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A Perfect Start For A Record Fleet
Photo by Mark Lloyd, Click on image for photo gallery.

Route Du Rhum Start It was appropriate for the record fleet of 85 skippers who set off from Saint Malo this afternoon on the ninth edition of the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale that the send off proved nearly perfect in every way.

Given the choice a large proportion of the solo skippers spread across the five different classes, from the 105 feet long giants of the Ultime class, to the venerable 12m multis in the Rhum class, might have preferred a little more breeze than the gentle SE'ly which sent them on their way, answering the start gun off Saint Malo's Pointe du Grouin at 1302hrs.

But the light going was ideal for those feeling their way into the first few hours of what promises to be an engaging race, a complex weather situation marking the early strategic decisions on the classic 3542 miles passage from Saint Malo to Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.

Through the morning for most spectators their race was always to secure the best possible viewing point to see the armada depart.

Cape Frehelis traditionally the best vantage point, where the first mark of the course - 18 miles after the start - compresses the fleet. More than 50,000 spectators mustered there, and an estimated six thousand more on the water in a huge variety of carefully marshalled craft.

With 8-11 knots of SE'ly wind, the start - when it came - was just brisk enough. As the gun went the huge fleet of spectator boats swarmed into action.

Franck Cammas on Groupama 3, the most powerful of the Ultime's - setting out for the first time on their first ever head to head showdown of the giants - forged steadily ahead of the pack in this nine boat class, as befits the holder of the Jules Verne crewed non stop around the world record.

The forecast for the following few days is not easy a small high pressure ridge Monday in advance of a front, then generally NW'ly F4 to F5 winds winds, heading W'ly during Monday afternoon with a swell of three metres, a first cold front Monday night continuing with W'ly headwinds Tuesday.

The general consensus is of a comparatively slow upwind race as the Azores high pressure area basically comprises two systems which seem to limit any obvious southerly routing option.

* I just took a call from Pete aboard the good ship DMS (isn't technology wonderful?). He is in good form and gave me a brief update.

Four hours out and the last of the support boats have gone but there are still a few news choppers overhead. The start was manic and, in typical Pete style, he held back and made a conservative start. This is a marathon not a sprint and there is no point ruining months of planning by having a crunch at the start line. With 'Barney' the big spinnaker flying, Pete quickly overtook three boats.

One of the support team, Colin Merry gave me this update:

"Alarm call at 0500 hrs this morning; but as Pete's minder last night I was up and about at 0400 hrs in order not to miss the wakeup call. Quick slurp of coffee then down to the boat. The rain was easing as we slid into the lock prior to being released to the sea. Even at this hour the lock sides were lined with waving cheering people! A lot of them looked as though they had been partying all night! Slipping out through the entrance we headed seaward greeted by a magnificent sunrise, a good omen we hoped. Several hours followed where Pete and Tom got the boat set up whilst I helmed. Normally not a problem for me, but this time it was different. I have never experienced so much responsibility, and it was getting more crowded by the minute. After nearly four hours and with twelve minutes to go we wished him well and jumped into the waiting rib...we were intent on following DMS for several miles and naturally we were surrounded by other 40's. After a studied start keeping clear of the mayhem that is a start line Pete broke out the fractional kite and settled into the race. With the wind easing it was not long before he went up a gear and raised the masthead kite. Before we broke off the chase he was overhauling a few boats and looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself! So 3500 miles to go and a possible encounter with a hurricane (there is a cyclone winding itself up out the West Atlantic which has been upgraded to Hurricane ''Tomas)."

Pete Goss tells me that it has already become a tactical race with weather being the question: do they go South of the Azores or stay North? It is a big decision that weighs heavily as making the wrong one so early on could have catastrophic consequences. -- Stuart Elford

High Drama On The High Seas
Day three of the 2010 Farr 30 World Championship and there was an unexpected drama to deal with between races 8 and 9. The Race Committee boat sank, which is a first for this Class! But in France and with COYCH being the organiser, a substitute committee boat was found within 30 minutes and racing was not delayed.

Strong winds came in after yesterday's balmy 15 knots of breeze, clear blue skies and perfect conditions. Today the clouds were dark, the sea choppy and wind strengths increased to a steady 25 knots. On most days the Farr 30 enjoys a good blow and so do the crews, the upper wind strengths do not deter these steadfast boats.

Races one and two of the day were tucked away nicely by Courrier Dunkerque. Their crew handling, after many Tour de France a la Voiles meant that the variety of weather experienced this week had all been seen before.

