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Armel Le Cleac'h Winner of La Solitaire 2010
Photo by Courcoux-Marmara/Le Figaro. Click on image for event gallery.

Figaro By crossing the line at 21.15.24 Armel Le Cleac'h on Brit Air gets his third leg win and overall victory in the Solitaire du Figaro 2010. He thus enters in the selected group of sailors who have a double victory in the race history.

Corentin Douguet on E.Leclerc Mobile crossed the line in second at 21.18.28, 3 minutes and 4 seconds after Le Cleac'h and after 54.33.28 form the start in Kinsale.

François Gabart on Skipper Macif 2010 crossed in third at 21.25.40, securing second overall place

"I'm really proud. I can't believe it, I won three legs a sixth place in Ireland... Winning the Figaro like this it's pure joy. I came to take my revenge for last year's bad performance, I wanted to sail well on all the four legs. I was into the match and I somehow knew I could make it. I feel I have learnt something on how to control the race, to be in the lead. It's hard when you have 44 adversaries behind you, and all good ones! I managed to get in the lead, stay there and win, on all the legs bar one. Cool! I felt terrific onboard, the boat, the strategy all came easier than I thought. I enjoyed every moment, even here at the raz Blanchard, Corentin (Douguet ed. note) was not far but I wanted to get to the end and win this Figaro.

Just one year ago things were quite different, I think I've grown up... I trained well and my shore team did a fantastic job. It's been a long time since I won an important race, this year it's been the Transat AG2R and the Solitaire.

I will probably be feeling the exhaustion soon. I'm exhilarated by many things, I've been thinking a lot before the finish. My victory in 2003, the work done during winter, the sailing in bad weather, when its' cold. But you have to be well trained and ready... I need to make a break now, I've pushed hard and we had a bit of every condition: strong breeze, light air and it's tiring, haven't slept much...

Irish Hold The Line Offshore
Photo by Kurt Arrigo / Rolex. Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Commodores' Cup Boats have been returning to Cowes Yacht Haven throughout today, back from the offshore race of the 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup. With a 2.5x point co-efficient this race had the potential to provide a major upset in the results, but after four days of competition the Irish team hold an even more commanding lead, now up to 29.5 points. Hong Kong has regained second place, this time with a 25-point cushion over the leading French team, which in turn is just 5 points ahead of GBR Red and 15 points ahead of France Yellow in fifth.

Hong Kong and Ireland scored equal points in the offshore race with the former's Rockall III winning the small boat class while the latter's claimed the mid-sized class. On the water Rockall III was first home in the whole fleet, crossing the line just to the west of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour at 10:40:41 BST, winning her class by almost one hour on corrected time. While racing for Hong Kong, where he used to live, Rockall III's owner Christopher Opielok is German. His crew is largely from Hong Kong but also includes two Dutch, one Irishman and three Australians.

Simon Henning, owner of the Alice II from GBR White was delighted to have won the big boat division. His Farr 45, the biggest yacht in this year's Rolex Commodores' Cup does not have a favourable rating and they have not performed well in the inshore racing so far. Having to continue past Anvil Point and on to the East Shambles mark in Weymouth Bay, the Class 1 course at 191-nautical-miles was some 35 nm longer than the Class 3 version, which simply did an about-turn at Poole. Yet Alice II reached the finish line just under four minutes astern of Rockall III.

Tomorrow the Rolex Commodores' Cup returns to racing on The Solent with one inshore course scheduled for Rolex Trophy Day. Crews get a well-earned rest following their efforts of the past 24 hours or so, with the start scheduled for noon BST. With two high scoring races to follow on Friday (the x1.5 Round the Isle of Wight Race) and Saturday (a double-points inshore race) the teams at the top know this event is far from over. The Irish will sleep more comfortably tonight having cruised through the major test of the week, but undoubtedly will be on alert tomorrow to avoid the pitfalls encountered by previous compatriot teams.

Top Five Teams - Provisional Positions after completion of 5 races
Team / Points / Place
Ireland / 42 / 1
Hong Kong / 71.5 / 2
France Blue / 84 / 3
GBR Red / 89 / 4
France Yellow /99 / 5

The 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup tomorrow, Thursday, has one inshore race for the Rolex Trophy. The forecast wind overnight is for 10 - 14 knots from the southwest.

