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Vestas Wind Grounding Report
An independent report into the grounding of Team Vestas Wind on Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race was released today. It included a set of recommendations aimed at improving safety at sea for the entire offshore racing community.

In particular, it has suggested improving navigational charts and other on board software to avoid similar incidents in the future.

The independent report into the incident, commissioned by the Race in December, was conducted by acknowledged experts in the field - Rear Admiral (Rtd) Chris Oxenbould (chair), Stan Honey and Chuck Hawley.

The panel reported that the facts of the grounding had already been well publicised and that its findings regarding what happened are based on interviews with the crew, race management, other relevant parties and recorded data were not contentious.

"The team was unaware of any navigational danger in its vicinity, incorrectly assessed the minimum charted depth at Cargados Carajos Shoals to be 40 metres and understood that it was safe to sail across the shoals," summed up the panel.

The panel has not apportioned blame, but made the following conclusions:

i. There were deficiencies in the use of electronic charts and other navigational data onboard Vestas Wind.

ii. There were also deficiencies in the cartography presenting the navigational dangers on the small and medium scales of the chart system in use.

iii. The emergency management worked well and there were no administrative or race management issues that contributed to the incident.

Its main recommendations are:

i. That a provided set of guidelines for the use of electronic charts be endorsed and adopted in the race and subject to further review and refinement.

ii That the providers of the chart system used and the manufacturers of one of the on board navigation software systems be advised of the perceived deficiencies.

iii. The panel suggests that Volvo Ocean Race uses its leverage and influence in the yachting industry to encourage the development of an improved navigation system, including charts and software.

It also made five minor recommendations (page 63, paragraph 262) relating to the conduct of the race.

Read the full report

From Team New Zealand
Speaking on behalf of Emirates Team New Zealand, Chairman Keith Turner today confirmed that Dean Barker has decided not to accept the position of Performance Manager/Coach and Executive Team Member offered to him following a four month period of restructure at ETNZ.

Keith Turner said "We are disappointed that we have lost Dean from the team and hold him in the highest regard, but he has made it clear throughout this restructure process that he saw he was best suited to a role on the water as Skipper or sailing director. Despite the media commentary in the last few weeks, all matters between us have been resolved satisfactorily".

"No settlement payment was made to Dean other than a standard notice period of three months salary."

It is important that before we can move on from the past few weeks, Emirates Team New Zealand wishes to put the record straight on a number of matters:

- The ETNZ Board and Management, on hearing the "breaking news" that Dean had been dumped as Skipper, immediately issued a statement stating that the information was inaccurate.

- The decision to offer Dean the role of Performance Manager/Coach, and to offer the position of Sailing Director to another team member had not been finally made when the matter first appeared in the press.

- In the interests of fairness, and being constrained by the legal process, this is all ETNZ Board and Management could say on the issue at that time. We waited until the formal process regarding Dean's role in the team was completed before we could speak on the issue. It now has.

- Rumours then circulated and media reports laden with innuendo appeared in media reports implying that Grant Dalton was the source of the "leak".

- The ETNZ Board has conducted an investigation into the cause or source of the "leak". We are totally satisfied that Grant Dalton was not involved in anyway and he and his Management team have our full confidence and backing. No member of the Board or Management leaked any information.

- It is incorrect that Dean first heard of his possible change of role through social media and the final decision via press release. Following the last campaign, a review of all facets of the San Francisco campaign was concluded in May 2014.

- Dean participated in that review, and in the subsequent restructure process that began in November last year. He was aware from November that the role of Performance Manager was to be created and that he was being considered for this position.

- At all times the Board and Management were acutely conscious of following due process as any employer is expected to do.

Dubarry Ultima - Classic Craftsmanship
Dubarry Ultima It's been said of Ireland that it's a lovely country, just needs a roof. True, we get more than our fair share of rain from the storms that barrel in from the North Atlantic, but it's not so bad - it's not for nothing that we're known as the Emerald Isle.

In this part of the world we're also well used to making our living on the sea, in the sturdy Galway Hookers built by hand with traditional tools by local boat builders. These bluff-bowed gaff cutters have plied their treacherous trade on the often vengeful waters of the Bay for over 200 years. If ever there was a place where folk would appreciate a quality traditional sea boot - and had the craftsmanship to make one - it's here.

