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34th America's Cup Press Conference
Photo by Carlo Borlenghi, carloborlenghi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

The oldest trophy in international sport: re-energised by unprecedented collaboration between the Defender and the Challengers

- New, fair rules and independent professional management will give an equal opportunity to all teams
- A new class of fast, exciting boats created in conjunction with all teams
- The 159 year old competition made irresistible to commercial partners with regular racing in multiple venues under professional, neutral race management
- Transformed television and online coverage will place race fans right at the heart of the action, wherever they are in the world

This was the message today at the first press conference of the 34th America's Cup, which saw the trophy brought to the home city of the Challenger of Record, the Club Nautico di Roma.

Speaking in the Sala Exedra in Rome's Musei Capitolini, surrounded by some of Rome's most precious treasures, Russell Coutts representing the defending Golden Gate Yacht Club and Vincenzo Onorato on behalf of the Challenger of Record, mapped out the future of the America's Cup.

The press conference webcast was streamed live around the world.

Key dates announced

- Protocol for the 34th America's Cup will be issued by 31st August
- Design rule released by 30th September
- Notice of Race & Sailing Instructions published by 31st December
- Venue confirmed by 31st December
- Challenge Period open from 1st October - 31st January 2011

Renowned but neutral designers - Bruce Nelson and Peter Melvin - have created two different concepts - a multihull and a monohull.

Teams will sit down this month and discuss which concept to adopt and begin the process to create a design rule.

Cities in the USA and Europe are under consideration.

Russell Coutts: "Every candidate city knows that a very strong case has already been put forward by San Francisco."

The full release is on americascup.com

The Louis Vuitton Trophy Comes To La Maddalena, Sardinia
The best sailors in the world will be in Italy later this month as Sardinia prepares to host 10 top sailing teams at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena from 22nd May through 6th June.

Three Italian entries, including the host Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, Azzurra and Luna Rossa will be battling with teams such as the Defender of the America's Cup, BMW ORACLE Racing and perennial favourite Emirates Team New Zealand, for supremacy on the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

An innovative regatta format has been developed that will allow all teams the greatest opportunity to advance to the next step, while rewarding teams who do well with second chances.

Initially, each team will sail every other team once in a single round robin. The top eight teams will advance to the next stage and the round robin seeding will continue to be used in later stages. Doing well in the round robin will have its rewards.

"Having each of the teams sail each other at least once is very important," said Peter 'Luigi' Reggio, the Principal Race Officer for the regatta. "The teams really want this opportunity." In the middle elimination rounds, top-ranked teams are matched against the lower ranked teams - that's one of the rewards for doing well early - and the winning teams keep advancing, through to a semi final and final.

"If a top seed loses in the middle rounds, they'll get a second chance to earn a way back in. Conversely, if a lower ranked team gets hot and starts winning, they'll keep racing. It's an interesting and fair format."

The teams will race on four equalised America's Cup Class boats supplied by the event - ITA 90, ITA 99, USA 87 and USA 98. The boats have now arrived on site and will be prepared for racing.

The 10 teams competing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena represent eight countries:

- Aleph, FRA, skipper Bertrand Pace
- All4One, FRA/GER, skipper Jochen Schumann
- Artemis, SWE, skipper Paul Cayard
- Azzurra, ITA, skipper Francesco Bruni
- BMW ORACLE Racing, USA, skipper James Spithill
- Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, skipper Dean Barker
- Luna Rossa, ITA, skipper Ed Baird
- Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, ITA, skipper Gavin Brady
- Synergy, RUS, skipper Karol Jablonski
- TEAMORIGIN, GBR, skipper Ben Ainslie

Racing in the Round Robin is scheduled to start on the 22nd May, with teams training on site beginning on the 18th May.

louisvuittontrophy.com

Quality Founded In One Design
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Ullman Sails - Invest in your performance.

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Stuart Bannatyne Joins Camper Team
Photo by Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image to enlarge.

Camper announced today the appointment of Stuart Bannatyne as a watch captain for its Volvo Ocean Race project.

Bannatyne has raced around the world five times, most recently in the 2008-09 VOR on board the winning yacht Ericsson 4.

Bannatyne's first round the world race was on board New Zealand Endeavour, skippered by Grant Dalton, in 1993-94. That was his first win and he has gone on to win twice more, on Illbruck in 2001-02 and then Ericsson.

He raced on an English entry Silkcut in 1997-98. In 2005-06 he was a watch captain on board a Spanish entry Movistar. His race came to a premature end when the yacht sank in the Atlantic Ocean.

He is the only person to have won the Volvo Ocean Race, previously the Whitbread, on three different classes of yacht - maxi ketch (New Zealand Endeavour), Volvo 60 (Illbruck) and VO70 (Ericsson).

Bannatyne, aged 39, was born at Christchurch, New Zealand. He is married with four children. His home is at Albany, Auckland.

volvooceanrace.com

Mirabaud Teams Up With Dominique Wavre
Geneva, Switzerland: Mirabaud has annouced its partnership with the navigator Dominique Wavre for the Barcelona World Race 2010-11, the Transat Jacques Vabre 2011 and the Vendee Globe 2012-13.

