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Groupe Bel Hits a Whale and Reroutes to Tenerife
Shortly after 13:00, as they were sailing under spinnaker to the Canaries and had clocked in in 5th place in the Transat AG2R-La Mondiale, the Groupe Bel Figaro had a violentt collision with a whale, which literally ripped away the starboard rudder. Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane are well and are currently rerouting to the Island of Tenerife.

Groupe Bel is still making progress at 7.5 knots and should reach the island, 60 nautical miles away, in roughly ten hours.

Warned immediately, the Groupe Bel team is now organising for Herve Giorsetti (technical manager) to travel from Port Camargue to Tenerife in the next few hours, in order to deliver a new rudder to the crew. The sailors, will then decide whether or not to resume the race.

Although they are in good physical health, Kito and Seb are feeling dispirited; they who have been fighting in the leading group since the start in Concarneau.

At press time four boats have rounded the obligatory course mark at La Palma. First around at 2221hr was Romain Attanasioi and Samantha davies on Saveol. Armel Le Cleac'h and Fabien Delahaye on Brit Air were second around at 23h30, 1 hour 9 minutes behind Saveol. Banque Populaire (Jeanne Gregoire and Gerald Veniard) passed at 23h33 with Gildas Morvan and Bertrand de Broc on Banque Populaire just one minute behind Banque Populaire.

Full results:

Race viewer:

Light Conditions Continue At Hyeres
Bruno Jourden (skipper), FRA, Nicolas Vimont-Vica and Eric Flaguel, FRA in Sonar. Photo by FFVoile / Jean Marie Liot
Hyeres Light conditions prevailed again in Hyeres, forcing the sailors to wait ashore for a timid sea breeze. Racing started at 2PM for most classes except for the Women Match Racing able to start earlier in order to try and complete their first round robin.

The light conditions favoured some of the younger and lighter sailors. In the Laser, 20 years old, Philip Buhl (GER) won the day's race. Vice European Youth Laser champion in 2008, Buhl gets to the second place overall, one point behind Evangelos Chimonas (GRE). The Greek who raced consistently with two seconds claims first place in a fleet of 150 Lasers.

In the women's division, 22 years old Ausra Mileviciute (LTU) leads the fleet and out best teammate and Beijing silver medallist Gintare Scheidt (LTU) in fourth overall. Spanish sailors placed second and third. Susana Romero (20 years old) with a seventh and a first, is on equal point with Optimist European champion and Laser 4.7 sailor, who at the age of 18, win a race today.

Light wind means hard work in the RS:X, experienced sailors are in the lead with Piotr Myska (POL) taking both races in the men's division while Beijing Bronze medallist Bryony Shaw (GBR) is first overall with a three points score. She is closely followed by French windsurfers Charline Picon and Pauline Perrin. Marina Alabau (ESP) collected a Black Flag for premature start after winning the first race of the day.

Three classes are claimed by the french team racing on familiar ground. Double Paralympic medallist, Damien Seguin leads the 2.4 on equal points with Helena Lucas. Beijing Bronze Medallist, Nicolas Charbonnier with crew Baptiste Meyer Dieu had a near perfect day in the 470 with a second and a win.

The only race sailed in the women's division, was taken by Gil Cohen and Dana Mamriav (ISR).

One more race was completed today for the Stars, won by British John Grimson and Ed Greig. Mate Arapov and Ante Sitic (CRO) on five points take the lead of the small Star fleet.

The Norwegian team of Aleksander Wang-Hansen, SWC winner, have taken the lead in the Sonar.

The 49ers sailing in groups didn't complete the same number of races and overall results are not available.

Anna Tunnicliffe's team has won selection into the women's match racing Gold fleet with a perfect 6-0 score.

Complete results:

* For the third time in a row, the Finns lost their opening race at a major regatta. After losing the opening day in both Miami and Palma, on Sunday it was the turn of the SOF Hyeres, the fourth leg of the 2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Finns at Hyeres Photo by Guillaume Durand / Effets Mer. Click on image to enlarge.


