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Velux 5 Oceans Sprint Two Sets Sail From Cape Town
The second sprint of the Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world yacht race got underway from Cape Town today bound for Wellington in New Zealand. With the iconic Table Mountain providing a stunning backdrop, the fleet of five international ocean racers crossed the start line beginning a gruelling 7,000 nautical mile sprint across the Southern Ocean through some of the worst weather conditions known to man.

The original start of ocean sprint two had been planned for Sunday but it was postponed due to gale-force winds and huge seas off the coast of South Africa. The Velux 5 Oceans race committee constantly monitored the weather forecasts until they felt there was a suitable window in the weather to allow for a safe race start.

The fleet set sail from Cape Town in their 60ft Eco 60 yachts in around 15 knots of breeze from the South East. Canada's Derek Hatfield on Active House was the first to cross the line, with a strong start that will make-up for his poor start in La Rochelle. He led the five impressive ocean racing yachts out of Table Bay and into open water where the wind dropped considerably in the shadow of the mountain. Tactics will now come into play with all five skippers trying to find some breeze to take them on.

Sprint one winner, Brad Van Liew on Le Pingouin followed Derek over the line, and a smiling Christophe Bullens on Five Oceans of Smiles Too was third, with this his first start with the entire fleet obviously meaning a lot to him. Gutek (Zbigniew Gutkowski) and Operon Racing was next and finally Chris Stanmore-Major aboard Spartan who struggled to get his main sail up and lost momentum on his way to the start line.

Howling winds, freezing temperatures and mountainous seas await the skippers as they head south from Cape Town into the notorious Roaring Forties and Screaming Fifties, named so because of the sheer force of the winds that are found in those latitudes. The Southern Ocean is the only ocean in the world that is not constricted by land allowing waves and wind to mount up as they circumnavigate the globe unimpeded.

Rothmans Returns
Photo by Kos Picture Source courtesy Volvo Ocean Race website. Click on image to enlarge.

Rothmans VOR Alicante, Spain: Rothmans, skippered by Britain's Lawrie Smith in The Whitbread Round the World Race1989-90 (the forerunner of the Volvo Ocean Race), will sail from Sweden to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta and reunion. At 80', she is three feet longer than Great Britain II, who is also entered, along with the smallest yacht ever, 45' Copernicus from Poland, both of whom took part in 1973-74.

Rothmans originally sailed with a crew of up to 16 and finished the race in fourth place overall, taking 131 days to complete the 33,000 nautical mile course. It was Lawrie Smith's second race, having completed part of the course on Simon Le Bon's Drum in 1985-86.

Since finishing The Whitbread, Rothmans has been kept in pristine condition by present owner Bob Erixon and his friends in Scandinavia, who successfully campaigned her in 2003 winning the Round Gotland race and finishing up the order in other Scandinavian regattas.

Erixon formed a syndicate among 16 of his friends to co-own the boat and she still sails under the name of Rothmans. "The target was to sail the Atlantic and to compete in races like Cowes Week and the ARC," he explains. "We think the Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta and reunion is a fabulous idea and all the owners are very enthusiastic about it," he confirmed. "We are all between 44 - 60 years old and we have watched The Whitbread and the Volvo Ocean Race for a long time. We would love to sail against some of the older boats as well as some of the more modern ones. We have already raced against Charles Jourdan (WRTRW 1989-90). The Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta fell right in to place in our Atlantic and Caribbean race tour that is planned for 2011-12," he added.

The boat is in original and fantastic condition and has been continuously maintained. Apart from some new electronics, she is in her original racing trim and is sure to be competitive next November in Alicante.

2011 Yacht Calendar
Click on image to enlarge.

2011 Yacht Calendar Third edition of the highly acclaimed large wall calendar featuring 13 spectacular images from Juerg's recent shootings featuring the 33rd America's Cup multihulls, Louis Vuitton Trophy, Audi MedCup Luna Rossa, Extreme 40 multihull, Open 60 Mirabaud and classic Yachts like Mariquita and Mariska

Only 555 copies have been printed of this years edition.

Price is 55 CHF / 42 Euro exclusive shipment. Orders until the 24th december will shipped worldwide on the same day.

Adapt to a Changing World, Say World Yacht Racing Forum Speakers
"The sport of sailing needs to adapt to a changing world": This year's World Yacht Racing Forum saw discussion on new media, host cities, sustainable development, the America's Cup and even the Olympic Games, which reached the same conclusion: we are in a period of transition and we need to adapt.

Keynote speaker Loick Peyron, veteran global ocean racer & multihull skipper, summed it up: "Sailing is like the Himalayas, there are many 8000 summits: the Cup, the Vendee Globe, the Olympic Games... All of them are difficult to achieve and very different from each other. The America's Cup is the perfect illustration following last springs' schism: we all share the same God but not the same religion."

