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2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Photo by Christophe Favreau, Click on image for photo gallery.

Sydney Harbour: Gotta Love It 7's team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage officially became the 2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff champions after the regatta concluded on Sydney Harbour today.

The team had already secured the title before today's race and skipper Seve Jarvin had become the most capped skipper and competitor in the championship's 76-year history.

Jarvin originally crewed with Euan McNicol on Club Marine in 2005 and has since skippered seven championship winning Gotta Love It 7 skiffs to victory.

His record surpasses Andrew Buckland for the most number of wins.

Buckland won five titles with Iain Murray on Color 7 then two more with Peter Sorensen on Tia Maria.

Fittingly, Buckland was on hand to present Jarvin and his team with the championship blue ribbon.

Although the win was already secured, Gotta Love It 7 showed her real championship quality as they dominated the latter half of the course to win by 2m15s. -- Frank Quealey

RORC Caribbean 600
The Multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been broken since the inaugural race in 2009. For the last six editions the record set by John Burnie and Claude Thelier on ORMA 60 trimaran, Region Guadeloupe (40 hours 11 mins 5 secs) has remained unbeaten. However, this year there are two multihulls, both owned by RORC members, that have the potential to smash the record by hours. Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70, Phaedo 3 and Peter Aschenbrenner's Nigel Irens 63, Paradox. Both crossed the Atlantic to take part in this year's race.

Phaedo 3 was a late entry for this year's race and blasted into Falmouth Harbour, Antigua just four days before the start. Owner Lloyd Thornburg is taking part in his third RORC Caribbean 600 and is relishing the prospect of racing the MOD 70 around the course at phenomenal speed. Phaedo 3's crew include Jules Verne record holder, Brian Thompson and double Vendee Globe winner, Michel Desjoyeaux, with Sam Goodchild and Pete Cummings.

On Sunday Phaedo3 went out for a practice with its crew, knowing that, the Farr-designed 115-foot, Sojana, completed the "Around Antigua Island" race in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009, a record which is still to be broken. Team Phaedo decided to see if they could improve on this time unofficially. Lloyd Thornburg and his crew, hammered around the island in 2 hours, 44 Minutes and 15 seconds. 35 knots is the highest speed anyone can remember seeing…unofficially!

* The who's who of yachting has gathered for the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, including winners of the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Vendee Globe and Jules Verne Trophy. However this elite group of sailors only make up a small proportion of the 700-plus avid sailors taking part in the race. Eight young sailors from Guadeloupe will be racing in Figaro IIs. The rookies of the CSA Class would love to get their hands on the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy and for one brief moment, they did, just for the cameras. Among those racing for Guadeloupe Grand Large across the four Figaro IIs will be Alienor Fleury, Simon Lefort, Leo Bottiglia, Danial Sentance, Andy Anicet, Tom Saliot, Bernard Joan and Daryl Garcon.

Racing on Peter Schofield's British HOD 35, Zarafa, will be a group of five young servicemen from the King's Royal Hussars and Queen's Royal Lancers. While Captains Charles Gray and Henry Foster competed on the army entry to the RORC Caribbean 600 in 2014, their soldiers have not sailed before, let alone raced 600nm. The learning curve will be steep but soldiers will be encouraged by an experienced skipper in Lymington based Major Peter Schofield, an ex-Royal Hussar and long-term supporter of army sailing. -- Louay Habib

* The upcoming RORC Caribbean 600 boasts an entry of over 60 boats and is a good example of the diversity of boats enjoying racing under IRC.  It illustrates how IRC allows designs like the Volvo Open 70 (Monster Project & Maserati, 2008) to continue racing competitively, and gives a new lease of life to older racers - Volvo 60s (Ambersail & Spirit of Adventure, 2001) and classics (Cuilaun, 1970 McGruer 55; Black Watch 1938 S&S 68 yawl). Meanwhile superyachts such as Athos (56m) and Adela (46m) add a different dimension and glamour to the fleet.  However, reflecting IRC's main constituents, it is production boats between 37 and 50 feet that form the core 50% of the entrants.

However, it is also important to remind the general racing fraternity that it is the core fleet that has kept the rating rule afloat for over thirty years.  Looking at the last couple of years, the lowest rated boat is a 1964 Kroes en Zonen Classic Blue Eagle of Tonbridge at 0.740 while the average IRC rating for the worldwide IRC fleet is 1.035.

