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Close Contact Challenges
It's been 19 days and well over 3,500 nautical miles (nm) since the Volvo Ocean Race fleet set sail for Cape Town from Alicante, but the three leading boats are still within sight of each other with the fourth chasing them down just 18nm adrift.

It could hardly be closer. The changing wind patterns are testing the navigators to the limit every day and there are issues from lurking icebergs ahead to electrical problems to keep each of the seven crews on their toes 24/7.

Such a close packing of the crews so long into the opening leg is unheard of in the 41-year history of the event with the sprint to be the first to sight Cape Town's Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, still anyone's to win.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing narrowly have their noses in front (Ian Walker/GBR), 2nm clear of Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) with Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) just 4.2nm further adrift.

China's Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) are by no means out of it either in fourth place on the tracker, nor even Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) in fifth.

At the back of the fleet, it is not such a happy picture. Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) are more than 300nm behind after suffering miserably through lack of wind, while MAPFRE (Iker Martinez/ESP) had huge problems with a broken water pipe on board and electrical problems.

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Chris Benz Luderitz World Record Chase
Luderitz, Namibia: Today was the top performance day of the 2014 event with 50+Knots performances recorded, as well as many PBs and four country records falling.

Strong 25-35 knot winds were forecast for today and this proved true, however, the angle of the wind only allowed for optimal performances towards the end of the day's racing.

The fastest speed of the 2014 event was recorded today by Italian Champion Patrik Diethelm registering an impressive new Italian Record of 51.18Knots (actual World Record is 52.05 kts). In fact, Patrik achieved 50Knots+ speeds almost four times consecutively - he was in unbeatable form.

Three other National Records fell; Ex- German and once again German Champion, Christian Bonermann with a new record of 48.82Knots, Denis Vladimirov with a new Russian Record of 47.67Knots (broke it 3 x) and Zoran Jovanovic with the new Serbian Record of 39.4Knots (done in Kitesurfing).

The Belgium Alain de Gendt has also broken a record today in "Production Board" category of his country: 46.66 kts.

Day 8 in Luderitz at this remarkable canal and spot, the day's exciting racing changed lead several times. Grabbing the lead initially was Jim Cloarec (France), then Raffaello Gardelli (Sweden), Thierry Bielak (France), then Christian Bornemann (Germany) with a new national record and finally, TOP performer of the day, as well as the entire 2014 event, Patrik Diethelm (Italy).

Day 8 has provided some of the best and top performances of the 2014 event despite not optimal conditions and thus proves once again that the channel created by Sebastien Cattelan, the first man to smash the 50Knots+ barrier, to be the best spot on the world speed sailing circuit.

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

Fixtures and fittings
As we roll into another Volvo Ocean Race Tim Jeffery - there from the beginning - reflects on the heritage that underpins this magnificent event

Staying dry - Part 2
Oracle Team USA software specialist Andrew Mason expands on the potential for advanced simulation ahead of the next America's Cup

It all started in a garage - Part 2
And the J/Boats team take a first tentative step into the grand prix world. Rod Johnstone

Paul Cayard
And how the sport - and the Rolex Big Boat Series - is steadily changing for the better...

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Team Alvimedica Auctions The Opportunity To Be A Part Of The Volvo Ocean Race
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a part of the Volvo Ocean Race? We aren't just talking about watching a race from the shore during a stopover or being one of thousands waving goodbye to the fleet from the dock as they go to sea for weeks. We are talking about truly being a part of the Volvo Ocean Race - racing on the boat as crew, taking part in sail changes, feeling the power of the wind under the sails as you drive the boat around a mark, being onboard during a leg start, hearing the calls made for a tack, and jumping overboard just as the fleet head out to sea. Well if you never thought it was possible, think again!

Team Alvimedica is offering the incredible opportunity for you to join the Volvo Ocean Race as a part of the team with two auctions at each stopover:

- Jump Seat: Be on Alvimedica with the crew as they wave good bye to cheering fans and start the leg of the race. After completing the inshore portion of the leg you will jump overboard before the fleet head out to sea.

- Pro-Am Race: Join Team Alvimedica as crew for a Pro-Am race against the rest of the fleet with a group up to seven friends or colleagues.