In fact the Finns raced for two hours on Sunday, but finally ran out of wind and time while the fleet was heading up the second bear and was sent home in the early evening with no scores on the board. The conditions for the rest of the week looked equally bad, and Monday morning came and went with a postponement, glassy seas and no wind.

Finally a breeze broke though at just after 13.00 the Finns were called out to sail just one testing race in about 5 knots of wind - but at least it was one race down.

The fleet were so keen to get going that Florian Raudaschl (AUT), Matt Coutts (NZL) and Rafal Szukiel (POL) were all black flagged out of the start. But picking up where he finished in Palma, where he won the medal race, the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) won the opening race in very light and shifty conditions.

Racing continues until Friday when the medal race will be held for the top 10 sailors. -- Robert Deaves

Event website:
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Sunderland Says It Would Be "Foolish" To Skip Repairs
16-year-old Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks California, USA, has been forced to abandon her effort to become the youngest person to sail around the world without stopping. But as an experienced seafarer, she seems to be taking the setback in stride.

The non-stop goal of her current voyage, which began from Marina del Rey on January 23rd, has to be sacrificed because of the need to pull into port at Cape Town, South Africa in about two weeks to make repairs to the critical autopilot on her 40-foot sailboat named "Wild Eyes."

But in revealing that decision on her internet blog this weekend, Sunderland said having to make the port call won't stop her from continuing her journey around the globe.

She wrote "I gave it my best shot and made it almost half way around the world. I will definitely keep going, and whether or not I will make any more stops after this I don't know yet."

She said that after the main autopilot stopped working properly, it would have been "foolish and irresponsible" to try to keep going without stopping for repairs. And she said she's come to terms with the way things have worked out.

She wrote "I admit I was pretty upset at first, but there is no point in getting upset. What's done is done and there is nothing I can do about it."

The current record, which has held up for more than a decade, is held by Australian Jesse Martin. He was just 18 years and two-months old in October of 1999, when he finished circling the globe without stopping.

Sunderland's older brother Zac was a few months younger than that, when he completed his own circumnavigation last July. But he did make stops and get some help along the way.

Miracle Rescue In Mexico
Rescue Hero David Wright, a top Canadian Laser sailor, who is training at the International Sailing Academy in La Cruz, Mexico, rescued a downed kiteboarder at 2:30 am today after a three and a half hour water search in Academy's coach boat. The kiteboarder had been in the water for seven hours when David found him.

Like all of us, David is only here in Mexico this week because the of the air travel shambles resulting from Iceland's runaway Eyjafjallajokull volcano. He's part of a group of top North American competitors who couldn't get flights to the French Olympic Regatta in Hyeres

At 10:30 pm yesterday, David along with Rob Crane and Clay Johnson, were awakened by frantic knocking on the door of their villa. A man wearing a kiteboarding harness, board shorts and a rash guard excitedly told David that his friend was lost out in the bay. He knew there was a powerboat at the villa. Could they help go search for him. The man had been kiteboarding with his friend after the wind died in Banderas Bay. He lost sight of his friend and decided to swim for shore. The guys jumped to action. While David tried to ascertain exactly what the situation was, Rob immediately went to the other villa to get the keys to the coach boat. Within minutes David and the kiteboarder were headed out in the 25-hp 14' RIB to search for the lost sailor.

Because the 3/4 moon provided better visibility looking back into shore and based on the prevailing winds, Dave motored southwest offshore for another five miles and started his grid search first heading southeast. This was based on his best estimate of current and drift of the stricken sailor. As it turns out it was a smart move. "I motored as far out as I felt comfortable for my own safety in such a small boat and then started the grid pattern. I planned on running a five-mile square grid. I motored for two minutes at a time and then turned off the engine to listen and look. We had a big flashlight and it was amazing how much marine life was out there. I saw dolphins and all sorts of fish and you could hear the whales spouting. I didn't see any sharks but you know they were somewhere out there."

