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Rolex Fastnet Race: Celtic Sea Rush Hour Traffic
First arrivals in the Rolex Fastnet Race are due into Plymouth in the early hours of Wednesday morning. But for sure the only records likely to be broken in this 90th anniversary edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship 603 mile offshore race will be for slowness.

The opportunity to better the multihull record, set by Spindrift 2 in 2011 in her original incarnation as Banque Populaire V, came and went on Monday night at a time when Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's 40m trimaran was just past the Fastnet Rock.

Similarly the chance to break Ian Walker and the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing VO70's monohull race record, also set in 2011, came and went at around 0700 BST this morning, at which time Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark's on the water leader, the 100ft Comanche, was parked just beyond the Fastnet Rock Traffic Separation Scheme.

As Comanche skipper Ken Read reported: "We sat there for exactly four hours not moving - I know that because it was almost to a minute the duration of my watch! We had a little westerly-going current early on and some easterly current for the last hour and a half and we zigzagged back and forth with the current waiting for the breeze to fill in."

Read said that he was not surprised that Dieter Schon's Maxi 72 Momo had managed to make severe inroads into them early this morning - it was all part of the normal offshore racing 'yoyo'. "If we run into a parking lot then everyone can catch us up. Fortunately at other times we get to stretch our legs - like we are doing right now." Saying that, Read observed that George David's Rambler 88, although a slower boat, was coming in from behind with increasing pressure. "The further ahead you are, right now, the lighter it is."

Spindrift 2 Gets Multi-Hull Line Honours
Dona Bertarelli. Click to enlarge photo of the Spindrift2 team

Spindrift2 18 Aug 22:57:41 BST: Spindrift 2 gets Multihull-Line Honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 after 2 days 10:57:41 at sea.

On August 18th at 23:57:41 (CET), the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 was the first boat across the finish line in Plymouth in the 46th Rolex Fastnet Race after a thrilling tactical race in an unusually calm Celtic Sea. For 58 hours, Dona Bertarelli's and Yann Guichard's crew raced through erratic winds within sight of their closest rivals, who chased them all the way to the finish line. It was a race full of twists and turns, even in the last few miles, before Spindrift 2 sealed her second victory in as many years. The ocean-going black-and-gold trimaran is better suited to the winds of the Southern Ocean than the unusually calm conditions of this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, but the French and Swiss crew successfully negotiated this test of teamwork and endurance, which came with just a few months to go until their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy.

Shortly after finishing the race in Plymouth, the trimaran headed back out to sea to return to her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, which she is expected to reach on Wednesday during the day.

Phaedo3 Second Over The Line, Wins MORCA Class
After a long, tactical duel in the uncharacteristically light winds of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70 trimaran Phaedo3 has won the highly competitive MORCA class and finished 2nd overall, mere minutes behind the 131-foot-long trimaran trimaran, Spindrift 2 (that's nearly twice as big as Phaedo3). 

And while the winds may have been light, the racing in the 600-mile long run from Cowes, along the south coast of England, around Ireland's Fastnet Rock and back to Plymouth was as fierce as ever. Thornburg, co-skipper Brian Thompson, and the rest of the Phaedo3 crew battled within sight of the maxi trimaran Prince De Bretagne nearly all the way back from the famous rock, and they were only able to pass the larger trimaran just before the finish off Plymouth.

This win is even more special for Thornburg after the non-stop racing program he's been on since smashing the Caribbean 600 record aboard Phaedo3 this spring. Claiming the fastest elapsed time in the Transatlantic Race. And then winning the multihull class on corrected time in the Transpac aboard his original Phaedo catamaran only a few weeks ago.

Half Ton Classics Cup
Photo by Fiona Brown, Click on image for photo gallery.

Half Ton Cup Nieuwpoort, Belgium: For the second day running the Half Ton Classics Cup fleet in Nieuwpoort faced strong winds and big seas as they completed races three to five of their series. The forecast promised grey skies and regular rain showers, which it delivered, but it somewhat understimated the 20-25+ knots that came with them. Going afloat the crews had anticipated winds in the mid to upper teens so the heavy conditions came as something of a surprise.

Fortunately the historic little yachts held up well against the elements and there was only one significant casualty in the shape of the rig of Philippe Pilate's General Tapioca, which failed at the spreaders going upwind during the fifth race. There were three other retirements from that race due to minor gear failure, but otherwise everyone was able to complete all races.

The first two races of the day were windward/leeward format and produced more incredibly tight racing with packed mark roundings and constant place changes.

Race three proved to be a Celtic showdown and was decided by a mere two seconds with Roddy Angus and Dan Challis's Trastada, from Fairlie Yacht Club on Scotland's Clyde, just pipping David Cullen's Checkmate XV, from Howth, Ireland, to the post. Fellow Howth Yacht Club member Johny Swann sailed Harmony into third, a mere six seconds behind Checkmate.

Tomorrow the forecast promises sun and lighter winds at last and the race committee has indicated that it intends to give the sailors a shorter day. It will run one or two windward leeward races in the morning so that the crews can be back on the dock in time for a long lunch and a relaxed afternoon sampling the delights of this lovely town and it's surroundings. The regatta continues until Friday 21 August.

