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Artemis Challenge and NYYC Challenge Cup
Photo of Tonnerre 4 by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Cowes Week A damp morning, with challenging winds around the rain clouds, failed to squash spirits at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week today. The weather cleared during the afternoon, giving competitors a chance to dry out while enjoying post-race drinks and a display by the RAF's Red Arrows aerobatic team.

The first start of the day was for the 16 celebrity crews on the IMOCA 60s, Volvo 65s and giant trimarans competing in the Artemis Challenge at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Thunder and lightning sweeping across the Solent made for a dramatic start, with visibility closing down to a few hundred metres.

The fleet started setting their giant downwind sails one minute before the start, with the multihulls opting for Code 0s, while the monohulls chose asymmetric spinnakers. The all women crew on the Volvo 65 Team SCA was closest to the line at the gun and moving faster than the rest of the monohulls, although Alex Thompson's IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss was in hot pursuit.

A little before 1330 the first of the giant trimarans could be seen powering up the eastern Solent on the way to finishing their race around the island. Musandam - Oman Sail was first across the line, completing the race in a fraction over three and a half hours, just two minutes ahead of Concise 10, with the new 80ft Prince de Bretagne completing the course three minutes later. The first monohull home was Vincent Riou's IMOCA 60, PRB, in a time of four hours 55 minutes.

The two classes competing for the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup - IRC Big Boats and IRC Class 0 - also started on the extended RYS line, again heading to the west. Hap Fauth's 72ft Mini Maxi Bella Mente was first to set her spinnaker, 15 seconds before the gun, and powered off to another excellent start. Piet Vroon's Ker 51 Tonnere 4 looked to be best positioned at the southern end of the line, before making a quick gybe for clean air and to make best use of the strong west-going tidal eddy close to the Island shore.

The trio of Mini Maxis were less than three minutes apart at the finish, with Bella Mente having a 48-second lead on Dieter Schoen's Momo. However, Tonnerre 4 finished 17 minutes later, with the smaller boat taking victory on corrected time by an impressive 13 minutes. Peter Harrison's TP52 Sorcha took second on handicap and Bella Mente third. -- Rupert Holmes

2015 Zhik 29er World Championship- Late Night In Wales
Pwllheli, Wales: Another late night with sailors coming off the water at 1945pm with 3 races held in the Gold fleet. The morning breeze was better than forecasted with 10-12 knots and each fleet banging off two races. The Gold fleet was in the middle of race 3 for the day when the wind dissipated and the fleet was unable to make the time limit with the race was abandoned. All fleets were sent back to shore to await the promised forecasted wind. Sent back out around 1600, both courses tried their best to log another race, but mother nature was not to cooperate.

Peter Lin Janezic/Anze Podlogar (SLO) moved up considerably in the standings reveling in the light air with a pair of 2's, but their last race was not what they hoped for. Still, their rise moves them to 4th overall and top youth team. Kyle O'Connell/Tom Siganto (AUS) continue to lead the Gold fleet , but Kiwi's Tam Lindsay/William McKenzie have moved ahead of the French team of Gwendal Nael/Pierre Tydgat to claim second.

The Silver fleet was only able to hold 2 races while the Bronze fleet only completed one race for the red flight with green unable to race, despite several attempts by the Race Committee. Matt Venables/John Mather (GBR) remain in the lead of the Silver fleet with the Bronze fleet leaders remaining Tania Bonilla/Nuria Miro (ESP).

Teams are on notice for strong wind & rain for the final day of racing to determine the new 29er World Champion.

Monster Project Racing Charter Has 2 Places Left For The Fastnet
Monster Fastnet To Get On Board Contact: /

MONSTER PROJECT, formerly Team Russia's Volvo Open 70 from the Volvo Ocean Race Round The World, is in high gear for the iconic Rolex Fastnet Race 2015.

This boat is a weapon and generates such a buzz wherever she goes; and Skipper Andy Budgen is caping her racing campaign this year with the the 90th Anniversary of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 and he has moved fast and drawn together an international team.

Fastnet has exceptional take up and has produced a conveyor belt of offshore talent.