It was on his second pass that Dave found the lost sailor. "He was laying on his sail which has an inflatable section that kept him afloat, but he was mostly submerged." "We got him and his board and sail in the boat and put a jacket on him. He was pretty cold at that point." Dave arrived safely back at the marina at 3:00 am with the two kiteboarders.

On reflection Dave had this to say: "It was neat how all my Merchant Marine training was so naturally retrieved. There was good visibility because of the clear skies and good moonlight, and relatively smooth seas. I was supposed to be in France this week racing but because of the volcano, I ended up in Mexico instead." -- From John Bertrand, full story on his blog:

Cowes Week Parade Village 2010
Cowes Week Parade Village Bookings for The Parade Village at Cowes Week are now open. This year, the Parade Village intends to be better than ever with a mixture of marine, leisure, luxury and lifestyle exhibitors adding to the flavour of this prestigious event. Located right on the waterfront and attracting thousands of spectators and competitors, the Parade Village is a great place to do business.

To reserve your site space follow the link and download the Parade Village information pack. or telephone 01983 200901.

RNLI's Ross Brawn Lifeboat Challenge
Russ Brawn Formula 1 mastermind Ross Brawn has joined forces with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to raise £350,000 for a new lifeboat on the River Thames.

Today, Ross launched the initiative called The Brawn Lifeboat Challenge, in which teams from some of the UK's leading businesses will be pitting their entrepreneurial wits against each other in a unique fundraising battle.

The 11 teams taking part in the Challenge will compete to raise as much money as possible in just eight months. Teams will pitch their strategies to Ross and benefit from his advice and extensive experience of working with highly successful teams.

The teams are briefed to turn £1,000 into a profit for the RNLI using their own ingenuity, determination, creativity, teamwork and strategic planning to reach their fundraising targets over the course of the Challenge, which runs until 31 December 2010. The money raised will fund a new lifeboat on the River Thames.

'Innovation is pivotal in Formula 1 and that's what appealed to me about this challenge, which combines many of my passions: competition, the desire to be the best and, of course, engineering innovation.

The winning team will win VIP tickets to a European Grand Prix and Ross will also attend a celebratory lunch at the winning team's offices.

The teams taking part in The Brawn Lifeboat Challenge are:

- Barclays (two teams)
- Capital International
- Charles Russell
- Clifford Chance
- John Lewis Partnership
- JP Morgan
- Lloyd's Register
- M&G Investments
- Scottish and Southern Energy
- Zurich

Industry News
* After offers in March and early April, Raymarine announced on April 21 it had received a new offer from one of the earlier bidders that could even see a payout for Raymarine's shareholders. A statement from Raymarine released on April 21 says: 'the party who had made the approach at 4.0 pence per share has now withdrawn this proposal. This party has, however, made an equivalent proposal to acquire the business and assets of Raymarine.'

The statement continues: 'It is envisaged that, were this transaction to be completed, it would be structured by means of a sale of Raymarine Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Raymarine, and that the whole of Raymarine's bank debt would be repaid in full on closing.

'Further, it is currently envisaged that, were this transaction to be completed, approximately 4.0 pence per share would be available for return to Raymarine shareholders. -- Full article in Boating Business,

* French boatbuilding giant the Beneteau Group has released half-year results for the financial year 2009/2010, reporting a significant reduction in losses in line with annual forecasts.

Beneteau has halved operating loss on its boat business from €34.8m in the first half of 2008/2009 to €17m in the first half of 2009/2010. Boat sales for the period increased by 1.2 per cent from €173.4m in 2008/2009 to €175.5m in 2009/2010.

The group attributes improvement on the losses incurred by its boat business to better use of production capacities combined with a reduction of fixed costs in line with plans made last year.

