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Escape From Gibraltar
Neutrogena and Gaes Centros Auditivos are the latest boats to finally escape the clutches of the Mediterranean and Gibraltar this evening.

The pairs remain locked in battle just one mile apart, and are currently just north east of Tanger, Morrocco, in 5th and 6th respectively.

Of the leaders, Virbac Paprec 3 has stretched out a 70-mile advantage over Foncia as both power south-west along the African shoreline. A further 30 miles back, Mirabaud is being to turn south, whilst 4th placed Estrella Damm continues to make ground to the west, some 13 miles further north.

Back in the Med, the battle to maintain forward momentum continues. Groupe Bel looks set to be next to slip through, as Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane (FRA) stick close to north Africa where they appear to have found a balance between the search for tidal relief from east-going currents which can reach 5 knots, and solid breezes.

On the opposite side of the sea, 8th placed President and Mapfre in 9th are locked together at low speeds as they approach the Rock of Gibraltar. All will be hoping to escape the combination of foul tides and light airs that saw Gaes and Estrella Damm's tracks follow seemingly aimless circles - a doubly stressful circumstance given the area's busy shipping and fishing lanes.

Over 200 miles back from the lead boat, We Are Water are maintaining a northerly route close to Spain, whilst Renault ZE, Forum Maritim Catala and Central Lechera Asturiana are going for a mid-Mediterranean route, with Hugo Boss to the north-east.

barcelonaworldrace.com

Race To The Race
Today Alex Thomson was ready to take the next step towards joining his boat HUGO BOSS after a week of recovery in Barcelona, following his emergency appendectomy last week. He will be travelling home to the UK today to finish his recuperation, and begin his 'race to the race' all over again.

Alex underwent surgery just 48 hours before the 90 day round the world Barcelona World Race which began on the 31st December, without Alex onboard his boat HUGO BOSS. After discussion with the race organisation (FNOB), and with the majority backing of his fellow IMOCA skippers, it was ruled that HUGO BOSS would be allowed to start the race with the team's substitute skipper, Wouter Verbraak, and Alex will be able to join the boat after he is declared medically fit to sail.

The Alex Thomson Racing Team convened in Barcelona to ensure that a plan to get Alex back on the boat was put in place. A recovery team consisting of his sports physio, nutritionist, physical trainer and sports psychologist is ready and waiting for him in the UK, tasked with getting him fit and well to begin the race. The whole process is being overseen by the team's doctor, the renowned offshore racing medic Dr Spike Briggs from Medical Support Offshore (MSOS) in the UK, who are also medical advisors to the Volvo Ocean Race.

The rule dictates that Alex must be medically assessed within 10 days of the race start, and the date and place at which he will join his boat HUGO BOSS will then be agreed with the race organisation together with the medical team.

Stewart Hosford, the ATR Team Director who announced the team's plan of action said, "Alex now goes back to the UK where the recovery team are on standby, he is feeling stronger every day and we are very confident he will be able to join the boat. We will agree a plan with the race organisation and choose a location as soon as we can. The most obvious options will be the Cape Verdes or the Fernando de Noronha Islands off Brazil"

www.alexthomsonracing.com

Henri Lloyd - Experience The Shockwave
Henri Lloyd Shockwave is the world's only fully integrated and modular system of protective foul weather clothing for Offshore to Round the Cans racing. One system that lets you choose and modify the level of performance you require from the elements and impact protection.

Deck Armour - Putting the Shock Resistance into Shockwave.

The DECK ARMOUR system revolutionises the way sailors protect their bodies from impact and injury - a shock resistant and super lightweight 3D mesh which can be integrated within Shockwave garments at critical areas whilst still guaranteeing freedom of movement for the wearer. The lattice design of the DECK ARMOUR also ensures the breathability of the Shockwave products is not compromised.

Fabric Technology - Minimal Contact, Maximum Airflow. A hydrophilic laminate is applied directly to a microporous coating that further increases breathability and ensures the fast transition of internal moisture to the outside.

Optivision Window Panels - See the Advantage. Following the huge success of our OPTIVISION Hood System that has received critical acclaim from racing teams and media alike, the system has been extended into watch and course map windows being engineered into Shockwave garments - aiding the perfect start and race strategies.

www.henrilloyd.com

Century Old Weene to Sail in 175th Australia Day Regatta
Australia Day Regatta One Australia's oldest yachts still actively racing, the Weene, will compete in the historic 175th Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour on 26 January 2011.

She will be among a large fleet of wooden yachts, many gaff-rigged, which will contest a special Classic Yachts division to mark the 175th Australia Day Regatta, the world's oldest continuously conducted sailing regatta.

Weene was the first of seven Tasmanian One Design classs yachts built in Hobart to a US design published in The Rudder magazine of February 1902 and modified by Tasmanian yacht designer Alf Blore to suit local Tasmanian boatbuilding methods and sailing conditions. All seven boats still exist.