Top five:
1. Checkmate XV, David Cullen Howth Yacht Club, IRL, 6.1 points
2. General Tapioca, Philippe Pilate BRYC, BEL, 11.2
3. Miss Whiplash, Paul Pullen RCYC, GBR, 11.6
4. Superhero, Toni Stoschek RORC - BRYC, GBR, 18.1
5. Harmony, Jonny Swan Howth Yacht Club, IRL, 25.7

Dubarry Crosshaven - Comfortably The Best Performer
Dubarry Crosshaven Round the world racing teams have chosen Dubarry’s Crosshaven in every edition of the race since the boot was developed with Green Dragon in 2008. There are several reasons for that. First, the innovation that impressed the Green Dragon guys most: the integral gaiter. Made of lightweight, hard-wearing, water-resistant fabric and cinched up with a drawstring, this gaiter means you can kneel down and work on the foredeck without suffering the dreaded ‘bootful of green’ that kills comfort for the rest of the passage.

And when you’re dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean as freezing winds snap at your vitals, you’ll appreciate the 350g GORE-TEX Duratherm membrane and thermally insulated footbed that will keep your feet, at least, toasty.

Then there’s the award-winning grip of Crosshaven’s non-slip and non-marking sole. If you’re trying to stay vertical on deck, and several tonnes of water traveling at 30 knots is trying to persuade you that you might be more comfortable lying down, you need your feet to stay planted.

We can all benefit from experience, but it comes at a price. Lucky for you that Green Dragon footed the bill, and the benefit is all yours.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

Battling With The Breeze As Rio Test Event Hits The Halfway Stage
British Sailing Team Manager Stephen Park described the Rio Olympic Test Event so far as a 'week of learning' as the regatta hit the halfway stage amid a second day of weather disruptions on Tuesday (18 August).

Light wind conditions once again dogged the 2016 sailing venue, with just a handful of races possible across five of the eight classes originally scheduled to compete on the fourth day of the Aquece Rio International Regatta.

Event organisers are now playing catch up with the racing schedule in the majority of the ten Olympic classes, with all ten now scheduled to race on Wednesday across the six course areas both inside and outside of Guanabara Bay.

"There's been a lot of learning going on from a lot of sailors and it's been a very challenging week for sailors from all nations in all classes so far," explained Park of the testing conditions teams have been experiencing at the 2016 Games venue.

"For most people there's been a real battle with the wind.  It's a sea breeze that we've had so far this regatta, and that means it's been quite different inside and outside the harbour, and also different on the different courses.  

"The wind has been patchy across the courses and also we've been on the turn of the tide a lot of the time in the early afternoon, which means that the course has paid on different parts of the course at different stages of the race.  It's very difficult for sailors to keep track of all of that and execute their best performance."

Gazprom Team Russia Ready To Shine In Saint Petersburg
The Extreme 40 fleet are on their way to Russia for Act 6. Follow the racing live online from Friday 21-Sunday 23 August, 16.00 - 17.30 (GMT+3) on the Extreme Sailing Series website

Now past the halfway mark of the 2015 Series, home town boys, Gazprom Team Russia, currently in fourth place overall, are looking to continue their sparkling mid-season form with a big performance in Saint Petersburg.

Igor Lisovenko, the two-time Olympian and skipper of the Russian team, reckons the recent regatta on the Elbe River in Hamburg was the perfect warm-up for the Neva. "Hamburg was great training for Russia because we were sailing on a river with a strong current and not a lot of space. We are feeling really confident about the way we sailed in Germany and we are hoping to win in Russia on our home waters," he said.

The regatta will be hosted by the Saint Petersburg Yacht Club with up to eight races planned each day. The action will kick off on Thursday 20 August with the official media day followed by three days of racing when the Race Village, which is free to enter for the general public, opens on Zayachii Island at Peter and Paul Fortress.

Entries Exceed Expectations
At the start of the year the organising committee for the 50th Folkboat Week hoped to attract 50 entries to celebrate this special regatta. With less than 100 hours to the Welcoming Reception on Saturday, 22nd August the Royal Solent Y.C. are delighted to announce that the total entries for the week now stands at 57.

Speaking this afternoon Folkboat Association President Robin Walters said "I am delighted with the response from the members of the association. The Royal Solent's clubhouse will be filled to bursting for every social event but I am sure they will squeeze everyone in. I am looking forward to see lots of old friends from past years."

As a founding member of the event 50 years ago Robin also paid tribute to all the organising committee members down the years who had made the event so successful and enduring.

The regatta runs from Saturday, 22nd August until the Championship Dinner on the following Saturday evening. Yachts going west through Hurst Narrows next week please be aware of the extra daytime traffic.

Firefly Uk National Championships
Held at Restronguet Sailing Club, Mylor, Falmouth in early August, 41 boats competed in the tough conditions, ranging from light drifting along the Carrick Roads, to very strong and gust winds. The Firefly Class is sailed by crew of all ages and is a great boat for all abilities offering competitive close racing, supported by Rondar Raceboats, the Class builder.

