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Bertrand Maintains Etchells Lead With Another Race Win
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Etchells Worlds John Bertrand's dominance of the Etchells World Championships at Howth Yacht Club continued on day 4 of the regatta with a win in the afternoon race after scoring a disappointing 9th earlier in the day. His lead, however, has been trimmed back by his main rival Ante Razmilovic whose 4th and 5th places have closed the gap to 7 points after discards The other Razmilovic - Nils - had mixed fortunes on the day and lies third overall, a further seven points adrift.

The Championship, sponsored by the local Fingal County Council, has three more races on the schedule, two on Friday and one on Saturday, with only one discard allowed for the 9-race series, underlining the need for consistency at this level. Four wins in six races by Bertrand is undoubtedly exceptional consistency.

The 42-boat fleet faced a freshening north-easterly for the start of Race 5, sailing in18 knots of wind and a choppy sea. Nils Razmilovic of the Royal Swedish YC (sailing for Singapore) enjoyed the conditions to lead from the first windward mark to the finish. He was followed at various stages by his brother Ante, Eamonn O'Nolan of the RORC, Jake Gunther of Royal Brighton YC and Julia Bailey of Royal Thames YC.

Somewhat surprisingly, series leader John Bertrand could not keep with the pace and indeed slipped from 5th to finish 9th, a disappointing result by his standards and one which he will no doubt hope to be his discard. Despite that setback, he still held a 6-point lead in the overall standings after the fifth race.

Etchells World Championships - overall top six placings after 6 races:

1. John Bertrand, AUS, 9 points
2. Ante Razmilovic, GBR, 16
3. Nils Razmilovic, SIN, 23
4. Damien King, AUS, 24
5. Jake Gunther, AUS, 25
6. Graham Bailey, GBR, 36

Lonely Out In Space
At 14:00 BST the vast majority of the Sevenstar Round Britain And Ireland Race fleet were in the remotest corner of the North Sea, hundreds of miles from any city and well offshore. The baron coastline of northeast Scotland was the nearest landfall. In essence, they were very much out on their own.

Race leader Groupama had managed to struggle past the light winds around the Isle of Lewis and into fresher north easterly breeze. Getting to the breeze first means that they have opened up an 18 mile lead on rivals Telefónica Azul.

Looking at weather further up the track, the wind speed is due to increase in strength, to as much as 25 knots. Soon enough, the two Volvo Open 70s in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race will be launched like guided missiles, speeding down the west coast of Ireland.

Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens has regained the overall lead under IRC from Jonny Malbon's IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, which led on handicap overnight. At 14:00 BST, Tonnerre was 27 miles south of Muckle Flugga and is due to round the most northern part of the course at 17:00. The easterly move by the TP52 John Merricks II has failed to pay dividends and they have dropped to sixth overall. -- Louay Habib

Strong Start for Ecover at Extreme Sailing Series Kiel
After the opening day of round 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Kiel, Germany, it is clear that at the halfway stage of the 2010 circuit there are three or four teams in contention at the top of the leaderboard, but what is not so clear is which team will come out on top after a day of mixed results.

Today's conditions started off in a light 5-6 knots of breeze from the north-east that increased by a couple of knots mid-afternoon, which demanded slick crew work and good boat speed. The start line was a crowded affair with the nine boats, including two German 'wild card' teams, and everyone looking for a clean start to gain the all-important advantage. Paul Campbell-James and his team on The Wave, Muscat scored the first bullet of the day ahead of Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Wirsol Team Germany, who were clearly delighted with a third place in the first race. Then it was Yann Guichard's turn on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild as the winds increased to 8 knots and a few hulls started to fly. The racing was close, seconds rather than minutes separating the boats at the finish line. Guichard's team were in the overall lead going into the final race of the day but a disastrous 7th place relegated them to third place behind Oman Sail Masirah. Loick Peyron's Oman Sail Masirah scored a 4th, 2nd, 6th, 1st and 3rd: "A great first day for us," said Peyron. "Really happy to have Freddy Carr back in the team. The wind was light as expected and that makes the start really important, especially in these really short and sharp races."

And there was plenty of close-quarter combat… Wirsol Team Germany bumped into Groupama 40 in the second race and again in the last race, relegating them from 5th to last. They have been craned out tonight for a bit of TLC. In the penultimate race, The Wave, Muscat and Red Bull Extreme Sailing had a 'set to' at the final windward mark with Roman Hagara's team coming off worse - a penalty dropping them from 5th to last.

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Aethon Wing Destroyed
Photo by Daniel Forster, Click on image for photo gallery.

