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Rolex Middle Sea Race Class Winners Confirmed
Meanwhile the bulk of the fleet were safely secured in either Marsamxett Harbour or around the corner in Grand Harbour Marina, and the overall class standings were sorted as the last boats trickled in.
IRC Overall - Lucky (USA)
ORC Overall - Jaru (MLT)
At the 606-nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Double Handed Class is somewhat under the radar with only three entrants, but this year's competitors were a diverse and experienced group.
Taking line honours in the Double Handed Class was White Star, a custom 54-footer, which finished yesterday afternoon with an elapsed time of 4 days, 6 hours, 44 minutes, and 18 seconds. But the Italian boat would have to wait until today when BOV Plain Sailing finished, to see who would win on corrected time.
White Star's crew were experienced double handed sailors Diego Tisci and Daniele Chiamenti; Tisci is a veteran of eight Rolex Middle Sea Races, Chiamenti several as well, but this is the first double handed Middle Sea for either of them.
Only the x40 Pita Maha (ITA), retired today, bringing the total number of retired boats to 15, with 58 boats finished, and two still racing.
The race fleet can be tracked online at www.rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/#tracker
Robertson Books His Ticket to the Monsoon Cup
Gilmour, son of four-time Match Racing World Champion Peter Gilmour, had the upper hand on Robertson earlier in the week at the five-star Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Pulau Duyong having triumphed over him in both qualifying matches. It was however the defending Champion Robertson who defeated his nearest rival 2-0 in the final.
Robertson will now 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) standings, the winner of the upcoming Sunseeker Australia Cup and one wildcard entry for the Monsoon Cup which takes place from 30th November to 5th December at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa.
With the Match Racing World Champion crown and a large slice of the USD475,000 prize money on the table at the Monsoon Cup on the table, the thoughts of the top 5 teams in the WMRT standings will be very much focused on Malaysia. Only 17 points separate the top three teams of Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN. With the Monsoon Cup offering 1.5 times more points than a standard WMRT race, that 17 point gap is easily closed with the winner set to scoop 38 points and the remaining places the following: 30 (2nd), 22 (3rd), 18 (4th), 15 (5th), 12 (6th), 9 (7th), 6 (8th).
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team and Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar are fourth and fifth in the series and still in with a mathematical chance of winning but will need results of their opponents at the Monsoon Cup to go their way.
Asian Match Racing Championship - Final Standings
Preparations Nearly Complete for Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai
With the regatta just over two weeks away, staff from the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), a co-organiser of the event along with Louis Vuitton and the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), are on the ground and hard at work building the Race Village and preparing the race boats.
Racing will take place in four equalised ACC yachts, the type of boat used in the America's Cup from 1992 to 2007. Nearly 50 shore-crew are already on site to get the yachts unloaded and upacked, rigged, tested and ready to race.
The match racing regatta will consist of a double round robin, followed by semi final elimination rounds, before a new champion is crowned in the final, a 'best-of-five' clash between the two top teams, scheduled for the 26-27 November.
This is the last of four Louis Vuitton Trophy events before many of the teams shift their focus to multihull racing ahead of the next America's Cup.
"We're really looking forward to bringing top level sailing to Dubai and enjoying the great racing conditions on offer there at this time of year," said Paul Cayard, the Chairman of the WSTA, co-organiser of the event, as well as the skipper of the Swedish Artemis team.
The five other competitors include BMW ORACLE Racing, which won the America's Cup earlier this year, as well as Mascalzone Latino, the current challenger of record.
The Russian Synergy team, a finalist in the previous event in La Maddalena, Italy will be hoping to improve on that result while the French-German team, All4One, will look to continue its steady improvement over the course of the four regattas.
Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand, the most consistent performer in the three Louis Vuitton Trophy events to date will be looking to add to its previous wins in the Auckland and La Maddalena races.
Racing is scheduled to start on Sunday, November 14th.
Clitheroe Hoists 102nd Gascoigne Cup
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Tony Bullimore's 33m Catamaran Capsized Off Cape Finisterre
The famous catamaran, which set a round the world record back in 1994 when named 'ENZA New Zealand' is owned by Tony Bullimore, who himself was rescued back in 1996 after surviving for 5 days in his upturned yacht in the Southern Ocean.
Bullimore was not onboard this time. The crew, skippered by Ben Jones from Bristol, were delivering the multihull from Lisbon to Bristol, via La Corunna, northern Spain.
An automated distress signal was first picked up by Falmouth Coastguard at 7.30pm who alerted the French rescue authorities. The destroyer HMS Ocean, on manoeuvres in the area, was also called to investigate.
A French Air Sea rescue helicopter reached the scene at midnight and successfully winched all 7 crewmembers to safety from the upturned hull. They were then flown to the Naval Air Station at Lanveoc near Brest. The crew are expected to return to the UK overnight on the Roscoff/Plymouth ferry.
Tony Bullimore (71) had been planning to race the catamaran one more time in an attempt to break the Round Antarctica sailboat record, and was having the boat returned to his home port of Bristol to prepare her for the challenge.
Conditions at the time were reported to be slight slight seas, good visibility, and winds 11knots/h. In an interview with the French press today, skipper Ben Jones said that they were hit by a sudden gust of wind. "The catamaran accelerated from 15 to 30knots and we were not able to slow her down."