The highest bidder on each auction will win this experience with all proceeds donated to a local heart charity of the stopover country. Bid to support the improvement of heart hearth around the world and truly become a part of Team Alvimedica!

What Is AIS and is it Worth Fitting?
Rupert Holmes weighs up the options for boat owners trying to decide whether or not to fit AIS.

AIS - or Automatic Identification System - is an automated system that allows vessels to exchange data including their position, course and speed. From a small boat perspective it's predominately used for collision avoidance.

The system is mandatory on ships of over 300 tonnes, all passenger vessels, and in the EU all fishing vessels of less than 16 meters length, with a few notable exceptions such as military and border patrol vessels. Initially ships were often fitted with only a basic text display for AIS data, although most now have an AIS overlay on radar and plotter screens. There's no requirement for pleasure craft to fit the system (unless competing in ISAF Category 2 offshore races, such as the Rolex Fastnet Race), however yachts may benefit from fitting a receive only system, or a combined transmitter/receiver.

Whether AIS is worth fitting will depend on the type of boating you do. If it's only in good weather and in a popular area such as the Solent then there's probably little to be gained. However, for boats venturing further offshore and likely to meet reduced visibility and other inclement weather, as well as engaging in more night sailing, an AIS receiver is clearly a valuable and relatively inexpensive aid to help avoid potential collision situations.

As to whether an AIS B transmitter is useful, again this will depend on similar considerations. I certainly have no regrets about having invested in one, however, for anyone with a limited budget I would be more likely to prioritise a dual band active radar transponder to be sure your boat shows up clearly on large vessels' radar, as this remains the key tool by which larger vessels assess the risk of collision.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Entrants In Historic Gascoigne Cup
The winner of Saturday's Gascoigne Cup will have its name engraved on the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's historic yachting trophy but it's doubtful if it will receive the same accolade as the first winner of the Cup, Magic.

Launched in 1875 and owned by then RSYS Commodore J R Fairfax, Magic's sailing prowess inspired a popular jingle around the waterfront:

Magic's a billow puncher
Scorning squall and spray
She'll small her way to windward
Any stormy day

The Gascoigne Cup dates back to 1886 when Colonel F G F Gascoigne presented a Challenge Cup to be competed for annually by yachts over fives tons, until won three times in succession.

The race, over a 30 nautical mile course off Sydney Heads but starting and finishing in the Harbour, is now one of three short offshore races the Squadron conducts each season, each one now part of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Grant Thornton Short Ocean Pointscore.

Saturday's fleet of 40 modern racing yachts is a far cry from the cutter-rigged Magic and her competitors, most of which carried huge gaff mainsails and topsails with headsails set on long protruding bowsprits.

According to RSYS records, Magic had a load waterline of 48 feet and a sail area of 2,054 square feet. -- Peter Campbell

Across The Atlantic On A Multi 23
Photo by Christophe Launay. Click on image for photo gallery.

Vincent Beauvarlet is a French sailor. If he started his career as a windsurfer, youth world champion in 1990, he discovered offshore sailing quickly (Route du Rhum, Quebec St Malo)... Today, three days before the start of La Route du Rhum, he goes on a long journey from Cancale (France close to St Malo, start of the Route du Rhum) to Guadeloupe (French caribbean island, arrival of the Route du Rhum and where he is born 40 years ago) alone onboard a very small multihull a Multi 23 (VPLP Design ) called "Ocean Love Dream".

If he won't go as fast as big multihull as Spindrift, 140 feet, Vincent'll try to make a new record set of the atlantic cross alone and onboard a dinghy multihull. It's not holidays, it's adventure. Vincent, take care! -- Gilles Morelle

Industry News
The Little Britain Challenge Cup, the biggest sailing regatta for property and construction, is delighted to announce that Sunsail Events has agreed a 3 year deal to become a Silver Sponsor and an Official Charter Partner of the Little Britain Challenge Cup for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Sunsail operates the only fleet of perfectly matched charter boats in the UK and the Sunsail Match First 40s have competed in their own Little Britain Challenge Cup class for a number of years.

Sunsail has developed specific charter packages for the Little Britain Challenge Cup that offer excellent value for money and cater for both bareboat and skippered charterers. Sunsail will work closely with Little Britain to promote the regatta and specifically encourage new entrants to the event.

