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Takapuna Finn Gold Cup
Andrew Murdoch kept the home crowd happy on the opening day of the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand after winning the opening race to lead overnight. After two races, he is on equal points with defending champion Giles Scott (GBR) with Ed Wright (GBR) nine points back. The second race was won by Bjorn Allansson (SWE).

With a forecast of very light winds all day, the early postponement ashore was not exactly unexpected but the solid breeze that came later in the day was a pleasant surprise. Starting in 8-9 knots north-westerly, it increased to 10 knots at the first mark and peaked at around 11-12 knots in the second race to create a fantastic first day to the 2015 World Championship. -- Robert Deaves

Racing continues Wednesday at 12.00.

Top ten after two races
1. Andrew Murdoch, NZL, 8 points
2. Giles Scott, GBR, 8
3. Ed Wright, GBR, 17
4. Ivan Klakovic Gaspic, CRO, 20
5. Milan Vujasinovic, CRO, 21
6. Tapio Nirkko, FIN, 22
7. Anders Pedersen, NOR, 25
8. Vasilij Zbogar, SLO, 25
9. Caleb Paine, USA, 29
10. Oliver Tweddell, AUS, 29

The Finn Gold Cup runs from Saturday 21 to Sunday 29 November. Ten races are scheduled from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 November, with the medal race and final race on Sunday 29 November.

Spindrift: Day 3 Jules Verne Trophy
While Spindrift 2 flies south in the slightly unstable trade winds, halfway between the Canaries and Cape Verde, the calmer conditions and less rough sea are allowing the boat and the sailors to dry out, to find a rhythm and get a little rest. After a gybe on the edge of the Azores High, which will be the only one in the entire North Atlantic, where Banque Populaire V had to make four, Spindrift 2 is now on a direct route to the equator and is 200 miles ahead.

17h GMT : 201 miles ahead the current record holder
Distance covered from the start: 1842 miles
Average speed over 24 hours: 30 knots

*|YOUTUBE:[$vid=fN8EZd5L3Ds, $max_width=500, $title=N, $border=N, $trim_border=N, $ratings=N, $views=N]|*

Adidas Partners With Land Rover BAR
Adidas Sailing Adidas Sailing, producers of performance marine footwear and accessories are pleased to announce that they will be supporting Land Rover BAR as a Technical Supplier of footwear and sports luggage products.

The agreement is a significant step forward for Adidas Sailing and stands as testament to the dynamic, performance-orientated nature of the sailing footwear range. The Land Rover BAR team will provide invaluable feedback to the Adidas Footwear range for future product development, throughout the duration of the cup.

A commercial range of Adidas Sailing / Land Rover BAR branded footwear and sports luggage products will shortly become available for sale from retailers and available to purchase via the Adidas Sailing website, which now features its much anticipated web shop allowing global delivery of the full range.

Commenting on the agreement, Matthew Forbes said: 'This is great news and has come at the perfect point in time for our business. Adidas has always been associated with athletic performance at the highest level with Sir Ben and his team using our footwear in his previous Olympic campaigns. We are very excited to be supporting BAR to bring the Cup home.

Sir Ben Ainslie commented, 'Adidas Sailing shoes were great for me whilst sailing in my Olympic boats, and we are really looking forward to working with them to develop shoes for the physical challenges we face on the new foiling multihulls.'

Further information will be made available at the 2016 London Boat Show

Couta Boats Lining Up at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Photo by Alex Mckinnon, Click on image to enlarge.

Couta Boat The waters off St Kilda will see Port Phillip's history come alive with the Mercedes Benz Brighton Couta Boat Challenge. These handsome timber boats are an iconic part of Victoria's boating history and will provide a great Victorian accent to the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne to be held in early December.

The Couta Boat was originally built as a traditional fishing boat from 1870 and gets it's name from it's preferred catch - the Barracouta (not the Barracuda). These boats would head out through The Heads, between Portsea and Queenscliff, proving their seaworthiness in these notorious waters. Once their quota of barracouta was met, the fishermen turned and headed back to port, this is where speed was important, as the first boat back got the highest price for their catch.

With the introduction of modern engines, the Couta Boat became obsolete as an efficient fishing vessel. Today they aren't used for commercial fishing but are a popular recreational sailing boat amongst a large group of sailors who appreciate the beauty and history of these craft. On Friday 11th December the Couta Boats won't be racing to the finish line to get the best price for their catch, they will be vying for the Mercedes Benz Brighton Couta Boat Challenge Trophy.

Solo Round The World Gryphonsolo2
I am writing to try to recap the highlights and learnings from Week One of the projected 16-19 week solo, circumnavigation record attempt.

