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Groupama Takes Sevenstar Line Honours
Photo by Patrick Eden / RORC. Click on image for photo gallery.

SevenStar RORC Volvo Open 70, Groupama, crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron Line Sunday at 11.26.55 (BST) to claim line honours in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and take both the race and course records.

Groupama completed the 1802 mile course in 5 Days 21 Hours 26 minutes and 55 seconds, smashing the course record by 14 hours 3 minutes and 8 seconds.

There were emotional scenes on board as Franck Cammas and his crew crossed the finish line. It was a triumphant finale for Groupama in sharp contrast to the start, when they were the last boat to cross the line, after they had been damaged on their mooring.

"I definitely preferred the finish to the start," smiled Franck Cammas, surrounded by the media dockside after the finish. "It was difficult for us to give away five miles to Telefonica, but very nice for all of the boats to see us charging through them in the Solent. This race has been so helpful to Groupama. The course is like a mini Volvo Ocean Race. It has all of the different conditions that we will encounter and it has been really good to race against Telefonica. The crew has really got to know each other well and we have made some fantastic progress in our development over the last few days. Best wishes to everyone who will finish the race, it is a great achievement."

Volvo Open 70 Telefonica Azul crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron Line to claim second place in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Telefonica Azul finished the race well inside the old record. They started the race like a bat out of hell, screaming down the Solent at over 25 knots, but a rigging problem meant that they were overtaken by Groupama and they never managed to catch them.

Jonny Malbon's IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing should be the next boat to finish. They have been racing on their own virtually the whole way around the track, but they are most definitely not cruising, as crew member Andy Tourell explains: "Our current ETA is around 01:00 so the IMOCA 60 course record* is going to be extremely close. As far as the overall IRC is concerned, the rest of the fleet should slow as they approach the Isles of Scilly, and for the final leg the breeze is due to drop and clock round to the northeast, so it is all still to play for!"

*Artemis Ocean Racing need to finish by 01:30:53 on Monday 30 August, to beat the IMOCA 60 record set by Aviva in 2006 of 6 days, 11 hours, 30 min and 53 secs.

At 1800 BST, the Overall handicap leader, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnere de Breskens has reached the southwest tip of Ireland with just over 400 miles to go. The wind is north to northwest at about 14 knots. The British Keelboat Academy's TP52, John Merricks II has been absolutely flying along and is now 30 miles ahead of Tonnerre on the water. The lighter conditions may well suit the high performance TP52 rather than Tonnerre de Breskens. Lithuanian Volvo 60 Ambersail is now halfway across the Irish Sea and still in second place overall, after time correction.

In IRC One, Steven Anderson's First 40.7, Encore still leads the class and rounded St. Kilda just after 1800 BST. Encore immediately gybed towards Ireland, presumably to try to avoid the high pressure which is coming in from the west. Adrian Lower's Swan 44, Selene is still leading IRC Two. However, with over 900 miles to go, the ridge of high pressure will not be good news for the class and it will be quite a few days before they finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.

A Kiwi Reprise In Murcia
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Audi Medcup Emirates Team New Zealand's return to Cartagena proved something of a repeat performance as the 2009 Audi MedCup champions retained the overall Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy for the second year in a row on the same waters where they clinched the overall TP52 Series championships title last year.

The Kiwis seemed to have sailed an almost blemish free regatta, consistent across the broad wind range through the event, emerging triumphant at the dockside with a comfortable cushion on second placed Matador, but the jury subsequently disqualified them from the second race of the day for infringing Quantum Racing at the first windward mark.

The protest outcome cut the Kiwi winning margin to 10 points over Matador (ARG) but the reigning Audi MedCup title holders head to next month's season's finale in Sardinia with a lead of 46.5 points, just ahead of the target that the Dean Barker skippered crew had considered their realistic target.

After winning in Cascais, Portugal in May this is the New Zealanders second regatta triumph of the season with skipper Dean Barker - who skippered Bribon to win in 2008 - unbeaten in the class at this venue.

Despite the obvious increase in the overall standard at the top of the TP52 Series, the defending title holders will travel to Cagliari for September's Region of Sardinia Trophy with a margin only 5.5 points less than they did at the same point in 2009.

Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy

TP52 Series
Final after 10 races
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, 35.5 points
2. Matador, ARG, 45
3. TeamOrigin, GBR, 46.5
4. Quantum Racing, USA, 53.5
5. Artemis, SWE, 64
6. Synergy, RUS, 68.5
7. Luna Rossa, ITA, 69
8. Bribón, ESP, 70
9. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE, FRA/GER, 79
10. Bigamist 7, POR, 78.5
11. Cristabella, GBR, 85.5

* After a stunning day of extremely close racing in the final day of GP42 series racing, Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) has emerged as the winner of the Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy, their second stage win in the 2010 Audi MedCup.

The racing in the GP42's was never closer, with everyone taking turns leading and following in each of today's 3 races sailed in 11-13 knots of a streaky northeasterly breeze on top of choppy waves. And even though they won only one race in 9 sailed, it was the relative consistency of this team led by skipper Jose Maria van der Ploeg (ESP) and helmsman Paolo Cian (ITA) that led them to eventual victory.

Another surprise was how class newcomer John Bassadone (GBR) and his team on Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) managed to achieve an unprecedented level of performance and consistency to earn them their first time on the podium in third place. Bassadone was ecstatic.

Final results, GP42 Series, Caja Mediterraneo Region of Murcia Trophy

1. Madrid-Caser Seguros, ESP, 23 points
2. Iberdrola, ESP, 27
3. Península Petroleum, GBR, 27
4. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, ESP, 29

Audi MedCup Circuit 2010 Provisional Leaderboard

TP52 Series
After four events of five
1. Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, 133 points
2. Quantum Racing, USA, 179.5
3. Matador, ARG, 199
4. TeamOrigin, GBR, 200
5. Artemis, SWE, 207
6. Synergy, RUS, 241
7. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE, FRA/GER, 243
8. Bribón, ESP, 251.5
9. Cristabella, GBR, 256
10. Luna Rossa, ITA, 264
11. Bigamist 7, POR, 314.5

GP42 Series
After four events of five
1. Madrid-Caser Seguros, ESP, 73 points
2. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, ESP, 80
3. Iberdrola, ESP, 88
5. Peninsula Petroleum, GBR, 128

Guichard Secures Victory at Extreme Sailing Series Kiel
Photo by Mark Lloyd, Click on image for photo gallery.

Extreme Sailing Series Kiel Yann Guichard and his crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have won the third round of the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series in Kiel with a race to spare - an unusual occurrence on this circuit that normally sees every event go to the wire in the final double points race. However, there was no stopping Guichard who took control of the German event yesterday, unseating Britain's Mike Golding from the top of the leaderboard. Today the French team scored four 1st places and two 4th places in the six fleet races.

Conditions were similar to yesterday - big rain squalls bringing big gusts, then decreasing wind - and there was plenty of action on the short race courses resulting in numerous penalties. There was a collision between Red Bull Extreme Sailing and The Wave, Muscat in the third race of the day in a port/starboard incident approaching the weather mark - the impact was so loud it was heard inside the VIP enclosure! Neither team incurred major damage and carried on racing with Roman Hagara's team awarded a 4-point redress as they sat out the next race to affect repairs to their bow on the water.

The all-British team on Ecover, having led for the first two days, had to settle for 2nd place overall and that was not without a fight. At the start of the final day they were lying in third behind Oman Sail Masirah, skippered by Loick Peyron. But good fighting tactics saw them move into 2nd overall after two races which they managed to cling on to

Next stop for the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series is Trapani, Sicily over the 24-26 September, the penultimate event of the circuit

Extreme Sailing Series Kiel Overall Results
1. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 167 points
2. Ecover Sailing Team, 142
3. The Wave, Muscat, 128
4. Oman Sail Masirah, 125
5. The Ocean Racing Club, 125
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 99
7. Groupama 40, 92
8. Wirsol Team Germany, 67
9. Audi Sailing Team Germany, 61

Extreme Sailing Series 2010 Overall Standings
1. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 22 points
2. The Wave, Muscat, 20
3. Ecover Sailing Team, 19
4. Oman Sail Masirah, 17
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 10
6. Groupama 40, 9
7. The Ocean Racing Club, 8
8. Team GAC Pindar*, 3

* Team GAC Pindar was unable to attend the Kiel event but will be back competing in the remaining two events in Trapani (Sicily) and Almeria (Andalucia).

