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Vendee - Saint Petersburg Race
The idea of sailing between Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie, in Vendee on France's Atlantic coast all the way to St. Petersburg, the former capital of Russia, which is so steeped in history, may appear to be a bold initiative. Usually, ocean races offer us destinations on the other side of the Atlantic, and indeed it is very rare to find races based around the North Sea and the Baltic. And that is one of the main attractions of this race, as it brings together an up and coming class and an innovative course, which is technically very challenging.
When you are in a race, the conditions can be quite cruel at times. What the fleet [of Open 50 multihulls] has just experienced goes to prove that, as the leading boats clearly have the advantage on this first day of the Vendee St-Petersburg. The gap is widening and that is set to continue for the time being.
In the first 24 hours of the race the boats chasing after the two frontrunners, Yves le Blevec (Actual) and Franck-Yves Escoffier (Crepes Whaou ! 3) were severely punished. Only Loic Fequet's crew (Crepes Whaou ! 2) managed to avoid the worst as the two leaders dealt with rounding the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula against the current, forcing them to stick close to the shoreline to avoid the tidal flow.
For the others, the tip of Brittany was a major headache, as the hold-ups developed just as they got there. Erwan Le Roux (FenetreA Cardinal) and his crew saw Pierre Hingant's crew (La mer revele nos sens) make their getaway as they entered the Sein channel within sight of them. What happened was that one just managed to get out of the traps of the tidal race, while the other just two miles astern felt the full effect head on... Fortunately, there is still a long way to go to reverse the situation and the crew of FenetreA Cardinal sailing along the rocky coast of Northern Brittany managed to narrow the gap considerably by the 1400hrs rankings. However, the forecast from Meteo France is far from optimistic for the tail-enders, as the wind is set to die away from the west.
Top five at 1800 GMT 17 May:
1. Yves Le Blevec, Actual, 1403.3 nm to finish
Royal St George Win Cumberland Cup
With a close to perfect score, Andrew Fowler's team of Sam Hurst, Brendan Fafliani, John Sheehy, Nick Smyth, Guy O'Leary, Peter Bailey and Phil Lawton from Royal St George YC in Dublin, Ireland, won the 2010 Royal Thames Cumberland Cup from Ian Ilsley's team from Yacht Club de Monaco. Firm friend and arch-rival of the home side the Southern Yacht Club of New Orleans was third, claiming by dint of that result the Bourgne Cup, contested on each and every occasion the clubs meet, in whatever larger competition..
Over three days at Queen Mary Water hard by Heathrow airport the seven teams sailed a total of 54 races in the international yacht club contest, ferried to and fro from the RTYC's Knightsbridge clubhouse in that iconic symbol of London, a bright scarlet Routemaster double-decker omnibus.
Sailing in a fleet of eight carefully-matched modified J80s the competition began with a two-day double round-robin in which each team raced each other team twice. St George topped the league, winning 11 out of their 12 matches and losing only to the hosts and current holders, Royal Thames, and thus apparently setting the scene for the finals. It was a scene dramatically re-shaped by the winner-take-all nature of the Cumberland Cup's competition structure.
With teams travelling from across the globe to compete in this regatta, the organisers deliberately eschew a competition format that eliminates teams early from the competition, espousing instead a format that keeps every team sailing into the final round. The result is The Ladder. On The Ladder, a win carries the double bonus of promotion to the next rung - but every loss earns the double-penalty of relegation. On The Ladder, it is just possible by dint of really good sailing to redeem a disappointing result in the round-robin and climb all the way to the top - as did the Monegasques - while the series leaders - in this case the Irish - must not put a foot wrong if they are to retain their fingertip grip on the crown. -- Malcolm McKeag
Full results at
New Trans-Med Record to Banque Populaire
The new record time is now 14 hours 20 minutes and 34 seconds, subject to confirmation by the WSSRC.
