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Giacomo Victorious At 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Hobart, Tasmania: Jim Delegat's New Zealand yacht Giacomo is the overall winner of the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart. For Delegat and his crew, this is a triumph of persistence and teamwork with a distinct family touch.

Delegat's Volvo 70 was the second yacht to arrive in Hobart in the early hours of Wednesday morning finishing the 628-nm race a little under two hours after line honours winner and race record breaker Perpetual LOYAL. Her elapsed time of 1 day, 15 hours, 27 minutes, 5 seconds was well within the previous race record set by Wild Oats XI in 2012. In itself an outstanding performance.

Then came the crowning achievement, overall victory on handicap. "We determined very quickly that the first 18-20 hours was going to be the crucial part of winning our race," added Delegat. "We went out wide in the strong breezes and had some terrific reaching conditions. We made Tasman Light (Island) in good time and then the whole thing was about getting through Storm Bay and up the (Derwent) River and we arrived in Hobart just in time as the breeze faded away." Conditions had played in Giacomo's favour and, even after finishing the race, the weather pattern continued to be kind.

Kind for Giacomo yet cruel for the crews pursuing her corrected time who experienced a complete wind shutdown either in Storm Bay or along the Derwent River. The latter, the 11-mile stretch of water which takes the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet from Storm Bay to the finish line in Hobart, has crushed the dreams of many sailors throughout the history of the race. With the fleet struggling for breeze and only trickling into Hobart, victory was Giacomo's.

Delegat and his crew were rewarded for their exploits earlier today with the Tattersall's Cup and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40. She becomes the first overseas entry to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart since American Roger Sturgeon's Rosebud in 2007.

It is reward for Giacomo's persistence, both given her recent history in the race and the relentless fashion in which she sailed from Sydney. This is her third Rolex Sydney Hobart. On her most recent attempt in 2014 she was forced to abandon the race.

Delegat's crew comprises his two sons, Nikolas, 20, and James, 18, the youngest sailor in this year's race. Another family nod is provided by the boat's name - a tribute to Delegat's great-grandfather. The crew also comprised experienced Rolex Sydney Hobart campaigner Steve Cotton, boat captain, together with Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli, part of that ill-fated 2014 attempt.

Old Salt Calls Out Super-Fast Yachts As 'A Joke'
Tony Cable, a legend in sailing circles who has competed in 51 Sydney to Hobarts, savages the type of supermaxis that now dominate line honours as giving a "totally wrong concept of what the race is all about".

Tony Cable has done more Sydney to Hobarts than anyone else making him a legend in sailing circles.

His first was as a teenager in 1961, a time of timber boats, sailing barefoot, no GPS and definitely no yacht tracker.

He did not hold back when asked about the supermaxi Perpetual LOYAL's achievement, smashing the race record by almost five hours.

"I'm one of those who've got very little time for the maxi boats," he said.

"How long did she take? One day and six hours or something? Big deal.

"Why would you want do a Hobart race and go through all the bull of getting ready and do it in a day and six hours? It's a joke."

Race Commodore John Markos said Cable was a known as a "great stirrer".

"I think the old expression is, 'People who sail in glass boats shouldn't throw stones'," he said.

He pointed out that Cable won line honours on the fastest and most cutting-edge yachts of his day.

"One of the most popular maxis was Sovereign, Tony was on that one," he said.

"These boats at the time were the LOYALs and Wild Oats [of their day].

"He's sailed maxis for a long time, and I think that's why we made him a life member, because he's so amusing."

Seahorse February 2017
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

There is a choice
The world-renowned rope and cable innovators at Gottifredi Maffioli are enjoying fast-growing demand for their range of 'mid-exotic' but very high-performing Dyneema-based cables. And the majority of the Vendee Globe fleet understand why...

The new Botín-designed Melges 40 canting-keel one design may prove to be a major disrupter to today's mid-size raceboat market - North Sails have been playing an integral role in the development of the latest flyer to emerge from the Melges stable

Seahorse build table - Rockin' (all) around the world
The Fast40+ class now has a new fanbase... a long way from 'home'. Brett Bakewell-White

Sailor of the Month
Two gentlemen of influence... and ability

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CQS Heading Back To New Zealand
Ludde Ingvall's super maxi CQS will leave Hobart soon, and head back to New Zealand, where the programme of developing the DSS technology will continue, while Ludde and his sponsor, Sir Michael Hintze discuss the on going event schedule.

