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J Class At The Saint Barths Bucket
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

J Class Barths Bucket Hanuman won the record six strong J Class at the Saint Barths Bucket, the first regatta of a milestone J Class 2017 season, but the outcome could not have been closer.

Victory in the final race of the event, the 21 mile clockwise passage around St Barthelemy, means they finished the five race series with an identical, facsimile set of scores to Velsheda, but win on tie break. Ironically the popular showcase Caribbean regatta finished on the same note is started. On Thursday Velsheda and Hanuman finished Race 1 tied on exactly the same corrected time. Over the next three days both crews won three races - including the shared Race 1 win - and earned a second and a fourth apiece.

It is not just the top two which tied. Underlining just how close racing is in this six boat fleet, Lionheart and Ranger finish on the same aggregate as each other, 18pts tally. Lionheart's second in today's the last race also proves the decider, giving third overall to the black boat skippered by Bouwe Bekking.

Hanuman won the last two races of this regatta to triumph at their first event back with the J Class since the 2014 Superyacht Cup Palma which they won.

The round the island race was conclusively the best race of the regatta with three different leaders, Ranger, Lionheart and Hanuman and only two minutes separating the top four boats after nearly two hours and 20 minutes of racing.

Two of the top three places - Velsheda in second and Lionheart in third - go to owner-drivers.

St Barths Bucket. J Class Race 5, 21 miles clockwise around Saint Barthelemy
1. Hanuman 2h 19m 10s
2. Lionheart 2h 19m 33s
3. Ranger 2h 21m 14s
4. Velsheda 2h22m 0s
5. Topaz 2h 24m 30s
6. Shamrock 2h 25m 57s

Overall after five races, no discard
1. Hanuman 9.5 (1.5, 2,4,1,1)
2. Velsheda 9.5 (1.5, 1,1,2,4)
3. Lionheart 18 (7,4,2,3,2)
4. Ranger 18 (4,3,3,5,3)
5. Topaz 23 (3,5,6,4,5)
6. Shamrock 28 (5,6,5,6,6)

European Match Race Tour Porto Montenegro
French Skipper Simon Bertheau won the second event of the European Tour in a dramatic final with 3-1 points over Russian Vladimir Liparvski who claimed on the second place in the overall rankings.  With a clear 2-0 over double Olympian Christian Binder from Austria took World # 20 Dejan Presen the bronze medal back to Slovenia.

The second Tour stop at Porto Montenegro, Tivat, featured champagne sailing conditions for the nine teams from six nations.

Bertheau is now leading the overall standing with a maximum of 100 points, while Liparsky and Presen are tied on the second place with 75 points each and chased by Binder with 60 points.

The European Match Race Tour is heading now to Austria, where the Vienna City Match Race will take place from 31 March - 2 April. Here, Presen and Binder may close the gap to the leader who will race again at stage # 4 at Monaco.

Final Results
1. Simon Bertheau - FRA
2. Vladimir Lipavsky - RUS
3. Dejan Presen - SLO
4. Christian Binder - AUT
5. Dore De Morsier - SUI
6. Teo Piasevoli - CRO
7. Sasa Kekovich - MNE
8. Bojan Rajar - SLO
9. Ainan Orlob - MNE

The European Match Race Tour 2017
Tour Stop 1 - 10-12 February - Šibenik, CRO
Tour Stop 2 - 17-19 March - Tivat, MNE
Tour Stop 3 - 31 March - 2 April - Vienna, AUT
Tour Stop 4 - 7-9 April - Monaco, MON
Tour Stop 5 - 25-27 May - Szczesin, POL
Tour Stop 6 - 15-17 June - Copenhagen, DEN
Tour Stop 7 - 25 - 27 August - Ploen, GER
Grand Final 2017 - 8 - 10 September - Ravenna, ITA

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

Seahorse Magazine

Zero tolerance
Already famous for the high precision of both their tooling and the boats they deliver, Persico Marine have been busy meeting two diverse but similar challenges. Having confounded the naysayers by rebuilding the destroyed VO65 Vestas to good-as-new condition in a very short space of time, the Italian yard has most recently been tackling the demands of building super-critical ACC hull parts for the Land Rover BAR America's Cup team, their even more critical foils... and all while at the same time completing a brand new VO65 for Akzo Nobel's Volvo Ocean Race entry

World news
Well meaning (maybe) but dangerous, tout le monde a vendre, Mapfre is back (again) and the cunning plan of Malcolm Page. Ivor Wilkins, Blue Robinson, Carlos Pich, Patrice Carpentier, Carol Cronin

Rod Davis - Horses for courses
Different sailors and different programmes each require their very different styles of coaching...

