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Departing Lisbon
Overall Volvo Ocean Race leaders, Ian Walker (GBR) and his seven Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crewmates, left Lisbon for Leg 8 to Lorient, France, on Sunday with their eyes glued on the weather forecast - and the progress of their two closest rivals.

The penultimate 647-nautical mile (nm) stage is the shortest of the nine-month race by some way, but no less challenging for that.

Walker summed up: "There are light winds chasing up the Portuguese coast, but by the time we get to Cape Finisterre, it should be a dead beat to Lorient (France), and probably quite windy, over 30 knots."

He is banking on plenty of upwind sailing. "It'll be interesting as we haven't had a lot of upwind in this race. We don't really know what the pecking order is in these conditions, so it could be a very different leg from the others."

The fleet, restored to seven boats again after the return of Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) in Lisbon, following the rebuild from the collision with a reef in Leg 2, should take three to four days to reach Lorient on the Brittany coast.

The Emirati boat, on paper, is able to clinch overall victory if results go their way when the boats arrive after around four days of sailing.

The fleet is expected to reach Lorient early on Thursday (June 11). They will have a short maintenance period there before setting off for the final leg to Gothenburg, via a pit-stop in The Hague, on Tuesday, June 16.

Current latest standings (low points wins, In-Port Race Series splits ties):

1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 16 points
2. Team Brunel (Netherlands), 22
3. Dongfeng Race Team (China), 22
4. Team Alvimedica (Turkey/U.S.), 27
5. MAPFRE (Spain), 27
6. Team SCA (Sweden), 43
7. Team Vestas Wind (Denmark), 52

Position report at: 07 Jun 21:44 UTC

MAPFRE, 664 nm to leg finish
Team Alvimedica, 0.3 nm to leader
Team SCA, 0.6
Dongfeng Race Team, 1.6
Team Brunel, 1.6
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 1.7
Team Vestas Wind, 2.5

MAPFRE Wins In Port Race
Lisbon, Portugal: Spanish boat MAPFRE (Iker Martinez/ESP) won their second Volvo Ocean Race in-port race running on Saturday, but only with two metres to spare after a thrilling contest in the Portuguese sun.

Helmed by skipper Iker Martinez, who needed all his feted match-racing skills, MAPFRE edged past Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) in a sprint to the finish line as they gybed together at exactly the same time.

At one stage, it looked as if the Spanish boat would take a penalty for blocking the Emirati boat's path, but former 2004 Olympic champion, Martinez, judged the final manouevre to perfection.

The win, one second ahead, moves the Spaniards back into an outside chance of a podium finish in the series after winning the previous in-port race in Newport, Rhode Island, last month (see Scoreboard).

Lisbon In-Port Race results
1. MAPFRE 14:59:39 - 1pt
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 14:59:40 - 2pts
3. Team Alvimedica 15:05:07 - 3pts
4. Team SCA 15:08:38 - 4pts
5. Team Brunel 15:09:44 - 5pts
6. Dongfeng Race Team 15:13:07 - 6pts
7. Team Vestas Wind 15:15:14 - 7pts

In-Port Race Overall standings
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 21pts
2. Team Brunel - 25pts
3. Team SCA - 28pts
4. Team Alvimedica - 31pts
5. MAPFRE - 32pts
6. Dongfeng Race Team- 33pts
7. Team Vestas Wind - 59pts

Big Breeze, Four-Meter Swell amd Storms for Figaro Leg 2
On Sunday 7th March at 1300 CET, the 39 boat Solitaire du Figaro fleet set off on the shortened 515 mile Leg 2 course from Sanxenxo, Spain to La Cornouaille, France. Light airs forced the move of the start line and a postponement of the start by 30 minutes

Wrestling for the top spot with Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and Corentin Dougeut (Sofinther - Un Maillot Pour La Vie).

However, the light winds of the Spanish coastline should be short lived, with Leg 2 set to be characterized by strong winds on the nose, rolling swell, a physical upwind leg for over 500 miles. The British skippers will be strapping their possessions down and themselves in for a long and uncomfortable drive through the first night, starting with a rough upwind ride in 30 to 40 knots around Cape Finisterre.

"This is going to be the windiest upwind Figaro race I've ever done," Nick Cherry reported ahead of the race. "There are three distinct stages - light and interesting for the first night, then really windy round the corner, then that last part is quite oceanic, crossing Biscay - it should be interesting."

After a light and tactical crossing from France to Spain during Leg 1, the Bay of Biscay is then set to show its true colours in this leg. With 50 knots forecast offshore, Race Director Gilles Choirri changed the course to take the sailors into the east of the bay to a 'virtual' mark off Gijon, Spain - keeping them out of the worst of the weather.

From there, the skippers will bypass Ile d'Yeu and head straight for the finish line in Corncarneau. The forecast out on the course is still anything between 20 and 40 knots upwind for the duration, making for a wet and physical race and taking as long as four days to complete.