If you haven't yet sailed a Fastnet... it's must-do on any offshore sailor's bucket list.

Want to sail it onboard Monster Project as she takes on sailing heavyweights such as Comanche, Hanuman, Rambler 88, and Leopard?


M32 Series: Multiple Winners The First Day In Copenhagen
Under clear skies and in very light wind conditions the races in M32 Series Copenhagen started today. A lot of people enjoyed the action along the shoreline in Tuborg Havn, but due to the light breeze only four races were completed the first day.

Team US One continued their winning streak and won the first race of the day but had a falling performance. Wallen Racing got their parts together in the second race and came out on top. "It has been a roller coaster ride today. Our starts have not been at our usual level, but we have done some work on our boat and we feel that we have a very competitive team right now", says Hans Wallen.

Alite Racing with Martin Strandberg as a skipper finished 6th and 7th in the first two races, but managed to win the third race and ended up as third on the leaderboard at the end. "We didn't start as well as we wanted to, but then we got some momentum going. Tomorrow we are aiming to improve even more", Martin says.

With a win in the last race of the day, Nicklas Dackhammar and Essiq Racing showed everyone that they are a team to really challenge for the trophy this season. With a total of 10 points Essiq is in the lead with US One on second place on the same tally. "We have been working hard on our starts and that paid off today. Our aim is to be top three in every start and we managed to stick to that. We believe in what we do and we trust our decisions. That's a key thing for us", says Nicklas Dackhammar.

Follow the live stream from Tuborg Havn in Copenhagen at

Leaders Emerge After Three Races
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

ORC Europeans Parnu, Estonia: The inshore race portion of the Volvo Estonia ORC European Championship got underway today in perfect 12-15 knot conditions, ideal for two veteran ORC championship teams to take the lead with three races completed in the 7-race series.

On the strength of a 4th place earned in the 50.1-mile offshore race last night and an impressive 2 -1 result today, the Estonian-based X-41 FORTE skippered by Jaak Jögi has taken the early lead in Class A-B, seven points ahead of the German team sailing on EL POCKO, Thomas Jungblut's Puma 42.

FORTE is no stranger to being on top of the leaderboard, having returned from Kiel this time last year with an ORC World Championship title earned in Class B.

And in Class C another proven Estonian-based team has taken the lead: the bright green NM38S SUGAR 2, skippered by Sandro Montefusco from Italy and designed by fellow Italian designer Maurizio Cossutti, won both races today to rise to the top of the standings from their mediocre 7th place showing in the offshore race last night.

A video interview with Montefusco is available at

Complete race results and standings can be viewed on the event website at

Inshore racing will resume Friday an hour earlier than scheduled at 9:55 local time due to the light wind forecast for the afternoon.

Live race tracking on the Sportrec GPS system can be viewed at

Rolex Fastnet Race
Start: Sunday 16th August

Marinas around the Solent are already bristling with activity in the build-up to this Sunday's start of the world's largest offshore yacht race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Rolex Fastnet Race.

A record-sized fleet, at present standing at 372 boats (up from 335 in 2013), is entered in this 90th anniversary event. On Sunday this will be split between seven starts, setting off west down the Solent from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes.

First away at 1200 BST will be the 'non-IRC' classes - the Multihulls, led by the world's fastest offshore racing yacht, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2.

They will be followed 10 minutes later by the Vendee Globe heroes in the IMOCA Ocean Masters class, plus the Class40s and Figaros.

After these comes the huge IRC fleet, culminating in the largest monohulls, such as Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark's 100ft Comanche and George David's Rambler 88, among the last starters at 1340 BST.

* The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the most tactically demanding of the world's classic offshore races. Navigator Hugh Agnew explains the key points to look out for to Matthew Sheahan:

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

Seahorse Magazine

DSS gives you wings
Hugh Welbourn and Gordon Kay describe the evolution of the increasingly mainstream DSS concept

Real progress
Andy Rice talks to John Craig and Will Howden about Rio 2016 in general and about the Nacra 17 catamaran class in particular

For the fun of the thing
Time to celebrate the 90th Fastnet anniversary - with the help of some of the 1925 competitors

Patrice Carpentier on Laurent Bourgnon, Jack Griffin on the limited AC48 design options, Terry Hutchinson chases breeze... and why such fragile 1/4 Tonners?

