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French Domination
Courrier Du Leon crew: Aubry Arnaud, Antoine Carpentier, Gery Trentesaux, Jean Louis Couedel, Francois Lamiot, Pierre Ghewy, Jean Pierre Nicol. Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. Click on image to enlarge.

Fastnet Gery Trentesaux's JPK 10.80 Courrier du Leon from France has been confirmed as the overall winner of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race joining a long list of great names to have won this legendary 603-nautical mile offshore race.

Courrier du Leon  becomes the sixth French yacht to win the Rolex Fastnet (following Pen Duick III in 1967, Mordicus in 1981, Whirlpool-Europe 2 in 1999, Iromiguy in 2005 and Night and Day in 2013) and continues a recent trend of French dominance at the race. In 2013, eight of the ten boats on IRC handicap hailed from France, in 2015 the figure currently stands at seven of the top ten. It is the third French victory in the past six editions.

"Foggy, foggy, typical British summer time," joked Trentesaux after crossing the finishing line in the Plymouth drizzle and mist on Thursday morning after 3 days, 22 hours and 32 minutes at sea. After establishing themselves as leader on IRC handicap, Courrier du Leon had to wait until Friday morning to discover if any of their rivals still on the course where able to register a faster corrected time. Alas, their efforts were futile.

Trentesaux claims victory in his 13th Rolex Fastnet Race some 38 years after his first on a Nicholson 51 in 1977.

Monohull line honours was claimed by American Jim Clark's 100-ft Maxi Comanche, arriving in Plymouth on Wednesday morning in an elapsed time of 2 days, 15 hours, 42 minutes and 26 seconds. A time which was 21 hours off the existing race record but a proud achievement considering the level of competition she faced from the fleet's other Maxi yachts and notably George David's 88-ft Rambler which finished a mere four minutes behind.

Multihull line honours was claimed late on Tuesday evening by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's 131-ft trimaran Spindrift 2.

A complete review of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race will be published on Monday 24 August. -- Trish Jenkins

IMOCA Masters: First Points On The Board For PRB
Celebrating its 90th birthday this year, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, had 356 entries, having attracted the largest and fastest multihulls and monohulls from around the world to small family cruisers. It provided an ideal platform to launch the new IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.

Among the nine doublehanded IMOCA Ocean Masters teams, for several the race represented their competitive debut in the IMOCA 60 class. There were a few familiar boats being campaigned by new owners, such as Yann Elies's Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir (ex-Safran) or the ex-MACIF, winner of both the last Vendee Globe and the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race, now Paul Meilhat's SMA. Then there were Le Souffle Du Nord (ex-Groupe Bel), with Mini Transat and Route du Rhum winner Thomas Ruyant at the helm, Comme Un Seul Homme (ex-DCNS) skippered by Eric Bellion and Kilcullen Voyager (formerly Mike Golding's Gamesa) sailed by Ireland's Enda O'Coineen.

But all eyes were on the two new generation boats - Morgan Lagraviere's Safran and Armel le Cleac'h's Banque Populaire, both boats featuring radical side foils, designed to turbocharge their performance.

Eventually PRB speeded into Plymouth finishing at 12:19:53 on Wednesday in an elapsed time of 3 days 9 minutes and 53 seconds.

Rankings 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race - IMOCA 60 category
1. PRB, Vincent Riou - Sebastien Col, 3d 00h 09mn
2. Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir Yann Elies - Charlie Dalin, 3d 00h 44mn
3. Safran, Morgan Lagraviere - Nicolas Lunven, 3d 01h 28mn
4. Le Souffle du Nord, Thomas Ruyant - Adrien Hardy, 3d 02h, 09mn
5. Initiatives Cœur, Tanguy de Lamotte - Sam Davies, 3d 02h 33mn
6. Banque Populaire VIII, Armel Le Cleac'h - Erwan Tabarly, 3d 04h 45mn
7. Comme Un Seul Homme Eric Bellion - Anthony Marchand, 3d 06h 04mn
8. Kilcullen Voyager, Enda O'Coineen - David Kenefick 3d 07h 46mn
DNF SMA, Paul Meilhat - Michel Desjoyeaux

2015-2016 IMOCA Ocean Masters Championship program:
Rolex Fastnet Race (double-handed), started on 16 August 2015
Transat Jacques Vabre (double-handed), starts on 25 October 2015
Transat from St Barts (single-handed), starts on 6 December 2015
Transat New York - Vendee (single-handed), starts on 29 May 2016
Vendee Globe (single-handed), starts on 6 November 2016

Checkmate XV Half Ton Classics Cup Champion
Photo by Fiona Brown, Click on image to enlarge.

Halfton Cup Nieuwpoort, Belgium: After five days, ten races, multiple parties and some amazingly close yacht racing, the 1985 Humphreys MG HS30 Checkmate XV, helmed by Ireland's David Cullen and crewed by Mark Pettitt, John Murphy, James Hynes, Andy George, Aidan Beggan and Gary Cullen, was declared the Half Ton Classics Cup Champion 2015 with a race to spare.

