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Big Seas and Breeze Continue to Take a Toll
Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Sydney Hobart The attrition continues in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - throughout the night and into this morning, an additional six yachts retired with a grocery list of problems: damaged steering, torn mainsails, broken booms and engine issues. This time, the retirements were among the small to mid-sized boats, bringing to 16 the total number to have retired with 71 boats still battling hard in the race.

Last night the gale force southerly winds off the New South Wales south coast continued to pound those yet to pass Green Cape. After the Cape is the most notorious stretch of the 628 nautical mile course, the renowned Bass Strait, where rough and confused seas are the norm.

At 2030 AEDT, Richard Buston's R/P 52 Scarlet Runner bowed out of the race after sustaining sail damage. Shortly after, the TP52 Calm also retired, for reasons unknown.

Sam Haynes' Rogers 46, Pirelli Celestial, racing in his first Rolex Sydney Hobart, was forced to seek safe harbour due to mainsail damage. Shortly after midnight, steering problems forced Phillip King's 13.5 metre Salona II out of the race.

One of two U.S. entries in this year's 66th race edition, the C&C 41 Nemesis was also reported to have withdrawn from the race, again for unknown reasons. Nemesis' crew sailed throughout Mexico and across the Pacific to bring the yacht here for this years' race.

Finally, this morning's most recent withdrawal was one of note, Andrew Saies' Two True, overall winner of last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. The Beneteau First 40 was forced out due to engine issues, which prevented the crew from charging the batteries.

With any luck, and with a forecasted improvement in the weather conditions by the end of today, the remaining yachts will receive some well-deserved relief and an easier path to the finish line.

Race enthusiasts can go to for a real time tracker of yachts and their position.

Official race website:

* Adrienne Cahalan, supermaxi Wild Oats XI's co-navigator and the most capped female in the 66 year history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, tonight described the crossing of Bass Strait as possibly the worst she has experienced.

Cahalan, a mother of two young children who has 19 Hobart races to her credit, said the only way to describe the punishment the 30-metre long Wild Oats XI had been dealt by a south-westerly gale was 'violent and awful'.

'We have spent the entire day trying to protect the yacht from damage and the crew from injury,' Cahalan said via satellite phone. 'It's been an enormous challenge and every one of us has been roughed up. The wind has reached 40 knots - gale force -and the seas have been between four and five metres, so we've spent the day in damage control for boat and crew.' Cahalan said that Wild Oats XI's skipper, Mark 'Ricko' Richards had done a remarkable job maintaining a conservative approach to the race during the rough weather. She said that while everyone knew when they left Sydney on Boxing Day that things were going to be tough, it was not until you are out there that you realised what 'tough' really meant.

'Because of Ricko's approach we've had no breakages and everyone is OK - a bit battered and bruised, but OK,' Cahalan added. 'Wild Oats XI is 100 feet long and in these conditions it's extremely difficult keeping a boat this size and this fast from not launching off one wave and crashing into the next. When you do it's like a truck hitting a wall. That's when the damage happens to the yacht and the crew, so preventing this from happening has been our priority.

Tonight the sailing conditions were improving for Wild Oats XI, which is owned by winemaker Bob Oatley. The wind had dropped to between 20 and 25 knots and the waves were down to three metres. At last report she was still racing under greatly reduced sail about halfway across Bass Strait and nearing the halfway mark on the 628 nautical mile course. The yacht is the Sydney Hobart race record holder and is going for her fifth line honours this year. Wild Oats XI was then leading Investec Loyal and Wild Thing by about 15 nautical miles. -- Rob Mundle

Kite Board Rankings
After the last events of the season, the final rankings for 2010 in all disciplines have been published. The overall world cup winners are: Andy Yates / Gisela Pulido (Freestyle), Bruno Sroka / Steph Bridge (Course Racing) and Guilly Brandao / Gisela Pulido (Wave Riding).

While the world cup standings in the freestyle discipline are identical with the final standings of the world championship tour which has been run by the PKRA, the world cup standings in the course racing discipline as well as for wave riding need some explanation and clarification about the titles used.

