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Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar Contest
Voting is open through January 30th with the winner announced on February 1.

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Jeremie Beyou, Maitre Coq Takes Third Place In The Vendee Globe
Breton skipper Jeremie Beyou crossed the finish line of the eighth edition of the Vendee Globe solo non stop around the world race at 1940hrs UTC Monday evening 23rd January, four days, three hours, two minutes and 54 seconds after the winner, Armel Le Cleac'h securing third place.

The 40-year old sailor who was forced out of the 2008-9 race and the 2012-13 race during the first weeks of both with different technical problems, completed the non-stop solo round the world race for the first time today after 78 days 6 hrs 38 mins and 40 seconds. Up with the leaders from the start on Sunday 6th November, Jeremie Beyou, who struggled with numerous technical difficulties this time, has shown his considerable skill, determination and stamina.

British skipper Alex Thomson, who finished second, earlier today confirmed he often felt threatened by the talented French sailor who is one of the few skippers to have won La Solitaire du Figaro, the French annual summer solo offshore stage series. Beyou was always there ready to pounce behind the two frontrunners. He showed good all-round speed with his older, 2010 boat which was retro-fitted with foils. The Breton skipper achieved his goal by making it to third place and so all three top places in this race are taken by foil assisted VPLP-Verdier designs.

Jeremie Beyou, the third skipper to reach Les Sables d'Olonne sailed 27,101 nm at an average speed of 14.43 knots. His best average was 21 knots having sailed 504 miles in 24 hours on 21st November.

The top three finishers in this edition of the non-stop solo round the world race, have made ten attempts at the Vendee Globe. Armel Le Cleac'h has finished three from three, won one second twice, Alex Thomson started four, one second one third, abandoned twice. And Beyou has started three, one third place.

This VPLP Verdier designed boat from 2010 was previously sailed by Armel Le Cleac'h, who took her to second place in the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe. Four months of work were carried out on her in early 2016 with a New Zealand team to retrofit her with foils.

Australian 18 Foot Skiff Championship
Photo by Michael Chittenden. Click on image for photo gallery.

Race two of the 18 Footers Australian Championship got away today in a 9knot east-nor-easter. The fleet was eager to get started with a number of boats over the line early. Simon Nearn, Grant Rollerson and Niall Kinch on De'Longhi won the start on the port end of the line and didn't let up from there.

At the end of the first of three windward/leewards, De'Longhi had a solid lead over Yandoo (John Winning) and Smeg (Lee Knapton). It wasn't an easy battle for the minor places with four boats, who were OCS; Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon), Coopers 62 Rag & Famish (Jack Macartney), Triple M (James Ward) and Compass Markets (Keagan York); mixing it up at the front of the pack the entire race.

While De'Longhi continued to maintain their lead throughout the race, John Winning put the pressure on the leader on the way to the finish. It was almost a photo finish in the end with Winning finishing just nine seconds behind Nearn. Smeg finished a further minute back in third.

The racing was extremely close with the top six boats finishing within just over two minutes of each other. With the JJ Giltinan just over a month away, the battle for the podium is going to be a close one.

Race three of the Australian Championship will be held on Australia Day, January 26. -- Kimberley Wilmot/Australian 18 Footers League

Perth Match Cup
Perth, Australia: Double Olympic medallist Peter Burling and his team of Kiwi sailors head the leaderboard after the first day of action at the Perth Match Cup, hosted by Royal Perth Yacht Club on the Swan River.

Burling, who won gold at the recent Rio Olympics and silver at the previous games in London, has a crew stacked with talent, and it showed on a day of champagne sailing, when he only dropped one race in seven.

His on board team are Blair Tuke, who was his medal winning partner at both games, Josh Junior, another Olympian and Glenn Ashby, a multiple catamaran world champion.

Local Perth based skipper Matt Jerwood holds second place, also with only one defeat, though he has only sailed six races, so has the potential to equal Burling's score.

Jerwood's Redline Racing team have been strong contenders on the match racing circuit for several years, finishing fifth in the Fremantle Championship event last year, and third at the Marstrand finale of last year's tour.

