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Esimit Europa 2 Line Honours Winner at Rolex Middle Sea Race
Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo. Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Middle Sea Race Valletta, Malta: At 18h 32m 32s CEST on Monday the Rolex Middle Sea Race committee signaled the finish and line honors victory for Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) in Marsamxett Harbour. The Slovenian maxi's elapsed time was 2 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes, 32 seconds.

Esimit led from the race start in Grand Harbour and managed to keep putting distance on Leopard until some 25 miles from the Strait of Messina where the maxi stopped in a big hole and their speed dropped away to zero. Leopard closed the gap, but then found themselves in the same hole.

Esimit managed to restart and gain ground, as Tiziano Nava, the navigator said, "We restarted and Leopard stayed stopped, probably there was some current against them. We gained a lot of miles at that point. For the rest of the race, we sailed pretty well, we made the right sail changes: the wind changed, the angle changed, all the time we had the right sails, so we could produce maximum target speeds, all the time."

Esimit Europa 2 has had a successful first season taking line honours at the Giraglia Rolex Cup winning the Maxi class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and line honours at the Barcolana Race.

Going forward next year, Esimit Europa 2's program is to do the same schedule of regattas, as well as entering the Transpac Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

This year's weather conditions, lighter than forecast in the speed department, were not conducive to knocking off the course record. Esimit's time was seven hours outside of the course record set by George David's Rambler (USA) of 47 hours, 55 minutes, and 3 seconds.

The race fleet can be tracked online at www.rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/#tracker

www.rolexmiddlesearace.com

Eight Days At Sea
It's been a baptism of fire for British solo sailor Chris Stanmore-Major in his first ever singlehanded race after he was struck down with problems while blasting along at more than 20 knots.

After a run of frustrating days becalmed off the Portuguese coast last week, the 33-year-old had finally been enjoying fast sailing in fresh conditions through the Canary Islands. CSM had hoped to use the favourable conditions to claw back some of the 400 miles separating him from race leader Brad Van Liew.

But disaster struck around 8am UTC when the fitting holding the massive spinnaker to the front of his yacht Spartan shattered and the giant sail flew up in the air, attached only by one rope at the top of the 28-metre high mast. It was the second time the fitting had broken in two days.

The incident caused substantial damage.

"I managed to slowly ease it down and I got the sail to drop into the water and then pass down the starboard side and then stream out behind the boat," he explained. "Using a combination of halyard height and boat speed I slowed the boat down and increased the speed of the sail in the water until the sail caught up with the boat and I could put a line round it. I've got to get it out of the water and onboard. In the sail loft it's 70-80 kilos of deadweight. Now it's full of water and the boat is still moving just from the windage on the mast - it's an absolute pig. It looks like my opportunity to catch up with the other guys just fizzled out and instead today has become another frustrating day of problems and going slow."

CSM is not the only skipper to have encountered testing conditions. Brad Van Liew, at the head of the fleet, suffered his second knockdown in just four days after being hit by a freak gust. Brad, leading second-placed Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski by 43 nautical miles according to the 12pm UTC position report, has been sailing in a low pressure system for several days now that has brought big seas and strong winds.

Polish ocean racer Gutek has been chasing Brad hard but has stayed slightly more east, away from the strongest winds. As the fleet travel further south towards the Equator, the 36-year-old former dinghy champion has been coming to terms with the realities of life at sea alone. He said: "For the first time in the race I am lying down and bored, sitting like a rat below deck. Upstairs is hot and wet. I don't have even a book."

The fleet have now been at sea eight days and have more than 4,700 nautical miles left to sail to Cape Town.

Statistics from 12pm UTC position report:

Skipper; distance to finish (nm); distance to leader (nm); distance covered in last 24 hours (nm); average speed in last 24 hours (kts)

Brad Van Liew: 4,750.9; 0; 310.2; 12.9
Gutek: 4,794.4; 43.5; 293.3; 12.2
Derek Hatfield: 4,916.7; 165.7; 276.4; 11.5
Chris Stanmore-Major: 5,160.8; 409.9; 267.3; 11.1
Christophe Bullens: 6,239.9; 1,488.9; 256.3; 10.7

www.velux5oceans.com

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WMRT Launches Venue Bidding Process
World Match Racing Tour The ISAF World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), sailing's premier global match racing tour, has today opened the bidding process for cities, regions and countries from around the globe to enter the race for the right to host a stage of sailing's leading world series.