The LBCC established 27 years ago, is the biggest annual UK gathering of senior property and construction industry figureheads. The LBCC also supports a number of charities: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Jubilee Sailing Trust, Team GBR Paralympic Sailing Team, Cirdan Sailing Trust, Cowes Sea Cadets, Island Youth Water Activities Centre, Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue, Cowes Sailability Club.


Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is pleased to report that completion on the 2014 phases of the Cowes breakwater construction programme is imminent with contractors Boskalis Westminster now finalising the reshaping of the 350 metre long breakwater core in advance of a winter settlement period.

Boskalis Westminster also carried out the recent capital dredge in Southampton Water, and after confirmation that the dredged gravel material met the specification required for the Cowes breakwater, the material was put to environmentally beneficial reuse in the building of the breakwater core at Cowes.

At the point of mobilisation in May 2015, the breakwater gravel core will be reshaped before the start of rock transport and placement in June. At least 40,000 tonnes of rock armour will be installed over the gravel core and this operation is estimated to take 12 weeks to complete. Navigation aids, fixed beacons and buoys will then be put in place before a monitoring and handover period next autumn.

The result in October 2015 will be a 350 metre long, detached rock armoured breakwater in Cowes Harbour that protects existing homes, businesses and harbour users and that enables the regeneration project for East Cowes, and the jobs that will bring, to progress.


Having become the largest manufacturers of Optimists in the world, established a global sales network for one-design racers and performance cruisers, Shanghai's Far East Boats, harbours hopes of putting its name to the first America's Cup entry built in China. That is the lofty ambition of chairman Demolar Du Yingying.

Far East Boats, the company she founded with her husband Lu Weifeng in 2002, has produced over 14,000 yachts with a distribution footprint which reaches western Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, South Africa and Russia.

The range spans from youth dinghies like Funboats and Optimists, Lasers, International 420s, under licence to ISAF, to catamarans such as the Rosella 36C unveiled at the Shanghai International Boat Show earlier this year.

Far East Boats has launched training initiatives with over seven yacht clubs all over the country. The majority of clubs in China, which now number 40, have adopted their training techniques.

"As an example we have four clubs in Shanghai and Suzhou and at one of them 6,000 people came for sailing training for the first time this year. We also hold team building events at those clubs where we attract the corporate sector to try sailing," Ms Du Yingying says.

"We educate them about sailing and then they get to try it for themselves. In this way we are helping to introduce the whole country to sailing."

That growth resulted in China's first ever gold medal in the Laser class at the London 2012 Olympics for Xu Lijia. That followed gold for Yin Jian in the woman's sailboard at Beijing in 2008.


Wolz Nautic from Gaukonigshofen have appointed a new sales director: Jorg Bubelach is now in charge of worldwide sales for the mega-yacht sector at the leading supplier of yacht decks and prefabricated teak decks within the DEUTSCHE YACHTEN Working Group. The 47-year-old will be based in the new office in his home town, Neumunster, Schleswig-Holstein, and will also provide project managing services to customers.

Mr Bubelach was previously on the board of directors at FUCHS Fordertechnik AG in Oststeinbek, a company providing construction, manufacturing and project management for hoisting solutions and cranes, where he was also responsible for the sales of yacht components. His predecessor, Martin Ruckert, has left Wolz Nautic after more than ten years' service and will now be working for the Austrian company Kormoran located in Salzburg. The hitherto close co-operation with him will be continued as Wolz Nautic is Kormoran's development partner for innovative teak deck solutions.


The Qatar International Boat Show (QIBS) has been admitted as a candidate member of the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO). The news comes just two weeks prior to the opening of QIBS 2014, which is now in its second edition.

The IFBSO was started in 1964 to create a high standard of excellence for its members, and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas. The organisation brings together more than 30 of the world's leading boat shows and marine and maritime trade exhibitions.

Held at Mourjan Marina in Lusail City, just north of downtown Doha, the 2nd Qatar International Boat Show will be double the size of last year's event, offering an improved layout, a high percentage of international exhibitors, a huge number of repeat exhibitors, and a total of 60 boats on display.

IBI News:

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