Beneteau's boat business is forecasted to generate €22m of operating income this year, with strong growth predicted for the second half. -- International Boat Industry news,

* After a long involvement with multihulls, Prout and - more recently - Broadblue Catamarans, Rob Underwood has resurfaced with a new brand and a new multihull range of catamarans and trimarans.

Robert Underwood Multihulls (Rumulti) has been established to provide what it claims is a unique service for sailors and powerboaters who want to get into the world of catamarans and trimarans by purchasing a new or used boat.

The managing director and driving force behind the new operation is Robert Underwood, a passionate sailor who hand built his first 45ft multihull in 1973 before joining forces with the Prout brothers in 1976 to form Prout Catamarans.

After 25 years building up Prout, Mr Underwood started Broadblue Catamarans, setting up the entire business, including the design, manufacturing, marketing and sales sides of the company.

Based in offices at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, with views of the River Crouch, Rumulti now offers customers the benefit of Mr Underwood's 35 years as a multihull specialist. He continues to be involved in all aspects of multihull design, construction and sales. -- Boating Business,

* Peters & May, a world leader in the provision of marine logistics, has selected Palma based Rapid Transit Service (RTS) as its exclusive agent in Palma de Mallorca. This follows recent similar appointments which are part of the company's ongoing commitment to create a global network of exclusive agents to support its worldwide offices.

For many years, RTS was a valued agent to UK performance yacht and motorboat logistics provider, Complete Freight Ltd. The founding directors Angus Bruce Jones and Simon Judson, together with their staff became wholly absorbed into the Peters & May global operation following the acquisition of Complete Freight Ltd in 2009.

In a second move that will further support the ongoing requirements of yacht race teams and other customers in Spain, Peters & May has relocated its mainland company office within Valencia. Located close to the commercial port and America's Cup village, the office will be headed up by Justo Gosalbes, who is an experienced freight forwarder and benefits from strong contacts and relationships with suppliers throughout Spain. The new office is ideally situated to serve Peters & May's customers within the Mediterranean, who are largely situated along the East coast of Spain. --

* A new report published by Scottish Enterprise has revealed that sail and power boat tourism in Scotland is worth around £101m per year, providing jobs to just over 2,700 people. Of this total, £27m is generated from non-Scottish boat owners supporting 724 jobs, and £53m is the gross value added to the Scottish economy.

Although positive about future growth through the next decade, the report highlights the need for more and improved infrastructure. Scotland has over 11,000 resident marina berths and moorings with occupancy of around 95 per cent, and almost 1,700 more are available for visitors. Tourist boat nights are said to be approaching 167,000 and growing.

The owners of Oban Marina in west Scotland have announced the completion of the latest phase of development at the Isle of Kerrera site.

Varis Engineering of Inverness has supplied 24 new 12m (39ft) finger pontoons, bringing the total number of berths to 145. Up to 115 boats can be moored on pontoon berths and 30 on swinging moorings.

The newly developed marina, which is owned by the same people behind Nanny Cay Marina & Hotel in the British Virgin Islands, will also be hosting several high-profile regattas and events throughout the year, including the Three Peaks Yacht Race in May. -- IBI,

* The 4 day China (Shanghai) International Boat Show 2010 closed yesterday in the Shanghai Exhibition Center downtown. More than 400 brands took part in the show with 252 boats displayed plus 126 boat models. The trade value broke the record of 300m RMB.

The participant base had expanded to 67 nationalities. After the global economic downturn, the number of overseas visitors increased 60%.

The big three, Ferretti, Azimut and Beneteau along with the Princess, Fairline, Brunswick and Jeanneau continue their sales outcome...

This was the 15th China (Shanghai) International Boat Show and to celebrate this anniversary, on the opening night of the show a Gala Dinner was held where CIBS presented the inaugural Asian Marine & Boating Awards. Best sailboats were Beneteau 40, Hanse 545 and J80.

Prospective buyers from Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, Qatar, Duba, South Africa and Greece joined the local purchasers.

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The Last Word
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -- Marcus Aurelius

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