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Warm Up In Malta
Valletta, Malta: Dark clouds scudded across the sky over Valletta, bringing with it wind pressure for the ten boats that took to the start line for a coastal race in advance of Saturday's start of the premier event, the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The fleet - just a part of the 84 yachts entered in the offshore race - used the approximately 24 mile course as a warm-up, a chance for the foreign boats to shake off the jet lag and get crews sailing together, for some the first time in these waters.

The coastal course also gave a chance to sort out the local conditions, which were fresh today, as well as this archipelago's fascinating geography. The fleet started in Marsamxett Harbour, in the shadow of the towering spire of St Paul's Cathedral and the landmark dome of the Carmelite Church. There was no shadow from the breeze however, which shortly before the start piped up to 15 to 18 knots. The northwesterly wind angle put the fleet on a broad reach and shortly after the start, many boats put up spinnakers or big genoas; the TP52 Lucky hoisted an asymmetrical spinnaker and shot to weather of the fleet and led out of the harbour. At the opposite end of the line was the 38-footer, Seawolf of Southampton (GIB) flying a symmetrical kite, that enabled them to sail more of a rhumbline course down the coast. Offshore the 3 - 4 metre sea was slightly bigger than the accompanying 18 to 20 knots of breeze; once on the opposite gybe the bigger boats made use of the following seas to surf at speeds of 18+ knots in the gusts.

The course took the boats a mile out to a fairway buoy, and then on the opposite gybe, around and down the eastern end of Malta to round the outer island of Filfla, leaving it to starboard, and a long beat back to the finish in Marsamxett Harbour.

Today's fleet was a good cross section of the breadth of the full list of competitors with boats from Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Gibraltar, United States, and United Kingdom. The lone Maltese boat was Elusive Medbank (MLT), Arthur Podesta's Beneteau 45.

The first boat to finish was the Valentine Zubkov' Shipman 63, Coral (RUS), at 14:29:12 (an elapsed time of 4 hrs, 29 mins); but, it was David Latham's Seawolf that won the coastal race on corrected time, followed in 2nd place by Elusive Medbank, Peter Hopps' Nisida (GBR) in 3rd, and Coral in 4th (the balance of results were pending at press time).

The Rolex Middle Sea Race commences on Saturday, 23 October 2010.

Conrad Colman Takes on 2010 Route de Rhum
Click on image to enlarge.

Conrad Colman 26 year old New Zealander Conrad Colman will be the sole New Zealander on the start line for the 2010 Route de Rhum solo trans-Atlantic race set to start later this month on Sunday October 31st.

"The 2010 edition looks like it will be epic," writes Conrad Colman on his blog. "The limits on the boats have been removed and as a result Franck Cammas will be solo onboard the same machine that he and nine others claimed the Trophee Jules Verne in 48 days."

"In all there will be four hundred footers in the hunt as well as the IMOCA and Class 50 Trimaran classes. However, with over 40 boats, it's the Class 40s that will fight each other for every inch along the way."

"In this traditionally French race, I am the sole non-European and only native anglophone. In preparation I recently raced the Classe 40 World Championships where on the coastal races we scored 2nd and 4th against a fleet of top boats. I then set out for 1500 miles solo between the great capes of Finisterre, Fastnet and Lands End. These marks were quickly dispatched as the acceleration zones are familiar territory after my Mini 6.50 races and I was able to push the boat hard immediately."

Conrad comes from strong sailing stock; his grandfather built yachts for the family in the front yard and his father sailed short-handed halfway around the world before meeting his mother and again taking to the seas for years on end.

His introduction to solo sailing came in 2009 when he completed the Mini 6.50 warm up races and season highlight, the Charente Maritime-Bahia Mini Transat from France to Brazil. Conrad secured a number of top results in his rookie year but was pushed down to a mid-fleet finish in the Transat due to equipment failure. -- Jodie Bakewell-White

Conrad Colman Ocean Racing


Aberystwyth University Robot Yacht Missing in Atlantic
Robot Yacht Missing in Atlantic An unmanned robotic yacht launched as part of a transatlantic challenge last month has disappeared without trace after going in the wrong direction.