The world champions in course racing are determined in an one-off event which was held this year in Corpus Christi, USA. The winners of this event are the world champions 2010, namely Adam Koch (USA) and Kari Schibevaag (NOR). The world ranking is covering all course racing events around the world held in the past 12 months, and thus at the end of the year the world ranking leaders are the ones with the best overall performance over the 21 events held in 2010. The Course Racing Overall World Cup Winners 2010 are therefore Bruno Sroka (FRA) and Steph Bridge (GBR).

In 2011 the world rankings will see the addition of a separate production course racing world ranking and a kite cross world ranking. The discards for the rankings will also be based on the number of major events held in 2011 which might lead to a slight reduction of events competitors need to attend for a good placing in the rankings.

The 2010 Overall World Cup Champions are:

Freestyle Men:
1. Andy Yates, AUS
2. Alex Pastor, ESP
3. Youri Zoon, NED

Freestyle Women:
1. Gisela Pulido, ESP
2. Bruna Kajiya, BRA
3. Karolina Winkowska, POL

Course Racing Men:
1. Bruno Sroka, FRA
2. Julien Kerneur, FRA
3. Abel Lago, ESP

Course Racing Women:
1. Steph Bridge, GBR
2. Kari Schibevaag, NOR
3. Caroline Adrien, FRA

Wave Riding Men:
1. Guilly Brandao, BRA
2. Mitu Monteiro, CAB
3. Ian Glaza Owczara, BRA

Wave Riding Women:
1. Gisela Pulido, ESP
2. Kari Schibevaag, NOR
3. Ainhoa Garcia, ESP

The Defector by Mark Chisnell
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Beautiful 'Ripple' on Display at the London Boat Show
Photo from Hyde Sails. Click on image for photo gallery.

Ripple The Thames Estuary One-Design 'Ripple' will take pride of place on the Hyde Sails stand (number F2) at the forthcoming London Boat Show, illustrating the wide range of sails the company supplies from dinghies to the Clipper Round the World Race Yachts.

'Ripple' is the only survivor from a fleet which was one of the country's early one-design fleets. The boat was commissioned 100 years ago and has now been completely restored by Swiftboats.

In 1911 the Royal Alexandra YC in Southend commissioned a fleet of one-designs, designed by Morgan Giles and built in Tollesbury in Essex. 'Ripple' was the first of the fleet built, but she carries sail number TE2, as TE1 was a prototype.

With a varied history since, 'Ripple' was taken to Isle of White at one point in her life, later returning to Tollesbury where she raced in Mersea/Tollesbury challenges until she was laid up for a little work 25 years ago. She was eventually rescued from a garden, which was only over the road from where she was originally built!

Gerard Swift of Swiftboats recalls: 'She was in a very poor way and much care and time had to be given to getting her beautiful shape back before a full restoration could begin.'

Swift explains: 'She has been replanked in stika spruce, with green Engish oak for the steamed timbers. A local oak was used for the knees and breast hook.'

'Ripple' was in the Swiftboats workshop for a year, leaving in time for her owner to take part in Mersea Week 2010 where she showed she had not forgotten what she was built for - to win!'

For more details see or

From Yachts and Yachting,

First International Congress of Ocean Sailing and the Environment
Tomorrow Tuesday 28th December with see the start of the first International Congress of Ocean Sailing and the Environment at the Barcelona World RACE Interpretation Centre on the Moll Levant. This is the main academic congress which is organised around the Barcelona World RACE. The exhibition will open by paying tribute to the life of the legendary French sailor Eric Tabarly, considered one of the pioneers of solo and short handed ocean racing. His wife Jacqueline Tabarly will be prsent at the tribute.

The conference will then take place in the main auditorium of the FNOB (Calle Escar, 6) from 0930hrs on the mornings of the 29th and 30th.

Among the speakers and personalities who will be present are Yves Parlier, Guillaume Verdier (designer), Philippe Jeantot, Jean-Yves Bernot (meteorologist), Loick Peyron, Marc Guillemot and Remi Parmentier (Varda Group), Mario Rodriguez (Greenpeace), among others. The three main areas to be discussed at the boats, the sailors and the sea.

