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The Final 500
Cheminees Poujoulat passes Gibraltar. Click on image to enlarge.

Barcelona World Race Jean Le Cam and Bernard Stamm on board Cheminees Poujoulat have become the first team to return to the Mediterranean in the Barcelona World Race, crossing the longitude of Gibraltar Sunday morning at 08.30 (UTC). The leaders kept a course close to the North African shore, before a rapid transit through the Straits in a 20-knot southerly.

Cheminees Poujoulat now has fewer than 500 miles to cover before their arrival at the finish in Barcelona, and they are currently expected to arrive at lunchtime on Wednesday, March 25. They are currently heading north-east, on the Spanish side of the Alboran Sea, and can expect a period of upwind sailing in 5-10 knot winds over the next 24 hours due to a high pressure system south of Spain.

Second-placed Neutrogena is now on an east-bound course. Having reached the limits of the north-easterly trade winds yesterday afternoon, Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz made the turn for Europe ye sterday evening and are now sailing in more northerly breezes of 15-20 knots. Around 125 miles to the south-west, GAES Centros Auditivos has shadowed their manoeuvre in third and is now also heading east.

Rankings Sunday 22nd March at 1400hrs UTC

1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) 471.5 miles to finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 1295.3 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 1448
4. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 2516.6
5. We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 2613.4
6. Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 3833.4
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 4678.4
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

Women's Keelboat Championship Returns
Following a lay-year in 2014, the Dubarry Women's Open Keelboat Championship will be making a return for 2015.

This year the event, hosted once again by Hamble River Sailing Club, is being held earlier in the season than usual, on the weekend of 30/31 May. The volunteer team which organises WOKC is delighted that Dubarry has agreed to return as title sponsor, having been involved as race or title sponsor since the event's inception in 2008. This means there are some great prizes up for grabs yet again.

The event format will focus on IRC racing and organisers hope to be able to split the fleet into two classes. For those with an available boat, but no current IRC certificate, the RORC Rating Office will issue a Limited Validity certificate. One Design Classes will also be catered for if there are sufficient entries. -- James Boyd in

Volvo Ocean Race: Which Route To Cape Horn?
"Within two days, we've a good chance of a 400 or maybe 500 mile split in the fleet," says Bouwe Bekking. Let's all move closer to the roulette table, because the stakes are about to get raised in the Volvo Ocean Race. Navigators: Place your bets.

There's also a good chance that our navigator Andrew Cape will throw me straight overboard if he hears me comparing the noble art of navigation to a game of chance. Is that why he studies hundreds of weather models? Or stares at the various routes towards Cape Horn for days on end. That's the art of navigating. Within two days, the navigators need to choose between two totally different routes. The northern route or the southern route...

* This leg has been a rude awakening for Dongfeng Race Team. Until now, working collectively as a team, they have been able to compensate for the lack of experience of the Chinese sailors. Despite the fact the Chinese sailors are smart, learning quickly and their enthusiasm unparalleled - you can't fool the Southern Ocean. And for the first time since the beginning of the race, performance is compromised as Charles openly admits that to perform well in bad weather conditions, experience is the only thing that counts.

"We've been trying our hardest over the past 36 hours to make a comeback. Unfortunately our 4 tacks to get some separation to the south haven't worked out, and the leading trio have stretched out their lead - the right solution was to continue straight ahead.

In our group of Southerners, we have really suffered from the anticyclone and its unstable wind.

Yesterday we were totally stopped in a wind hole and we lost 10 miles on SCA and 5 on Mapfre in just 2 hours. -- Charles Caudrelier

1. Team Brunel
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 48.5 nm to leader
3. Team Alvimedica, 53.5
4. Dongfeng Race Team, 71.7
5. Team SCA, 83.9
6. MAPFRE, 86.2
7. Team Vestas Wind - Did not start

Cowes Week Ltd Seeks New Sailing Director
Cowes Week The organisers of the world famous Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week regatta are seeking a new Sailing Director to replace Stuart Quarrie, who will retire following this year's regatta in August.