The bidding process, which will be managed by venue acquisition consultancy Regatta International, will see six new venues selected to join the Tour from the 2012-2013 seasons. The new venues will win the right to hold a World Championship stage, each lasting for 5 days.

Cities, countries and regions interested in finding out more about WMRT, the benefits associated with being a host venue, and what the application process is, can find full details and register their interest at application.wmrt.com

WMRT CEO Jim O'Toole commented, "The World Match Racing Tour is a well proven marketing platform for destinations wishing to showcase their facilities, infrastructure and organisational capacities, increase their international tourism profile and attract inward investment."

Regatta International's Director Terry Newby said, "The World Match Racing Tour is already one of sailing's most respected brands with outstanding events around the world. The opportunity to work with interested parties to develop the series to 15 stages by 2013 is a hugely exciting prospect."

wmrt.com
application.wmrt.com

The World's Best Coming To Sunseeker Australia Cup
Perth, Western Australia: Some of the world's best sailors are coming to Perth in November for the Sunseeker Australia Cup, and the action in this gladiatorial match racing event will be on Perth Water, where just about every office in the CBD has a grandstand seat.

Frenchman Mathieu Richard currently has a 15 point advantage at the top of the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard, with just one event - the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia - to go this year, and he's coming to Perth.

Mathieu sailed in the Sunseeker Australia Cup last year, when asked why he was coming back he said, "sunshine, sailing atmosphere, feeling that this is a city where sport is important, and specially sailing."

Also coming back is English skipper Ian Williams, who has twice won the world championship, "top quality racing", is the reason he gives for returning, as part of his preparations for the Monsoon Cup.

Perth's own Torvar Mirsky won the event last year, and is one of the top players on the World Tour, currently in fourth place, nudged out of the top three by triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie.

Always looking to cause an upset are a couple of young Kiwi skippers, William Tiller and Reuben Corbett, for whom this is a chance to grab a last minute entry to the Monsoon Cup, which doubles as the World Championship.

"The biggest challenge in this regatta will be the competition," commented Tiller, who won the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta here back in January, "you're going to have to be on top of your game in every race to win."

Two rising young local skippers will be hoping to rob the Kiwis of that final place in the Monsoon Cup, South of Perth Yacht Club's Keith Swinton is ranked 22nd in the world, while Peter Nicholas from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is 61st on the ranking ladder.

Swinton finished third in the Sunseeker Australia Cup last year, and his assessment of the regattas is that, "the tight racing area really provides great racing, which is a real test."

The event, which is managed by Swan River Sailing, runs from 24th to 27th November, and is hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club. -- John Roberson

www.australiacup.org.au

A Solo Chance For Sidney Gavignet
For round the world sailors life has a habit of turning full circles. And so it is a slightly bemused, but nonetheless fully primed and prepared Sidney Gavignet who is ready to set off on his first Route du Rhum in the Ultime class on the 100 foot Oman Air Majan.

In comparison with his contemporaries and rivals Gavignet's sailing CV is one of the most comprehensive and diverse around, from Olympic campaigns to America's Cup, to match racing, as well as more recently completing the last Transat Jacques Vabre with Sam Davies in the IMOCA Class with Artemis.

Key to his planning and preparation for his first solo race and the giant multihull's first showdown against the Ultime fleet, was a record breaking passage around Great Britain and Ireland. Smashing the existing record was a bonus, but not only was it an important chance to work under race conditions with Marcel van Triest, who will route for him during his Route du Rhum- La Banque Postale:

Simplicity and reliability are watchwords which have been keynote not just to the design of the Arabian 100, which was originally built as a the first of a series to promote and popularise this style of ocean and offshore multihull racing for the Arabian Gulf areas and beyond.