Chris Skinner, the boat captain, said he expected there to be a good weather window for them to leave on Friday for the Tasman Crossing, which should take about five days.

Both Ludde and Sir Michael have said they are very pleased with the boat's performance in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart, having shown some stunning bursts of speed before the DSS board broke.

Other than the damage to the DSS board, the rest of the boat came through the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race unscathed, "the guys at Southern Ocean Marine have built a beautiful and strong boat," commented Ludde, "everything else on the boat has worked really well, I'm very happy with the hull and rig." When the decision has been made about the rest of the sailing programme, CQS will be shipped from New Zealand to the venue for the next event.

How To Get Out Of The High Pressure As Quickly As Possible
Banque Populaire is blocked by a high pressure system which is too large to sail around. Armel Le Cleac'h thus has to accept seeing his lead decrease in the course of a few days. More than 800 miles ahead one week ago, it could pass to less than 100 miles tonight. The goal is now for him to get out of it as quickly as possible. After a zone of very light winds (in dark blue on the map), he should get Easterly winds, which will be the sign that he is on the right side of the high pressure cell.

Hugo Boss will also be slowed down by this high pressure system, but not for as long as Banque Populaire. The anticyclone will move eastward from tomorrow.

The next stage for both leaders will then be to sail in a North-Easterly wind until the latitude of Rio. The wind should then shift to the East. They will be able from there to sail at full speed towards the equator on starboard tack, which is the good one for Alex Thomson as he has only one foil left.

The four following competitors should all have rounded Cape Horn by Friday evening. They will normally sail in a Southwesterly wind which will allow them to reduce the gap to the two leaders. They need to hurry up before the wind deceases on Friday evening around Cape Horn.

Latest top ten rankings:
1. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire VIII, FRA, 5156 nm to finish
2. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, GBR, 28.6 nm to leader
3. Jeremie Beyou, Maitre CoQ, FRA, 1181.9 nm
4. Jean-Pierre Dick, StMichel - Virbac, FRA, 1914.0 nm
5. Jean Le Cam, Finistere Mer Vent, FRA, 2050.7 nm
6. Yann Elies, Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, FRA, 2060.5 nm
7. Louis Burton, Bureau Vallee, FRA, 3251.7 nm
8. Nandor Fa, Spirit of Hungary, HUN, 4198.5 nm
9. Conrad Colman, Foresight Natural Energy, NZL, 5639.1 nm
10. Eric Bellion, COMMEUNSEULHOMME, FRA, 5691.6 nm

Accelerating Into 2017
Over 2015 and 2016 the teams battled tooth and nail around the world in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, finally won at the last round in Fukuoka, Japan by the British Land Rover BAR team. Throughout the series, all the teams were racing AC45F boats, foiling catamarans described by Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper Glenn Ashby as "brutal".

As mighty as the AC45Fs are, they are the precursor to what comes next in 2017 - the frankly astounding America's Cup Class boats, known as ACC boats, carbon-fibre, hydrofoiling catamarans capable of up to 90kmh and sailed by a crew of six.

This is the heart of the America's Cup. Teams designing and building their own boats within a set of rules that presents scope for individual design genius, but creates a relatively level playing field that maximizes the competition between all the teams.

So far, as of date of this publication, none of the teams' ACC boats have seen the light of day, but glimpses have been given as to what lies ahead. All the teams, whether in Bermuda, France, the UK or Bermuda, have been testing interim versions of the race boats they will campaign in 2017, AC45s with parts from their ACC boats added so they can be tried and tested, adopted or dumped as performance data dictates. These test platforms have been variously referred to as AC45T (turbo) boats, AC45S (surrogate) boats, or, simply, test boats, but from early 2017 the teams' focus will be 100% on their ACC boats as they perfect systems and designs for the real action in May and June 2017.

One major difference between the ACC boats and the AC45Fs is how they are powered. Both boats need grinders on board to turn over the winches that operate systems. For the uninitiated, grinders are the muscle on board the boats, supremely powerful athletes capable of sustained bursts of energy that is used to operate sails or lift daggerboards. Well, that was until the ACC boats came along...

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Competition
Click on image to enlarge.

Roger's Beach Bar, Hog Island, Grenada We've had some submissions this year that are unique in our eight year history.