The Sailing Director role is a full time post, and carries a responsibility to retain and further develop Cowes Week's position as a "must-do" regatta on the global sailing calendar. The organisers are looking for someone who is well-known on the yachting and racing circuit, has the vision to take the regatta forward and can work with existing and potential entrants, class associations and organising clubs to ensure the event offers the best possible racing experience.

The new Sailing Director will work as part of a small executive team and also with the member clubs of Cowes Combined Clubs through the regatta's Sailing Committee. An attractive package is available to the right person, with a salary of c£50k, depending on experience. The closing date for applications is 7th April 2015 and it is anticipated that interviews will be held during the week commencing 20th April. The successful candidate will start in July 2015, gaining some experience of this year's regatta, before taking over from Stuart in August.

Anyone interested in the role should request further details from Peter Dickson, Chairman of CWL, at

18 Skiff Australian Championship
The final day of the 18ft Skiff Australian Championship ended in disarray with a "sprint" conducted to conclude the Championship. This was news to the crew of Pure Blonde, who had sailed for the beach after the first race, under the impression that sailing had again been abandoned for the day.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers emerged cleanly from the fleet in a farcical start with little wind to propel the fleet forward. Gotta Love It 7 and local entry Smit Lamnalco, skippered by Josh Franklin, appeared to be using local knowledge; taking a line that maximised what little breeze was now blowing across the course.

While 7 were first to round the top mark, a poor tactical choice in the run to the line saw them left drifting in the fickle breeze while the crews of Thurlow, Mojo and Keagan York's sailed away to a strong lead down the right side of the course, with Mojo eventually taking the narrow win over Thurlow on the line.

Top five final results:
Overall Results: (top five)
1. Gotta Love It 7
2. Mojo Wine
3. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers
4. Yandoo
5. Pure Blonde

From Sailweb:


Rubbish Collection Boats At Rio 2016 Sailing Venue Remain Suspended Over Cost Fears
Rubbish collection using ecoboats in Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay remains suspended indefinitely, despite next year's Olympics and Paralympics being only 17 months away, insidethegames has been told.

Work will not resume on the programme to try to clear the venue for sailing until the project has been "optimised and the fleet expanded".

A Dutch Research Institute has been hired to create a forecasting system to identify areas where debris-levels are particularly high, which can therefore be targeted by collectors.

But the project has been postponed due to the lack of ecoboats from which the rubbish can be collected.

Although most of the pollution concerns have focused around Guanabara Bay, there are also fears about the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas rowing and canoe sprint venue, as well as Copacabana Bay where triathlon and open water swimming is due to be held.

SAP 5O5 World Championship
Port Elizabeth, South Africa: SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) and the Algoa Bay Yacht Club welcome the SAP 5O5 World Championship back in Africa for its 60th edition. This year's SAP 5O5 World Championships will see over 40 competitors travel from all over the world to the 'Watersport Capital of South Africa', Port Elizabeth.

From March 28 fans can follow every second of every race of the SAP 5O5 World Championship in real -time wherever they are live on the official website Sailing experts Andy Rice, Alec Wilkinson and Marcus Baur will present the final days of racing from April 1. The starting signal is given in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on March 25 with the Pre-Worlds Regatta, followed by the SAP 5O5 World Championship from 28 March - 3 April.

Mini Transat 2015
On 19 September 2015, there will be 84 competitors heading out to do battle with the Atlantic for the 20th edition of the Mini Transat. As was the case in 2013, the race will set sail from Douarnenez in north-west Brittany.

For this second edition starting out from Douarnenez - the third if we go back to 1991 when the town first hosted the Mini Transat - the Douarnenez Courses team is building on past experience whilst ensuring continuity with a return to Douarnenez' first harbour, the basin of Port Rhu, a genuine showcase for the Mini fleet that proved so successful in 2013.

With some 78 racers already pre-registered, the Mini Transat is once again guaranteed to have a full line-up. Among the entries we find some of last edition's front runners in the proto ranking including Michele Zambelli, Ludovic Mechin and Romain Mouchel, who are back once more to try their luck. They'll be joined by some of the movers and shakers of the Mini Class, who have traded in their series boats for a prototype, such as Clement Bouyssou and Davy Beaudart with his Maximum, the sistership to the famous Magnum, which won the Mini Transat 2011 and secured second place in the Mini Transat 2013.

