the validity of carrying trysails and storm jibs on offshore races. Anyone who did the Rolex Middle Sea Race last week (especially on the smaller boats) are probably now quite grateful that Category 2 (special regs) are part of the entry requirement. It is interesting to note that most of the fleet were able to continue racing - despite elevated seas and, at times, sustained winds of Force 9/10. Much of the credit for that perhaps should be directed towards the RORC - their effort in developing and improving the special regulations is probably not adequately recognised.

* From David Evans: The comments in today's edition 24/10/2014 about ISAF, how it is managed, seemingly behind closed doors by unknown and unrepresentative delegations in the most obscure manner, all coupled with what appears to be the undue influence that certain Countries seem to be able to exert, really highlights the problem we have here.

I don't think anyone in the UK wants the this particular rule to be changed in the way ISAF intend. Speaking as a true amateur as are nearly all participants that I ever meet, we already have far too much professionalism and too many commercial interests destroying our sport already.

Who are the UK's representatives on ISAF? I have not the faintest idea and I doubt anyone else has. By the way how are they elected, by whom? How do we lobby unknown individuals over whom we have no electoral power? I would mind betting that every other Country is the same as the UK, so here we have an unrepresentative body deciding how or what we can do., shaping our sport and giving us rules, did we ask for any of this - no.

How did we end up with ISAF itself?
Who decided we all wanted/needed it, the answer is of course - the so-called self proclaimed administrators of our sport decided to do this to us several years ago.
Were we consulted - no; did we want it - no; was there a public uprising or serious dissatisfaction or even mild criticism of the IYRU - no.
How did our sport come to be run by a clique of special interests I wonder?

I have been an active yachtsman and dinghy racer (please please not a "Boater") for 60 years and no one has ever asked me!

We need change and we need democratic forces to come into play here and we need this to happen soon!

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See the collection at

The Last Word
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. -- Ray Bradbury

Back On Wednesday
No issue for Tuesday as your humble narrator will be travelling all day Monday. Back for the Wednesday issue.

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