In the weeks ahead, Dominique Wavre's sailboat, the Mirabaud, will be optimised in preparation for the coming encounters. The Open 60 Mirabaud is a 60-foot IMOCA-class yacht (International Monohull Open Class Association). Built in New Zealand at Southern Ocean Marine, it was designed by the English naval architect firm Owen Clarke. "We will be making numerous improvements on key points," says the skipper. "In particular, we are going to work on the yacht's stability. The goal is to increase the boat's stiffness while reducing its weight. We know the boat still has considerable potential for improvement, and we are working on it with the Barcelona World Race in mind. Along with these efforts, we will also be repairing the keel head that was damaged during the last Vendee Globe".

Mirabaud has participated in sailing competitions since 2005 as the main partner of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud, the world's largest freshwater regatta. It also sponsors Thomas Jundt's hydrofoil sailboat, the Mirabaud LX, one of the most innovative prototypes of the decade. Mirabaud is moreover the main partner for the Surprise category on Lake Geneva (the Mirabaud trophy) and supported the UK women's Yngling racing team, gold medal winners at the Beijing Olympic games.

The partnership between Mirabaud and Dominique Wavre will enable Venture Finanzas, Mirabaud's new subsidiary in Spain, to communicate actively in this market. The Spanish financial company will begin operating under the Mirabaud brand by mid year, and will be directly associated with the Barcelona World Race via The Mirabaud racing yacht."

Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret will be at the start line in Barcelona on 31 December for this double-handed, round-the-world regatta with no stops. -- Bernard Schopfer

www.dominiquewavre.com

A Midsummer's Night Feast
HMS Victory. Click on image to enlarge.

A highly sought after opportunity for two people to dine aboard Lord Nelson's flag ship HMS Victory in Portsmouth UK, hosted by the second Sea Lord. This glittering prize is offered in a limited ticket raffle (only 100 tickets to be sold). The prize for the single winning ticket includes a reception at Admiralty House in Portsmouth and a tour of this famous ship. Event date: June 24th 2010

Ticket Price 25 GBP. Buy two tickets and odds fall to just 50:1. Apply by email to for an application form. Return the completed form with a cheque or by bank transfer. Payment and mailing details are on the application form.

All proceeds go to the Charity: Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care.
Queries to: Promoter Donald Forbes +44 (0)1483 731185
Closing date 9th May, Draw Date 10th May

If you wish to use PAYPAL to make payment. Please send an email to , the number of tickets required and your name. We will send you an invoice you can pay via PAYPAL.

Surrey Drug & Alcohol Care (charity No 293421) run a 24 hour help line to provide support for substance users with the aim of bringing them into treatment.

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup
Cowes, England: This year's Coutts Quarter Ton Cup hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes, from Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 June 2010, is expected to attract a record entry. Boats will be based in Cowes Yacht Haven for the event, which has been timed to enable visiting teams to stay on in Cowes for the J P Morgan Round The Island Race on Saturday 19 June.

The Quarter Ton Fleet has been a hive of activity over the past winter. Among those putting in long hours in the boat shed has been Ollie Ophaus who has been hard at work on his new project Cote, the boat found in a sorry state in Spain last year. A boat builder by profession Ollie is already well known in the class for the outstanding job he did of restoring the Ed Dubois designed Super Nova and so the fleet eagerly awaits the appearance of Cote.

One of the highlights of last year's event was seeing father and son Paul and Mark Lees from Poole putting in an outstanding performance racing together aboard their 1971 Van der Stadt designed Echo, one of the oldest boats in the fleet. To spice things up for the 2010 season the family have added the 1984 Peter Gimpel design Panic to their fleet and Paul and Mark will go head to head at this year's Quarter Ton Cup.

Two boats are expected to travel from Ireland to take part in the event. Having got a first taste of the fleet aboard his father Neil's Manzanita last year, young George Kenefick will be back again sailing the Kenefick family's newly purchased ASAP. This stunning all black 1989 Fauroux design has achieved some great results on the UK circuit for the past two seasons and with the very talented George at the helm plus a crew that includes some of Corks finest young sailors we can look forward to a good performance from this team. Also making the trip across the Irish Sea, this time from Dublin, will be Ken Lawless who purchased the immaculately restored Super Nova from Ollie Ophaus and who is looking forward to his first Quarter Ton Cup.

Five French boats are due to compete; Farrniente owned by Olivier Hays, Laurent Beaurin's legendary 45 Deg South and Playboy Penguin owned by Pierre Paris will be traveling from Le Havre, and Iota owned by Gilles Robert and Catch Me (formerly Darren Marston's Catch) owned by the President of the French Quarter Ton Class Guy Pronier will also be attending.

Back for a second attempt at the Cup will be Willy McNeil aboard his new boat Illegal Immigrant, a 1991 Ceccarelli design. Willy found the boat, originally called Pandemonium, in Greece.

