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33rd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse
Photo by Luca Butto. Click on image to enlarge.

Primo Cup Monaco: As part of its proactive sailing policy and bringing life to the harbour, the Yacht Club de Monaco is expecting an armada of one-design elites for the 33rd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse, 2-5 February. With 800+ sailors from 15 countries expected, the event brings together top European teams and enthusiastic amateurs.

The 33rd Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse sees a major change in format as it will run over one single weekend for the first time since its launch in 1985. Three courses will be set in the bay of Monaco, another first for the Primo to give each class more space and opening up the choice of tactical possibilities compared to previous years where up to six classes were sometimes rounding the marks at a time.

Among the regular one-design classes, of note this year is the presence of the ultra-modern all-carbon M32 multi-hull.

For the Stars, the Primo Cup is the second stage of their winter circuit. Around 20 teams are expected including Austrian Christian Nehammer from the Beijing Olympics and 1991 World Champion, Italian Roberto Benamati, both serious podium contenders. They face American Jack Jennings, making the trip from the USA, teamed up with German Frithjof Kleen, one of the best sailors in this class and 2014 World Champion.

The German Frers-design Smeralda 888 class, held in such affection by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Yacht Club de Monaco, will be there with the doyen of the fleet, Adalberto Miani, in the role as favourite.

In the Melges 20s and J/70s, who have established their winter base in the Principality since October, many are from Northern and Eastern Europe. They will be battling it out for precious points at this Primo Cup - Trophee Credit Suisse, a key stage for both classes in the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series before the final weekend early March, and generally in the Melges 20 Mediterranean calendar.

Both these very international classes will be out in force with 40-plus J/70s and 20-plus Melges 20s, including experienced teams, such as Italian Vincenzo Onorato (Mascalzone Latino, J/70) and Frenchman Sebastien Col (Arcora, Melges 20).

It all starts on Thursday with a warm-up race at 1.00pm and the first official races on Friday at 11.00am.

Triple Crown Big Boat Event Announced For Cowes Week 2017
Cowes Week Ltd, organisers of the world's best-known sailing regatta, are excited to announce the introduction of a new big boat race series, the Cowes Week Triple Crown.

The new Cowes Week Triple Crown will be a regatta within a regatta: open to large IRC rated racing boats of at least 20m LOA with a minimum TCC of 1.500 and up to 36m LOA. A series of three races will take place on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Cowes Week, with the final race being an Around the Island Race, giving participating boats the opportunity to mount record-breaking circumnavigation attempts.

With a potentially wide range of boats expected to enter, from out-and-out racing boats to cruiser-racers, three classes will compete for the Triple Crown: Maxi-Racer Class; Cruiser-Racer Class and an Ocean-Racer Class.

Three of the sailing world's most historic and prestigious trophies will be awarded to the three classes:

- The Queen's Cup, presented to the Royal Southampton Yacht Club by Queen Victoria in 1897;

- The King George V International Cup (also known as the White Heather Cup) from the Royal Thames Yacht Club, a huge flagon that was awarded for the 23 metre class in 1911 and won by White Heather II

- Royal Yacht Squadron's King's Cup 1920 which was presented by King George V in 1920 for a race for yachts exceeding 100 tons.

The overall winner of the three races will be presented with the Triple Crown trophy. Further details of this will be announced shortly.

Improved VPP And Growing Line-Up For 2017 Superyacht Cup
Last week's New Zealand Millennium Cup not only saw Tawera - 28m of pure energy- sail hard to finish first, but also marked the start of the 2017 superyacht racing season. Next event on the big-boat racing calendar is the SuperYacht Challenge Antigua.

Meanwhile, in Palma de Mallorca, preparations are in full swing for the 21st edition of the Superyacht Cup, the longest-running regatta of its kind in Europe.