So it's here, in the town of Ballinasloe, just inland of Galway Bay, that Dubarry started making boots in 1937. We've honed our traditional boot-making virtuosity, found sources of the finest quick-drying, long-lasting leathers, and perfected the technology behind a warm, waterproof classic boot with award-winning grip. What else could we call the world's best traditional sea boot, other than Ultima?

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

6th Bacardi Miami Sailing Week Presented by EFG Bank
Miami gave us great sailing conditions for all 6 days of the 6th BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank that includes its celebrated event the 88th Bacardi Cup. The Star, J/70, Viper 640, VX One and M32 classes all took part in this year's event with 164 teams racing.

Lars Grael and Samuel Gonclaves defended their Bacardi Cup title from 2014.

The Star class also gave awards for the 1st place boat in the Masters Division (skippers age 50 through 59), received by Lars Grael, for the 1st place boat in the Grand Masters Division (skippers age 60 through 59), received by Augie Diaz and the Exalted Grand Masters (skippers age 70 and above), received by Alessanrdo Pascolato.

The J/70s completed 8 races over the 3-day BMSW event.

Top three:
1. Bruschetta, Mauricio Santa Cruz / Sergio Almeira / Maxim Werrgert / Daniel Glomb, BRA, 27 points
2. Flojito Y Cooperando, Julian Fernandez Neckelmann / William Hardesty / William Van / Erik Brockhann, MEX, 29
3. Calvi Network, Carlo Alberini / Branko Brcin / Carlo Alberini / Karlo Hmeljak /Sergio Blossi, ITA, 30

9 races were completed on the Viper 640 course with 32 teams competing.

Top three:
1. Jackpot, Brad Boston / Lee Shuckerow / Nick Loundsbury / Lee Shuckerow, CAN, 22
2. Ghost Panda, Peter Beardsley / Steve Keen / Patrick Slattery, USA, 24
3. Terminally Pretty, Geoffrey Ewenson / Peter O'Leary / Lara Dallman-Weiss, USA, 26

With 22 competing teams, the VX One also raced 9 races in the BMSW.

Top three:
1. VX1, John Potter / David Guggenheim / John Paker / Walter Gnann, USA, 35
2. Flash Rider, Phillip Norris / Chris Norris / Brenna Paes, USA, 35
3. Chuck Wagonn, Phip Hallowell / Chuck Brown, USA, 37

Making their BMSW premiere, the M32s sailed 14 races with 7 competing boats.

Top three:
1. US One, Taylor Canfield / Hayden Goodrick / Luke Molloy / Ricky McGarvie / Josh McCaffrey, USA, 43
2. Bronco, Michael Dominguez / Tripp Burd / Jonny Goldsberg / Anthony Kotoun / tom Loughborough , USA, 48
3. Escape Velocity, Ron O'Hanley / Schreyer, Stan / Loughboro, Sam , USA, 54

The 2016 regatta that will take place in Coconut Grove and Biscayne Bay from March 5th to the 12th

Full results are available at

Seize The Boat!
Marshals have been authorized to seize America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA's prototype boat in response to a lien filed by sailor Joe Spooner, whose contract was terminated in January.

The warrant was issued late Friday by clerk Richard Wieking of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The boat hadn't been seized as of mid-day Saturday, Oracle Team USA spokesman Peter Rusch said.

It's believed the boat is still at Oracle's base at Pier 80 in San Francisco.

Spooner, a New Zealander, sued Oracle Team USA last month, saying his contract for $25,000 a month was terminated without cause. He was a grinder with Oracle Team USA during its America's Cup victories in 2010 and 2013.

Chief Magistrate Joseph Spero denied Spooner's initial complaint on Feb. 23, but said he could file an amended complaint. Spooner's attorney, Patricia Barlow of San Francisco, filed an amended complaint Friday.

She said Spooner had obtained a visa that required him to be working under a fixed-term contract, and that Oracle argued that the sailor had an at-will contract.

"They tried to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds," she said by phone Saturday.

Besides the visa issue, Spooner's complaint alleges that Oracle Team USA retaliated against him for asking if his monthly salary could be raised to $38,000 to cover the expense of relocating to Bermuda. Spooner was offered a $4,000 a month relocation housing allowance, but said it would cost around $7,500 a month for suitable housing for his family, as well as other expenses to live on the island for the America's Cup cycle.

Spooner is seeking at least $725,000 in damages. -- Bernie Wilson, AP

Glenn Bourke & Crew Crowned Sb20 2015 Australian Champions
Glenn Bourke. Photo by Dane Lojek. Click on image for photo gallery.