In the series fleet, all eyes will be on the battle between the Nacira designs, which dominated the competition in 2013 in the hands of Damien Cloarec, Jonas Gerckens and Patrick Girod. Also worth following are the Argos, led by Tanguy Le Turquais, and the two latest newcomers (provided they are granted the status of a series boat), the Pogo 3 and the Ofcet, skippered by Ian Lipinski and Julien Pulve respectively.

Marinassess Women's Match Racing Regatta
Sarah Parker and her crew of Evelyn Foster, Clare Costanzo, Rachel Bower and Lauren Crossman from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club capitalised on their dominant performance of yesterday to take out the Marinassess Women's Match Racing Regatta hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Parker and her crew took on six other crews, all representatives of the CYCA. They came into the final day with a perfect scorecard of 7-7, and went on to defeat Lauren Gallaway, Rayshele Martin, Kathleen Stroinovsky, Angelique Kear and Antoinette Radford 2-1 in the final after the latter finished second-best yesterday with an 8-6 scorecard.

In the semi-final, Parker chose the crew of Kirstin Norris/Louise Tillett/Nicky Bradley/Bryony Gregory/Iris Ferguson as her crew's opponents, defeating them 2-0 to advance to the final.

At just 16, Lauren Gallaway and her crew were thrilled with their runner-up finish.

In the petit-final, Kirstin Norris defeated Caitlin James for third place.

Crews sailed in similar to conditions to those of yesterday, with light shifty winds to start the day off. Winds increased moderately throughout the day, helping the top two crews, both of whom had five girls aboard. -- Di Pearson

Full results

Jeanie Johnston Museum Ship Damaged By Water
Jeanie Johnston, the replica famine tallship is undergoing repairs for water damage caused by sitting on Dublin's quayside for the last five years, writes The Sunday Times.

The ship, owned by the soon-to-be-defunct Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), was as previously reported on dry docked for the first time late last year because of fears about its condition.

The ship, which operates as a museum, currently has scaffolding around its hull as damaged timber is repaired, which Afloat also reported on after she vacated Dublin Graving Docks Ltd last November.

Last week, the DDDA said the ship could not be repaired until now because of a shortage of money.

South Pacific Islands - How To Help
Cruising sailors are among those helping the South Pacific islands devastated by Cyclone Pam on Thursday. The island nations of Vanuatu and the Solomon islands were left devastated by the full force of the cyclone with winds in excess of 200mph. In Vanuatu the emergency has been big enough to trigger International Aid so whilst the job is massive, many planes are already arriving with supplies. Temotu (North East Solomon Islands) has been affected as badly as Vanuatu but, as fewer people live there, it has not triggered an International Aid effort, leaving them with little help. Members of the Ocean Cruising Club, many of whom have visited these islands and made friends among the residents, have asked how best to reach out with assistance that will have the most beneficial impact on the lives of those most affected.

Jim Thomsen, s/v Tenaya, responded, "There are many international organisations that will be helping Vanuatu. One organization, Sea Mercy, has their own sailboats and focuses on reaching the remote islands that are usually the last to receive aid." Sea Mercy is now preparing to send her Disaster Relief Fleet (DRFleet) to join the Disaster Relief & Recovery efforts in Vanuatu, providing the care needed for the less populated and often forgotten remote islands during such difficult times.

Chris Bone of Oceans Watch responded that it would be best to have a larger impact in Temotu than a small impact in the whole of Vanuatu so they are currently concentrating efforts there. They can also help the smaller northern group of Islands in Vanuatu if it looks like they will miss out on aid assistance. Jim Thomsen reports that remote Tanna may have been the hardest hit island in Vanuatu.

The Ocean Cruising Club commends the strategy of these two organisations to reach those hardest hit and least likely to receive immediate international aid.

Sea Mercy


Ocean Cruising Club

From Afloat magazine:

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The Last Word
Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. -- Terry Pratchett

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