You can submit YOUR entry until Friday January 6 2017.

From all of the submissions, the team at Wight Vodka will choose the top 10 bars which are put forward for the online voting from Monday January 9 through Tuesday January 30.

We announce the winner on February 1 2017.

Tell us your favourite:

This one from reader Daria:

Roger's Beach Bar, Hog Island, Grenada

Here's what makes it so great...

Roger's is an opportunity to lime at a truly classic throwback Caribbean beach bar where there isn't any running water or electricity but there's plenty of rum, food, music and smiles for everyone.

Wight Vodka
Tack & Gybe Responsibly

Gaetano Mura - Solo Round The Globe Record
Sardinian solo sailor Gaetano Mura on his Class40Italia is determined not to abandon his round-the-world record attempt from Gibraltar to Gibraltar. Yet, he is currently having several technical issues hindering the boat's progress, some that cannot be dealt with on board.

The problems could only be solved by specialists who could make some of the electronics systems on board work again,namely the satellite communication system. The damage, observed some days ago, does not enable Gaetano to get accurate weather forecast gribs: a very serious obstacle to the record attempt as it makes it impossible for Gaetano to set the ideal course and also for safety reasons, because it is very hard to position the boat in the best spot to avoid the tough low-pressure systems at the latitudes Italia is sailing.

Moreover, the autopilot is also not working properly, which makes sailing single-handedly simply impossible.

One of the main challenges of these kind of attempts is to complete the route without encountering physical or technical issues. Suffice to say that in the Vendee Globe, the world-famous single handed race around the planet, no less than 10 skippers out of 29 starters had to abandon already.

For Gaetano Mura, getting ashore and receive outside assistance would automatically imply not racing for the non-stop, unassisted round the world record attempt, as defined by the rules of the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Committee).

The record is undoubtedly one but not the only goal for Gaetano Mura, his stakeholders and sponsors. As a matter of fact Gaetano's circumnavigation is a test-bench for more similar challenges after the 2009 Mini Transat and the 2013 Transat Jaquest Vabre, two of the tougher ocean races. Gaetano is not new to the hardship of offshore sailing. Besides, Gaetano has already spent 61 days at sea, totally alone, sleeping for very short naps of no more than 20 minutes each couple of hours, in extreme weather conditions and being put to exceptional psychophysical test.

More details on the situation and the approach to Australia will come over the coming days. Italia should arrive in Fremantle on the morning of December 31st, local time. The Australian town, is one of the world's sailing capitals (where an America's Cup edition was held in 1987, with two Italian challengers: Azzurra, and another boat called Italia, same as Gaetano's boat) and where Italian skipper will be soon welcome and assisted.

Gaetano Mura's route can be followed via the tracking on his official website:

GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series
Photo by Tim Olin. Click on image for photo gallery.

Brass Monkey It's Mee who wins again at the Brass Monkey, but only by a second

With storms Barbara and Conor lining up to batter the UK over Christmas it was looking touch and go for The Brass Monkey at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club - the third round of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series. On the day, the 98 competitors (from an entry of 102) were greeted by a gentle force 1-2 breeze and although cold, it was at least dry.

With only 45 minutes to the start half the lake disappeared into a low cloud but by the start that had cleared and the three fleets started in faint sunshine. Race Officer Mike Saul had set a course with a long beat and run then a couple of shorter reaches before a short beat back through the gate.

With the light winds it was soon plain to see that the faster boats weren't going to have a good day with only the RS400 of Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman making any headway to finish 11th.

Meanwhile Mee / Norris had slowly increased their lead on Escritt / Clough who themselves had come under pressure from Henry Raistrick / Lucy Ferguson's RS200, finishing 7th and 8th respectively. But the real question was how close was Marsden's GP to the Supernova and leading 200? The answer was not close enough - with the race win going to Mee / Norris, second to Snell and third to Marsden / Ellie D.

Event #4 is coming up quickly, the Grafham Grand Prix this Bank Holiday Monday 2nd January 2017. With 148 entries already registered and a last-minute rush on the cards before the online entry deadline of 8pm on Friday night, 30 December, it's quite possible that the entry limit of 200 will be reached before race day. -- Keith Escritt, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

Enter the Grafham Grand Prix here:

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The Last Word
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. -- Kurt Vonnegut

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