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Spanish Lead Fleet Out Of New Zealand
Leg five depart. Photos by Ivor Wilkins. Click on image for photo gallery.

VOR Leg 5 Start Iker Martinez (ESP) returned to the helm of MAPFRE to take the first day lead as the closely packed fleet headed out of New Zealand on Wednesday, having been delayed three days by Cyclone Pam.

It is still very early days for the 6,776-nautical mile (nm) Leg 5, the toughest of the race, which is not expected to be concluded until around April 7 in Itajai, south-east Brazil.

However, the Spanish crew continued where they left off after winning Leg 4 from Sanya, China, to Auckland, leading the six boats up the eastern coast of New Zealand's north island towards East Cape.

Martinez missed legs 3 and 4 to concentrate on pre-Olympic training for Rio 2016, but his stand-in, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), did a more than adequate job in his absence as skipper, finishing fourth and first in the red boat.

Winds are currently light - around 10-12 knots - nothing compared with the 35-40 knots the fleet is likely to encounter later in this, the most treacherous leg, which will take them through the Southern Ocean, round Cape Horn, and back into the Atlantic for the first time since November.

The fleet is currently heading towards East Cape across the Bay of Plenty in less than 10 knots of breeze, as the boats sailed into their first night at sea.

"After passing East Cape, it will be full on," says Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Onboard Reporter, Matt Knighton (USA).

Heading: Home!
The Azores high pressure system has proven to be a road block for Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam. Their passage northwards at the head of the Barcelona World Race fleet, saw them running out of breeze and so their tack eastwards, towards the Straits of Gibraltar, was made early this morning. And as the Swiss-French duo progress east towards the Moroccan coast, passing south of Madeira, they will reconnect with the better NE'ly trade winds.

Cheminees Poujoulat has 1100 miles to sail until the welcome of the pillars of Hercules the iconic gates to the Mediterranean formed by the Rock of Gibraltar on the European coast and Jebel Musa (852m high) in Morocco's Rif mountains.

The Swiss-French duo are due to pass back through the gates the evening of Sunday 22nd March. It will remain upwind all the way to the Moroccan coast but they should be progressively lifted as the trade wind backs a little more N'ly as they get closer to the coast. Today they were about 500 miles WNW of the Canary Islands. After tacking this morning their angle looked pretty horrible, pointing almost directly towards the islands, certainly south of east, but that has improved with speed today, making between nine and ten knots. Their lead remains static at just over 900 miles - or three to four days - ahead of Neutrogena.

Rankings Wednesday 18th March at 1400hrs UTC

1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) 1605 miles to finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 906 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 1011
4. We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 2137
5. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 2154
6. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 3340
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 4654
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

HPYD5 - A Knowledge Sharing And Networking Success
Auckland, New Zealand: Attendees from around the world at the fifth High Performance Yacht Design (HPYD5) conference last week enjoyed a busy schedule of technical papers, networking with fellow specialists, visiting world-leading hi-tech companies and making the most of a unique opportunity to observe close up the local stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.

"Auckland HPYD is now firmly established as one of the big three yacht design conferences in the world," said conference chairman Graeme Finch. Along with similar conferences in France and America, it offers those in the sailing field outstanding opportunities to stay current with advances in the field. Naval architects, engineers, builders, designers and researchers from 15 countries attended the conference.

The program for HPYD5, with its list of all papers, can be found at

Proceedings are available as printed papers for NZ$200 -- Keith Taylor

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?

Wine From Civil War-Era Shipwreck Uncorked
A bottle of wine recovered intact four years ago from the 1864 wreck of a Civil War blockade runner that sank off the coast of Bermuda has been uncorked and sipped by a panel of experts on Friday during a food festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

The verdict: A heady sulphur bouquet with distinct notes of saltwater and gasoline.

The wine was uncorked at a Charleston Wine and Food event titled From Deep Below: A Wine Event 150 Years in the Making.

About 50 people bought tickets to watch as a panel of wine experts decanted and tasted it on Friday evening, organisers said.

"I've had shipwreck wines before," master sommelier Paul Roberts said.

"They can be great."

This one, obviously, was not.

To peals of audience laughter, the panel said the cloudy yellow-gray liquid smelled and tasted like a mixture of crab water, gasoline, salt water and vinegar, with hints of citrus and alcohol.

Luna Rossa Starts Second Round Of Mods
Following over two months of training on the water with the two "flying" AC45s, Luna Rossa is now at work on the second phase of boat development.

The next 40 days will be dedicated to new structural modifications of the catamarans based on the results of the sea trials carried out in the past months.

Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa, said: "The design of any winning boat requires a close collaboration between sailors, designers and the shore team: each modification is the result of months of tests, simulations and a constant search of performing solutions. The feedback that the sailors give to the designers regarding their feelings onboard is crucial. If this is true for all boats, it is even more important in the design of full-foiling catamarans, where each parameter is taken to the extreme."

In the coming weeks the team will focus therefore on the development of the boats; the new modifications will be tested during the next phase of sea trials scheduled for mid-April.

Ainslie Getting To Grips With Bermuda
Ben Ainslie Racing, one of the challengers for the 35th America's Cup, have returned to Bermuda with their full team for a second training camp in two months.

The British racing syndicate, led by team principal and helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie, are back to gather additional data that will prove vital in the design of the team's AC62 catamaran to be used in the America's Cup play-offs, previously known as the Louis Vuitton Cup, and America's Cup match that Bermuda will host in 2017.