* Justin Chisholm's latest video at

Countdown to Key West Race Week 2011
Key West Race Week 2009. TP52 Rio with Simon Le Bon in the crew. Photo by Ken Stanek. Click on image to enlarge.

Key West Race Week 2011 Early entries are coming in and more boats are making their intentions known. Don't miss the 24th edition of winter's perfect getaway. Key West offers the best in competition, dependable breeze, warm topical waters, and professional race management. One design, PHRF and Multihull boats compete over five days in January. Headliner classes include IRC Modified TP52s, the rebounding Farr 30s, another strong J/80 showing, Melges 24s and 32s, Farr40s and J/105s.

Find news on savings, logistics, entries and more on the event web site.

YachtScoring makes entering easier than ever:

Key West Race Week January 17-21, 2011

Finn Class Heads to San Francisco
Photo by Erik Simonson. Click on image for photo gallery.

Finn Silver Cup For the next three weeks San Francisco Bay will be the centre of the Finn world. On 27 August the Finn Gold Cup will start but this Friday, 20 August, the Finn Silver Cup for the Jorg Bruder Cup - the Junior World Championship - will get underway.

For many years the Junior Worlds was held as part of the Finn Gold Cup but increasing numbers of Juniors in Europe forced the event to be held independently and for the last few years has attracted in excess of 50 boats. This year it will be sailed out of St Francis Yacht Club, USA with sailors from 10 countries competing for the Jorg Bruder Cup, which was first presented in 2004 by the Brazilian Olympic Committee in memory of the popular, three time Gold Cup winner.

The defending champion is in fact also Brazilian. Jorge Zarif (BRA) won a close fought series last year on Lake Balaton in Hungary, and though he hasn't had as much international experience this year as some of his main rivals, is expected to be a firm favourite.

Perhaps the main favourite is the twice crowned Junior European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), who not only retained his Junior European title in Split this year but also presented himself very well in the senior fleet, finishing 12th overall.

Racing commences on Friday 20 August with nine races scheduled. The medal race for top ten is scheduled for Tuesday 24 August and all races for the Silver Cup are being held from St Francis Yacht Club, before the fleet moves across the bay to Richmond for the Gold Cup, so the boats are closer to the Berkeley Circle, where the world championship racing will be held. -- Robert Deaves

Greece and France Set The Pace for the 420 Junior Europeans
Photo by Bill Crane. Click on image for photo gallery.

420 Junior Europeans As a record 120 boats, 240 sailors from 23 countries, completed the Qualifying Series of races at the Societe des Regates Rochelaises in La Rochelle, Greece took the lead by a point from France, with both countries having 'back-up' teams in the top five, but with Britain, Ireland and Israel in close contention.

The youngest helm in the Championship, Alexandros, with not-so-much older brother, Georgios Kavvas won the Qualifying Series of six races, with the Rochelaises, Clement Ikhlef & Clement Pequin just a point behind. The next group, with a small five-point gap from the leading two, were Loukas Oulkeroglou & Grigodis Zografos (GRE) on equal points with Mike Wood & Hugh Brayshaw (GBR), followed by Guillaume Pirouelle & Valentin Sipan (FRA), Cian O'Regan & Scott Flanigan (IRL), and Yoav Levi & Dan Froylich (ISR), Silver medallists at last year's Junior Europeans in Balaton.

The Women were led, by 9 points, by Charlotte Stumpel & Shannen Marck of the Netherlands (11th overall in this integrated Championship) from Amy Seabright & Hermione Stanley (GBR) (18th). In third are Patrícia Costa & Filipa Barros (POR) (30th overall), from Maëlenn Lemaitre & Aloïse Retornaz (FRA) (35th) and Jane Butler & Jenny Andreasson (IRL) (36th). There are eight women's teams qualifyed for the Gold Fleet in the Final Series of the Championship.