A French Coastguard plane was sent out today to plot the position of the £500,000 catamaran and assess whether it was a danger to shipping or could be salvaged. -- Barry Pickthall
Ed Baird Joins Quantum Racing
Baird has racing experience in nearly every type of boat including TP52s when they were a new class. Baird was the winning helmsman of America's Cup 32 aboard Alinghi, the 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, and was part of the 1995 America's Cup winning team, Team New Zealand. Baird has raced in the Whitbread Round-the-World Race, is a three-time Match Racing World Champion and the only American ever to reach #1 on the ISAF World Match Racing rankings.
Baird also has extensive Grand Prix and Olympic racing experience and numerous World, International and North American one-design championships to his credit.
In the coming months, Baird will be involved in the process to put a new boat on the water for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit.
Velux 5 Oceans Fleet Line Up For First Timed Run Of The Race
The leading pair have both been pushing their Eco 60 yachts equally hard as they approach the Doldrums. Brad suffered yet another knockdown yesterday brought about by a high-speed crash gybe, his third in seven days. After slicing open his forehead on the wind generator blade on Operon Racing two days ago, Gutek has been concentrating on reducing Brad's lead, and at the last position report he was trailing by just 78 nautical miles.
Another hoping to pick up points through the speed gates is Chris Stanmore-Major, the British solo sailor who earlier this week had a run of problems with his spinnaker which cost him miles on his opposition. CSM is hoping he can get through the gates quickly on Spartan to pick up bonus points and jump up the leaderboard.
It's been yet another frustratingly slow day for Belgian ocean racer Christophe Bullens who has been dogged by light winds off the coast of Portugal for several days. Christophe now trails Brad by nearly 2,000 nautical miles and is around 1,600 nautical miles behind fourth placed CSM.
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: 3,909.7; 0; 248.3; 10.3
The Defector by Mark Chisnell
Self-interest or selflessness? This is the dilemma at the heart of The Defector - can Martin Cormac turn his back on his ruthless past as a currency trader, a player, and do the right thing? Not when he's looking for answers in a succession of sleazy bars, or running for cover on an old Whitbread Maxi...
Now available in all major e-book formats as a free download:
Speed Sailors Welcomed Home
Last week saw an interesting array of sailors from the globe over, including 73 year old Fred Ball, competing in the Dakine Weymouth Speed Week at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA). The event started in 1973 and is the oldest running speed event in the World, making Weymouth the original home of speed sailing in its pure form. The official British Championships ensured that all possible was done to allow Harbour records to be broken, by kitesurfers, windsurfers and sailors. The event is centred on an accurately measured 500 metre course located in Portland Harbour. This provides the challenge for the speed sailor to pit his wits against the elements.
The lack of rules provides the ideal opportunity for both experts and dreamers to build the type of boats which, but for Dakine Weymouth Speed Week, would never see the light of day; competitors can be referred to as drivers, sailors or pilots. Mirabaud LX, competing in their first ever Dakine Weymouth Speed Week, was designed to fly on its hydrofoils. 2010 once again saw many returning racers set to take on the course with their new craft, undeterred by their failures and delighted when their good ideas worked.
Despite being held in autumn every year to tie in with the Winter Equinox in the pursuit of high winds, there were no new harbour records for 2010 and the record still stands with Anders Bringdal, who achieved a speed of 38.2 knots in 2008. The week, however, did see some exciting racing with trials taking part every day of the event and 33 knots being the highest speed recorded. The final standings were 1st place kite boarder, James Longmuir at 33.419 knots; 2nd place Sailboat, Kevin Greenslade at 32.753 and; 3rd place kite boarder David Williams at 32.075 knots.
Felix Joins The British National Team
Skandia Team GBR today announced the appointment of Felix, the Peregrine Falcon, as an honorary member of the British sailing team. Felix joins the team alongside triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie and double Olympic Gold medallist Iain Percy.
A bird of prey was first employed by Skandia Team GBR at a recent Olympic Classes regatta to scare away seagulls that were becoming a nuisance around the team accommodation block based next to the Weymouth and Portland sailing venue for the 2012 Olympic Games. The early morning squawking from the gulls was disturbing the sleep of many of the team, and their fouling was beginning to damage buildings and boats.
With the 2012 Olympics less than two years away, Skandia Team GBR's sailors will be spending more and more time training and competing in Weymouth in their quest for selection to the Games. With this in mind, Felix will now be brought in for two weeks before all major competitions at the venue, to patrol the sky and keep the seagulls at bay.
Felix joins the 35 strong support team at Skandia Team GBR - which includes specialist coaches, a meteorologist, a psychologist, physiologists and physiotherapists, a nutritionist and even a chef - who all work to help the sailors plan for the best in their quest to win medals for Britain.
However, just like the sailors, Felix will have to earn selection to make it to the Olympics. Team manager Stephen Park says, "Felix will have to deliver a consistent performance to guarantee his place in Weymouth in 2012. Seagulls are a natural part of the seaside environment but the sheer quantity of them around our accommodation block is a problem for us. Felix will have his work cut out to ensure the sailors' sleep isn't disturbed. If he does his job well, his place on the team is assured."
Peregrine Falcons are the fastest animal on the planet with a self propelled speed of up to 250mph during dives.
* From Peter Marsh: Yes, it's self-evident that the Velux Race is going to need a makeover. While the experts debate what the future course should be, I'd like to offer a few observations on the present race that might encourage armchair sailors to pay it a little more attention.
14th Time Lucky...
Eco 60 or Open 60?
(If he had been reading this page, he would have found an ad for another Eco 60, designed by Owen Clarke and built by Kiwi race boat builders Southern Ocean Marine in 2002.)
1960-2010: a curious coincidence
* From Markus Schwendtner, IKA Executive Secretary:
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