The 40m trimaran sailed from Marseille at 03:56:56 GMT Saturday morning and finished at Carthage, Tunisa at 18:17:30 GMT for an average speed of 33.24 knots over the 477 mile course. She hit a peak speed of 43.1 knots. -- Sail World, www.sail-world.com
Boat site: www.voile.banquepopulaire.fr
When underway, Schaefer's entire track articulates so the batten ends and luff bolt rope move as one when the sail is trimmed. So the bolt rope, which otherwise would have been subjected to 750kg of forward thrust from the battens, is effectively protected by the batten 'seats' designed into the solid aluminum extrusion.
This articulating sail track also allows the "Athos" crew to furl her sails with full-length carbon battens, entirely into her boom. Fully battening a sail is normally only possible with the use batten cars. However batten cars cannot be used if the sail needs to furled into the boom, which is why Schaefer originally developed the technology for their own in-boom furling system originally designed for boats up to 53' feet.
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Charles Pitcher (GBR)
This month's nominees:
Larry Ellison (USA)
Knut Frostad (NOR)
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto.
Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at
* Seahorse has a special six issue subscription offer for those who vote and/or comment on the Sailor of the Month... vote and see!
Vice Admiral's Cup
Conditions ranged from light airs up to ten knots on Friday, through the mid range at 15 knots on Saturday and finally a heavier airs day on the Sunday building to around 20 knots. With nine races completed it was a tight series for all four classes competing.
Class 0 (50-52 footers) featured three TP52s and although it was the smallest class it was none-the-less perfectly formed with many of the UK's top big boat sailors crewing and competition so close that at times it looked more like match than fleet racing. Race seven clearly demonstrated just how close the racing was when a dead heat was declared between Johnny Vincent's Pace and Charles Dunstone's Rio. All three boats took race wins during the weekend and the result went right down to the final race with Pace just pipping Rio to the post by 2 points with Rob Gray's new acquisition Bob just four points back in third.
The Farr 45s made up the majority of Class 1 (44-46 footers) and were joined by Nemo, the Swan 45. Despite being unable to finish race 7 due to gear failure Simon and Mike Henning's Alice, with Mike on the helm and a crew of relative youngsters from Southampton University, ultimately scraped victory by the skin of their teeth from Tony Langley's Atomic with Jerry Otter's Werewolf two points behind them in third and Stewart Whitehead's Rebel fourth.
Class 3 (the J-109s) was dominated by Adam Wright's Velvet Elvis who were in the enviable position of discarding a second place to win the regatta by ten points.
In a regatta featuring the creme de la creme of British big boat sailors it was great to see that the revived Quarter Ton fleet was still able to deliver some of the most exciting racing of all. On the leader board Louise Morton's 1978 Bruce Farr designed Espada looked to have dominated the regatta with seven wins and two second places, but closer examination of the individual race results reveals that the leading boats in virtually every race were separated by just a few seconds on corrected time. Giving Espada the toughest time on the water was the visiting Swedish team of Rickard Melander aboard Phil Morrison's 1990 design Alice II (not to be confused with her namesake racing in Class 1) which has recently completed a full refit and took second place overall. Proving that age and experience count for a lot in these tricky little boats it was great to see Tony Dodd's evergreen Purple Haze, designed by David Thomas in 1977 as the prototype to the Bolero class, revelling in the mixed conditions to take third place overall. -- Fiona Brown
Normandy Channel Race
The fleet in this first edition of the Normandy Channel Race has now split into three groups, with 40 miles separating the first and last competitors. Following a very good start to the race, Dunkirk sailors Ruyant and Leglatin are in pole position offshore of Portland on England's South coast. They have a slender lead over the wily Mabire and Harding on "40 Degrees", who are tacking their way down the coast with "Appart City". Meantime the crew of "Moonpalace" are adopting an intermediary position. At present competitors are making headway upwind in 10 to 12 knots of breeze, trying to negotiate the varying degrees of current! The war of nerves is very much in evidence amongst the top four and it appears that those who're favouring the inshore track have more wind pressure and less current.
Tanguy De Lamotte and Jean Galfione, Nick Legatt and Philippa Hutton-Squire, are 20 miles behind the leaders, struggling to extract themselves from the fickle conditions reigning along the English coast.