Departure: My departure on early Sunday morning from Newport Shipyard was filled with bittersweet emotions as I was very sad to leave my wife Kim and son Emmett on the dock. After wiping away some tears and taking a few minutes to collect myself, we pushed off the dock and before I knew it I was past Breton Reef bout and launched on a four month solo circumnavigation. Holy S*** Batman- be careful what you wish for! The feeling was kind of surreal, as if this were not really happening to me, and I would just sail to Block Island like usual and have a mudslide and fried calamari at the Oar. Not today sir.

Weather: We were absolutely pounded right out of the box and for the first five days with wind between 20 and 45 knots, luckily mainly from the North, so behind us. We were sailing really fast - 11-24 knots- and it made me remember what a fabulous boat I have- she just wants to pick up and go.

The lobster pot: As I feared, I snagged a large lobster pot buoy going 15 knots over the Continental Shelf in the middle of the first night out- nice. Luckily I had ordered my new Japanese Ginsu knife set while watching TV too late at night and was able to cut myself free- good thing- as otherwise I'd probably still be there- as I was not psyched to go scuba diving that night. -- Joe Harris

Laser Radial Women's World Championship Final Series
The opening races of the Final Series produced the windiest conditions seen so far at the Oman Sail-organised Laser Radial Women's World Championship. After a tough opening three days on the water, and a day of relaxation enjoying cultural activities on Reserve Day yesterday, competitors were ready for action this morning for the first, final showdown.

Winds that reached in excess of 16kts made for exciting racing with the cream of the fleets embracing the conditions and producing some extremely impressive racing.

Although she didn't actually win a race today Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), representing Horsens Sejlklub in Jutland, took two good starts from the middle of the line, sailed consistently and was happy to finish the day with a 4, 5 score.

Number 1-ranked Evi Van Acker (BEL) had a poor first race of the day but learned from her mistakes and rounded the day off with a first. In race 1 she found herself in the middle of the start line and confessed she was not happy at all with her sailing.

25 November: Final Series - 2 races back to back
26 November: Final Series - 2 races back to back. Prize giving & Closing Ceremony

Top five in Gold fleet:
1. Anne-Marie Rindom, DEN, 60 points
2. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 83
3. Evi Van Acker, BEL, 85
4. Josefin Olsson, SWE, 55
5. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 56

Podium Performance: Powering The Leading Boats In The Transat Jacques Vabre
Click on image to enlarge.

North Sails With the last of Class 40 fleet closing in on Itajai, Brazil, the 2015 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre is drawing to a close. And the podiums of the four fleets all have one thing in common: they are proud to be powered by North Sails.

The world's leading sailmaker supplied complete inventories to all four Ultime multihulls who set the pace across the Atlantic in this offshore classic. In the exciting IMOCA Class, both PRB and Banque Populaire VIII were fully powered by North Sails as they finished first and second in class. And in the Multi 50 Class Ciela Village finished second with 100% North Sails onboard as did the winner of the Class 40s Le Conservateur.

Close to 50% of all the grand prix racing yachts competing in the two-handed transatlantic test only carried North Sails products and the podium results have once again illustrated the performance and durability of the most technologically advanced sails in the world.

Congratulations to all the skippers who completed the twelfth edition of this beautiful race! #northsails #TJV2015

Is It Safe To Use A Tether?
Perceived wisdom is that if you fall overboard, staying tethered to the boat will keep you safe. But is that the case? PBO's test team conduct some trials... with sobering results

The tragic drowning of the skipper of the Reflex 38 Lion 15 miles south of Selsey Bill in 2011 shocked the sailing world. But the subsequent Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report was truly chilling because it emerged that Mr Christopher Reddish (47) had done everything by the book. He was wearing a lifejacket and he was clipped on with a tether, or safety, line - but when he went overboard from the foredeck on a dark night he was dead by the time the crew could recover him.

The man overboard drill that crews generally practise, and which mirrors the RYA syllabus, deals almost exclusively with recovering an untethered casualty from the water - mostly involving a fender floating free, retrieved with a stab from a boathook. The ability to return to a free-floating MOB and pick him up successfully is an important skill to have, but it doesn't help us recover someone who is still attached the boat. As Christopher Reddish's death proved, this could have tragic consequences.

Ben Meakins' full article in Practical Boat Owner:

Here Come The Girls
There are only a small group of professional solo sailors in the world prepared to take on the challenge of The Transat.

Among them are two female sailors in the Class40 category, Germany's Anna-Maria Renken and her boat NIVEA and Britain's Miranda Merron and her boat Campagne de France.

This is not the longest race in the world, nor is it the most dangerous but it does have a fearsome reputation and anyone who sets out to complete The Transat should be rewarded for their endeavor and courage. Anna-Maria Renken and Miranda Merron are two of those people.

Despite the fact that Campagne de France is currently in build, Miranda Merron was the first skipper to register for The Transat 2016 back in September. Miranda previously raced in the 2008 Artemis Transat on a Class40 but this time round she will have the pressure - and pleasure - of proving a new boat in its first ever race.