Top ten at 700 PM local time:

1. Green Circle, Gildas Morvan, 456.06 nm to leg finish
2. Sofinther - A Jersey For Life, Corentin Douguet, 0.24 nm to leader
3. Skipper Macif 2014, Yoann Richomme, 0.27
4. Gedimat, Thierry Chabagny, 0.60
5. Redshift, Nick Cherry, 0.94
6. Qualiconfort - The Beautiful Watch, Gildas Mahe, 0.99
7. Queguiner Group - Hope Leukemia, Yann Elies, 1.00
8. Team Vendee, Benjamin Dutreux, 1.06 (first rookie)
9. Normandy Region, Sophie Faguet, 1.13
10. Britain - Credit Mutuel Hope, Sebastien Simon, 1.20

Dubarry Ultima - Loved By Sailors
Dubarry Ultima It's hard to love a pair of boots. They either do a job or they don't. Some will have great grip and others will send you crashing down to the deck like some slapstick comedian. Some will keep the water out, others will leak like a pair of bespoke footbaths. Some will breathe to keep you comfortable, others will slowly baste your feet in their own sweat. Some will look great, others like you've just escaped from a circus.

Even if you do find a pair that ticks every box, that looks good, grips well and keeps you warm, dry and comfortable, you'd still struggle to love a boot. Unless, of course, it's a Dubarry boot. Take the Ultima, with its blend of rich, supple leather and durable man-made fibres, the hi tech GORE-TEX liner that acts like an air conditioner, the award-winning grip of the sole - yes, those are all there, recognised benchmarks of quality, but what you can't see or touch or smell is the soul. Ultima boots have it in abundance because, like you, they change. They gain experience at sea and improve with age just as surely as you do. That's why sailors love them.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

Xavier Rohart & Sebastien Guidoux Star European Champions
Gaeta, Italy: The Gaeta Yacht Club hosted a fantastic 2015 International Star European Championship and it will always be remembered for an amazing battle on the water, which was eventually won by Xavier Rohart and Sebastien Guidoux. Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada was second by 0.7 of a point with Torben Grael and Guilherme de Almeida on the last step of the podium.

Augie Diaz & Bruno Prada took silver by literally a few seconds.

Torben Grael and Guilherme de Almeida did not win a single race but the Brazilian team's tenacity after a collision on Day Three was rewarded by third place for the championship. Lars Grael and Samuel Goncalves, also started well but two poor results on Day Three put the ISCYRA President, out of the running for the overall win, even though the Brazilian pair won the last race of the championship.

The European Championship is one of ISCYRA Silver events, and it is worth many points for the Star Sailors League ranking, leading to the 2015 SSL Finals in Nassau in December. Before that, this year, for the first time there will be a Star Sailors League Lake Grand Slam in Grandson, Switzerland, from 8th to 12th September.

Final top ten: 1. Xavier Rohart / Sebastien Guidoux, FRA, 19.3
2. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada, USA, 20
3. Torben Grael / Guillherme de Almeida, BRA, 23
4. Lars Grael / Samuel Goncalves, BRA, 28
5. TIbor Tenke / Miklos Bezereti, HUN, 31
6. Mark Reynolds / Sergio Lambertenghi, USA, 33
7. Hubert Merkelbach / Gerrit Bartel, GER, 46
8. Alessandro Pascolato / Henry Boening, BRA, 52
9. Nando Colaninno / Federico Colaninno, ITA, 55
10. Admar Neto / Alexandre Figueiredo de Freitas, BRA, 64

Full results:

Winners Crowned On A Windless Final Day In Porto Cervo
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Loro Piana The day dawned soft, and it was clear that the race committee would face a big challenge trying to get a final race in for the fleet of sailing superyachts taking part in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta. There was all to play for - at the top of Class A, the yachts Saudade and Ganesha were tied for first place, while the Perini Navi Clan VIII and Vitters ketch Marie were tied for third.

The winners of Classes B and C were already set, with both Pier Luigi Loro Piana's yacht My Song and Massimiliano Florio's Southern Wind Grande Orazio sitting on three wins out of three - but third place in Class C was still up for grabs as Blues and the Spirit Yachts 100 Gaia sat on equal points with Cape Arrow just one point behind.

Sadly, it was not to be - the race officers tried to start a race but part way up the first beat it was clear that what wind there was was slowly dying, and with regret they called the yachts who had already started back to the start area to see if the breeze would build again. It didn't, and at 1430 the race committee hoisted november over alpha - the signal flags that announce racing is being abandoned for the day. It meant that Saudade would take Class A on countback over Ganesha.