The Moth Wing Issue
If I were a betting man, I'd say that the Moth Class are about to take a giant leap backwards and outlaw the fixed-wing for the forthcoming Moth Worlds. I sincerely hope it's not the case but here's the latest email from the IMCA Committee's Mark Robinson to National Presidents asking for a decision -- Magnus Wheatley

Dear National IMCA Presidents,

Many of you will be aware that the Executive Committee has been in discussion with ISAF for some time now over the legality of wing sails that could be presented at the World Championships next month.

As of today the only solid wing sails that will be presented is the 'Object 2 skiff works' version to be sailed by Bora Gulari & George Peet. See pictures here:

All other proposed designs have been scrapped for now awaiting a more concrete outcome on legality before committing to build a wing.


I am posting this probably too late to influence any vote currently underway within IMCA. But I feel a lot has to be stated which has not been clearly put in one place elsewhere.

The present vote is to decide if two specific wings will sail in the Belmont regatta. The default is they don't and 2/3 vote is needed to get them in. Its a tall order and the reasons behind it are obscure.

Apparently ISAF were asked some questions and they repied that under the current rules the wings are illegal.

What we do not know is what questions and documents IMCA gave to ISAF and on what basis ISAF made this decision. We do not know if the illegality is for all wings or for some particular design aspect of the two wings now at Belmont and waiting to race. We do not know if such aspects were modified these wings might be deemed legal. Its a bit of a mystery.

Back in July the IMCA executive had a debate and made an interpretation of the existing rules which seemed to cover most aspects of wing design. Unfortunately they then failed to offer this document to ISAF for endorsement and hence it became illegitimate. We do not know if ISAF were given the oportunity to endorse this document when asked other questions in December. It would seem to me that this would have been the simplest solution, ISAF endorsing the IMCA interpretation. But it became apparent that at leat one contentious rule was not addressed and also that some of the executive had been influenced by some anti wing lobyists. Its another mystery.

Whether the class should allow wings philosophically seems a no brainer. The class has spent over 75 years leading the sailing world in small boat development and as a consequence its always lead the small boat world in performance, in the foil era, in the narrow boat era, in the scow era, always ahead of everything else. Its not time to put on the brakes now. -- Phil Stephenson, (a more recent posting from Phil has more details of the ISAF / IMCA rules technicalities...)


From my view here in a tent in the middle of a mosquito infested forest near Jervis Bay NSW, I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone should not want to see how the wing will perform at the Worlds. Those using them are taking a risk using largely unproven kit so you have got to admire their courage and just let them get on with it.

I tell you what; if Bora wins using a Wing it does not prove anything; given a bit of breeze he was fast anyway. However, if he lent it to me and I won with it then that would show the wing's true performance advantage.

I am certain sense will prevail and we will see the wings fly at the Worlds. Pushing the boundaries is what the Moth class is all about. Bring it on. -- Graham Simmonds


And today, this from IMCA President Mark Robinson:

Dear IMCA Members,

Thank you for the prompt responses to your own national Presidents on the vote to amend the 2011 World Championships NOR and thus allow wingsails to be measured and compete; or not to amend the NOR.

The Presidents of all national associations have responded with the vote being 30 in favour of option 1 and 6 in favour of option 2.

We will therefore be proceeding with issuing an amendment to the NOR under the guidance of and with approval from ISAF. Chief Measurer Adam May is currently working with ISAF on the final text and I expect this to be released shortly.

Mark Robinson
International Moth Class Association

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Industry News
Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) announced today that the U.S. International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") has issued an initial determination in the ITC Section 337 investigation initiated by Pioneer Corporation (Investigation No. 337-TA-694).

The ALJ's initial determination, which is subject to review by the Commission, ruled that Garmin's products do not infringe any of the three patents asserted by Pioneer. This is the fourth consecutive victory by Garmin resulting from its determination to fight baseless patent claims.

"Garmin is very pleased with this ruling, and this initial determination confirms Garmin's long-standing belief that Pioneer's patents do not cover the modern navigation functionality found in Garmin's products," said Andrew Etkind, Garmin's vice president and general counsel.


The International Moth Class Association (IMCA) is delighted to announce partner sponsorship by SP- High Modulus of the Zhik Moth Worlds due to be held on Lake Macquarie from January 8th through to January 14th 2011.