Conditions on the Swan River's Matilda Bay were perfect today, with bright sunshine and a seabreeze that built from a sedate 8 to 10 knots in the morning, to over 20 knots by the end of the afternoon.

The three day regatta takes the form of a double round robin, followed by quarter finals, semi-finals and a final, which will be sailed on Wednesday. -- John Roberson

1. Peter Burling, NZL, 6 points
2. Matt Jerwood, AUS, 5
3. Steven Thomas, AUS, 4
4. Harry Price, AUS, 4
5. Torvar Mirsky, AUS, 3.5
6. Mans Homberg, SWE, 3
7= Will Boulden, AUS, 2
7= Logan Beck, NZL, 2
9. Matt Chew, AUS, 1.5
10. Jeremy Koo, MAS, 0

Tacking Now
Former Team Vestas Volvo Ocean Race navigator Wouter Verbraak has now joined his countrymen at market leaders Sevenstar Yacht Transport to focus on race yacht logistics with this fast-growing Dutch company

If there's anyone who understands the sharp end of racing yacht logistics, it's Wouter Verbraak. The Dutch pro-sailor was navigating Team Vestas Wind during the last Volvo Ocean Race two years ago when the Danish entry struck a reef in the Indian Ocean. Rescuing the stranded crew and moving the stricken yacht off that remote reef was a major logistical challenge that led to Verbraak taking a greater interest in the process of moving racing yachts safely around the world.

At the beginning of 2016 Verbraak joined Dutch industry leader Sevenstar Yacht Transport to head a new division, Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics. Sevenstar's Sander Schuurman says: 'Wouter's knowledge of the industry makes him a great appointment. When he talks to our racing clients they know they are dealing with someone who understands both the challenges and potential problems.'

Full story in the February issue of Seahorse:

Aiming For Light, Powerful Boats
The evolution of Verdier/VPLP IMOCA over three generations

For the 2016-2017 edition of the Vendee Globe, the class standards changed. The wing mast and one piece keel are imposed. VPLP and myself got in contact to create six new boats: Morgan Lagravière's Safran II, Armel Le Cleach's Banque Populaire, Sebastien Josse's Gitana, Jean-Pierre Dick's St Michel-Virbac, Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss and the last to be launched was Pieter Heerema's No Way Back. We looked for a way to optimise performance. This was where the foils came in.

First, we tried our former concepts with a similar scientific package to previous designs. Then, stemming from our experience on the design of Team New Zealand's AC72 for the America's Cup (2013), we decided to introduce foils into the design of the new 60 foot boats.

These innovative foils are made up of three sections: the shaft, the elbow turn and the tip. The elbow creates the vertical lift force and the tip provides the side force. We call them Dali foils because they look like the famous painter's moustache.

During the conception of these foils, we collaborated with Len Imas who I worked with at ETNZ, and Romain Garo, for the flow calculations (digital simulation of the boat's drag). To reach a compromise, we used the VPP (Velocity Prediction Programme) conceived by Dan Bernasconi. VPLP launched and supervised wind tunnel studies, in parallel. Also, I developed digital platform of finite element calculations with Benjamin Muyl, to assess the boat's solidity.

We aimed to make the boat more homogenous, while predicting increased violence of the wave impact. Rigs and keels were brought back. The front shapes are fuller to compensate the increased thrust of the sails.

Full article:

An Eclectic Collection Of 'Classic' Designs
There could well be as many opinions as to what constitutes a true classic or traditional boat as there are owners of these often highly individual craft. As part of the celebration of the Bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour - where the first stone was officially laid by the Viceroy on 31st May 1817 - the organisers of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 (it's from July 6th to 9th) will be including a Classics, Traditional and Old Gaffer section.

This will, in addition to putting extra emphasis on older classes already regularly involved such as the Glens, the Mermaids, the Howth 17s, the IDRA 14s and the Water Wags, be extending a welcome to older boats of other types, and to classic classes from Ireland and around the Irish Sea. W M Nixon reports on progress in this special feature of a very attractive new dimension to Ireland's biggest sailing event.