Top 5:
1 Alexandros & Georgios Kavvas (GRE) 12 points
2 Clement Ikhlef & Clement Pequin (FRA) 13 pts
3 Loukas Oulkeroglou & Grigodis Zografos (GRE) 18 pts
4 Mike Wood & Hugh Brayshaw (GBR) 18 pts
5 Guillaume Pirouelle & Valentin Sipan (FRA) 19 pts

Women's: Top 5
1 Charlotte Stumpel & Shannen Marck (NED) 34 pts (11th overall)
2 Amy Seabright & Hermione Stanley (GBR) 43 pts (18th)
3 Patrícia Costa & Filipa Barros (POR) 57 pts (30th)
4 Maëlenn Lemaitre & Aloïse Retornaz (FRA) 64 pts (35th)
5 Jane Butler & Jenny Andreasson (IRL) 64 pts (36th)

More details:
Championship website:
Class website:

SYZ & CO Moth Europeans
Photo by Loris von Siebenthal. Click on image for photo gallery.

Moth Europeans Three races took place today. A tough and physical day for the Moth fleet, with 17 to 20 kt. wind and a breathtaking spectacle. The American Bora Gulari stands up today with two first places and one second and finishes second of the general ranking, behind the Australian Nathan Outteridge.

Bora Gulari, the hero of the day with two first places and one second: "This class is fantastic, we are like a big family, and it is really great to be here." A comment on the very tight results of the leading group? What makes the difference? What makes it that he is in front of the others? He answers modestly with a smile: "the luck or ... just a windshift maybe!" The well-named Bora - his name comes from the Mediterranean wind, the bora, a northern wind which can be very violent - explains: "What I like above all with the Moth is the silence, once you fly... I do not regret at all the windsurf nor the forty-niner. The moth is now part of me..."

Andrew McDougall, the designer of the Mach 2 and the Blade, travelled all the way from Australia to take part in the European championships. When he arrived to Switzerland two days before the beginning of the festivities, he was told that his boat did not follow. Finally, his moth arrived in Switzerland yesterday evening, too late for the first day of racing. The assembly was done this morning with the help of other competitors.

Preliminary results after the second day :

1. Nathan Outteridge, AUS
2. Bora Gulari, USA
3. Scott Babbage, AUS
4. Simon Payne, GBR
5. Arnaud Psarofaghis, SUI
6. Rob Gough, AUS
7. Jean-Pierre Ziegert, SUI
8. Jason Belben, GBR
9. Matthias Renker, SUI
10. Anthony Kotoun, ISV

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Asian Match Racing Championship: Monsoon Cup Qualifier
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: A ground breaking initiative announced today by The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) will ensure that young sailors have the chance to compete for a place in the WMRT's prestigious season ending finale, the Monsoon Cup.

The Asian Match Racing Championship (AMRC), a qualifying event for the Monsoon Cup, is set to allow sailors under the age of 25 from outside of Asia to compete in the event for the first time this year, as well as other Asian teams.

This unique decision was taken by the AMRC to help encourage the development of match racing, a unique style of competitive sailing which sees participants go head-to-head in close quarters on the water. Current ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion (WMRT), Adam Minoprio, has shown just what the AMRC can do for a sailor's career having first made a name for himself by winning the AMRC in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

The sailing hotspots of Australia and New Zealand already come under the territory of Asia with regards to the WMRT and so the decision to open the field yet further is sure to make this year's AMRC the most competitive yet. The World Match Racing Tour is the well worn pathway to the America's Cup and is targeted by many of these young sailors.

This year the AMRC takes place from the 26th to 29th October at the Ri- Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, the home venue of the Monsoon Cup.

The AMRC is one of two events of which the winners will gain a berth into the Monsoon Cup, the other being the Malaysian Match Racing Championships (MMRC) which take place on 20th to 23rd October at Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa.

Ten Bullets Confirm Bouvet and Mion as Kings of the 470 Juniors
Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion fired in two more bullets at the 470 Junior European Championships in La Rochelle today. Out of 11 races, the French sailors have scored 10 wins and are discarding a second place. In this high quality, 86-boat fleet made up of some of the best young sailors in the world, they have sealed championship victory with two days to spare.