"We are getting used to the place and conditions to try to understand some of the conditions to feed back to our designers and give them input into what we think the fastest boat's characteristics will be in a place like this," Paul Campbell-James, the wingman on BAR's AC45, said.

"Obviously Bermuda is very small for an America's Cup venue, so there is going to be a lot of manoeuvres practised and the boats have got to be set up so that you can throw them about."

Another objective of the training exercise is to enhance the team's foiling capability on both ends of the racetrack.

BAR launched in Bermuda last January before returning to the UK to test their modified AC45, which is a prototype for the team's AC62 that will be rolled out next year.

"We've got our 45-foot foiler back on the Solent and have been getting some really good time in that considering the British winter, which is obviously pretty chilly," Campbell-James said.

"We've been out in the snow, been out in gales and no wind. We've had a bit of everything but it's actually going really well.

"Over there we are dressed in about ten layers and now we are here in shorts and I actually had to buy a pair of sunglasses because it was too sunny." -- Colin Thompson

Gaastra Palmavela 2015
With less than 50 days to go before the start of the twelfth edition of the race Gaastra - PalmaVela, the rate of pre-registrations indicates a new successful level of participation, in the event organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma. More than fifty teams have confirmed their intention to compete in the first major event of the regatta season in the Mediterranean.

The registration period ends on March 30th.

The regatta Gaastra - PalmaVela will be held in the bay of Palma de Mallorca from April 29th to May 3rd.

The competition program will consist of four days of racing, with the first start scheduled for 12h00 on Thursday, April 30th. The different classes will alternate coastal and inshore racing in the Bay of Palma until Sunday May 3rd, when the final prize giving will be held in the Real Club Nautico de Palma.

The PalmaVela regatta is organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma and the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation. It's scoring will count for the 2015 circuit of IMA (International Maxi Association) and the official circuit of the Wally class, and the Spanish Cup of Disabled Sailing for the Hansa 303 and 2.4 classes.

US Sailing's Olympic Development Program
Following an unprecedented $5 million donation by the AmericaOne Foundation, US Sailing has begun implementing a new-look Olympic Development Program (ODP), guided by its Project Pipeline strategic initiative. Starting in March 2015, promising American youth sailors will begin to receive world-class coaching support from the program in high-performance classes.

Working in conjunction with the major American youth sailing institutions, classes and events already in place, the ODP will help guide the way for motivated sailors who are ready and looking to successfully transition from important skill-building classes like the Optimist, Sabot, Techno 293 and Club 420 into high-performance classes.

Many of the events attended by ODP representatives will also be used to help identify athletes with the talent, potential, and drive to get the most out of newly organized ODP Training Camps. These camps, funded by US Sailing, will bring together top youth talent with some of the best coaches and technical experts in the world. Multiple camps will be held each year, primarily in 29er and Laser Radial classes, as well as the other types of boats that compete at the US Youth Sailing Championship and the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.

Host Ports For The Tall Ships Races 2018
Cherbourg, France; Esbjerg, Denmark; Stavanger, Norway and Sunderland, United Kingdom - have today (Monday 3 November) been told the good news that their bids to host The Tall Ships Races 2018 have been accepted.

The Tall Ships last visited Cherbourg in 2005, an event which saw more than 600,000 visitors flocking to the town - and they have pledged to make 2018 even bigger and better.

The Tall Ships Races have been to Esbjerg in 1993, 2001 and during the summer of 2014, where the excitement of the event captured both the port and the city.

Stavanger is going to be a Tall Ships Races host port for the fourth time in 2018 claiming to be 'better rigged than ever' to host The Tall Ships Races fleet and crews. The three previous events were in 1997, 2004 and 2011.

Sunderland is a city with an international outlook in the north of England, enjoying both a spectacular coastline and a river that runs through the city centre.

Sunderland was once the largest shipbuilding town in the world and there is much excitement about bringing ships back onto the River Wear as part of The Tall Ships Races 2018. Over recent years its seafront has undergone extensive regeneration works and is fast becoming a vibrant 'home of shipbuilding.'

David Cook
David Cook It is with great sadness that ISAF reports that David Cook (NZL) has passed away.

David was the recipient of an ISAF Silver Medal in 2004 for his services that spread across many years within the world governing body of sailing.

He served as a Centreboard Boat Committee Member from 1991 to 1997 and subsequently became Chairman of the Committee in 1998. He held the position through to 2004 and also represented the Centreboard Boat Committee on the ISAF Sailing Committee.

David served as Yachting New Zealand President from 1995-96 and was awarded Yachting New Zealand Life membership for his services to the organisation.

ISAF expresses its sincere condolences to David's family and friends in the sailing world.

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 Lazslo Permynis: The announcement about "Good News for Offshore Sailors" in Issue #3293 is rather confusing, because US Sailing had similar Good News recently about having Jay Hansen come aboard to help with all the same functions ORA claims it will do for its ORR customers. Jay has had a solid track record at helping build the success of the North Technology Group, so US Sailing seems serious at improving its act.

So, whose in charge here - the national governing body of the sport, or this other organization unknown and untested for performing the same functions? Did ORA get permission from US Sailing to take over these duties? Or is this the start of a civil war?

Surely this lack of unity and confusion cannot be Good News for offshore sailors in the US...

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The Last Word
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