It was the first time scientists at Aberystwyth University had attempted the Microtransat Challenge crossing.

Pinta, their 3m long boat, set sail from the Irish coast and was tracked up until two weeks ago.

It travelled about 400 miles (650km), but equipment failures resulted in it sailing in the wrong direction. Its last recorded position was around 62 miles (100km) off the west coast of Ireland.

The craft, which cost £2,500 and was built by students and academics in their spare time, was not expected to complete the crossing because of weather conditions.

Its last recorded position was around 100km off the west coast of Ireland after a number of equipment failures resulted in it sailing in the wrong direction. Despite Pinta's failure, the university said it believed it held the record for the longest distance and longest period of autonomous robotic sailing.

The Microtransat Challenge was conceived by academics in Aberystwyth and Toulouse, France, and Aberystwyth was the only team taking part this year.

The crossing was expected to take three months.

Complete with small solar panels, the boat was programmed to sail a course but had to be propelled by just the wind.

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RYA Eric Twiname Team Racing Hat-Trick For West Kirby Youths
Photo by Paul Wyeth / RYA. Click on image for photo gallery.

Eric Twiname Team Racing Championship It was a hat-trick for West Kirby Sailing Club's under 19 team racers this weekend (16-17 October) as they lifted the youth trophy for the third year running and the curtain came down on the 2010 RYA Eric Twiname Team Racing Champions, Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford. The under 16 Junior title was won by 'Bluefin' a new champion team for 2010 comprising a mixture of Optimist sailors from Burghfield, Cardiff Bay and Penarth.

West Kirby made no mistake in retaining their title racking up an unbeaten record on Saturday's opening day, rocketing themselves to sit as comfortable overnight leaders in the 24 team strong youth fleet. The day's steady winds and bright sunshine meant the event got off to a great start with over 220 first phase round-robin races completed across the two fleets.

Bluefin's junior sailors were also in top spot Saturday night tied on race wins with GBR Feva World's team contingent 'Charlie's Angles' from Torbay Yacht Club, cranking up the pressure for Sunday's deciding races.

Sunday however bought with it a slightly different story in terms of the conditions, no wind and a completely still racecourse, but as the morning progressed the wind filled in slightly and allowed for another 48 races to take place.

West Kirby continued their winning form whilst Bluefin pushed ahead taking one more win than 'Charlie's Angles'. With a late start to the day time was limited and the knockout phase was cancelled. As the highest ranked teams from the round-robin phase, 'West Kirby' and 'Bluefin' were named 2010 champions. -- Ellie Williamson

Top three teams results

1. West Kirby Sailing Club
2. Magdalen College School 1
3. Seven Oaks School A

1. Bluefin - Cardiff Bay YC, Penarth YC, Burghfield SC
2. Charlie's Angles - Royal Torbay YC, Hayling Island SC, Draycote Water
3. South Coast Pirates - Spinnaker SC, Royal Lymington YC, Royal Southern YC

Hazwan Lays Bare His Monsoon Cup Ambitions in Malaysia
Photo by Gareth Cooke / Subzero Images. Click on image for photo gallery.

Malaysian Match Racing Championship Terengganu, Malaysia: The race for a spot in the World Match Racing Tour's (WMRT) season ending finale, the Monsoon Cup, is firmly on with Hazwan Hazin Dermawan (Team Pulse-AC Law) setting the pace in Qualifying Session 1 of the Malaysian Match Racing Championship (MMRC).

In a blistering display, Hazwan has laid bare his intention to claim both the MMRC title and a qualifying spot in the Monsoon Cup by winning all five of his matches at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Pulau Duyong.

Mohd Masyuri Rahmat, who is bound for the Asian Games next month, had a nightmare start collecting only one point while last year's pacesetter Rizal Mahadi Sazli is level with him. Debutant Jerome Welch is being shown just how competitive it is in a WMRT qualifying event having lost all six of his matches today.