Little America's Cup Yesterday the C-Class Catamaran Aethon capsized after the start of race one of the International C Class Catamaran Championship (long nicknamed the "Little America's Cup") and her wing was destroyed. The team hit a patch of turbulence left by a freighter for which they were not prepared and were unable to react in time. Crew Oliver Moore lost his footing and was washed off the boat with the mainsheet wrapped around his leg. As the wing rapidly trimmed in, the boat capsized and helmsman Steve Clark, unable to get out of his trapeze in time, fell through the wing, breaking the mast in the process. Both crew members would be fine, and the platform would suffer only minor damages, but what was left of the wing was all but disintegrated in the three-mile tow back to New York Yacht Club's Harbor Court.

"The thing I would like to stress here," said Clark, "is that this was not a product of the conditions. It was a freak accident that could have happened at any time, at any wind speed. If the wing is trimmed all the way to windward and can't be eased the boat will tip over, and these boats are not designed to do that. It's a tough end to the last 18 months of work Oliver and I put in, but sometimes these things happen."

When asked for his thoughts on the sudden death of a wing that had been the best the class had to offer for 11 years Clark was characteristically jovial. "That wing gave us everything it had," said Clark. "The last time we sailed in heavy air, I told Duncan (MacLane, the wing's designer), 'if something goes wrong with the wing here I'm fine with it.' It has done everything we asked of it for over a decade. If it goes down in flames so be it. At least now I don't need to decide which museum to donate it to."

Hobie 16 Worlds
Click on image for photo gallery.

Hobie 16 Worlds in China Thursday's racing at the Hobie 16 Worlds in Weihai China brought in the heavy hitters, with the pre-seeded teams from around the world joining the sailors who made the cut through the Qualifying round which concluded on Wednesday.

The addition of the seeded teams certainly added to the pressure on the start line with each of the three races of the day taking three attempts to get away cleanly. PRO David Brookes set a square line with plenty of length, but with adrenalin running high, everyone was up on the line early, and eventually with the tide running towards the weather mark, by the time of the start the majority of the fleet were over the line setting the tone for the day with a general recall.

Each subsequent race for the day followed the same pattern with a Blue Flag attempted start, then an "I" flag attempted start (around the end if you are over early) followed finally by a Black Flag start.

Once away, the conditions were perfect with teams double trapezing on each upwind leg. With the current assisting the sailors upwind, many competitors overlayed the weather mark resulting in some high speed footing off to round the weather mark. Downwind the order of the day was working the waves to obtain the most out of the short chop across the course. During the earlier days of the event held in the offshore gusty conditions, sailors had been looking to find the puffs as they came down the course, but today the emphasis was clearly on making the most of each wave.

On the first race of the day, one of the pre-event favourites Jerome Le Gal and Enrick Obert from New Caledonia and representing France was caught in dirty air near the Committee Boat. To clear themselves, they tacked off early to the right hand side of the course, sailing all the way to the starboard layline before tacking back to round the first mark. This proved to be the way to go and LeGal led the race from start to finish to get off to a perfect start for the event.

Racing continues Friday and Saturday in the semi-finals before there is another cut and the top 56 sailors continue on to the finals on Sunday and Monday. -- Paul Pascoe

Open Semi-Finals - Top Ten Overall Results

1. J.Le Gal/E.Obert, FRA, 3 points
1. A.Worrall/W.News, AUS, 3
3. C.Owen/S.Ferris, AUS, 5
4. J.Waterhouse/L.Darmanin, AUS, 7
5. W.Edwards/L.Edwards, RSA, 8
6. G.Colby/S.Marks, AUS, 8
7. D.Kim/J.Kim, KOR, 9
8. D.Smith/J.Hill, AUS, 11
9. R.Waterhouse/K.Waterhouse, AUS, 14
10. T.Booth/E.Sturgeon, AUS, 17

Dart 18 Worlds
Photo by Claire Matches, Click on image for photo gallery.

Dart 18 Worlds Day 4 of the Dart 18 Catamaran World Championships at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy looked to be another strong wind day of racing. However, despite strong winds for the early racing, the wind moderated which made for some good racing with 3 races being completed. This was good news for the Race Officer as with 6 races now sailed it gives the mandatory 4 races required for a World Championships. With 6 races sailed there are 5 to count so many sailors were pleased to be able to discard their worst result.

The young team of Tom Phipps and Richard Glover put in a consistent performance in all 3 races, scoring a 1st, 2nd and 3rd. There was relief for the French Team of Emmanuel Dode and Fred Moreau and British sailors, Phipps and Glover as they were both able to discard Race 1 when they were disqualified for being over the line when the Black Flag was flying. Overnight leaders of David Lloyd and Joanna Jones-Pierce dropped to 3rd place overall. Frustrating for Lloyd who is due a Worlds' win after 11 times of trying.