Orca, Patrick Lindblom SWE, was the master of the first three races of the 9 race series, when winds were gentle and he admitted that these conditions favoured him. However, as the wind picked up over the next two days, he recorded 7th, 8th & 9th, which is respectable for someone racing in his first class event.

Nouvelle Caledonie, Bernard Malleret FRA, with Vincent Portugal, kept nudging Courrier Dunkerque by never dropping lower than 7th, but there were 10 points between these two boats with one race left to complete.

Unless Courrier Dunkerque followed the committee boat for an early bath, it was safe sailing for Daniel Souben. Alternative Helmsman has been Pierre-Loic Berthet, Farr 30 World Champion at La Trinite Sur Mer in 2005. -- Carole Abbott, Farr 30 International Secretary

Pending protests, the overall results are:

1. Courrier Dunkerque, Daniel Souben, FRA, 21 points
2. Nouvelle Caledonie, Bernard Malleret, FRA, 35
3. Ville du Port Region Reunion, Gabriel Jean Albert, FRA, 42
4. Saint Laurent de Maintenance, Laurent Charmy, FRA, 44
5. Orca, Patrick Lindblom, SWE, 51
6. Twins, Erik Maris, FRA, 51

The 2011 World Championship will be held in the USA.

Racing Rules DVD

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Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Piet Vroon (NED)
Even discounting those of you who multiple voted (naughty) it was a new record. 'Sailing on Tonnerre, I am the happiest girl on earth' - Anna-Maria Renken; 'It must be Piet' - Stuart Quarrie; 'And he still wants to race every single day' - Hans Zuiderbaan; 'Piet almost invented the sport' - Henk Glazener; 'Keep on sailing, keep on sailing!' - Coen Horrevoets (brother); 'Such a worthy nominee' - Donal McClement; 'And he visits his boat every day!' - Ed Camerlink.

This month's nominees:

Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS)
'It was a tough regatta; this boat always seems to finish fourth but now we are on the podium!' There is no doubt that placing Russia's foremost match racer on the helm of the TP52 Synergy had a positive effect at the 2010 worlds in Valencia. And now the Synergy syndicate is talking about an America's Cup challenge; that could prove to be a particularly good week at the office for young Neugodnikov.

Adrian Stead (GBR)
Gently, gently, after a successful small boat career, Ado Stead has built a valuable profile as one of the world's most in-demand grand prix tacticians. His result with, and endorsement by the Quantum team in winning the 2010 TP52 world title was just the latest in a long list of top results taking in everything from Melges 24s, through Farr 40s to Neville Crichton's maxi Alfa Romeo. That accountancy career is on hold.

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

* Seahorse has a special six issue subscription offer for those who vote and/or comment on the Sailor of the Month... vote and see!

Transfusion Wins 2010 Pittwater Farr 40 Regatta
Photo by Sam Crichton. Click on image for photo gallery.

Transfusion Sydney, Australia: Two days of racing on the Palm Beach circle off the iconic Palm Beach in Sydney's north has delivered the 2010 Pittwater Farr 40 regatta win to Guido Belgiorno Nettis' Transfusion. The fleet, which had two new teams lining up for this event, raced six races over the two days and the weather gods provided plenty of breeze and swell giving the six boat fleet a taste of what's to come over this season for the Farr 40's.

Joining the fleet from Sydney was Ivan Resnekov's Impi and from New Zealand Brett Neill's White Cloud. The fleet recently raced at Port Stephens and this regatta has again been utilised by teams in preparation for the 2011 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds being held in Sydney in February.

The entire regatta has given the teams an opportunity to gain valuable team time on the water and improve on crew work as they aim for the ultimate class title in 2011, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

The next regatta on the 2010-2011 Australian Farr 40 circuit is the Middle Harbour SSORC regatta November 27-28. -- Sam Crichton

Final Results:

1. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno Nettis, MHYC, 13 points
2. Estate Master, Lisa and Martin Hill, MHYC, 14
3. White Cloud, Brett Neill, RNZYS, 16
4. Twin Edake, Jeff Carter, MHYC, 24
5. Easy Tiger II, Chris Way, RPAYC, 25
6. iMpi, Ivan Resnekov, RSYS, 35

Corinthian Division Winner – Twin Edake Jeff Carter MHYC

ISAF Appoints International Jury for the 34th America's Cup
The International Sailing Federation has announced the appointment of the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup.

The 34th America's Cup Match is planned to be held in 2013, with lead up events commencing in 2011. A new class of boat, a 72 foot wing sail catamaran is currently being developed as is a new shorter race format.