In order to grow - if not just survive - yacht racing needs to find cost effective strategies to grow new audiences via TV and new media. "We are coming out of a recession. Advertising has decreased; people watch more pay TV and less terrestrial television", explained Michel Masquelier, President of IMG Media. "The platforms have exploded, with internet, mobile phones and hundreds of channels now available. The key question is what content to produce, and on which platform to show it."

Maria Ferreras, Head of Partnerships for YouTube, commented: online television. "35 hours of content are uploaded on YouTube every minute", she explained. "Two million videos are watched every day and 50% of them are rated or commented, which shows that people watch actively, they don't just have the TV on in the kitchen."

YouTube on its own, however is not enough and the key to good media coverage lies in the multiplication of channels. "On top of this, you need to promote your productions through social networks, Twitter, Facebook etc..." says Media & Communications Consultant Marcus Hutchinson. "You must tell people that you have produced a video and where they can watch it."

"Depending on who you are, means you will watch the content on a different tool", confirms Masquelier. "The good news is you have more outlets. The bad one is you don't have more time. So you need to target your distribution perfectly. But remember that only 100,000 people watched the last America's Cup online with a hundred million people watching it on TV."

Whilst sailing remains a small sport from a media perspective, it offers a huge potential to cities who want to develop their landscape and waterfront. Today's second debate, entitled "How are major cities and venues benefiting from hosting sailing events?" highlighted this potential. "Our events are bigger and more professional", declared Mark Turner, Executive Chairman, OC ThirdPole. "There are different models but obviously the venues play an important role. Les Sables d'Olonne or Le Havre in France have massively benefited from the Vendee Globe and the Transat Jacques Vabre. Barcelona decided to link its name with a sailing event. Auckland and Valencia are different cities since they've hosted the Cup. Sailing can be a catalyst for major real estate developments and our sport offers amazing opportunities."

Full report and details of the conference:

The Gals Of Gaes
The Barcelona World Race starts in just over two weeks time. It features 15 teams from a multitude of nations racing a round the world, double handed non stop on IMOCA 60's.

Of those 15 teams the is but one all female crew, The GAES Centros Auditivos Team featuring Dee Caffari (Great Britain) and Anna Corbella (Spain) who will taking on all aboard the former "Aviva" which Dee competed in the 2008/09 Vendee Globe, where she finished a strong 6th out of a field of 30. Prior to that, in 2006 Dee became the 1st woman to sail solo, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents a feat which won her an Member of the Order of the British Empire Award. Anna, a national champion in the 470 has spent the past few years competing in the Mini Transat events, and was 1st female in the 2009 Transat, 13th overall.

The editors of Pressure Drop sat down with Dee and Anna for a short Q&A interview prior to their departure at the end of December,

You both have remarkable singlehanded accomplishments, what spurred this team and how did you come together?

[Dee] "Anna and I met at the beginning of the year to discuss the Barcelona World Race as a project we could work on together. Anna had the backing of a Spanish sponsor, GAES Centros Auditivos and with the help of Aviva as my campaign founding partner, I had a competitive boat. Putting the two of us together made absolute sense and together we have become the only all female team taking part in the race."

Have you modified GAES since the Vendee? If so how will the boat be different?

[Dee] "After the Vendee Globe I had some ideas of changes I would like to make to the boat to increase protection and allow a more comfortable driving position. My Boat Project Manager, Joff Brown, had some more ideas of changes and together we created a wish list in an order. We have tried to make some of the changes given the budget and time constraints we have had and now I get the chance to test these changes in the Southern Ocean during this race."

"Man handling" sails in the open ocean can be a nefarious affair, even for big men, are you utilizing any rigging or sails built to favor a smaller physique?

[Dee] Not at all. We are all out there racing similar boats in the same place and we have to do the same job as the guys do. Gaes is not the most powerful boat in the fleet but even so we know we cannot match the boys strength so we have to sail in a clever manner and we maybe make the sail change a little earlier so it is a little easier for us

Full interview on

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CYCA Announces Ocean Racer Of The Year Recipients
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has presented the CYCA Ocean Racer of the Year Awards this evening at a gala cocktail party at the Clubhouse with the Ocean Crew Person of the Year trophy being rededicated in memory of the late Sally Gordon.

Andrew Crowe was presented with the Sally Gordon Memorial Trophy for Ocean Crew Person of the Year by Anne Gordon, Sally's sister. The Crew Person of the Year award was rededicated in memory of Sally Gordon who lost her life last year in the CYCA's Flinders Islet race. Sally was a previous recipient of the award in 2000.

Crowe is an integral part of the Yendys crew and has sailed thousands of nautical miles including 14 Rolex Sydney Hobarts. An enormously competent offshore sailor, Crowe is a quiet achiever and sails for the sheer love of sailing embodying the true Corinthian values of the sport.

For only the second time in the history of the Awards, the prestigious Ocean Racer of the Year has been awarded to a South Australian yachtsman Andrew Saies. Over the last 12 months Saies has been on or near the podium in every race and regatta he has sailed in with his production yacht - a Beneteau first 40 named Two True.