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Another Bertrand Super-Show Seals Etchells World Title
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Etchells Worlds Australian sailing legend John Bertrand and his crew Andrew Palfry and Tom Slingsby wrapped up the 2010 Etchells World Championship title in some style at Howth today (Saturday 28th) with his fifth bullet in eight races and without even needing to sail the final race of the series.

The Royal Brighton Yacht Club crew remained totally focused throughout the regatta and five firsts represented a stunning level of consistency at this level. Nearest rival Ante Razmilovic suffered gear problems before the start of the first race of the final day which forced them ashore to effect repairs. Fortunately for them, there was a general recall which gave them time to reach the re-start on time but they had a poor race to finish mid-fleet. With Bertrand taking line honours again, it was all over for the Royal Hong Kong YC team.

For Bertrand, it is the fulfilment of a dream to win a world one-design championship to add to his Olympic bronze medal of 1976 and his famous America's Cup triumph 27 years ago. He practised on the race track for weeks before the event and his attention to detail was phenomenal, so the eventual outcome was the result of exceptional planning allied to technique, tactics and sheer sailing skill by the Aussie trio. Crewman Tom Slingsby had to forego the prize-giving dinner since he had to leave for the Laser Worlds at Hayling Island starting the next day.

The new World Champion John Bertrand described the event as 'a superbly organised championship' and paid tribute to the Organising Committee chaired by Berchmans Gannon who was the first person to congratulate the Australians when they arrived back to the Howth marina. -- Graham Smith

Final top ten:

1. John Bertrand, AUS, 23 points
2. Ante Razmilovic, GBR, 35
3. D King / S Cunnington, AUS, 48
4. Eamonn O'Nolan, GBR, 55
5. Jake Gunther, AUS, 56
6. Jud Smith, USA, 61
7. Nils Razmilovic, SIN, 62
8. Julia Bailey, GBR, 77
9. Marvin Beckmann, USA, 87
10. Laurence Mead, GBR, 91

Video clip at:

Puma Ocean Racing Powered by Berg Propulsion Will Build New Volvo 70 at New England Boatworks
Newport, RI, USA: PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (Newport, USA), is proud to announce that New England Boatworks Inc. has been contracted to build PUMA's new Volvo 70 for the upcoming VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2011-2012. Design for this latest generation round the world race yacht will be provided by Valencia based Naval Architecture firm Juan Yacht Design. Juan Kouyoumdjian's designs have a perfect record in the VOR since the inception of the Volvo Open 70 Rule. They are credited with designing the 2006 VOR winner ABN AMRO One and the 2009 VOR winner Ericsson 4.

The project is still in the early stages, with molds currently in production.

NEB has proven offshore boat building experience, with projects that include the Whitbread 60, TOSHIBA for the 1997 Whitbread Round-the-World Race.

PUMA will launch and begin sea trials in Spring 2011 out of their training base at the Newport Shipyard.

The Volvo Ocean Race begins October 2011 in Alicante, Spain and ends in Galway, Ireland in June 2012. The eight stopovers in between include: Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya (China), Auckland, Itajaí (Brazil), Miami, Lisbon and Lorient (France). PUMA continues to produce and expand their line of sailing performance gear and remains the first Sportlifestyle company to participate in a venture of this kind. PUMA will also be the official supplier of all Volvo Ocean Race merchandise.

Saving The Best For Last
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Audi Hamilton Island Race Week saved the best for last with the sun lighting up the turquoise waters and the breezy trade winds bringing the fleet home from the Lindeman Island Race in super quick time to close the curtain on the 27th edition that attracted a strong fleet of 200 boats.

Sailing superstar Jessica Watson was yesterday racing a 6.1m SB3 sports boat, today she was in another realm, joining the crew of four-time Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winner Wild Oats XI for the superyacht race, and taking a couple of turns at the helm of the 30.48m supermaxi in the consistent 14 knot SE breeze.

Balmy temperatures and lightish breezes at the beginning the week-long regatta which began last Saturday allowed the 2,000 or so competitors an easy-going series start before Thursday's fresher SE change injected plenty of adrenalin into the business end of proceedings.

With the IRC Grand Prix division already in the bag, the troops were at ease aboard Stephen's Ainsworth's Reichel Pugh 63 Loki for today's 23.5 nautical mile Lindeman Island Race - and they still managed to finish second.