SP- High Modulus, the Marine Business of Gurit, work alongside the world's leading boat designers, integrating structural design, materials science and process engineering for the build of performance boats.

The versatility and durability of SP-High Modulus products and the in-depth engineering knowledge deliver significant performance gains that are needed in the high performance classes including the foiling Moth.

"SP-High Modulus is proud to support the Zhik 2011 Moth World Championship. The competition's design ethos of high performance, innovation and lightness match the qualities that SP-High Modulus has been delivering to the marine market for over 30 years" commented Niall Kinch from SP- High Modulus.


Multi One Design S.A. and North Sails are pleased to announce the beginning of a unique collaboration in offshore racing: an exclusive partnership over the 2011-2014 period. North Sails will supply the entire MOD 70 fleet for the Multi One Championship.

Multi One Design has chosen North Sails and its 3DL technology to guarantee sport's equity, mainstay of the MOD 70 concept: on equal terms on the Ocean Planet. The 12 MOD 70 will be equipped with one-design 3DL sails.


Since the merger of OC Group and ThirdPole in September, the company has been pushing forward with a diverse range of events and new business developments. And 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting and challenging year, with 17 events across 22 host venues around the world and with 80+ days of competition in a number of different areas of professional sailing and outdoor events. OC ThirdPole has in the past few weeks launched or relaunched 4 of its key projects:

On land, the Haute Route, a new amateur bike race (aka cyclosportive) across the Alps and the established but growing Geneva Marathon for Unicef (running).

On the water, OC ThirdPole announced their support of the MOD70 circuit, to help them establish this new exciting offshore multihull class and co-organise the European Tour in 2012 and 2013. And, as creators and organisers, the company also announced a powerful line up of teams, venues and innovations for the award-winning Extreme Sailing Series.

Finally, we're now just 2 weeks away from the start of the two-up, non-stop Barcelona World Race - created by OC with the city of Barcelona in 2005 - with 15 top teams lining up for what is now a key pillar in the IMOCA circuit alongside the Vendéee Globe.


Bruntons Propellers have received confirmation from the European Patent Office that their unique IonGuard electrolysis protection system, the worlds' only in-water fully retractable and replaceable anode has been approved for wide ranging patent rights in over 30 European Countries.

The thru-hull design of IonGuard allows its sacrificial anode to be withdrawn, inspected and if required replaced, whilst the boat remains in the water.

IonGuard has already received positive feedback from yachting industry professionals including Nigel Calder who commented "IonGuard should end the practice of hauling out or diving to inspect or replace hull anodes."


Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) issued a statement yesterday, December 14, telling the industry the VAT concession on sailaway boats will stop from January 2012 because it conflicts with EU law.

The HMRC statement says simply: 'From January 1, 2012 VAT registered businesses will no longer be able to zero rate the supply of a sailaway boat to a UK resident who intends to keep it outside the EC.'

Businesses can continue to zero rate the supply of a boat to a UK resident provided they either undertake to export the boat themselves or make all the arrangements for the export.

Following a recent legal decision, HMRC says it's reviewing its concessions. The majority are being retained but a minority, after a period of notice, will end. This is because they are outside the scope of HMRC's administrative discretion and it has not been possible or appropriate for HMRC to legislate these extra statutory concessions (ESCs) as they are contrary to EU law.

'We recognise that boat manufacturers may have to make adjustments and will offer a 12 months period of notice before the concessionary treatment formally comes to an end,' said policy advisor John Bryning.


Project Manager, Pete Cumming along with Boat Captain Mark Bulkeley has decided to leave Oman Sail after three successful years representing Oman in the Extreme Sailing Series. In his three years with Oman Sail, Pete both Project managed and raced in the two boat campaign and brought Oman Sail overall Extreme Sailing Series wins in 2009 & 2010.

"We have had a great time with Oman sail and are very proud of what we have achieved but I feel it is the right time to leave the project. We hope to still race in the 2011 Extreme Sailing World Tour and are currently seeking new sponsors and partners for our team. This break in campaign also gives us the chance to pursue other sailing projects in the New Year so it's exciting times."

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The Last Word
Don't let schooling interfere with your education. -- Mark Twain

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