He was only the fourth South Australian to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Saies also placed first in IRC in the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia Offshore Series for the Premier's Cup, second in IRC in Audi Victoria Week and the Docklands invitational, third in IRC at the Lexus Lincoln Week and was named the BIASA's Boatman of the Year, Yachting South Australia's Sailor of the Year and his yacht Two True was named the CYCSA's yacht of the year 2009/2010.

Will Oxley, a longstanding crew member of Yendys, has been named as the Ocean Racing Navigator of the Year.

Oxley has completed more than 200,000 nautical miles of ocean racing including three round the world races and 12 Rolex Sydney Hobart races. He skippered Compaq in the BT Global Challenge 2000/01 and he was also the weather coordinator for the Swedish VICTORY Challenge America's Cup Team and most recently he provided navigation and weather support for Puma in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race.

Bruce Gould was named the Ocean Veteran of the Year, having completed his 40th Hobart race last year as watch captain onboard Geoff Hill's MKL49 Strewth. uld added

The CYCA Ocean Rookie of the Year award was not presented this year.

Finn Junior European Champion Gets Greek Sports Award
The double Finn Junior European Champion, and runner up in the 2010 Finn Junior World Championship, Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) has been awarded an honorary distinction prize by the Hellenic Sports Journalist Association in Piraeus, Greece.

A big reception was held to award the 'Athletic Prizes', an institution established and organised for the 57th year by Hellenic Sports Journalist Association, in the "Melina Merkouri" theatre in the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus. The prizes were awarded to best athletes, teams, coaches and disabled athletes voted for by the HSJA members. During the reception HSJA also awarded special prizes and honorary distinctions to people of the athletic community.

The 21 year old Piraeus Sailing Club athlete Ioannis Mitakis was awarded an honorary distinction prize. Mitakis is supported by the Piraeus Sailing Club and is one of the club's many promising athletes.

This young sailor has achieved some major accomplishments in the last couple of years. In 2009 he won the Junior European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria. He retained that title in Split in May 2010 and also finished 12th overall in the senior fleet. Then in August he placed second at the Silver Cup - the Finn Junior World Championship - in San Francisco, USA. -- Robert Deaves

I Want Some For My Pond
Flying Squid A British photographer captured a particular type of squid which use jet propulsion to leap out of the sea and fly up to 65ft.

The flying squid swim in shoals and leap from the surface of the water and are often mistaken for the more common flying fish.

The squid actually fly looking backwards, with their tentacles dangling behind them and fins acting like wings, keeping them balanced in the air.

'There was a group of about 20 flying squid and they sensed danger from the bow wave of the boat and their defence mechanism is to leap out of the water.'

He added: 'However, there is a bird called the red-footed booby - which is like a gannet - that waits for them to leap from the water and then picks them off in the air.

'They have a lot of predators and are an important source of food in Japan. They are prolific reproduces and only live for about a year.

'There are not many photos of them jumping, but people do find them on the decks of their boats in the mornings.

'They jump for about 20 metres - which is a lot less than the flying fish - and use a jet propulsion system.

'They sort of fly backwards with their eyes, tentacles and beak at the rear and their fins act as stabilisers.'

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 David Brunskill : I am delighted to see Grant Wharington's intention to reduce crew numbers in "Wild Thing" in the Sydney Hobart Race.

Most offshore racing boats operating under the current IRC or ORC rules are crewed offshore in the same way they race inshore. This is a product of racing rules that effectively favour crew ballast to make boats competitive.

Offshore the role of many of the crew is simply to be rail ballast for extended periods. It's wet, boring, can (in cold climates) be extremely cold and on extended races the induced fatigue required by sitting out a boat - and not getting sleep off watch - can in itself lead to reduced efficiency on the part of the crew and danger when executing complex sail-handling manoeuvres.

Modern sail handling systems can and should enable the trade off between incremental speed due to less crew weight and the seconds involved in a faster sail change, reef, tack or gybe to be resolved in favour of reduced crew. Yes there are still the skewed rating issues to get round - unless you go for canting keel or other ways of ballasting the boat when sailing to windward.

Volvo have reduced crew numbers; IMOCA 60's race with one or two crew. The real development in offshore racing in the last decade is the range and sophistication of systems enabling boats to go faster with fewer crew.

Wild Thing has a canting keel. There is no need to carry crew for ballast purposes. The sail plan is organised to be operated by the crew to be carried. Sailor grunt is not required because Rules 51 (Movable Ballast) and 52 (Manual Power) have been specifically waived in the notice of race. With fewer crew offshore, sailors can be less bored, less used as rail meat and perversely can be more efficient. With different ballast systems boats also go faster. "Wild Thing" will be 51/2 tons lighter than "Wild Oats" as a result of halving the crew. That has to be fast downhill. Yes - if there are a lot of sail changes the crew will work their socks off - but the skipper has taken a view of the pros and cons.

I would love to know what is exercising the CYCA to the extent that they should question the crewing decision.

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The Last Word
I bought a seven-dollar pen because I always lose pens and I got sick of not caring. -- Mitch Hedberg

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