While the two RP66s, Black Jack and Wild Oats X, match raced each other around the racetrack and the 50 footers did the same, Loki wasn't bothered by anything in its size range.

Loki finished the series on 13 points, including an extraordinary five wins from nine races, with the nearest boat, Jim Farmer's modified New Zealand TP52 Georgia second with 28 points and Wild Oats X third with 31 points.

It's likely that Loki is the only boat to have ever won the feeder Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in the same year.

The next big trophy on Ainsworth's radar is an overall win this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Seahorse September 2010
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Silent heroes - Part II
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Early Lead For Poland After Light Start to RS:X Worlds in Denmark
Kerteminde, DenmarkL A shallow, slow moving depression crossing western Scandinavia, made for a challenging opening day at the RS:X World Championships in Kerteminde, Denmark. While one race was sailed for the Men's Yellow fleet in the morning, everyone was then returned to shore and it wasn't until mid-afternoon after a rain squall had passed through, that racing could continue. Two races have now been completed for each of the 60 strong Men's fleets, but none for the Women's.

Greece's Byron Kokalanis won the opening yellow fleet race in the morning, held in 9 knot southwesterly winds, just enough to get the RS: X windsurfers planing on the reaches.

Although she was unable to sail today, this regatta sees Italian Olympic windsurfing legend Alessandra Sensini make her third return to competition since winning her fourth Olympic medal in Beijing - a silver to go with her gold from Sydney and bronzes from both Atlanta and Athens. "Every time you win its gets more difficult, because you have to reinvent yourself in a way again and find good motivation and power - it is not always very easy," she says.

Taking some time off after the last Olympiad, Sensini won the Princesa Sofia trophy at the start of the season and then competed in the Europeans, but admits that she hasn't trained as much as she would have liked since, due to family problems.

While Sensini, 40, is into her sixth Olympic campaign, she is very aware that she faces powerful and younger competition even within the Italian camp. "We have the trials, three races next year, so it will be a big competition between me, Flavia [Tartaglini] and Laura [Linares]. They are much younger than me and they are growing very fast and very well. So it is going to be tough."

The forecast for day two of competition is looking more promising with the wind going through a 180deg shift into the northeast overnight and building to 15 knots with gusts into the 20s. Photographers and competitors alike are licking their lips.

Audi IRC Australian Championship Over For Another Year
The Audi IRC Australian Championship has wrapped up for another year, and as was expected, has grown in popularity, with numbers increasing to a record 144 boats for this fourth edition.

There were so many top-drawer entries in 2010 , including some new yachts that kept the stalwarts honest, and sailing enthusiasts were kept on the edge of their seats, so close was the racing in each of the three IRC divisions.

Special mention has to go to Harvey Milne and his Aroona crew representing the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Pittwater in NSW and to Victorian Michael Hiatt and his Living Doll team from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.

Aroona, a new Archambault 31 and Living Doll, a two-year old Farr 55, are the only two yachts that contested the entire four events of the Audi IRC Australian Championship and ironically, both finished second in their respective divisions, keeping the winners of each on their toes.

Competing in the IRC Grand Prix division, Living Doll finished second to Loki, the new Audi IRC Australian champion. Out on the in IRC Passage 2 courses, Aroona and division winner Local Hero (owned by Peter Moseley but with Matt Owen at the helm), kept everyone spellbound, as the lead of the division see-sawed between the two daily. They went into the penultimate day tied on points - Local Hero coming off the victor by one point after winning the last race; Aroona was second - and that's how it ended.

The Championship comprised of: Audi Victoria Week in January, Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March, Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race at the end of July and culminating with Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August. -- Di Pearson

The final top ten placings:

1. Loki (Stephen Ainsworth, NSW) 13.21 points
2. Aroona (Harvey Milne, NSW) 13.52
3. Canute (Peter Horn, NSW) 18.53
4. Local Hero (Peter Moseley, NSW) 22.58
5. Shogun (Rob Hanna, Vic) 28.05
6. Two True (Andrew Saies, SA) 28.67
7. Living Doll (Michael Hiatt, Vic) 31.16
8. Onya (Andrew Hurt, NSW) 36.09
9. Secret Mens Business 3.5 (Geoff Boettcher, SA) 39.63
10. Flying Cloud (Howard Piggott, NSW) 40.26

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The Last Word
Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough. -- Gustave Flaubert

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