A hugely enthusiastic supporter of the class, David Cullen was a popular winner and magnanimous in his victory, thanking his crew, his fellow competitors, the members and volunteers of the  Koninklijke Yacht Club Nieuwpoort and Race Officer Paul Charlier for an outstanding regatta.

The Corinthian Half Ton Classics Cup Trophy was awarded to local boat Skippy's Ton helmed by Nicolas Lejeune and crewed by Jean-Marie Gilles, Ann Lippens, Jean-Benoit Boels, Jan Vyvey and Philippe Piron, who finished in 12th place overall.

The prize for the leading Production Boat was won by Crakajax, an X95 built in 1985.

The Half Ton True Spirit Trophy is awarded to the boat that, in the opinion of the judging committee, truly personifies the spirit of the class in that season. For their never ending enthusiasm, their commitment to their beautiful boat and their determination to throw themselves into every Half Ton event wholeheartedly, this year's recipients of the True Spirit Trophy are Jean-Luc Courbon, Jean Marty, Richard Carlie, Pierre-Yves Danet, Helen Frouin, Paul de la Renardiere and Louison Le Scouarnec of the 1988 Andreiu designed Half Capone - named after the famous American gangster who also inspires the crews crew uniform.

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

Nineteen Nations Take Test Event Medals
Photo by Richard Langdon, Click on image for photo gallery.

Rio Test Event After eight days of competition the Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta concluded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with nineteen nations claiming medals.

One year before the Olympic Sailing Competition the sailors showed their mettle on the race tracks that will be used at Rio 2016. Many of the test event medallists will win an Olympic medal in one year's time, highlighting the importance of sailing's test event.

Top three:

Men's 470
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS, 45
2. Sofian Bouvet / Jeremie Mion, FRA, 47
3. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO, 52

Women's 470
1. Anne Haeger / Briana Provancha, USA, 36
2. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR, 43
3. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL, 46

1. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL, 29
2. Nico Delle - Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT, 40
3. Erik Heil / Thomas Ploessel, GER, 60

1. Martine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA, 52
2. Giulia Conti / Francesca Clapcich, ITA, 55
3. Lisa Ericson / Hanna Klinga, SWE, 60

1. GIles Scott, GBR, 44
2. Taplo Nirkko, FIN, 47
3. Pieter-Jan Postma, NED, 51

1. Francesco Marral, ITA, 64
2. Jean Baptiste Bernaz, FRA, 70
3. Tom Burton, AUS, 72

Laser Radial
1. Gintare Volungeviciute Scheidt, LTU, 51
2. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 57
3. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 69

Nacra 17
1. Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin, AUS, 47
2. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA, 52
3. Mandy Mulder / Coen de Koning, NED, 60

RS:X Men
1. Aichen Wang, CHN, 23
2. Byron Kokkalanis, GRE, 42
3. Pierre Le Coq, FRA, 46

RS:X Women
1. Charline Picon, FRA, 39
2. Malgorzata Bialecka, POL, 47
3. Blanca Manchon, ESP, 51

Full results:

Old Guys Rule
David Storrs. Click on image to enlarge.

David Storrs Connecticut-based David Storrs and his Pequot Racing team of Taylor Canfield, Andy Escourt, and Hayden Goodrick have won the ISAF Grade 2 Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam. Storrs and team were undefeated today, beating Chris Steele and his 36 Below Racing team from New Zealand, the top-ranked team at the event, on a definitive score of 3-0 in the Finals, after also defeating CMRC's Don Wilson 3-0 in the Semi-Finals.

"This is the most exhilarating feeling in my life in sailing," said Storrs. "At age 71 there are not many things that can get my excited any more, but this was certainly the best sailing regatta I've ever had."

The day's breezy southerly conditions topped out at 23 knots, and after some early morning showers gave another day of perfect conditions for the eight teams on the water today to finish the first-to-three point Quarter-Finals, the first-to-three points Semi-Finals, a knock-out Consolation series to determine 5-8th places, and the Finals and Petit-Finals. -- Dobbs Davis

Final Results, Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam:

1. David Storrs (USA) - Taylor Canfield, Andy Escourt, Hayden Goodrick
2. Chris Steele (NZL) - Tomas Dietrich, Shane Diviney, Connor Mashlan
3. Sam Gilmour (AUS) - Chris Smith, Adam Negri, Justin Wong
4. Don Wilson (USA) - Keith Swinton, George Peet, Jen Wilson, Maggie Shea
5. Patrik Sturesson (SWE) - Herman Andersson, Erik Malmberg, Erik Larsson
6. Steve Lowery (USA) - Rory Lewis, Jon Noller, Maurin Lovera
7. Matt Jerwood (AUS) - Alex Landwehr, Mark Wittington, Patrick Vos
8. Chris Poole (USA) - Chris Kennedy, John Casey, John Culver
9. Will Holz (USA) - Alex Curtiss, Tim Siemers, Ricky Bobby
10. Lance Fraser (BER) - Clifton Kartner, Walker Banks, Connor Mackenzie
11. Nevin Snow (USA) - Alex Poast, Sam Hallowell, Luke Muller
12. Nate Hollerbach (USA) - Hans Pusch, Nico Marcolini, Geoff Pedrick

* Octogenarian Hobart yachtsman Tom Kirkland today celebrated his 60th year of racing on Hobart's River Derwent by winning the final race of the Derwent Sailing Squadron/Cascade Winter Series and taking out the overall series with his little sloop Ragtime.