The five-person International Jury will be:

David Tillett (AUS) Chairman
A lawyer in Australia, David has been an International Judge for 20 years and is the current Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee. He has been a juror at the 31st, 32nd and 33rd America's Cup's as well as an Umpire at the 28th and 29th America's Cups.

He has been a Jury Member at four Olympic Games, and Chairman in 2004 and 2008.

John Doerr (GBR)
An Arbitrator specialising in the engineering field. John has been an International Judge since 1987 and an International Umpire since 1980. He is a past Chairman of the ISAF Race Officials Committee.

He was a Jury member and Chief Umpire for the 29th and 33rd America's Cups and a Jury Member and Chief Umpire at the last four Olympic Games.

Josje Hofland (NED)
Josje has a Doctorate in English Literature and Linguistics. An International Judge since 1992 and an International Umpire between 1992 and 2000. She is a past Chairman of various ISAF Race Officials Committees and a member of the Racing Rules Committee between 1995 and 2008. She was a Jury member in the 29th and 33rd America's Cup. For the 29th America's Cup she filled the role of Chief Umpire in the Challenger Finals and Deputy Chief Umpire in the America's Cup match.

Josje has also been a member of the Jury in three Olympic Games.

Graham McKenzie (New Zealand)
A distinguished Barrister at Law and a solicitor in New Zealand. Graham is a competing sailor in keelboats. He is a member of the ISAF Constitution Committee.

He was a Jury member for the 32nd and 33rd America's Cup.

Bryan Willis (Great Britain)
An Arbitration specialist and a Magistrate in the lower criminal court in Great Britain. Bryan has been an International judge since 1976 and an International Umpire between 1980 and 2004. He was an integral member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. Bryan was a Jury member and Chief Umpire in the 28th America's Cup, Chairman of the Jury and Chief Umpire in the 30th and 31st America's Cup, Chairman of the Jury and Arbitration Panel for the 32nd America's Cup and member of the Jury for the 33rd America's Cup.

He was a Jury member for the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and Jury Chairman of the 2000 Olympic Games and also Jury Chairman for the last three Volvo Ocean Races.

24th Annual Bitter End Pro Am Regatta
North Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI: Although more than 60 people signed up to race in the Harken Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship Regatta, all eyes were on defending champion George Huntington from Manhasset Bay YC in New York. He did not disappoint. He won the Hobie Wave class in the morning races with straight bullets. That qualified him for the finals. Nonetheless, Huntington came back in the afternoon in the Hunter 215 class - with identical results. Huntington will defend his SSC Championship against six challengers on Thursday in the same IC 24 used for the BEYC Pro Am Regatta, which starts on Tuesday.

Event schedule:
Event website:

Big Seas Force Six Yachts Out Of Lord Howe Island Race
Click on image to enlarge.

Lord Howe Island Race Heavy seas and strong winds in the northern Tasman Sea have forced six of the 17 yachts to retire from the Hempel Paints 37th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race.

While all but one boat has returned safely to ports on the New South Wales coast, and that boat has a long sail back from the front of the fleet, nothing has been heard from one yacht since the start on Saturday.

The 414 nautical mile race across the Tasman started on Saturday afternoon in a nor'easter that built to more than 30 knots, with 5-6m seas overnight, as the fleet pounded to windward.

Fleet leader The Stick, Rick Christian's 66-footer, pulled out last night after taking water through a stern gland, while the classic yawl Veolia Maris, skippered by Tiare Tomaszewski, retired after the crew failed to stem water coming through a hatch. "We are making no headway with the strong wind and big seas right on the nose," reported the skipper.

Late this morning, the new fleet leader Santana, Nick Johnston's 15m Lidgard/Dovell sloop, also retired and headed for Broken Bay. At the time, she was more than 150 nautical miles east of the Australian coastline but gave no reason for retiring from the race.

Also retired are Kerisma, Grant Dawson and Brent Lawson's Ker 11.3, apparently because of seasickness, She, Peter Rodgers' Olson 40 with a broken traveller, and Stampede, an Inglis 11.8 co-skippered by Rob Francis and Corinne Feldmann. She is reported to have reached Broken Bay.

As conditions eased tonight in the Tasman, positions reported at the 1803 'sked' place the Queensland yacht Ocean Affinity, Stewart Lewis' Martens 49 leading the fleet with 210 nautical miles still to sail.

