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Route Du Rhum
Loick Peyron on Banque Populaire. Photo by Christophe Launay, Click on image for photo gallery.

Route du Rhum As the tenth edition of the legendary Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race to Guadeloupe started off Saint Malo, France this Sunday afternoon under grey skies and a moderate SSW'ly breeze. The perennial question of just how hard to push through the first 24-36 hours at sea was foremost in the minds of most of the 91 skippers.

When the start gun sounded at 1400hrs local time (1300hrs CET) breezes were only 15-17kts. But a tough, complicated first night at sea is in prospect, a precursor to 36 hours of bruising, very changeable breezes and big unruly seas.

Such conditions, gusting to 40kts after midnight tonight, are widely acknowledged to be potentially boat or equipment breaking. But the big ticket reward for fighting successfully through the worst of the fronts and emerging in A1 racing shape, will be a fast passage south towards Guadeloupe. Such an early gain might be crucial to the final result.

The converse is doubly true. Any trouble or undue conservatism might be terminal as far as hopes of a podium place in any of the three classes.

The routing south is relatively direct, fast down the Iberian peninsula with a fairly straightforward, quick section under the Azores high pressure which shapes the course. The Ultimes - the giant multis - are expected to be south of Madeira by Tuesday night when the IMOCA Open 60s will already be at the latitude of Lisbon and the Class 40 leaders passing Cape Finisterre.

* Onboard Spindrift 2, the largest boat to ever sail the race:

After passing Pointe du Raz, in Brittany, Yann must time his turn correctly so he can sail quickly down the Atlantic coast, driven by unstable westerlies and gusts that could reach 40 knots. The aim is to move as far south as possible to pick up the Azores High and sail downwind.

- The race tracker showing the Spindrift 2 position will be updated every out and is available on the Spindrift racing website (adapted for tablets and smartphones).

- A daily morning bulleting summarising Yann Guichard's racing news will be availalbe online daily on

Endeavour Championship
Click on image to enlarge.

Endeavour trophy Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, UK: Piping their nearest rivals to the post in the final race of the series was just enough for Matt Burge and Toby Lewis representing the Osprey class to secure the 2014 Topper Sailboats-supported Endeavour Championship.

The final race showdown was exciting with Ian Dobson and Holly Scott (GP14) establishing an impressive one-minute lead over Mee and Pygall (Merlin Rocket). Dobson and Scott maintained their position to the finish but in the closing stages of the race, Burge and Lewis (Osprey) were back in contention after being buried at the start and were able to take advantage of a favourable shift at the final leeward mark and just managed to beat Mee and Pygall across the line.

Toby Lewis - four times Endeavour Champion crew - added. "It is great to win it with Matt. We had a tough day today, and a real fight on our hands. It was just an excellent last race. Today was a real case of not giving up. In both races we were buried at times but through sheer determination we pulled through."

At 16 years old, Rachel Grayson (Mirror class national champion) is not only one of the youngest helmsmen at this year's event but according available records, she is also the highest placed female helmsman ever at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club-hosted Endeavour Championship.

Grayson sailing with Nigel Wakefield, who finished the event in sixth place overall, was noted for her extreme skill, professional composure and her consistent performance throughout the weekend.

Overall Results (eight races, 1 discard)
1. Osprey, Matt Burge and Toby Lewis, 21 points
2. Merlin Rocket, Matt Mee and Tom Pygall, 22
3. GP 14, Ian Dobson and Holly Scott, 23
4. Lark, Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens, 33
5. Streaker, Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey, 33
6. Mirror, Rachel Grayson and Nigel Wakefield, 37

Full results:

* The Endeavour Trophy is a solid silver scale model of the J Class yacht Endeavour presented annually to the Champion of Champions at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch.

The origin of the trophy stems from Tom Sopwith's J Class yacht Endeavour, America's Cup Challenge in 1934. Following a pay dispute and dismissal of his east coast-based professional crew, Sopwith teamed up with 'Tiny' Mitchell, the Commodore of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at the time, to recruit amateur members of the club to form a crew.

Although Endeavour won the first two races against Rainbow, and lost the series, this was the closest England ever came to winning the coveted America's Cup.

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

Seahorse Magazine

World news
France replaces New Zealand (ouch) as the most populous Volvo Race nation, stonking Class 40 line-up in the Rhum, Andrew Reid turns to Brett Bakewell-White for his new racer, reflections from outgoing Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones and ISAF lights the blue touchpaper... Blue Robinson, Ivor Wilkins, Patrice Carpentier, Dobbs Davis

Seahorse build table - Branching out (and up)
Matteo Polli has drawn a very pretty and pretty fast new 34-footer for Italia Yachts

RORC news
Eddie Warden-Owen

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Foiling AC45s Confirmed for America's Cup World Series
The best sailors in the world will be flying above the water at speed when the America's Cup World Series begins in the summer of 2015.