Tom Kirkland. Click on image to enlarge.

Tom Kirkland

The 87-year-old retired medico, who says he has been sailing "since the cradle", won three of the four Winter Races on corrected time, placing second in the other race, to finish four points clear of his nearest rival, Graham Hall's Serenity.

In a close race today, Ragtime was third boat to finish in Division 3, but on corrected time the 7.8m sloop took the handicap honours by 23 seconds, and the silverware for the series.

In a feature article published last month in the 'Sunday Tasmanian' newspaper, Dr Kirkland recalled growing up sailing dinghies around Rushcutters Bay in Sydney's eastern suburbs, and maintaining the passion when he moved to Tasmania in the mid-1950s.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania member has raced a wide variety of yachts on the Derwent over past six decades, buying Ragtime eight years ago and racing her with a small group of friends. -- Peter Campbell

Helmut Jahn Rolex Farr 40 North American Champion
Santa Barbara, California, USA: As if on cue, the scenic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains  was revealed for the final day of racing at the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship.  While the clouds cleared off to uncover the scenic vistas, the wind continued to tease the competitors and it wasn't until within minutes of the time allotment elapsing that the 10th and final race of the series got underway in six knots of breeze ultimately reaching 12 knots by the conclusion of the race.

Chicago architect Helmut Jahn, the 2012 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, had taken over the leaderboard on the second day of the series and never relinquished it. He started the final day of the championship with 31 points and a slim three-point lead over Italy's Alberto Rossi on Enfant Terrible, while Germany's Wolfgang Schaefer, on Struntje light, was a further two points back with 36 points.

Rounding the first mark within seconds of each other, the championship was decided when Jahn was fourth across the finish line, with Rossi seventh.

Final Results, 15 boats, 10 races:
1. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, Chicago, IL, USA, 35 points
2. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Lueneburg, GER, 39
3. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Ancona, ITA, 41
4. Plenty, Alex Roepers, New York, NY, USA, 44
5. Voodoo Chile, Lloyd Clark, Battery Point, Tasmania, AUS, 54
6. Estate Master, Martin Hill, Sydney, NSW, AUS, 56
7. Groovederci, John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 72
8. Insanity, Rick Goebel, San Diego, CA, USA, 78
9. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD, USA, 81
10. Temptress, Ray Godwin, Huntington Beach, CA, USA, 97
11. Twisted, M. Tony Pohl, Alamo, CA, USA, 105
12. Blade II, Michael Shlens, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, USA, 107
13. White Knight, Zoltan Katinszky, San Pedro, CA, USA, 121
14. Foil, Gordon Leon, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA, 130
15. Flyer, Stanford Shaw , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 141

America's Cup - Constructed In Country Almost Wiped In New Protocol
The latest version of the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to effectively eliminate the fundamental requirement for the yachts to be constructed in the country of the Challenger or Defender.

In the latest edition of the Protocol, a piece of bow section, just a little bigger than Optimist, is all that is now required to be constructed in the country of the yacht club of the competitor.

The new rule requires a 2.7m piece or approximately 18% of the overall length of the 48ft wingsailed catamaran yacht to be built in the country of origin for the yacht to be eligible for the America's Cup.

Previous versions of the Protocol required the exterior surface of each Hull to be laminated in the country of the yacht club represented by the Competitor.

Constructed in Country is a fundamental of the Deed of Gift, the 19th century document which governs the conduct of the America's Cup.

It was this rule that the long-time holder of the Cup, the New York Yacht Club, used to ensure that all parts of the yacht were built in the country of Challenger, the yacht was designed in the country of the Challenger, and in the modern era of the Cup 1956-1983 all crew competing in the Match had to be nationals of the Challenger country. The rule was at the centre of the ruckus as to to who was actually the designer of the Australian Challenger Australia II.

There is unlikely to be anything other than laudatory comment by the teams on the latest round of changes to the rules governing the Protocol.

The penalty on any Team for making a comment to which America's Cup organisers might take offence is $25,000 for the first infringement, $100,000 for a second and $250,000 for a third and subsequent speaking of one's mind. -- Richard Gladwell in

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Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble

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The Last Word
You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into. -- Ben Goldacre

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