2016 will be the 70th anniversary of this very old but successful class, still used by most of the universities around the UK and many schools.

Full results:

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

Seahorse Magazine

World news
Cammas's Cup campaign gets rolling, Figaro Race controversy, back to the future with Peter Lester, successful ORC Worlds, Alan Bond... the full story and big new plans for Key West. Blue Robinson, Ivor Wilkins, Patrice Carpentier, Carlos Pich, Dobbs Davis

Big toys and big ideas
Kenny Read is best described as prolific. Maxi racer, Volvo and Cup racer, one-design champion, senior industry figure... time to catch up

IRC column
Be careful what you wish for. James Dadd

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Industry News
Official technical clothing supplier and the company behind winning Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race team, Henri Lloyd has confirmed its presence within the Clipper 2015-16 Race start 'race village' at St Katharine Dock, London.

Henri Lloyd has been the official technical partner to the race for the past 14 years.

The Henri Lloyd area will be located within the heart of the official Clipper Race village, where we will have technical experts available to help advise crew members with their race attire and kit care over the course of their challenge. Henri Lloyd will also be offering a branding personalisation service to race supporters and crew.


Richard Matthews of Gunfleet and Oliver James, the Chairman of Windboats, are pleased to announce a new licensing agreement under which, with immediate effect, Windboats will build and market the Gunfleet range of yachts.

The established Gunfleet team of Robin Campbell and Nick Creed will lead this new initiative with Gunfleet sales, marketing and after sales service for new and existing owners continuing from the Gunfleet base at Fox's Marina, Ipswich.

Windboats' long-established yard at Wroxham, Norfolk previously built over 250 yachts for Oyster Marine and has recently completed the first shoal draft Gunfleet 43 and a Gunfleet 58, with another 58 in build now. In the last month Gunfleet 58's have been delivered to owners from Australia and the USA.

Gunfleet yachts will be on display at three upcoming boat shows:

Southampton, 11-20 September 2015
Annapolis, 8-12 October 2015
Düsseldorf, 23-31 January 2016


Alex Thomson Racing has announced Survitec Group as their official marine safety equipment partner. As part of a three year sponsorship agreement Survitec will supply a complete range of Crewsaver lifejackets including the ErgoFit Extreme for use offshore and the recently launched Crewfit Pro, ideal for inshore racing. All of the lifejackets have been custom made to meet the teams branding requirements.

As well as the Crewsaver lifejackets, Survitec Group will also supply liferafts, flares and all other safety equipment required to sail single handed, non-stop around the world. In addition through a 600+ network of service stations Survitec Group will conduct a full service of the team's safety equipment at a service station which is convenient for the team at the time.

The Survitec Group will be the official safety kit partner for all racing yachts managed by 5 West Ltd.


British Marine is pleased to announce a 4.3% increase in the production of UK leisure boats in 2014. This is in spite of challenging trading conditions in the Eurozone and other key foreign markets showing that both at home and away, British build is still in high demand.

The figures come from new research by British Marine, in collaboration with Phil Draper & Associates, reporting that UK manufacturers built 10,120 boats in 2014.

Leading this surge is the nation's sailboat companies and key to this growth is the strengthening position of the UK as a leading player in the international dinghy market. Global successes have been achieved from British Marine members including Topper International, Laser Performance and in particular, RS Sailing, whose new Aero model has received international recognition, winning accolades from the Netherlands to the US.

The UK motoryacht sector has also reported impressive growth of 10% in the production of boats above 24m (80ft). The global demand for Britain's iconic luxury brands, including British Marine members, Princess Yachts and Sunseeker Yachts, is constantly increasing as they continue to manufacture ever larger boats including the trideck Sunseeker 155 yacht, which was launched in early 2014.


The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is proud to announce an extension to its long-standing partnership with Old Mutual International (formerly Skandia International). This company has been an Official Partner for the Adult and Youth Sail Training Programs hosted by the Club since 2007 and added the title sponsorship of the Top Dog Trophy Series of pursuit races in 2014. Old Mutual International will continue its association with these programmes and events under this renewed agreement.

Old Mutual International Adult and Youth Sail Training Programs are held throughout the year at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and are available for members and non-members.

The Old Mutual Top Dog Trophy Series 2015-2016 will commence with the Lipton Trophy presented by Old Mutual on 21 November 2015.

Featured Brokerage
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Pendragon VI was launched in California in December, 2010, the largest of a line of Davidson designs built for a local Southern California yachtsman for all-out racing in both inshore and offshore races.

The boat is built entirely in carbon fibre pre-preg and was constructed at Franklin Boat Works in New Zealand.

Seriously high quality offering with mini-maxi speed as a fraction of the price.


Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble

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Back on Friday
Raceboats Only Your humble narrator is on daughter - to - college delivery duties the next two days, hence no Thursday issue this week, back on Friday.

Sure wish I was going back to college. Click the image at right to see a bigger view of the famed Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Founded by Thomas Jefferson. The man certainly had a sense of style...

The Last Word
Science when well digested is nothing but good sense and reason. -- Stanislaw Leszczynski

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