Champion sailors Ben Ainslie, Dean Barker, Franck Cammas, Nathan Outteridge, Max Sirena and Jimmy Spithill will lead their respective teams into the first stage of the competition for the most storied trophy in international sport.

Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller says that he also expects at least one additional team will be joining as a late entry.

The America's Cup World Series runs for two seasons in 2015 and 2016, ahead of the America's Cup Qualifiers, Playoffs and Finals in 2017.

In a Regatta Memorandum issued to the teams today, Schiller confirmed two America's Cup World Series events have already met the hosting criteria and had been scheduled to be raced in 2015 by the America's Cup Event Authority.

Further events will be added to the America's Cup World Series calendar as hosting agreements are concluded and subject to the unanimous consent of the teams.

The two confirmed host venues will announce their events in the coming weeks with the first announcement expected on November 5th.

Public Invited To Vote For Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2014
The world's best yacht racing photographers have submitted their pictures for the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award 2014. The public is now invited to vote online. The best picture of the year - and its author - will be celebrated during the World Yacht Racing Forum, in Barcelona, on December 11.

No less than one-hundred-and-twenty of the world's best yacht racing photographers, representing twenty-five nations, submitted their best picture. The international jury then selected the top 70 pictures, who are now available for viewing - and voting - on the event's website.

Two prizes will be awarded on December 11, in Barcelona, during the World Yacht Racing Forum:

- The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image (main prize), attributed by an international and independent jury consisting of Carlo Croce (ISAF President, ITA), Ken Read (North Sails Group President, USA), Karin Backlund (Volvo Ocean Race Commercial Director / Volvo Cars Sponsorship Director, SWE), Antonio Palma (Partner and CEO of Mirabaud, SUI) and Abner Kingman (Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award winner 2013, USA)

- The Prize of the public, awarded following votes from the public on Internet (until December 1) and delegates of the World Yacht Racing Forum.


18ft Skiffs Mick Scully Memorial Trophy
Sydney Harbour: After a wild storm with winds gusting to 106 klms per hour hit Sydney Harbour yesterday, conditions on the harbour returned to a brilliant 12-15 knot South-East wind for today's Mick Scully Memorial Trophy race.

Rig choice was split between the bigger #1 rigs and the smaller #2s, with the veteran John "Woody" Winning electing to go small on Yandoo.

With team members Andrew Hay and Jim Beck, Woody gave a brilliant all round performance to lead for almost the entire course before going on to a 1m57s win.

Second-placed Mojo Wine (Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey, Ricky Bridge) and third-placed Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, James Dorron, Jeronimo Harrison) were in the lead briefly and never far from Yandoo over the long course.

Asko finished 1m30s behind Mojo Wine.

Next Sunday is Race 2 of the Club Championship and the Eric Bowen Memorial Trophy for the handicap winner. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Pieces In Place for the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour
Racing for the GC32 foiling catamarans will be taken to a new level in 2015, when at least seven boats will compete on a five event European circuit, managed by a new organisation with racing run by world class officials.

To run the newly rechristened GC32 Racing Tour, a Class Manager was appointed earlier this year in Christian Peer, who runs the sports marketing agency evcom GmbH in Austria. Prior to being employed by the GC32 Racing Tour, Peer was Event Content and Schedule Manager and Head of AC Event TV for the 34th America's Cup and worked on all different fields for the 33rd AC and the Louis Vuitton Trophy in 2010. He has also been a project manager for the RC44 Austria Cup and RC44 Cup Miami and worked for big European sailing events such as Kiel Week and Traunsee Week.

The intention is for the GC32 Racing Tour to be distinctly different from other catamaran circuits such as the M32s and Extreme Sailing Series.

In particular, as racing will be for ultra-high performance foiling catamarans, very short stadium sailing courses are not appropriate. While efforts will be made to lay marks close to shore, courses will be longer with the emphasis placed upon maintaining a high standard of racing.

David Campbell-James, an experienced Principal Race Officer (PRO) and former Olympic Tornado sailor, will handle the race management.

Portugal's Miguel Allen has been appointed Chief Umpire for the GC32 Racing Tour. Allen holds this role with the 52 Super Series and is part of the umpire team for the RC44s, Alpari World Match Racing Tour and Volvo Ocean Race. But crucially, he holds previous experience of foiling catamaran racing, having been one of the umpires for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco.