The RORC Caribbean 600 starts on Monday 23rd February; follow the racing at

Williams Wins Monsoon Cup and Fifth ISAF Match Racing Championship
Ian Williams (GBR) battled his way into the history books today by winning the Monsoon Cup Malaysia and taking a record 5th ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Johor Bahru.

The GAC Pindar skipper, who became a father three months ago, could scarcely grasp the enormity of his achievement. He has become the most successful match racing helmsman of all time, and he is the only skipper ever to have won three Monsoon Cups, the final event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

The wind remained disappointingly light for the Final, after a good week of breeze in Johor Bahru, a new venue for the Monsoon Cup. It didn't matter what tricks the wind decided to play, however. Whatever he was given, Williams was the master of time, distance and control in the pre-starts. Richard had no answer as he was boxed out of the first two starts by the British crew and found no way back into those matches. Even in the third match, when Richard finally found some clear air off the right-hand end of the line, Williams found the better breeze and raced away to an unassailable lead. Another 3-0 victory for GAC Pindar who won 19 of their 20 matches in the often fickle conditions of Johor Bahru.

Seahorse March 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

There was never going to be any shortage of enthusiasm when Luca Devoti sat down with designer Juan Kouyoumdjian to create an all-new Finn

The Magic Carpet story
Maxi champion Sir Lindsay Owen Jones discusses one of the most successful big boat projects with longtime crew Blue Robinson

Terry Hutchinson is the 2014 Rolex USA Yachtsman of the Year, Jack Griffin unravels the testing process for 2017 America's Cup teams and insurance specialist Richard Power takes a lateral look at the Team Vestas grounding

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The Horn Beckons for Stamm and Le Cam
Legend has it that over 31 days during 1788 the HMS Bounty of Captain Bligh made just 85 miles while attempting fruitlessly to round Cape Horn. If they round Cape Horn as expected on Tuesday 24th February, Barcelona World Race leaders Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam will have taken 31 days to race from the longitude of Cape of Good Hope to the most feared of all Capes. They passed Good Hope on 24th January at 20:20hrs UTC. and those who like the fearful symmetries of IMOCA Round the World Racing might not be too far wrong to stab at a 24th March finish into Barcelona.

The duo, who have six racing circumnavigations between them, were just over 800 miles from the Cape this afternoon and conditions, though robust, look set for a favourable, well earned release from the clutches of the Pacific.

With a big lead, 1172 miles this afternoon, perhaps the duo will take advantage of a day time rounding to get closer in and enjoy their passage.

Seventh placed Nandor Fa admitted that he and co-skipper Conrad Colman may be on the horns of dilemma tomorrow. To pit stop or not? After both co-skippers have been up the mast to try and release a jammed, broken halyard lock slide, veteran Fa confirmed it will be Monday morning when they know if they will have to pitstop into New Zealand to get a replacement part.

But part of the dilemma will be to lose out on the possibility of passing Renault Captur which pit stopped into Wellington last night at 2304hrs UTC last night Saturday. Jorg Reichers and Sebastien Audigane were expecting to be out and going again in Monday.

Standings at 1400hrs Sunday 22/02/2015

1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) at 7745 miles to finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 1172 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 1183
4. We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 3034
5. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 3329
6. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 3639
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 4235
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

Calling In The Lawyers
A furious Dean Barker has called in the lawyers as the bitter battle over his future with Team New Zealand intensifies.

Barker was left shell-shocked at leaks to media this week that he was to be axed as skipper of the America's Cup syndicate. His lawyers have written to the syndicate's board seeking a "please explain" over his treatment.

The campaign for the 2017 regatta in Bermuda was already mired in controversy over taxpayer funding, and now the Herald on Sunday has learned the relationship between Barker and syndicate boss Grant Dalton has been toxic for some time, and that they rarely speak. It emerged this week that Barker only learned he was to be replaced at the helm of Team New Zealand by young sailing star Peter Burling after reading it on Facebook.

The leak occurred while Barker was in negotiations with Team New Zealand top brass. It is understood one of the options being discussed was for Barker to be replaced as skipper, but to retain a leading role within the team.