With winds and seas easing but remaining 'on the nose', it is unlikely the first boats will reach Lord Howe Island until late Monday or early Tuesday after one of the toughest races in recent years. -- Peter Campbell

* Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race officials announced this morning that contact had been overnight with the Lake Macquarie yacht Frantic which had not reported in by radio or satellite tracker since the start of the race across the Tasman Sea on Saturday afternoon.

Although no radio communication has yet been made with the 11.9m Sayer-designed sloop, skippered by Michael Martin, the yacht and her crew are believed to be in good shape and still racing towards Lord Howe Island.

UK-Halsey Rules Quiz
The UK-Halsey Rules Quiz animations have been called the best way to learn the rules, and the videos of the rules being explained make the learning process that much easier. We have already posted seven videos which cover: the importance of the definitions, the definition of when you are racing and when the rules and penalties apply, definition of being on a tack, definition of proper course, the definition of finishing and much more. The videos are only available as part of the Rules Quiz program and we will continue to post videos throughout the year.

The answers to all the quizzes were re-written for the rules changes by Rob Overton, who has been a member of the US Sailing Racing Rules Committee since 1993. Rob was one of five international rule writers who drafted the new Section C rules that took effect on January 1, 2009.

See the Rules Quiz page at

You can buy the Quiz program for $55 or $100 for the program plus two of the best books written on the 2009-2012 Racing Rules - Understanding the Rules by Dave Perry and The Rules in Practice by Bryan Willis. Both are reviewed in our Rules Blog.

Tony Bullimore's 33m Catamaran Salvage Plans Go Ahead
The latest quote from Ben Jones (29) the skipper of 'Spirit of Antigua' when she capsized 140 miles of Brest on Wednesday night, more information has been released about Tony Bullimore's catamaran capsizing in the Bay of Biscay.

"There wasn't that much wind - only about 15knots. We were sailing fast and close to the wind. We then had a big gust and because it's a multi hull, the apparent wind induces a much worse affect. So the boat powered up a lot very quickly. At the same time the windward hull came off a wave, which got the hull lifting out. The rudder stalled. We couldn't get the sheet off quickly enough so we couldn't depower the boat."

Currently the Dutch Navy has a warship standing by the upturned catamaran. The Dutch will stay until a tug and salvage team set out to recover the multi hull over the weekend. Then three of the original crew (presently drying out in Brest) can get out to attempt to recover the vessel. -- Barry Pickthall

Veolia Environnement and Roland Jourdain Extend Partnership to 2014
Clear skies ahead for Veolia Environnement through to 2014! Before starting the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale, the world's leading environmental service company has announced that it will continue its commitment to sailing alongside Roland Jourdain, renewing its complete confidence in the Breton skipper who it has partnered since 2004. After sailing the world' seas and oceans in 60-foot monohulls, in 2011, they will switch to three hulls in preparation for tackling the new international multihull MOD 70 circuit in 2012: the Multi One Championship.

After six years' involvement in sailing, starting next year, Veolia Environnement will step aboard a trimaran. A change of steed but not course, as the Company and the Breton skipper are still intent on pursuing their partnership as part of a global environmental project.

The emergence of this new class of one-design boats for which the creators have made the deliberate choice to adopt an eco-citizen approach within the context of a global circuit has come at exactly the right time. Stève Ravussin who will skipper the one-design MOD 70 "ambassador" boat, Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia and the Gitana Team have already announced they will be taking part in the circuit. By adding his name to the list of committed teams, Roland Jourdain is signing up for a return to multihull ocean racing after ten years on monohulls.

Tall Ship Dismasts SW of Scilly
A Polish tall ship is in difficulty 100 miles into the Atlantic Ocean after losing a mast in gale force winds and heavy seas.

The sail training vessel Fryderyk Chopin lost its foremast about 100 miles (160km) south west of the Isles of Scilly. There are concerns her second mast could also be lost, Falmouth Coastguard said.

There have been no injuries reported among the 47 crew, which includes 36 sailing trainees, all aged 14.

Coastguards said the master of the vessel requested assistance at about 0800 BST after the 180ft (55m) long vessel lost the 120ft (37m) mast in southerly force nine gales.

A container ship, a bulk carrier and a large fishing vessel have all responded to an appeal for assistance from coastguards and are en route to the stricken square rigger.

A Royal Navy rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose is on standby on the Isles of Scilly to fly out to the vessel. -- Practical Boat Owner

Featured Brokerage
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Boat repainted in white 2010
New mast jack and bar

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The Last Word
No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude. -- Karl Popper

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