The entry list continues to see more and more exciting yachts sign up, like the 27m Claasen-built Kealoha. This modern classic performance sloop was the first of the Truly Classic 90 series and made a splash in the international yachting community by taking home the 2007 Superyacht Design Award in the category Best Sailing Yacht 24-40m. Another award-winning competitor which hails from the Hoek Design's drawing table is the 32m Irelanda. We're thrilled to see her back in the bay as the last time she competed was in 2010. She hit the sweet spot that year, sneaking in ahead of the 27m Ithaka to finish third in cruising class.

A third promising contestant graced with the distinctly elegant Hoek-look is the 39m Claasen-Built Atalante. She's the largest in the Truly Classic range to date and described by Andre Hoek as one of the best boats he's ever been involved with.

Dates for 2017 Superyacht Cup: 21-24 June

Twelve Teams Confirmed For Red Bull Youth America's Cup
Over 20 teams applied to enter the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. The field of 12 is now final. In addition to seven youth teams associated with the AC teams, there are teams from Austria, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Oracle sponsors both Team BDA and Next Generation USA. Each other AC team sponsors one youth team.

- Candidate Sailing Team, Austria
- Team BDA, Bermuda
- Youth Vikings Denmark
- Team France Jeune, France
- Next Generation - Team Germany
- Land Rover BAR Academy, Great Britain
- Kaijin Team Japan
- NZL Sailing Team, New Zealand
- Spanish Impulse Team
- Artemis Youth Racing, Sweden
- Team Tilt, Switzerland
- Next Generation USA

Mackenzie Cooper will lead Team BDA into battle at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in the Great Sound.

The Bermuda Youth America's Cup entry announced yesterday that the son of Somers Cooper, the former Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore and Bermuda Sailing Association president, has been chosen as the team's skipper.

The 22-year-old won a bronze medal competing for St Mary's College at last summer's Intercollegiate Sailing Association Team Race National Championship in San Diego and last week competed as a bowman on-board a J-70 helmed by local skipper Alec Cutler at the Quantum Key West Race Week in Florida.

Richard Clarke, the Team BDA head coach, said that Cooper has demonstrated good leadership qualities in training.

Team BDA also announced Peter Dill as team captain responsible for ensuring the team's AC45F foiling catamaran is up to par.

Team Bermuda's 11-member squad are training full-time in preparation for the Youth America's Cup in June, six of whom will compete on the boat during the regatta.

America's Cup: The Last Indians
And so... the America's Cup is trying to change but the new concept will work? Five skippers are in the new Game but one team, Emirates Team New Zealand, says... No, thanks with a press release of two simple lines:

"@EmiratesTeamNZ believe the future @americascup format is to be decided by the Defender and Challenger of Record as it has historically been"

We have Jimmy Spithill that comes from match racing and pro sailing, Iain Percy gold medallist in Finn and Star, Ben Ainslie Laser gold and three times Finn olympic champion, no olympic champion Dean Barker match racer and Finn olympian, Frank Cammas, offshore sailing and Volvo Ocean Race winner with a campaign in Nacra 17. They have decided to bring stability, though rules are such that new teams would have no chance. With the new two year cycle, they are forced to start... le's say two editions in advance, jump over one to test and get up to speed, in order to have a chance the second time around.

As only commercial considerations seem to characterize the game, they have forgotten that four is the magic number for sportive cycles. Four years between Olympics, four years from a football world cup to another, four years from rubgy worlds to the next edition. Shorter time does not really allow one to plan, create and put together a new team at such high intensity. Events require rest build up, preparation and focus.

Luca Devoti's full editorial:

First An Ocean, Then Round The World
To publicise the work carried out by the Mirpuri Foundation in the field of conservation of the oceans and marine ecosystems, its chairman, Paulo Mirpuri, has embarked for the first time on a transatlantic crossing and has already announced an endeavour to register the first Portuguese team for an important international sailing event in 2020.