Peter and Louise Morton will be racing their 1978 Bruce Farr sister ships Anchor Challenge and Espada. Having finished a very close second to Peter at last year's events Louise and her all female crew will definitely be hoping to turn the tables this year.

www.rcyc.co.uk

L'Hydroptere's European Tour
Photo by Guilain Grenier / Hydroptere. Click on image for photo gallery.

Yesterday, on 3rd May 2010, l'Hydroptere was launched in Lorient after four months at the shipyard. Lifted by crane in front of her shed, she was then moored at the pontoon of "La Cite de la Voile Eric Tabarly". She will stay there for one week, in order for the team to prepare and equip her for the first sailing sessions.

After having experienced very high speeds and achieved a double absolute sailing speed record in 2009, Alain Thebault and his crew members are now heading to the open sea. The "speed profile" of the trimaran has been transformed into a more versatile configuration which enables offshore sailing. Accompanied by his major partners - the Genevan private bankers Lombard Odier Darier Hentch & Cie and the watchmaking manufacture Audemars Piguet - Alain Thebault and his crew members will make a European tour until next autumn and will take part in all the great nautical events of the old continent.

l'Hydroptere's stops in 2010:
From 31st to 4th June - Cowes (UK)
From 18th to 27th June - Kiel (GER)
From 1st September to 10th October - Mediterranean (FR)

www.hydroptere.com

The WVXY Makes Its Debut at the X-Yachts Regatta
Fantastic racing was followed by some great social events at the Royal Southern Yacht Club for this year‟s X-Yachts Solent Cup Regatta. And a new Wight Vodka cocktail was born!

The energetic Sally Howard of X-Yachts GB organized the weekend which went over so well with the owners and their crews. She remarked "So much goes into putting on the racing and the evening events that it‟s always a joy when it all comes together. I had the pleasure of working directly with Ritu at 50North on designing a personalized cocktail for our party, which just so happened to follow the alphabet and our respective company names quite well. The Wight Vodka X-Yacht cocktail was a great hit."

On the water, under the race direction of Peter Bateson, Mike Brand‟s X-35 X Waves was the overall winner of the 2010 Solent Cup with four impressive wins in the X-35 class. Class wins were also racked up by John Allen‟s X-302 Antix in the Open Sport Class, and John Oldridge‟s Xc45 Perseverance won the Open Family Class.

Ritu Manocha, owner of 50North, the company behind the Wight Vodka brand, said "Congratulations to the winning teams of each class and to those who enjoyed the WVXY. We look forward to continuing our partnership with X-Yachts for the next Solent Cup!"

www.x-yachts.com
www.wightvodka.com

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Pip Sawyer Fremantle WA: Give it a rest guys! Jessica Watson has really done well. After a big wake up call before she started, she has sailed smartly and safely in her pink brick and demonstrated to us all that she is both a competent sailor and an amazing teenager with inner confidence and reserves of courage that all of us can aspire to. Her blog has been fun to read - a breezy and relaxed mix of practical sailing, honest comment and teenage roller coaster - much better than the website (which has been designed for the mass market and lacks important stuff like decent position reporting). With the withdrawal of the WSSRC category for teenagers, there's no record to beat. Besides which, the only one she needs is the one she has genuinely achieved - she has sailed, all alone around the globe, around each of the great Capes and crossed the Equator twice. How many of you have done that?

* From Alistair Skinner: Nothing can take away from Jessica Watson's achievement of sailing alone for 200 days but Andrew Fraser, her 'manager', is more than a little inaccurate with his comments. What the WSSRC does not award a record for, is the 'youngest' circumnavigator. That does not mean they do not recognise "under 18's". A circumnavigation that is less than the circumference of the earth surely involves some short cuts and whether Mr Fraser likes it or not Jessica's voyage does not meet the parameters set by the world governing body of such efforts with said parameters clearly laid out and readily accessible. If Jessica fails to gain such recogniton as a true circumnavigator, as an obvious part of her management team I would have thought Mr fraser would be preparing himself to go on the defensive (rather than the offensive) for such an obvious omission as distance required to be travelled. Not blaming Jessica one little bit and as i mentioned at the start a great achievement but would have been even greater if her 'advisers had ensured that the planned route at least qualified for a globally recognised acievement.

* From Joe de Kock: "And speaking just for myself, as the father of three, ages 23, 19 and 14, I believe that letting a sub-18 year old do a solo circumnavigation is lunacy., regardless of that child's experience. "

......Speaking for myself only..... As father of 2 children and having done a couple circumnavigations myself I believe that the ocean is a safer place to be than, surviving the turmoils of teenager ship ashore!! Good on Jessica but better still on her parents for being brave enough to allow her child this experience in spite of the many comments such as yours above.

Another thought......My parents circumnavigated the globe at 60 plus. They and the many elderly but rather less capable persons I meet in my work are a far greater concern at sea than a competent 15 year old. No one is suggesting they shouldn't be out there.

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The Last Word
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