The MMRC will be followed by the Asian Match Racing Championship from 25th to 28th October at which a berth for the Monsoon Cup will also be awarded to the winner. A third qualifier will be awarded to the winner of the Sunseeker Australia Cup as well as one wildcard entry.

Malaysian Match Racing Championship standings (at the end of Qualifying Session 1)
5 points
Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (Team Pulse-AC Law)

4 points
Mohd Razali Mansor (MAF 1)
Jeremy Koo (Koo Racing Team-Evernew)

3 points
Nurul Elia Anuar (Sail Putrajaya)
Tiffany Koo (Koo Racing Team)
Nik Ashraf Qaedi (Team One)

1 point
Rizal Mahadi Sazli (RSYC)
Mohd Masyuri Rahmat (MYA)

0 points
Jerome Welch (Putrajaya 5 O)

Mitigating The Risks In Shorthanded Offshore Racing
Sailing has inherent risks whether the activity takes place on a dinghy in a reservoir, cruising a yacht in the Aegean, or racing a thoroughbred, carbon fibre flyer through the high latitudes below 50 South. Unless careful plans and training are in place, injury or death can occur on a calm, inland waterway just as quickly as in the remote, grey, rolling wastes of the Southern Ocean: the key element in preserving life and ensuring recovery following an emergency is reaction time and appropriate treatment. In offshore sailing this rapid response is especially critical when outside assistance may be of limited use and rescue services could be hundreds of miles from the incident. Consequently, self-sufficiency is crucial.

To enhance this culture of self-dependency, the double-handed, round the world Class40 event, the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR), has formed a partnership with Medical Support Offshore Ltd (MSOS), a UK-based company that provides training courses, bespoke medical kits and 24/7 telephone medical advice for yachts at sea. During the weeks prior to the start of the GOR on 25th September next year, MSOS will run a training course for the skippers in Mallorca as a race requirement for the teams in addition to mandatory Cat 0 Special Regulations Sea Survival Certificates and Advanced Medical Certificates. MSOS will also supply all teams with a discount for personalised med-kit packages including detailed instructions and advice. GOR entries can also opt for 24-hour medical telephone coverage with MSOS.

Is It Time For Sailing to be Adopted as a Bermuda National Sport?
Tim Patton, president of the Bermuda Sailing Association, thinks so.

He was encouraged by the comments made by Premier Dr. Ewart Brown favouring national sports status for sailing during his round table discussion with the local media on Monday night.

Dr. Brown was talking about the lack of success by Bermuda's national sports football and cricket after being given millions of dollars during his administration.

Dr. Brown said: "But if at the end of that period we see no development from the youth up then I would say it's time to question. I think the time is now to have more than those two national sports.

"I think it's time to add some sports. I think sailing ought to be considered a national sport and I think that it should be adequately funded.

Patton said: "We have been talking about this for a long time and think that this recognition is long overdue. Sailing consistently has produced some of the best sporting results Bermuda has seen including Olympic finishes just shy of the Olympic podium."

Bermuda has had three near misses at the Olympics starting with Kirk Cooper's fifth place in Tokyo in 1960, Alan Burland's fifth place in Los Angeles in 1984 and Peter Bromby's fourth in Sydney in 2000.

"We are in the process of re-developing our Strategic Plan we presented to Government some years ago and hopefully we will gain some support. Historically we have relied mostly on funding by the sailors personally, donations from the private sector and Elite Athlete and Solidarity funding via the Bermuda Olympic Association to compete on the world stage." -- Don Burgess in the Bermuda Sun

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Kite Racing Worlds
Berlin/Hamburg, Germany: The 2011 Kite Racing World Championships will be held on the well known German island of Sylt from June 28th - July 3rd, 2011.

The location might be an advantage for 2010 event winner Bruno Sroka (France) who came only third behind Adam Koch and Damien LeRoy (both USA) in last years world championship held in Corpus Christi (USA). The price money purse Bruno and the other top racers from all around the world will compete for will be 15.000 Euros.