Tomorrow is sure to bring some exciting final day racing: with Dode & Moreau and Phipps& Glover fighting it out for the World Championship title with the French team having edged in to the lead with an overnight 2 point lead.

Top Three Overall Results after 6 races
1. Emmanuel Dode and Fred Moreau
2. Tom Phipps and Richard Glover
3. David Lloyd and Joanna Jones-Pierce

Davidsen Wins J/80 Danish Nationals
UIlman Sails In a competitive, multinational fleet, Ullman Sails' Jesper Davidsen and team of Jacob Jacobsen, Morten Davidsen and Michael Lauersen won the Danish J/80 Nationals in Copenhagen, August 14-15. Of the five races sailed, the team won four and dropped a second place to round out their final score. The team competed with full Ullman inventory, including a FiberPath jib and a standard Ullman Dacron mainsail, which the team used last season too. "We had very good upwind speed and won every duel we had. We always could choose between speed and point," Jesper said.

Invest in your performance.

18s Dominate Bridge to Bridge But Pay a Price
Photo by Erik Simonson, Click on image for photo gallery.

Bridge to Bridge San Francisco, California: Competitors in the ninth annual 18ft Skiff International Regatta gathered around John Craig on Crissy Field early Wednesday afternoon as the St. Francis Yacht Club race manager offered fair warning before they launched their swift but unstable craft into the meaner elements of San Francisco Bay.

"Get ready to get wet," he said.

That wasn't the half of it. Before the day was over the 18s' seventh race of the week would be cut short as boats flipped over like in a slapstick film, and then the ensuing Bridge to Bridge Race from the Golden Gate to the Oakland Bay suffered similar catastrophe.

Australia's Michael Coxon, New Zealand's Alex Vallings and Australia's Herman Winning swept the first three places over all of the kite boards and windsurfers, with Herman's father Woody fifth. But only one other 18 finished and two sailors were injured---Maersk Line skipper Graham Catley with a severely cut lower left leg and Chad Freitas, leader of the bay's Skiff Sailing Foundation, with possibly broken ribs.

The race's defending champion, Howard Hamlin from Long Beach a few hundred miles south, didn't even get beyond the Golden Gate before toppling seconds after the start—his second flip of the day.

Current leaders
(14 boats; after 7 of 10 races; discards after 5 and 9 races)

1. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Michael Coxon/Aaron Links/Trevor Barnabas, AUS, 11 points
2. Appliances Online, Herman Winning/Peter Harris/Euan McNicol, AUS, 11
3. Yandoo, John (Woody) Winning/David Gibson/Andrew Hay, AUS, 17
4. CST Composites, Howard Hamlin/Matt Noble/Fritz Lanzinger, USA, 19
5. CT Sailbattens, Alex Vallings/Chris Kitchen/Josh McCormack, NZL, 27
6. Maersk Line, Graham Catley/Riley Dean/Nick Catley, NZL, 39
7. JF Hillebrand, Phil Airey/Murray England/Sam Tretheway, NZL, 40
8. Panasonic, Jonathan Whitty/James Hozack/Tom Anderson, AUS, 51
9. Tangles' Harken Express, Patrick Whitmarsh/Joe Penrod/Mark Breen, USA, 54
10. Harken Black, Skip McCormack/Paul Allen/Jodi McCormack, AUS, 57
11. Skiff Foundation Red/Hogin Sails, John Gilmour/Pike Harris/Cooper Dressler, USA, 67
12., Chad Freitas/Dan Morris/Tangles, USA, 81
13. Harken Grey, (crew names not available), 83
14. Chad's Angels, Mallory McCollum-Bozina/Yvonne Galvez/Katie Love, USA, no finishes, 90.

Optimist European Team Racing Championship
The third IODA European Team Racing Championship opened on Wednesday at the beautiful venue of Lake Ledro, high above Lake Garda in Italy.

Entry is limited to 16 national teams, qualified from a ranklist of 30 established at the European fleet racing championship in July. As at that event sailors who will form part of their countries' teams for the IODA World Championship in December are not allowed to participate, in order to spread the experience of international competition as widely as possible.

There is a strong instructional element to this event with brief morning lectures and post-race debriefings conducted by Chris Atkins IU (GBR). A high-powered 8-person team of umpires includes Americas Cup veteran Neven Baran (CRO) who confessed that remaining alert through so many tightly fought matches was a new experience.