"The Transat is steeped in history and the North Atlantic can be truly awe-inspiring. It makes you realise just how small you are, and can be truly challenging at times. It's the only race where I have had to shut myself inside the boat for safety reasons in huge seas, and I know that was the case for some other competitors too," she explains.

129 And Counting...Entries Climbing For 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week
Quantum Key West Race Week The number of entries to the 2016 edition of Quantum Key West Race Week has exceeded 100, indicating one of the strongest early turnouts in years to this mainstay on the international sailing calendar held over January 17-22, 2016. Currently there are 16 classes organized: nine one-design and seven monohull and multihull classes racing under handicap. This indicates a diverse range of boat types attracted to race in the winter sun in Key West, with teams from 10 nations represented among the entries thusfar.

One design classes include the following: Melges 24's (15 entries), J/70's (35 entries), J/80's (5 entries), Farr 280's (5 entries), J/88's (8 entries), C&C 30's (11 entries), J/111's (9 entries), and J/122's (2 entries).

Among the handicap classes, IRC 0, 1 and 2 have thus far attracted 13 committed entries, and the three new class offered at this year's event are also gaining interest: ORC Club (9 entries), Multihulls (4 entries) and Performance Cruisers (3 entries).

Besides providing the best in race management on the water, organizers from the Storm Trysail Club will enhance the shoreside experience for all entries with afternoon seminars, evening prizegivings and social events, and full logistic support through their partners and vendors on the unique ambience offered by time spent in Old Town Key West.

For more information and to enter 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week, visit

The Bermuda Race's Freshwater Connection
"It is not the salt in the water that makes sailors." What was said of a talented crew of Great Lakes sailors who raced to Bermuda many years ago can be repeated about the many other Midwest sailors who have been sailing the race since its early days.

When Chris Van Tol, captain of the Bayview Yacht Club yacht Eliminator, won the inaugural Newport Bermuda Race Regional Prize for best performance by a Great Lakes boat in 2014, he was only the most recent Midwest sailor to undertake the Thrash to the Onion Patch. The pioneers sailed in the 1907 race. Sixteen Lakes boats competed in the three most recent, in 2010-14. (Other Regional Prizes are awarded the top boats from Chesapeake Bay, the West Coast, the Deep South, and Canada.)

The freshwater connection was made in the second Bermuda Race when a crew from Rochester (N.Y.) Yacht Club commanded by Philip Manson chartered a Gloucester schooner. (That also was the debut year of Bermudian sailors in the race.) In 1910 Demarest Lloyd, who had Chicago newspaper roots, raced the schooner Shiyessa with Mrs. Lloyd, the race's second woman sailor, in the afterguard.

Midwest sailors came east again in 1924, seven of them from Detroit's Bayview Yacht Club, with Dr. William Wilson as captain. They chartered the schooner Lloyd W. Berry, and with race chairman Herbert L. Stone (editor of Yachting magazine and past Commodore of the Cruising Club of America) as navigator, proceeded to win the division for fishing schooners and ketches.

Gillard & Couch's 505 Prevails At Draycote Apocalypse
Tom Gillard and Andy Couch raced their 505 to victory in the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash after surviving a stormy Saturday and winning the pursuit race on a much softer Sunday.

The first of seven events in this season's GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, the wind turned appropriately icy overnight before the weekend, after a few weeks of unusually mild November weather. Despite an apocalyptic forecast, 124 boats entered for the weekend, just six short of Draycote Water's maximum quota.

It was so windy on Saturday morning, gusting over 35 knots, that some competitors waited longer than should have, in the mistaken belief that the race committee would delay the start. But they were caught short. "We did hold the start for a few minutes," said club commodore Jeremy Atkins, "but it wouldn't have been fair on those that made it out on time, they would have got cold very quickly."

Among those that were late were Nick Craig and Sarah Bines with their Merlin Rocket, who could only catch up to 25th in that race. Reigning Fireball World Champion Gillard discovered that rigging a 505 takes a bit longer than expected and was also late, only managing a 43rd in the first race.

Gillard and Couch charged through from the back to win the Pursuit Race, which was also good enough to give them overall victory. Second in the Pursuit Race was the Scorpion sailed by

For their victory, Hayling Island Sailing Club's Gillard and Couch were each presented with a copy of Bob Fisher's history of the America's Cup, An Absorbing Interest, a weighty tome worth £250, and probably as much again in postage costs.

Next on the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series is the Datchet Flyer on the weekend of 12/13 December.

Top Six overall at Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash
1. Tom Gillard & Andy Couch (505) Hayling Island SC, 13 points
2. Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe (GP14) Burwain SC, 19
3. Kevin Hope & Andy Stewart (Fireball) Notts County SC, 25
4. Tom Jeffcoate & Rachael Rhodes (Scorpion) Notts County SC, 26
5. Stu Hydon & Richard Pepperdine (Scorpion) Shustoke SC, 38
6. Sam & John Knight (RS400), Bartley SC, 41

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