SB20 Glenn Bourke and his crew of Rob Jeffreys and Australian Sailing Squad member Jake Lilley have capped off an incredible week of sailing in Tasmania to be crowned the SB20 2015 Australian Champions. Following on from their impressive win in the Tasmanian State titles last week, Bourke was all class, winning four of the eventual 10 race series.

New SB20 boat owner Michael Cooper and his crew Matt Johnston and David Chapman (Export Roo) gave Bourke grief in the first two days of the regatta but Bourke came in to his own on the final day, leaving the fleet in no doubt as to his crew's sailing prowess and intuitive ability to make the most of the variable winds and shifting conditions on the River Derwent.

The regatta was raced in mostly 25 - 20 knot north westerlies although the final day gave the PRO Nick Hutton a few headaches as he shifted the course to accommodate the unpredictable winds. This limited the number of races in the series from a maximum of 12 to 10.

Bourke was full of praise for his crew of Rob Jeffreys and Australian Sailing Squad member Jake Lilley.

"Jake is a very strong young man, very thoughtful, very analytical - but together we have had our fun times on the water, and really enjoyed this regatta. I expect that Jake, a very fine sailor, will be representing Australia at an Olympics very soon," said Bourke.

Bourke (Red) won the series on 14 points, Michael Cooper (Export Roo) was in second place, while Nick Roger (Karabos) took third. Diana Reale/Craig Squires (Realemedia) took out the PHS division. -- Jane Austin

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

Seahorse Magazine

ORC column
2015 is going to be a (very) busy year.
Dobbs Davis

Design - Bang up to date
Umberto Felci, Luca Ungaro and the PlanaTech design and build team review the creation of a brand new - winning - 'one-design'

RORC news - Upgrade!
Eddie Warden-Owen

Seahorse build table - (Sporty) new entrant
Mark Mills introduces the new MATS 1180

Sailor of the Month
Two more huge talents...

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Volvo Ocean Race: Depression Set To Give Race Fleet A Torrid Farewell
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet look set to have an interesting opening to the start of Leg 5 from Auckland on Sunday.

The wind forecasts from Predictwind show winds gusting in to 30knots in the Waitemata Harbour around the start time for the race.

A tropical depression is predicted to move down the east coast of the North Island over the weekend. Forecasts from other sources confirm the depression, but indicate that it will pass further offshore, maybe missing the Volvo Ocean Race fleet.

Its centre will bypass Auckland, but as the fleet near Channel Island at the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf, the winds are predicted to gust to 40kts on Sunday evening. Sea conditions are difficult to predict in the area because it is so affected by tide and tidal overfalls.

Similar conditions for the start of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race in Auckland, sailed in Volvo 70's, caused Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker) to suspend racing and return to Auckland for repairs after smashing a bulkhead off Channel Island.

More moderate winds are expected for the In Port race on Saturday. -- Richard Gladwell in

Renault At Cape Horn, Cheminees Poujoulat At Equator
There is always a measure of relief in completing the passage of Cape Horn, escaping from the hostile Pacific into the Atlantic. But, come early Tuesday morning, it should be a especially pleased Jorg Reichers and Sebastien Audigane who bring sixth placed Renault Captur out of the Pacific and make the left turn, northwards for home.

Since leaving Wellington, NZ on February 23rd after their technical pit stop, the German-French duo have had to sail at reduced speeds because of a problem with their starboard rudder blade. But a rapidly deepening low is threatening to give them a very tough time at Cape Horn if they drop at all behind their current pace, or if the stormy low arrives ahead of forecast. It is due accelerate down the Andes and pick up strength. So theirs is a delicate race against time which will test their seamanship, and their nerves.

For Audigane, 47 today, it will be his fourth passage of Cape Horn and for Riechers it will be his first time. They were working hard today to make sure they and their boat are in the best possible state for the coming 36 hours. All things staying the same as forecast and if they can hold to their routing speed they should be in the lees of the land.

Their fortunes contrast sharply with those of the race leaders Cheminees Poujoulat. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam have just slowed down into the ITCZ, the Doldrums, but even so are due to pass across the Equator later this evening, back into their home, Northern Hemisphere.

Rankings Monday 9th March 2015 at 1400hrs UTC
1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) at 3036.8 miles to finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 1521 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 1702
4. We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 3350
5. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 3365
6. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 4139
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 6019
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

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The Last Word
Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering. -- Arthur C. Clarke

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