Gavignet firmly believes that given the right conditions Thomas Coville's solo 24 hour outright record could fall during this race, even if the race record of 7 days 17 hours 19 minutes may be more elusive.

"Between six and 10 days. It would be nice to break the record, but you have to realise how close to the rhumb line they went last time, they were doing almost 20 knots - 19.11 knots I think, almost all the way. That is very, very rare. So we would have to do an average of 23/24 knots to beat the record, which is possible. But last time the conditions were very unusual."

www.routedurhum.com

Marco Nannini Checks In From St. Malo
I'm in St Malo on UniCredit since Friday morning and the atmosphere and experience is absolutely fantastic. The race village has officially opened on sSturday, in the evening the old city walls where transformed into a giant projection screen with images of previous Route du Rhum races, the public filling in the streets no matter what the weather, children stopping skippers for autographs...

The skippers are all busy with preparations, but given that we had to be in port more than a week before the start, this is giving enough time to get ready withot panic. The Class40 and safety inspections have started, i passed my Class40 controls no problem, my 8 sails were checked one by one, signed, dated and stamped, my anchor and chain were weighed, my water tanks were sealed and by the end of the whole process i had signed more times than when i bought a house and a mortgage combined. A selection of boats has been drawn at random to verify the capacity of the ballast tanks, this morning the boat of one the top french skippers was pulled with a haliard to one side to incline the deck until level and official inspectors were there with a flow meter to count the liters that went in the tanks, 750 per side is the maximum allowed.

We all have to pass a second inspection, carried out by the race organisers that will verify our safety equipment, mine is scheduled for 2pm this afternoon, we checked and double checked the Offshore special regulations, the notice of race and the amendments and all shoud be in order, but we'll wait till it's done to relax.

Our job list is relatively small, deciding what food to bring and how many cans of coke and lucozade. I have seen during my OSTAR last year that you need a lot less than you think, plus this time, anything that is on the boat is stored in boxes which will be stacked to either side during the race, so weight watching means also effort saving in the race. -- Marco Nannini, www.marconannini.com

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Young Tasmanian Sailors In International Win Against West Kirby
Team Racing Talented young Tasmanian sailors Elliott Noye, George Jones and Nick Jones have led the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to an international team racing challenge against the noted West Kirby Sailing Club from England.

The RYCT team won 5-3 in the challenge, sailed on Hobart's River Derwent over the weekend in the club's Elliott 5.9 sports boat, with the event scheduled to become a regular international challenge.

Despite having relatively limited experience in team racing, the RYCT team sailed exceptionally well in the fresh breezes against the three West Kirby crews, skippered by Chris Kameen, Archie Massey and Paddir Oliva.

Two of the three RYCT and one of the West Kirby crews, being younger and lighter, were allowed to sail four-up while the heavier crews from West Kirby Sailing Club and one from the RYCT sailed three-up.

As a result of the success of the inaugural challenge, the RYCT will draw up a deed of gift and other clubs will be invited to challenge each year.

Founded in 1901, the West Kirby Sailing Club in 1995 conducted the inaugural International Yacht Racing Union (Now International Sailing Federation) world team racing championship and has since been to the forefront of UK and international team racing, including a recent series against the New York Yacht Club.

A formal dinner at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, founded in 1880, followed the challenge, with the RYCT announced that a deed of gift would be drawn up for future challenges from West Kirby and other international clubs. -- Peter Campbell

RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championships
After a short postponement the fleet were called out into a building breeze which quickly settled in at 230 degrees. 3 track-back full on planing races later and all returned ashore tired but happy. Some more so than others!

Manfredi Misuraca, ITA , the 2009 RS:X Youth World bronze medallist had a day he would rather forget, finishing 24th in the first race of the day. The good news is that he picked himself up posting a 5th and 9th in the next two. Hemorrhaging points is certainly not a good game plan. Still with 16 races scheduled and two discards in prospect all is not lost. He will just have to be on top form for the rest of the regatta to realise his ambition of being on the podium again at the end of the week. To say that he was disappointed when he hit the beach is an under-statement

The current RS:X Youth World Champion, Michalis Malekkides, CYP on the other hand put in a faultless first day. 3 bullets gives him a perfect score of 3.