Owned and raced successfully by the wellknown Batt family in Hobart for some 52 years, Weene reached 100 years of age in October last year.

The highly successful and beautiful classic wooden yacht was inducted into the Australian Register of Historic Vessels at the annual Classic and Wooden Boat Festival at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Current owner, Sydney Amateur Sailing Club member and antique restorer Ben Stoner, regular competes in the SASC Classic Yachts division and regattas on Sydney Harbour.

Weene is still on the register of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania as well as the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and carries the sail number RYCT 1 in place of her original sail number of A1 in deference to the famous 'Amateur's' yacht Ranger which also has A1 as its sail number.

Ranger, skippered by octogenarian Bill Gale, will be among a large fleet of Ranger class yachts also competing in the Classic Yachts division of the Australia Day Regatta. -- Peter Campbell

Thailand Wins IODA Team Racing
Langkawi, Malaysia: Stage two of the Team Racing competition began with just 16 teams, reduced from the 43 teams of yesterday. The 16 teams getting through from Stage One were: Norway, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Australia, Spain, Chile, Malaysia, Finland, Argentina, Slovenia, USA, Peru, Croatia, Great Britain, Thailand. This was a geographically diverse group demonstrating the strength of optimist team racing worldwide.

Thailand qualified as the highest seed from Stage One and quickly defeated Great Britain and Peru who had unexpectedly been beaten by Croatia. The race committee struggled initially with shifting winds and drifting marks but eventually the wind settled down to a near perfect 10 knots, in bright sunshine, the rain of the last few days having passed - ideal conditions for team racing.

The race committee kept the courses short, roughly 8 minutes in length, which kept the racing tight and highly competitive. Thailand continued their unbeaten run in Stage One and reached the Final without a loss. The match between Singapore and Peru, the winner earning the right to sail against Thailand in the first to win two races Final, was electric. The balance of control kept swinging from one team to the other but eventually it was a win to Singapore. Speaking as an umpire, Peru provided some of the most brilliant tactical manoeuvres of any team and they like all the other teams in the second stage, created many challenges for the umpires and continually demonstrated the high level of team racing tactics and boat handling now required to reach this stage of the competition.

The Final was again very close, but Thailand continued their unbeaten run, winning 2 races and becoming the 2010 IODA World Team Racing champions.

The 4th January is a lay day when teams will have the opportunity to travel around the island and discover the delights of the local area. Then it is back to the fleet racing as this championship begins to draw to an end.

optiworld.org

Become a Virtual RNLI Crew Member at the London Show
Volunteer lifeboat crew members and fundraisers may have been braving the cold to help save lives at sea this winter, but visitors who want to get a taste of life as a Royal National Lifeboat Institution volunteer can do so and stay warm at the charity's stand at the London International Boat Show.

Using green screen technology, visitors can be pictured dashing to a rescue on an RNLI inshore lifeboat or helping Stormy Stan fundraise for the charity. They can even step back in time, don a cork lifejacket and join the ranks of a lifeboat crew from the past. All visitors have to do is go to stand B37 in the North Hall, stand in front of the camera, say 'cheese' and the computer will do the rest. The final picture will then be emailed to them after the show.

There's a photographic theme on the RNLI stand this year, as the winner of the charity's Photographer of the Year competition will be announced on Friday 7 at 12pm. The competition aims to find pictures that reflect the lifesaving work of the RNLI. Volunteers and crew send in pictures to compete in four categories: rescues, people, fleet and landscapes. The overall winner is picked from the winners of each category.

And it's not just celluloid lifeboats that will be on display - this year's visitors will be able to inspect a D class inshore lifeboat and talk to volunteer crew about their role in saving lives at sea.

For those hoping that's as close as they'll ever get to a lifeboat, there's also free, friendly sea safety advice at the RNLI stand. Volunteer sea safety officers can help with a range of information from what to look for when buying, wearing and maintaining a lifejacket to maintaining a marine engine and how to call for help at sea.

The RNLI will also be encouraging visitors to become regular supporters of the charity that rescues over 4,000 leisure craft a year. The Serious Fun! fundraising campaign aims to get new and experienced boaters to sign up as members and provide the RNLI with a regular, dependable source of income to continue its lifesaving work around the UK and Republic of Ireland.

rnli.org.uk

Round The Island Race Winners Wanted
Island Sailing Club is trying to track down all of its Round the Island Race previous winners for the 80th anniversary 2011 race.

Race organisers are also seeking past competitors and spectators, as they want to promote the milestone using stories, anecdotes and images from the past eight decades.

The club is offering free entry to whoever produces the best photograph, while a bottle of Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky is on offer for the best race anecdote.

The club's admiral, Robin Aisher, himself a former race winner in 1985, said: 'This race has produced some truly iconic imagery over the years and we are hoping to unearth a real gem.'