Sailor of the Month
And as usual we're nothing if not unpredictable

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Countdown To Congressional Cup
Long Beach, CA: In 10 days, world class match racing comes to Long Beach, California, with the 53rd running of the Congressional Cup regatta.This World Match Racing Tour championship event brings the top sailing talent from around the globe to the waters of Long Beach, Calif., March 28 to April 2, 2017.

A succession of winter storms partially closed Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and curtailed the elaborate and festive viewing platform which has been the standard for the last decade. However, Congressional Cup 2017 Chairman Joe Seibert announced, "The pier is open to spectators - providing the best viewing of the race course! So bring your chair, and come on down!"

Racing will be "business as usual" Seibert added, with a single round robin, knock-out round, and quarter finals racing commencing Wednesday March 29, and culminating with semi-finals, finals and a fleet race Sunday April 2. Races begin at roughly 1130AM daily, and can be viewed off the pier at 39th Place in Long Beach, or visit for live streaming action and commentary.

Ficker Cup

The Ficker Cup was established by Long Beach Yacht Club to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. An architect by trade, Ficker was a renowned yachtsman. He won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America's Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup. 

This year Ficker Cup will be held March 24 through 26, also in the vicinity of Belmont Pier. A WMRT World Tour Grade Two event, it is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup, as the top two finalists advance to that event. 

2017 Skipper, Nation - World Sailing Ranking
Taylor Canfield, ISV - 1
Sam Gilmour, AUS - 2
Harry Price, AUS - 3
Ian Williams, GBR - 4
Chris Steele, NZL - 6
Phil Robertson, NZL - 9
Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN - 12
Eric Monnin, SUI - 13
Nicolai Sehested, DEN - 37
Johnie Berntsson, SWE - 56
Plus the top two finishers in the Ficker Cup

MAPFRE Call On Neal Mcdonald
Volvo Ocean Race legend Neal McDonald is back for his seventh consecutive edition - as the Sports and Performance Director of MAPFRE - and although his role is primarily shore-based, he's bringing his sailing boots. 

The 53-year-old Brit played a key role on shore as Performance Manager with 2014-15 winners Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, and will be putting his unique experience and insight into professional sport's toughest team of teamwork to good use as he aims to help Xabi Fernandez and his crew lift the trophy for the first time in Spain's history.

Neal's Volvo Ocean Race career stretches way back to 1993-94, when the race was known as the Whitbread. He first tackled the event as a crew member on Spanish boat Fortuna - and it was a baptism of fire, as they broke their mast twice in the first 24 hours of the race, and ended up retiring.

He returned for the following edition, in 1997-98, onboard Silk Cut, and then stepped up to skipper Assa Abloy in 2001-02. Ericsson snapped him up in 2005-06, and then Green Dragon in 2008-09.

His last race as a full-time sailor was in 2011-12, when he raced alongside Xabi, Pablo Arrarte and Ñeti Cuervas-Mons as watch captain on Telefonica. He then called time on his career - hanging up his sailing boots, and switching to a shore-based role with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - although he did manage to sail one leg of the 2014-15 edition.

18ft Skiffs: Club Championship, Race 12
Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

18 Skiffs Sydney Harbour" The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey successfully retained the title of Australian 18 Footers League club champions when the 12-race series concluded on Sydney Harbour today.

Smeg had the championship won prior to today's race when the team held an unbeatable 26-point lead over the nearest rival, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney).

A third placing, with Ash Rooklyn replacing Lee Knapton as skipper for the day, gave Smeg a final total of 35 points.

Former JJ Giltinan champion John Harris replaced the regular skipper of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and came home sixth today for a final score of 64, followed by Yandoo (John Winning) on 67, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) on 73, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 76 and Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty)  on 116.

The Club's Season Point Score (for handicap section of each race throughout the entire season) came down to the last race with Yandoo (John Winning, Cameron McDonald, Mike Kennedy) taking out the coveted title by 17 points from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.