J-Class Leads The Way In Powered Systems
During the extensive 2013-14 winter refit of the J/Class Velsheda in Palma, Majorca, the Southampton-based yacht systems manufacturers C-Designs completed a major upgrade to her electrical power and hydraulic systems. C-Designs were tasked by the owner's team to evaluate the yacht's existing hydraulic system and to look at ways to increase the speed and power of the deck winches while also reducing weight wherever possible.

C-Designs' solution increased the available hydraulic flow by some 300 per cent and reduced the weight from the existing power and hydraulic system by 3,000kg. These significant improvements enabled all the required functions, during even the heaviest racing manoeuvre, to operate to maximal performance, helping to gain an advantage around the racecourse. Of further benefit was the weight saving which allowed Velsheda to take more weight in her keel to improve righting moment.

Managing director Nick McGarry gave his take on a relatively novel system: 'Velsheda's problem was not unique. Talk of hydraulic systems slowing down and the demand for more flow and line speed seems to be commonplace today, especially among large yachts with professional race crews... Our latest hydraulic system design breaks the mould of conventional designs by utilising high-voltage DC lithium-ion phosphate battery banks, powering a high-voltage DC hydraulic power pack; this allows us to pack four times the power into the same footprint as a conventional 24-volt system.

Full article in Seahorse:

Entries Close With 119 For 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce that 119 entries have been received for the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race and the 70th edition is bringing new, old, large and small together for the start on Boxing Day.

Due to the large number and sheer size of some yachts, there will be three start lines this year. The last time numbers topped 100 was in 2004, when 116 boats started, though just 59 finished, the rest unable to withstand the punishing weather of the 60th race.

Five super maxis, 10 international entries, previous overall and line honours winners, old timers, record breaking boats and people - and the faithful.

One cannot go past two-time treble crown winner and reigning record holder and line honours champion, Wild Oats XI owned by Bob Oatley and skippered by Mark Richards, for line honours. In 2013 they won a protracted battle with Anthony Bell's Perpetual Loyal (former Rambler), allegedly the fastest super maxi in the world.

The two are constantly evolving, undergoing further modifications during the year. Their owners have recruited crews strewn with yachting identities and they will need everything they can muster to take on the other 100 footers in the frame.

Syd Fischer's new Ragamuffin 100. The modified deck of his previous yacht (it took line honours in 2011 under Anthony Bell's ownership) has received a new water ballasted hull. A canting keel completes the picture. Fischer, 87, will tick off his 46th Hobart this year.

Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark's new Comanche (USA) illustrates the latest technology and is the most talked about boat in the fleet. A second American entry is RIO 100 (previously Lahana). Purchased by Manouch Moshayedi, he has lengthened her to 100 feet.

Imperia Winter Regatta
From 3rd to 7th December the Imperia Winter Regatta is coming back, bringing crews from all the Europe to the chief-town of West Liguria, to sail this world class-event for 470's and 420's, redesigned this year with a new and improved look. With the combined effort of Yacht Club Imperia and Assonautica Imperia, and the valuable logistic support of GoImperia, the event landed in the revisited location of Calata Anselmi in Porto Maurizio, the perfect frame in the new touristic harbor, promising a wonderful event of sport with beautiful races in warm waters making Imperia the capital of winter sailing.

More information Yacht Club Imperia

Luke Patience Joins The Record Star Sailors League Finals 2014 Fleet
SSL is delighted to announce that Luke Patience, the 28 year old 470 Class silver medallist from London 2012, has now accepted the Star Sailors League invitation to participate in our 2014 Finals, becoming the second UK special guest star, alongside newly-crowned Finn World Champion Giles Scott.

His mission is an important one: to tackle a top-flight international regatta (Nassau, the Bahamas, December 2nd to 7th) which will give the winner the highest points of all. In fact, the skipper and bowman that top the rankings, as happened to Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada almost a year ago, will be awarded 4,000 ranking points in the Star Sailors League. They will also take home the biggest slice of the $200,000 prize money to be split between the 20 teams competing.

Luke has devoted most of his career to the 470, one of the toughest and most competitive classes.

Patience's phone is constantly ringing and so he's keeping a close eye on all the top sailing events: "I would love to be part of an America's Cup team one day and help the cause to win the trophy. Alongside the 470, I am also part of a C-Class catamaran team that sail with foils and wing sails. Very much like mini AC boats. I am the skipper for the team, Sentient Blue. I hope these skills will support me as the sport changes ever more towards this style. The Volvo Ocean Race really interests me too. The thought of being cold/wet/tired and having to pull together with all your mates onboard to squeeze out any bit of fear, and all the boat speed you can sounds awesome!"

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