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Aboard Bloodhound
It was the moment the Royal racing yacht Bloodhound, past winner of the elite Fastnet Challenge Cup, met her match.

We were flying up the Lynn of Morvern off the west coast of Scotland, her mainsail filling in a stiff breeze, when half a dozen "competitors" turned up. At first they were off our stern, then they were streaking effortlessly past us to cavort in our bow wave.

Cruising past misty mountains and sea lochs in a classic wooden sailing boat, in the company of dolphins riding the waves for the fun of it, is as good as sailing gets. "This boat was a Formula One racer in her day, but there's no keeping up with that lot," skipper Steve Judkins admitted.

For most of the year, the 63ft yawl, owned by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the Sixties, is on display alongside Britannia in Edinburgh as part of the Royal Sailing Exhibition. For a couple of months each summer, she is available to the public for day sailings out of Oban, gateway to some of the finest and most scenic sailing areas in Britain.

Day sails on Bloodhound in July and August cost £175pp, for up to eight guests, including breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Look out for special events in 2016, her 80th birthday year -- Gavin Bell in The Telegraph

An Olympic Rehearsal
Photo by Jesus Renedo / SailingEnergy / ISAF. Click on image for photo gallery.

Rio Test Event The Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta will act as a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games with the world's leading sailors, many of whom will be on the Olympic startline, fine tuning their preparations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

From 15-22 August 339 sailors from 52 nations, racing in the ten Olympic sailing events will put themselves to the test across six race courses, three inside and three outside of Guanabara Bay.

Compared to the test events for other Olympic sports, sailing is unique. A large majority of those competing from 15-22 August will go on to Rio 2016 and in many cases the medallists at the test event will realise their dreams in a year's time with an Olympic medal around their neck.

In the build up to London 2012, 18 medallists in the test event went on to take an Olympic honour, a statistic that could well be repeated and even bettered at Rio 2016.

With a wide array of exceptional sailing talent the stakes are high. A strong result at the test event can build up confidence and leave athletes with a can do attitude.

Racing is scheduled to commence at 13:00 on Saturday 15 August with racing concluding on Saturday 22 August.

Jack Bouttell and Gildas Mahe Team Up To Race 'Concise 8' In The 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre
Top Figaro competitor Jack Bouttell is about to strike another ambition off his ocean racing bucket list, as he prepares to race his first Transat Jacques Vabre. Teamed with Gildas Mahe, an accomplished French sailor and fellow Figariste, Jack and Gildas will race 'Concise 8' (Class 40) in the 5,400 transatlantic drag race from France to Brazil starting 25th October 2015.

Jack returns to the Concise crewlist after racing 'Team Concise' in 2008. Jack went on to join the ranks of the Artemis Offshore Academy in 2013 and subsequently raced in three editions of the Solitaire du Figaro. Jack achieved his best Solitaire result this July, finishing 10th overall following a stint aboard 'Dongfeng' in the Volvo Ocean Race- winning Leg 3 under the guide of his mentor Charles Caudrelier, a double Transat Jacque Vabre winner (2009 monohull and 2013 MOD70).

Jack's 'Concise 8' co-skipper Gildas is a five time Solitaire du Figaro competitor, and like many Figaro sailors started out in dinghy and Olympic sailing. In 2014 Gildas finished 4th in the Solitaire du Figaro and 11th in the 4000nm Transat AG2R La Mondiale in 2014, a double-handed transatlantic Figaro race.

With just over two months until the start of the prestigious race, the training starts now for the latest Transat Jacque Vabre duo hoping to sail to victory in Brazil. Concise 8 is one of 14 Class 40s taking part in the race, with a total 42 entries across all four classes. The 2015 Transat Jacque Vabre starts from Le Havre on 25th October 2015.

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The Last Word
So I'm at the wailing wall, standing there like a moron, with my harpoon. -- Emo Philips

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