If you want anything done in introducing a new twist to sailing, make Cathy MacAleavey the organiser of the special sub-committee in charge of moving things along. And if you want to be sure things are going in the right direction as regards classics and traditional craft, make sure that that Hal Sisk is being consulted and will be personally involved in one or maybe all of his classic craft, for the contribution he has made to the appreciation of our boat heritage in Ireland is unmatched.

WM Nixon in Afloat:

New Challenge Ahead For Sailing Legend
World Sailing's 2017 World Cup Series in Miami, USA will see a 'legend' of the sport take on a new challenge as one of the most successful Olympic sailors exchanges the One Person Dinghy for the Men's Skiff.

Among the 453 sailors racing out of Regatta Park at Coconut Grove, Miami from 22-29 January, Brazil's Robert Scheidt is teaming up with Gabriel Borges in an attempt to master the 49er like he has the Star and Laser.

43-year-old Scheidt is no stranger to sailing in Two Person fleets taking an Olympic silver and bronze medal in the Star, but the High Performance Skiff will present the champion with a different challenge.

The switch from the Laser class, where he has two Olympic gold medals to his name, prompted London 2012 Laser silver medallist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and former rival to say, "Robert is a sailing legend. To have the strength, will, patience, passion and motivation to continue professional Olympic sailing at this age is really admirable. 49er is completely different from Laser so he will need time to adapt but I am sure he will find his way up the ranks."

Other sailors who will also have the opportunity to sail against the Brazilian will be Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra who hold the 2016 Miami 49er title and Austria's Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl who took the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final gold in Melbourne.

Competitors in the 49er, 49er FX, RS:X, and Nacra17 will have five days of fleet racing from Tuesday 24 January to Friday 27 January with LIVE medal races on Saturday 28 January. -- Richard Aspland - World Sailing

Sea Kidnappings Rise Despite Plummeting Global Piracy
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is reminding the boating community to remain vigilant and to avoid navigating through waters in which pirates are known to operate

More crew were kidnapped at sea in 2016 than in any of the previous 10 years, despite global piracy reaching its lowest levels since 1998, the ICC International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) annual piracy report has revealed.

In its 2016 report, IMB recorded 191 incidents of piracy and armed robbery on the world's seas.

Worldwide in 2016, 150 vessels were boarded, 12 vessels were fired upon, seven were hijacked, and 22 attacks were thwarted. The number of hostages fell to 151.

Maritime kidnappings, however, showed a threefold increase on 2015. Pirates kidnapped 62 people for ransom in 15 separate incidents in 2016. Just over half were captured off West Africa, while 28 were kidnapped from tugs, barges, fishing boats, and more recently merchant ships, around Malaysia and Indonesia. -- Laura Hodgetts in Practical Boat Owner

SSL Finals - The Movie Of The 4th Edition
50 top sailors competing
25 teams with different sailing background
17 countries represented
16 Olympic medallists
6 Olympic champions
5 racing days off Montagu Bay, Nassau, Bahamas
3 thrilling knock-out races on the last day
2 Champions: Mark Mandelblatt and Brian Fatih - for the second time in 4 years
1 movie to enjoy once again the SSL Finals 2016

For The Record
The WSSR Council announces the establishment of a new World Record:

Record: Singlehanded Monohull and 60 ft Monohull 24 Hour Records
Yacht: "Hugo Boss" 60 ft Monohull.
Name: Alex Thomson. GBR
Dates:. 15th to the 16th January 2017.
Start time: 07;00;00. UTC on 15/01/17
Start position: 31.92680° / -28.239310°
Finish time: 07;00;00 UTC on16/01/17
Finish position: 39.76260° / -22.91620°
Elapsed time: 24 hours.
Distance: 536.81 NM
Average speed: 22.36 kts

Comments: Previous record: "MACIF" Francois Gabert. FRA. 534.48. 22.27 kts

John Reed
Secretary to the WSSR Council

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The Last Word
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