At the back of the pack it was a tough morning for some with the boats skippered by Marc Lepesqueux, Jacques Fournier, Christophe Coatnoan and Andrew Dawson arriving in the fabulous waters of the Solent a little too late, resulting in them being unable to make headway against the current. Early this afternoon though they were back on track and the competition is still wide open as light airs are expected and there is 12 hours' sailing ahead before reaching Lizard Point. -- Translated by Kate Jennings
IRC 2011: Composite Standing Rigging
The Committee noted that the technology of composite standing rigging has matured significantly in recent years to the extent that it is now becoming close to mainstream.
There is now evidence that composite standing rigging has a life expectancy at least that of steel rod rigging.
In parallel, the cost of composite standing rigging has fallen to the extent that some brands are now available at costs only a little higher than the equivalent steel rod rigging.
Composite standing rigging is also now beginning to become available as a standard option from production boat builders.
Noting all of the above, the Committee has concluded that the rating cost of composite standing rigging will be reduced with effect from 1st January 2011 (1st June 2011 in IRC southern hemisphere countries). This notice has been issued now to enable owners considering either new boats or modifications to their existing boats to plan accordingly.
The exact effects on TCC are not yet available. The Committee's intention however is that the effects should in future be broadly neutral in terms of speed versus rating. The effect of composite standing rigging will also continue to vary from boat to boat. -- IRC Technical Committee.
The Results Speak For Themselves
ETNZ Skipper, Dean Barker comments: "We tested a number of different rigging options, and chose Southern and EC6 over the rest, which has proven to be a winner". Undoubtedly, the ETNZ team benefited from Composite Rigging's revolutionary new EC6 LEF (Laminated End Fitting) rigging; offering a lighter weight, smaller diameter, and performance-enhancing internal end fitting.
In the end there can only be one winner; to find out what goes into designing a world-class performance rig visit: www.southernspars.com
Audi to Sponsor Team Azzurra
The agreement reached with Audi, a partner of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for several seasons, represents an important development for the team. The renowned German manufacturer has been present on the international sailing scene for many years, supporting the established Audi MedCup circuit for the TP52 and GP42 classes, and in 2010 is Title Sponsor of two major events on the YCCS sporting calendar: the ISAF Offshore Team World Championship - Audi Sardinia Cup and the Audi Invitational Melges 32.
Publishing director Simon Owen says "I'm delighted to announce David's promotion to editor. His depth of talent, ideas and enthusiasm are legendary and I'm very much looking forward to working with him as we continue the development of this truly iconic sailing brand." David takes up his new position on the 2nd June, following the retirement of another sailing icon, his predecessor Andrew Bray.
David adds "It is a privilege to be asked to edit one of the most respected yachting magazines in the world and I relish the exciting challenge of developing the brand on different platforms. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Bray for his 18 years at the helm. His will be large sea boots to fill, but with one of the best editorial teams in the business I have every confidence that we can take Yachting World to new levels."
* FLIR Systems Inc said Friday it had entered into an agreement with the Administrator of Raymarine plc to acquire all of the outstanding shares of its wholly owned subsidiary, Raymarine Holdings Ltd. The transaction was valued at US$180m, including repayment of all Raymarine's debt and about US$24m in proceeds to Raymarine plc. That is the equivalent of 20 pence per ordinary share. Raymarine had sales of US$170m in 2009.
Lewis said the acquisition will increase its distribution network with the addition of Raymarine's 1000 dealer outlets and 400 marine OEMs. FLIR intends to integrate its thermal imaging products with Raymarine's marine electronics technology. -- International Boat Industry news, www.ibinews.com
* The Asia Boating Awards added a new category this year; that of 'Yacht Designer in Asia of the Year', and Bill Dixon was selected in recognition of his huge contribution to yacht design in the area.
Mr Dixon has been working in the region for over 25 years and has established a client base throughout that extends from Korea in the north east to Thailand in the south west, with long standing clients in Taiwan and new clients in the emerging Chinese market.
Over the years he's worked on a wide range of projects from custom wooden schooners, through superyachts and production motorboats, to one design sailing yachts. -- Boating Business www.boatingbusiness.com
Alan Andrews deisgned TP52 now retorfitted with a canting keel, extremely fast.
Brokerage through 22 North Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/22northhk/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com
The Last Word
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