Yachting Monthly: www.yachtingmonthly.com

ISC: www.islandsc.org.uk

Industry News
Tom and Jane Schock have sold W.D. Schock Corp. to Alexander Vucelic von Raduboj, who will take over as president and be responsible for day-to-day operations.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tom Schock will remain on W.D. Schock's board and continue to connect with sailors in the new role of brand ambassador. Jane Schock also will continue with the company, helping to smooth the transition, they announced.

Vucelic von Raduboj has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing. He previously was chief operating officer at Electric Machinery of Minneapolis.

"Alexander respects and appreciates the legacy of W.D. Schock Corp., and he understands the unique aspects of multigenerational family businesses, having himself grown up in a family business which spanned five generations," said Tom Schock.

W.D. Schock was founded in 1946 in Newport Beach, Calif., by Tom Schock's father. The company has built more than 13,000 boats in its 65-year history.

www.tradeonlytoday.com

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The Liverpool Boat Show has announced that Williams Performance Tenders and RBS (Rodman) have confirmed their attendance at next year's inaugural Show (29th April - 8th May 2011).

The Oxfordshire-based Williams Performance Tenders has been selected as the official tender partner at the event, and will also be displaying both the Turbojet 445 and the newest model in the Williams range, the luxury 505D Turbojet.

Ben Stevens, Managing Director of RBS Marine: 'Our customer base makes it clear that the North West is a strong area for boating. To present at the Liverpool Boat Show will enable us to showcase Rodman at a premier event which will captivate more like minded enthusiasts and further develop the brand throughout the UK.'

Both of these giant brands can be found on the new, £1 million Albert Dock Show Marina.

www.liverpoolboatshow.com

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The River Mersey's biggest sailing event in living memory will take place when two open regattas are staged during the Liverpool Boat Show.

About 150 boats will compete in a series of spectacular races on each of the two weekends of the show, which takes place from April 29 to May 8 next year.

Up to three races will be held each day on the weekends of April 30 and May 7, with classes for modern racing yachts, ultra-fast multi-hulls, local classes and traditional nobbys.

The regattas - comprising the Royal Dee Yacht Club Spring Regatta and the Liverpool Yacht Club Kindred Clubs Regatta - will be one of the main highlights of the Liverpool Boat Show, which takes place in the splendid surroundings of the Albert Dock.

A number of North West clubs are supporting the regattas, including Liverpool Yacht Club, the Royal Mersey Yacht Club, the Royal Dee Yacht Club, West Kirby Sailing Club, Wallasey Yacht Club, Dee Sailing Club, Blundell Sands Sailing Club, Liverpool Sailing Club, Hoylake Sailing Club, West Lancs Sailing Club and the Nobby Association.

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The New Zealand-based, CT Sailbattens is now part of the Global Ocean race 2011-12 (GOR) Race Partner group. The company's development has had a major impact on sail batten technology with exceptional results in the America's Cup, IMOCA Open 60, Volvo Ocean Race and superyacht arenas. CT Sailbattens have agreed to work closely with the GOR teams in supplying and customising their high-performance, light and durable, prepreg, s-glass battens for the round the world Class40 fleet.

The Class40 Rule prohibits the use of carbon fibre in the sail systems and CT Sailbattens will supply the GOR teams with the CT22, full-length, black, s-glass battens.

CT Sailbattens will organise shipment of the battens, receptacles and plugs direct to the team's boat and will be available to advise on fitting all systems. Furthermore, the company's headquarters is in Auckland and CT Sailbattens will be on site offering valuable support during the Wellington stop over at the end of GOR Leg 2.

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In order to maximize their performance, PUMA Ocean Racing is using Ixsea's HYDRINS Inertial Navigation System (INS) as the core of their navigation suite. Based on Fiber-Optic Gyroscope technology, HYDRINS is a compact, high-performance INS that has been optimized for use in any type of surface vessel. Designed to cope effectively with GPS drop-outs and multipath effects, it delivers highly accurate position, attitude and velocity data in real time to the navigator and skipper.

PUMA Ocean Racing will utilize the HYDRINS during exhaustive testing of different sail and boat setup configurations to provide precise performance information for PUMA's VO 70 which will be delivered in Spring 2011.

Tom Addis, PUMA's Navigator, said "...other instruments we have used in the past gave results that varied from tack to tack and at different heel angles... so it's been very helpful having an instrument that we can implicitly trust."

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2003 Nautor Swan 48, EUR 459,000 JUST REDUCED. Located in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

This Swan 48 is a beautifully designed German Frers model, extremely comfortable for cruising and equally adept on the racing circuit.
55 hp Volvo Penta engine.
2 cabin layout version, sleeping 5 guests.
Some new equipment 2008/9, including new racing sails 2008.
She has been raced only a few times and lightly used for family cruising.

Brokerage through Nautor's Swan Spain & Portugal: www.yachtworld.com/swan-spain/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com

Mea Culpa
Last night's report on the 420 Worlds was from Gerald New and his superlative site SailWeb: www.sailweb.co.uk

I neglected to credit Gerald, who's an old hand at this, my apologies.

The Last Word
Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition. -- Alan Turing

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