The overall standings:

Class A
1. Saudade, 45.19m, Wally
2. Ganesha, 46m, Vitters Shipyard
3. Clan VIII, 45m, Perini Navi

Class B
1. My Songm, 25.4m, Cookson
2. WinWin, 33m, Baltic
3. Inoui, 33.4m , Green Marine / Vitters

Class C
1. Grande Orazio, 25m, Southern Wind
2. Nahita, 24m , Wally
3. Blues, 30m, Southern Winds

The Podium Is Open In Sardinia
The first regatta of the 2015 52 SUPER SERIES proved there is no real hierarchy established in the white hot TP52 fleet this early in the season. With a very high proportion of race teams still looking to get the best, the final 10-15% per cent of performance, from their newly launched 2015 boats, it is widely believed that any one of six or seven teams have already proven they have the credentials and the hardware to win a regatta this season, and there is certainly no outstanding favourite to win the overall 2015 52 Super Series title.

Due to long planned business commitments last month's Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week regatta winner RAn Racing's owner Niklas Zennstrom, and his crew, are unable to race in the second of the season's five regattas, next week's Settima Delle Boche hosted in Sardinia by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. But the nine boat fleet will still comprise eight new 2015 TP52s.

Valencia revealed five different boats as race winners. Four teams won two races and Azzurra, who will be on home waters next week, won three, and two different boats - Ran and Andy Soriano's Alegre - lead the regatta at different stages.

Racing starts Tuesday with the final prizegiving Saturday.

(Very) Big Business - Harken
Harken Harken is already anticipating a new generation of even larger mega-sloops with the development of its latest 70-Ton PowerReel Captive Reel winch

Until 2014, Harken offered eight sizes of Captive reel winches with maximum working loads (MWL) of 1.5 to 25 metric tons and tensioners to fit six configurations. This range of Harken winches, coupled with their innovative tensioners, already offered highly-efficient sheet-management solutions for all of today's rope types. However, the rumours that 80 to 100 metre sloops were progressing to design stage were beginning to swirl, and we felt it inevitable that a build of unprecedented magnitude would soon be a reality.

Testing to and beyond the 70-ton working load that megasloops will someday generate required the completion of a 20-metre, 25,000kg steel test bench. This is now the fifth and largest of the test benches in the Harken Italy factory. The bench's flexible platform is designed to accommodate different layouts to simulate a variety of operating conditions. Built for load tests of up to 100 tons, it also allows the addition of a pulley for deviation.

Full article in Seahorse magazine:

Francis Joyon To Tackle The Crewed Round The World Record
Click on image to enlarge.

Joyon IDEC Since 2008, he has held the solo round the world record, but now Francis Joyon at the age of 59 is about to attempt what would be a historic double in the history of ocean racing. The skipper of the IDEC SPORT maxi-multihull will be attempting his first crewed record and going straight for the big one: the outright crewed round the world record (Jules Verne Trophy), which is currently held by Loïck Peyron with a time of 45 days.

To take up this new challenge, Joyon will be setting off aboard Franck Cammas's former Groupama 3, the boat that took the Jules Verne Trophy in 2010, as well as winning the last two editions of the Route du Rhum.

This new maxi-multihull displaying the colours of IDEC SPORT will be tackling the round the world record with a short-handed crew on a sort of commando raid. The new race programme drawn up between the skipper and his partner, the IDEC Group for the coming years, will in particular enable Francis to open up a new sailing route, wh! en he sets off in late 2016 to establish a new ocean racing record between France and China.

Francis, the solo record-breaking sailor, is a newcomer to crewed racing. Sticking with his principle of simplicity and efficiency, he has opted for a smaller rig on his new trimaran, a configuration usually associated with solo sailing. This choice means he will have a smaller crew at his side with a maximum of six people on board for the Jules Verne attempt. In comparison, there were ten on board Groupama 3 and 14 on Banque Populaire V.

Jules Verne Trophy reference time: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds

Yachting Australia Remembers Alan Bond
Alan Bond Yachting Australia offers it condolences to the family of Alan Bond, who passed away in Perth today.

Best known for his funding of the syndicate that wrested the America's Cup from the hands of the Americans after 132 years in 1983, Alan had a long sailing career and raised the profile of the sport in Australia and around the world over many decades.

At a time when some of Australia's most successful skippers took part, two Admirals' Cup campaigns beckoned for Alan, his first in in 1973 with Apollo II and then again in 1981 with Apollo V.

Yachting Australia President Matt Allen recalls sailing on one of his Yachts as a 20 year old, saying, "I clearly remember he was one of the most positive people I've ever met with an incredible determination and strong will to succeed.

"He was a huge influence on the sport of sailing and while he is best remembered for the success of the America's Cup campaign, he loved international racing, particularly the Admirals' Cup, and many ocean-racing campaigns.

"The America's Cup win was quite a moment in Australia's history and one that will remain in the sailing record books. However Alan Bond made a broader impact on our sport, both at home and internationally, and we are grateful for his contribution", added Matt Allen.

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The Last Word
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