To mark the start of its 2017-2019 cycle of activities, the Mirpuri Foundation is organising this transatlantic expedition from the Cape Verde island of São Vicente to Barbados, in the Caribbean, on board a racing yacht named Mirpuri Foundation (a 21-metre VOR70, formerly Green Dragon) crewed by a team of professional sailors led by the skipper Paulo Mirpuri, leading the project forward in the name of the foundation.

Based on values dear to the Mirpuri Foundation - courage, ethics, team spirit, innovation, technology and professionalism - the skipper Paulo Mirpuri wants this first ocean crossing to lay the foundations of the project for a Portuguese crew to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race 2020, with sailors who will be ambassadors of the Mirpuri Foundation, taking its "for a better world" message to all four corners of the world.

* In today's communication via satellite phone the skipper Paulo Mirpuri reported that the crew of Mirpuri Foundation's sailboat reached half way of the route between Cape Verde and Barbados, having already covered 1060 of the 2,000 miles. Thus, by the calculations of the skipper Mirpuri and co-skipper Johannes Schwarz, there are still 990 miles of navigation left and the estimated arrival time (ETA) will be on Saturday morning.

Bid To Rebuild Du Maurier's Boat Set To Revive River Communities
The Jane Slade of Polruan operated as a successful fruit schooner and held the record for the fastest voyage from the Azores to Bristol. Click on image to enlarge.

Jane Slade of Polruan The woman at the helm of one of Britain's last sailing ketches is set to launch an ambitious project to revive a schooner that inspired Cornwall's most famous writer Daphne du Maurier.

Sailor Nikki Alford who owns the restored Plymouth based Bessie Ellen plans to build a new schooner based on the 19th century ship Jane Slade of Polruan.

Together with Sean McLaughlin, Nikki hopes the community will help build the vessel that inspired Daphne Du Maurier's first novel, The Loving Spirit.

together to create jobs so that the people who live here do not have to move away for work."

She said that fundraising has begun to cover the costs of the build - estimated at £2million.

"That is the top end but like anything with boats you think of a number and double it. We want to pay people who do the work associated with the project, from accounting, logistics and marketing."

Saxton And Groves To End Nacra 17 Campaign
Rio Olympians Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves, are to end their British Nacra 17 campaign after two successful years together.

Groves has been offered a career opportunity of a six-month internship at a London investment bank, so will be taking a break from the Olympic campaign trail while she gains new skills and experiences.

Finishing on a high with Sailing World Cup gold in Miami last weekend, during their short partnership Saxton and Groves were regular faces at the front of the mixed multihull fleet.

They won the 2015 NACRA 17 European Championship and two World Cup gold medals in the build-up to the Rio Games, finishing their first Olympic Games in ninth place.

Saxton will seek to establish a new campaign with a new crew looking towards Tokyo 2020, as the Nacra 17 transitions to a foiling boat later this year. -- Gerald New

Bob Grant
Bob Grant Members of the Lancashire School Sailing Association (LSSA) will be saddened to learn that Bob Grant, a former head teacher and a driving force behind the LSSA for more than 30 years, has passed away.

Bob, 69, from Leyland, Lancashire, was a former primary head teacher in Ormskirk, and a mainstay of school sailing in the north-west during his career.

He began training at Tower Wood Outdoor Centre on Lake Windermere in the 1970s, where he swiftly become involved with other training organisations.

As a RYA Dinghy Coach Assessor, he was an active member of the Lancashire School Sailing Association and his practical experience was recognised by the National School Sailing Association (NSSA) with positions as Chair of the Training and Sailing Committees before he was elected Vice Chair.

Alongside his work with the NSSA, Bob was involved with training in the RYA North West Region for many years and sat on the Regional Committee.

In 2004, Bob was honoured with an RYA Award for his dedicated service to training.

RYA Chairman Dave Williamson, who knew him personally, had this to say: "Bob was a long-time colleague and a valued friend. He gave valued service to school sailing. He was a very principled, committed and professional person. He was someone you could rely on and I will miss his great sense of humour."

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