Racing is scheduled to start at 1200 hrs tomorrow, Tuesday with the women first out followed by the yellow group men and finally the blue.

Top 5 Youth Men
1. Michalis Malekkides, CYP
2. Thomas Goyard, FRA
3. Joan Carles Cardona, ESP
4. Connor Bainbridge, GBR
5. Pawel Tarnowski, POL

Top 5 Youth Women
1. Izzy Hamilton, GBR
2. Hanna Zembrzuska, POL
3. Helene Noesmoen, FRA
4. Natalia Wojcik, POL
5. Agnieszka Bilska, POL

Overall Results: youthworldwindsurfingchampionships2010.rsxclass.com

Asian Match Racing Championship
Pulau Duyong, Malaysia: David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour crushed the opposition in the Asian Match Racing Championship (AMRC) Qualifying Session 1 when he won his first five matches at the five-star Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa today.

The son of four-time World Champion Datuk Peter Gilmour, David's stellar performance on the opening day of the four-day Championship saw him register wins over defending Champion Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing and Reuben Corbett (NZL) Black Sheep Racing.

The AMRC is the second qualifying event for the season-ending Monsoon Cup, which is from Nov 30-Dec 5. The winner of the AMRC will join Jeremy Koo (Mas) Koo Racing Team-Evernew, winner of the Malaysian Match Racing Championship (MMRC), the top eight skippers in the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) standing, the winner of the Sunseeker Australia Cup and one wildcard entry for the Monsoon Cup.

Besides Gilmour, Corbett and Robertson, there are six other teams - Wataru Sakamoto (Japan) Team Siesta, Neil Semple (THAI) Capital TV, Graeme Sutherland (HKG) Team Hermes, Tan Wearn Haw (SIN) SINYIDAI, Mark Lees (GBR) Team ECHO and Peter Nicholas (AUS) Freshie Racing Team - who are all vying for the title.

Corbett, who arrived here from New York, has a Malaysian crew - Mohammad Razali Mansor, Azhar Saadon Zubir, Rafiz Ibrahim and Hairolnizam Hat - and was pleasantly surprised with their performance so far.

Two other skippers - Robertson and Sakamoto - also have three wins and they are followed by Nicholas and Lees with two wins each.

From Asian Yachting AsianYachting.com

Event site: www.monsooncup.com.my

Hamble River Crews Among 6 Perfect Scores
Photo by Jonty Sherwill. Click on image for photo gallery.

Garmin Hamble Winter Series Sunday's steady northerly breeze produced six double wins from the seven classes in the Garmin Black Group fleet, including those from 'Polly' and 'Festine Lente' in IRC4 and the Sigma 38s. Both are owned by HRSC members, two generations of the Meakins family, Ben and his parents Philip and Lynda.

The other double winners who joined them to collect the Spinlock day prizes for best overall performances were Mervyn Hughes' 'Jua Kali' in IRC0, the Apthorp's 'J-Dream' in the J/109s, Mike and Jamie Holmes' 'Jika-Jika' in IRC3, and Tim Harrington's X-35 'Vortex', that now leads IRC1 with a stunning five firsts and a second.

With a bumper turn out of yachts in the Black Group, surprisingly only 21 of the 40 sportsboats entered in the three classes turned out for White Group racing on this lovely day. Gary Shaffer's 'Big Grin' and the X-Treme 25 steered by Ian Wilson were welcome guests in the outgoing RORC SBR class.

Alongside the main Garmin series at the weekend was the concluding round of the Bugle Hamble Big Boat Series. Saturday's racing was marked by an unexpected squall when 12-15 knots of westerly breeze leapt to 40 knots at precisely 1300hrs. It was soon over but Race Director Jamie Wilkinson had immediately signaled an abandonment, and the two fleets returned for a restart of Race 3.

Next Sunday's racing (31 Oct.) sees the fourth round of the main Garmin Hamble Winter Series, with day prizes presented by Harken UK. There will also be more cakes on the menu in response to popular demand.

Full details of the 2010 Garmin Hamble Winter Series are available at: www.garminhamblewinterseries.co.uk

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