Also freestyle action will be added to this event as second discipline. The results will count towards the Kitesurf Tour Europe, a series which hosted more than 160 participants from 14 countries and attracted more than 166.000 spectators within five stages in 2010. The Kitesurf Tour Europe will determine the best European Kiteboarder in the thrilling discipline of freestyle. For more information please visit

The Model Is Broken
Why is the Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world struggling by with a mere five entries and no top skippers or boats? This, remember, is the firestarter race of solo round the world racing. Set up as the BOC Challenge by Philippe Jeantot in 1982 it is the precursor of the Vendée Globe, though the upstart imitator has long since surpassed the original in profile and popularity.

Yes, these are straitened economic times, but look: the solo Route du Rhum transatlantic race next week is brimming with over 80 entries and the johnny-come-lately Barcelona World Race in December groaning with two-handed entries and the latest IMOCA 60s.

Startlingly - especially considering the Velux 5 Oceans started and finishes in La Rochelle - it boasts not a single French entry... There are several factors at work, but I think these are the top two. Firstly, the Velux 5 Oceans clashes every four years with the Route du Rhum. For any French sponsor, this famous transatlantic skirmish is a must. So the top skippers and yachts are in 'le Rhum' and most of the IMOCA 60 skippers are following it up with the Barcelona World Race.

That leaves the 'Eco 60' class. This slightly misleading term really only means older Open 60s that are no longer competitive, boats that would otherwise have little prospect of a grand prix racing life.

The organisers, Clipper Ventures, very reasonably assumed it would foster a sizeable second league class of adventurer-racers.

But it hasn't worked out this way. The older boats don't appeal to French skippers

So what can the organisers do to rescue it? There has already been a great deal of discussion, race director David Adams tells me. Adams and his assistant Alan Nebauer were once skippers in this race and are understandably passionate about its future.

"The model is broken," he admits. "We now have a clean sheet in front of us. In this current economic climate it's not enough for race organisers to just put on a race every four years. We have to have some kind of ownership and not to be beholden to a class, otherwise we'll never be able to guarantee there will be anybody here. We have to be able to get some control and manage expectations for the sponsor."

Adams concedes that Clipper Ventures is considering creating its own class and fleshing out a programme, possibly by negotiating eligibility in other ocean classics, but is undecided where exactly to pitch that class.

-- Another must-read from Elaine Bunting, the full article at

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 the next contentious one is the thorny issue of biggest sail boat race. I thought we might divide it up into categories; Largest Single Sailboat Race by number of competitors, Largest Single Sailboat Race by number of boats, Largest multiple race event (regatta) by number of competitors, Largest multiple race event (regatta) by number of boats, Largest Single Trans-Oceanic Sailboat Race by number of competitors, and Largest Single Trans-Oceanic Sailboat Race by number of boats.

If anyone has suggestions for claimants for any of those, I'd love to hear them. Please contact me through my website:

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2002 Open 60 Owen Clarke / Southern Ocean, 695,000 GBP. Located in Caen, France.

Designed by Owen Clarke Design and built by renowned Kiwi race boat builders Southern Ocean Marine, "Rusalka" this carbon/nomex/epoxy/pre preg high performance Open 60 was originally built as "Hexagon HSBC" for Graham Dalton to sail the 2002 Around Alone. She was then purchased by Pindar for Emma Richards to sail.

Significant development was undertaken under the direction of Mike Sanderson, including a conversion from single central daggerboard to twin asymmetric boards, and conversion of rig to removeable genoa with halyard lock system -now common amongst the fleet

Prior to the TJV 2008 the keel was replaced and has been sailed on for approx. 8,000 miles. During that race, as "Artemis 1", she was dismasted and a new formula spars rig was built and stepped.

In 2010 she went through an extensive refit during which; in addition to general servicing, the decks, topsides, bottom and appendages were re-sprayed and the keel modified. Hydraulics overhauled, engine and saildrive replaced, interior redesigned and galley fitted, and much more. In all a quarter of a million pound refit.

Brokerage through Nicolle Associates:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

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