The conditions in La Rochelle have been exceptional this week. Today race officer Alain Corcuff was frustrated by a 90-degree windshift forcing him to abandon the race and wait for the wind to settle before re-starting. But it was worth the wait as the wind returned, steady and strong, blowing up to 16 knots.

The team that had been sitting in second until illness put paid to their medal hopes yesterday were back on the water, and firing on almost all cylinders. Berenger Balzeau, crewed by Mathieu Fountaine, was back out of hospital and back in the saddle today, racking up a 4,2 to lift the local team from 23rd to 14th overall. "I'm feeling good today because all of my friends are here for me. They hope I'm feeling better than yesterday, and I'm very happy to be sailing again knowing that my friends and family are supporting me here in my home town." As for making it into the top 10 for the Medal Race, Balzeau and Fountaine have to make up 16 points to get on terms with the Greeks currently in 10th, although as Balzeau said, "Anything is possible. I hope we can do it."

While the gold is gone, there will still be a scrap for the silver and bronze. Tim Elsner and Oliver Szymanski made a strong bid for silver today with 2,4 scores. "Everything felt very good today," said Elsner from Germany. "The boat was fast and we were working well together. It would be great to win a medal here because this is our last regatta in the 470." And their next boat? The Olympic keelboat, the Star. Yes, you read that correctly. Elsner, 69kg, and Szymanski, 74kg, plan to pile on 50kg of weight to start campaigning the Star.

Unluckiest boat of the day was the 470 of Max Schaller and Tim Wilcke (GER), with the port side of the transom almost ripped away from the hull after a Croatian boat misjudged its avoiding bear-away manoeuvre when crossing behind the Germans upwind. That brings the Germans' regatta to a premature end, with their 470 in need of major repair before it is fit to race again.

The 2010 470 Junior European Championships is taking place together with the 420 Junior European Championships from 12-20 August 2010. -- Luissa Smith

Top 5 After 11 Races:
1. Sofian Bouvet / Jeremie Mion, FRA, 10
2. Tim Elsner / Oliver Szymanski, GER, 52
3. Kevin Peponnet / Julien Lebrun, FRA, 60
4. Daniel Zepuntke / Dustin Baldewein, GER, 62
5. Dirk Bennen / Remy Oomens, NED, 80

Event Website:
Junior Europeans News:

An Irish Legend
In the early hours of a cold October morning in 1988, a large section of a big warehouse wall in the Ballyfermot industrial district of Dublin was smashed to create a gaping hole. Bright lights inside revealed a gleaming white hull, the like of which had never before been seen in Ireland.

Deep in the night, the 82-foot maxi yacht was hauled from its birthplace, loaded onto a special flatbed trailer and taken 10 miles to the docklands on the river Liffey where, within one month, she was rigged, tested and named NCB Ireland.

It was the start of a great national adventure as a first and only Irish entry in the Whitbread 1989-90. The planning stage of talk and hope had ended; here at last, was proof that a dream was coming true.

Less than one year later, the Irish yacht pounded through the choppy waters of the Solent as one of a 23-strong starting fleet in the race, facing the 31,500 nautical miles of the world's most famous ocean race.

Skipper Joe English carried not just the responsibility of leading his crew, but the hopes of a small nation ravaged by high unemployment, mass-emigration and economic stagnation.

Sporting the logos of National and City Brokers, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Aer Lingus, ESB International and Irish Life Assurance, here was the best of Ireland, and carrying the hopes and aspirations of 3.5 million people to the world. If a prize for ambition could have been awarded, here was a prime contender.

With the race underway, leading the fleet westwards towards the Needles, another small island national entry was giving notice of a hard lesson for the remainder of the fleet as Peter Blake on Steinlager 2 surged ahead in what was to become a slam-dunk result for a great Kiwi sailing legend in the making.

The reality for English and his crew was that the true achievement had been to reach the starting line, while the test that followed, that of completing the course intact, represented the great unsung reward of the race. -- by David Brannigan

An excerpt from

Adapted from an original article featured in Life at the Extreme, the official magazine of the Volvo Ocean Race.

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The Last Word
All of science to me, everything that we have learned, is important to the extent that it brings us to our senses. -- Ann Druyan

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