Good winds on day one allowed 48 races to be sailed under the supervision of Ion Echave IRO (ESP). It is still early days but already last year's silver medallists Turkey have staked their claim by winning all their races so far. Ireland and Italy are tied on 5/6 wins.


Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week T-shirts and thickly applied sunscreen were today replaced with full wet weather gear in readiness for a hosing down as conditions freshened at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week being staged in the Whitsundays Islands.

With the air temperature 10 degrees lower than the previous balmy days, gusts up to 26 knots out of the southeast and a choppy sea state, there was plenty of crashing and bashing when the fleet poked its nose out into Whitsunday Passage and felt the full force of the prevailing winds.

The IRC Grand Prix and IRC Passage divisions set off from the eastern start area against wind and tide following a short postponement while the line was re-set.

The 50 footers tacked off early while the RP66's Wild Oats X and Black Jack hung on the left side before flicking over for the reach across the northern tip of Pentecost Island, the two sisterships locked in combat as their five day grudge match continued.

For the IRC Grand Prix division, race six of the week-long series was a 27 nautical mile course around Ann Island, Spitfire Rock then a reach to Pine Island and a spectacularly quick spinnaker run and finish in Dent Passage off Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

Line honours went to the Iain Murray skippered Wild Oats X from Peter Millard and John Honan's 98 footer Lahana by just 12 seconds, one of the closest finishes in the event's 27 year history.

Michael Hiatt pushed his Farr 55 Living Doll from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria mercilessly in the decent blow, hitting a top speed of 24 knots and claiming the outright win from Rob Hanna's TP52 Shogun and Loki in third.

In the Audi IRC Australian Championship results Loki and Aroona have gone tit for tat at Race Week, the final event of the four-part Championship, with Loki back out in front on 13.18 points, 0.47 of one point clear of Aroona counting today's race.

It's been a slow week for repairs for the mobile sail lofts and sail makers on Hamilton Island, but today the jobs began to flow with a number of spinnaker melt downs including Nicholas Bartels' Melbourne Cookson 50 Terra Firma and Lahana which managed to save a tear in their A4 chute from splitting the kite in half by sailing low until they could peel to another spinnaker. All others divisions enjoyed a second layday today.

The entire fleet will be racing tomorrow from 11am, the scheduled start time for the first windward/leeward race for the IRC Grand Prix fleet with the remaining divisions beings sent on an around the islands race starting from the southern start area.

Offshore South African Duo Enter the GOR Via Satellite Phone
Click on image to enlarge.

Global Ocean Race The South African, double-handed team of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire are currently racing their four year-old Akilaria Class40 Phesheya-Racing (ex-Clarke Offshore Racing, ex-Atao Audio Systems) in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race with an additional two crew; the Austrian duo of Peter Artenberg and Markus Hofstaetter. At 10:00 GMT this morning (26/08), Leggatt, Hutton-Squire and their crew were 150 miles east of Duncansby Head, the north-east tip of mainland Scotland, trailing the Class40 leader, Tom Gall and his crew on the new Akilaria RC2 Concise 2, by approximately 70 miles. Despite the demanding conditions, the duo took time to call the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) Race Organisation earlier today and announce their decision to enter the double-handed circumnavigation starting from Mallorca in 395 days time.

The Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race started with strong, downwind conditions in the The Solent on Monday and one of the three Class40s entered, Gottfried Poessl's Celox 40, dismasted shortly after the start following dramatic backstay failure. "We feel very sorry for Celox 40 who lost their rig at the start after giving us so much help and support to get there ourselves," says Leggatt. "We really hope all are OK." Leggatt and Hutton-Squire opted to sail bareheaded in strong headwinds on Tuesday as the fleet entered the North Sea. On Wednesday, in decreasing NNW headwinds, the team on Phesheya-Racing changed up from storm jib to reefed staysail in steep, northerly seas.

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 Mark Chisnell: I've been asked to do some research into some of the sailing achievements logged by Guinness World Records, and one of those contentious ones that comes up pretty regularly is the ice-sailing speed record. Currently, the GWR states:

"The highest speed officially recorded is 230 km/h (143 mph) by John D. Buckstaff in a Class A stern-steerer on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, USA in 1938. Such a speed is possible in a wind of 115 km/h (72mph)."

After a look around the internet, it seems that there is some pretty widespread scepticism about this claim. I'm thinking that it might make sense to restart the clock (with a footnote to history) and begin again with those claims measured/timed and witnessed with modern technology. I'd be interested to hear from anyone with thoughts and or claims on such a record. Please contact me through my website, and I'll get right back to you:

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The Last Word
If history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth. -- E. O. Wilson

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