That now appears unlikely, with the Herald on Sunday learning last night that Barker - left in tears after Team NZ's heartbreaking loss to Oracle in the 2013 America's Cup - is set to walk away from the crew if Dalton remains in charge of the syndicate. -- Dana Johannsen, Simon Plumb in the New Zealand Herald

32nd Biennial Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race
Montego Bay, Jamaica: Testing conditions prevailed for the 32nd edition of  the Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race, a biennial 811 nautical mile jaunt from Port Everglades, Florida, to Montego Bay, Jamaica.  With speeds that were furiously fast at the start but frustratingly slow at the end, George Sakellaris's defending 72-foot Shockwave took line honors plus overall victory. (Plans for an IRC division were, by consensus, scratched before the start, and the 12-boat fleet sailed under PHRF handicap for the purpose of overall scoring.)

Organizers called the Friday (February 6) start a "raucous affair," with one competitor over the line early, two others pushing port/starboard boundaries, and every boat carrying shortened sail on the first leg that would take them to the Bahamas. A tough slog across the Gulfstream got everyone into race mode right off the bat, especially Shockwave, which looked on course to break the record set in 2005 by Titan 12 but in the end fell 40 minutes short of it, finishing just after midnight on Monday with an elapsed time of 2:11:05:03. (In 2013, the team fell 58 minutes short of the record.)

Final  Results

PHRF Top Three: (12 Boats total)
1. Shockwave, Mini Maxi, George Sakellaris, USA
2. AMHAS, Class 40, MacKenzie Davis, USA
3. Renegade, Santa Cruz 52, Tom Slade, USA

Class 40 Top Three (4 Boats total)
1. AMHAS, Class 40, MacKenzie Davis, USA
2. Oakcliff Racing/Bodacious Dream, Class 40, Jeffrey MacFarland, USA
3. Dragon, Class 40, Michael Hennessy, New York, NY, USA

Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Championships
Auckland, New Zealand: Twenty year old Harry Price representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with his crew of Ben Robinson, Cameron Gundy and Murray Jones have won the Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Championships.

Price beat local George Brasell three races to one in the first to three final series.

Ironically the two had met last November at Price's home club for the Musto Youth International where the results were reversed with Brasell taking the win and Price second.

Final Placings
1. Harry Price (CYCA)
2. George Brasell (RNZYS)
3. Dylan Wichman (KCC)
4. Sam Mackay (RPNYC)
5. Will Dargaville (RPAYC)
6. George Gautrey (RPNYC)
7. Lucas Chatonnier (RNZYS)
8. Milly Bennett (RPAYC)
9. Sam Ellis (CYCA)
10. Claudia Pierce (TYPBC)

New Record For Furthest South Ever Sailed By A Yacht -  78 Degrees South
At 20.29 UTC, Captian Piotr Kuźniar, & his 10 man polish crew onboard the 67 foot yacht Selma, reached the edge of the ice in the Ross Sea, at 78,43.S in the Bay of Whales, just over 100 nautical miles farther south then the previous record.

The previous record was set by the Captain Sergei Nizovtsev, with a crew of Russians and Ukrainians, sailing the 30m sailing yacht "Scorpius" and reaching 77 degrees South in 2012.

There was some discussion regarding this in 2012, depending if you include a dinghy as a yacht.  In 1965, Lt. Commander Steve Cockley, based in McMurdo Sound, sailed a Moth in a 30m gap in the sea ice & a latitude of 77.50 South - some 50 miles more than Scorpius -  although, obviously he did not sail it to the continent.

Either way, Selma has reached a new record South, & the crew are now preparing to climb the ice wall to reach the top of the glacier.

Letters To The Editor -
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* From Andy Dare: I totally agree with Mark Turner, in that Asia is not the same as the Solent, but it's the boats that make it tough not the "Extreme" weather.

I have probably sailed upwind more than most, all over the world too, from those very waters, down to 65k on the nose in Antarctica  (that was 72k apparent & a quite bit colder than Asia too !)

I know the VOR yachts are totally different to the bombproof Challenge yachts, which were specifically built for upwind in the Southern Ocean, but if it's that dangerous or hard, then maybe a few more handholds & thought for safety needs to be built in to the class rules, as being one designs, it will not make any difference to the racing - which I have to say, has been great to follow.

Don't get me wrong I am a great fan, but I still think the words "Huge" waves & "Furious" winds were still a bit much, but I do agree the boats make it tougher than your average day-sailer, with the large apparent wind they generate.

And Mark, If you set it up, I will gladly go upwind on a VOR 65 in 25k & report all about it for you (and Scuttlebutt Europe) - Cheers, Andy !

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The Last Word
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