A 15-knot East North East wind was a perfect finish to the championship and the season's 18ft Skiff racing for 2016-2017 and gave the team of Keagan York, Matt Stenta and Angus Williams a well-deserved victory in Race 12 of the Club Championship.

It was an exciting finish to a highly competitive season which also produced a number of quality new, young teams. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

New Pacific 52 Class Makes Its Debut In San Francisco
Pacific 52. Photo by Erik Simonson / Click on image to enlarge.

Pacific 52 The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco.

Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds.

A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.

The three new builds will join three existing 52fters to form the nucleus of a new level rating Pacific 52 fleet racing in the West Coast of the USA.

Around 16 years ago a similar concept, the Transpac 52 had similar aims and origins, but the TP52 soon evolved into a Mediterranean based MedCup inshore racing class, before being re-badged as the SuperSeries52.

Mick Cookson describes the Pac52 as 'an offshore version of a Medcup TP52, which is now known as a Super Series 52'.

That may seem like a 'return to the future' type remark, given that the TP52 had its origins in the San Francisco, started life as the Trans Pacific 52 and was designed for the biennial Trans-Pacific Race from Los Angeles to Hawaii,

The Pac52 will feature a fixed keel.

The canting keel was considered as an option, these boats are based on an earlier West Coast 52fter Fox, and what Gavin Brady has done with Beau Geste and they are fine with a fixed keel. Inshore racing with IRC, you are not going to be competitive with a canting keel. '

'We 've increased the freeboard of the hull - so the crew can actually get into the bunk, and there is also access to the are under the cockpit floor to a navigation station,' explains Mick Cookson.

'Most of the sail control systems are either on deck or sealed,' he adds in deference to producing a seaworthy offshore racer. -- Richard Gladwell in

On-The-Water Judges For The FAST40+ Class
FAST40+ Class Race Director, Stuart Childerley, explains why the class has introduced on-the-water judges to some of the 2017 events.

With close racing there are times when teams push the RRS too hard and teams feel aggrieved, but reluctant to protest. The Fast 40+ class saw this at earlier events in 2016 and introduced the On-the-water whistling Judge at the One Ton Cup in 2016. We trialed having a judge boat afloat observing the racing and looking for rules infringements, mainly part 2 of the RRS. This was well received by the competitors and generally helped ensure boats that had infringed went about taking their penalty turn promptly.

There was an incident when the judges whistled having seen an infringement, but both boats were oblivious to the incident or infringement. The judges have also adopted an open communication with competitors who are able to talk about incidents and help develop their knowledge and understanding of the RRS. The approach has assisted in reducing the need for protests or leaving two teams with differing opinions whilst not wishing to protest.

In 2017 we have three stand-alone events where the Fast 40+ class are having On-the-water whistling Judges afloat again - RORC Vice Admirals Cup/Round 1, RSrnYC windward-leeward day/Round 2i and the 2017 One Ton Cup/Round 4.

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 Malcolm McKeag:

What a wonderful link in the March 17th issue from David Aisher to the video with all those Optimists and their young skippers sailing the Jurassic coast from Lymington to Weymouth. What a wonderful way to get to the national championship. What lucky children to have such parents; what lucky parents to have such children. What a wonderful adventure and as David says wonderful way to keep sailing the fun that it should always be.  But at the risk of appearing an old pedant may I correct one tiny error in the otherwise excellent commentary? These were not the first Oppies to thread or sail round the Needles.

Way back in about 1984 or thereabouts the uncle of several of those self-same Oppie sailors and now two-time Olympic medal-winner Nick Rogers and his pal Will Leuchars, then aged about 8, sailed their Oppies from Lymington all the way around the Isle of Wight and back to Lymington, a trip that must in relative terms have seemed to them like the still-to-be-invented Vendee Globe. They sailed solo, of course, but were not alone: Dad Jonathon, club boatman Doug Baverstock and full supporting cast accompanied them in the RLymYC big chunky launch We're Here. I seem to recall them being awarded a singular accolade by a now-defunct columnist in a now defunct British yachting fortnightly magazine (well - not quite defunct but no longer fortnightly, in both cases).

It obviously runs in the family.

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The Last Word
Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. -- Robert Kennedy

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