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Red Line Speed
They are separated now either side of a venomous low pressure, but both of the Barcelona World Race's leading two crews were considering where to set the red line today, how hard they have to push to maintain their differential to the boats behind.

If Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron breathed a collective sigh of relief last night when they caught the tiny weather window which allowed them to pass the Crozet ice gate, to tack and ease sheets for a fast run ESE towards to the Amsterdam gate, Olympic champions Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez seem to sound a warning to the French duo this evening that they will not be regulating their electric pursuit of Virbac-Paprec 3 too much.

This afternoon MAPFRE recorded the fastest one hour 'speed gun' of the race so far, 26.8 knots.

Somewhat paradoxically only this morning Fernandez ruminated on the daily Visio-Conference that he and Iker had just been discussing if they should drop their 'red line', to lower their cursor a little and moderate their attack. But seemingly the Spanish speed kings grow in confidence every day and are determined to progressively reel in the runaway Dick and Peyron.

"What they have done so far is quite amazing. And I think the whole Olympic sailing community is just riveted by their performance. Nobody really quite knew how they would get on, least of all them, but they are going so well."Double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson (GBR) said in Barcelona today just after speaking to Fernandez by live video link for the CNN Mainsail TV programme which she fronts.

Virbac-Paprec 3 broke free of the low pressure 'shooting gallery' set up as the low pressure bullets fire south east from Madagascar, and this afternoon were making solid progress in difficult conditions, 30-35 knots of wind, and expecting more wind.

And as Dee Caffari pointed out in her message this morning, by the weekend there seems to be a chance that something more resembling normal service might start in the SE Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. The blocking high pressure west of the Kerguelens is predicted to slide away allowing a service of fast moving depressions to resume.

Standings on Wednesday February 2 2011

1. Virbac-Paprec 3, 16345 nm to finish
2. Mapfre, 464.5 nm to leader
3. Groupe Bel, 602.9
4. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, 608.7
5. Renault Z.E, 762.4
6. Mirabaud, 1278.4
7. Neutrogena, 1312.8
8. Gaes Centros Auditivos, 1716.1
9. Hugo Boss, 1952.5
10. We Are Water, 2243.7
11. Central Lechera Asturiana, 2286.4
12. Forum Maritim Catala, 2292.5
RTD Foncia
RTD President

ISAF Match Race Rankings
Claire Leroy (FRA) has jumped ahead of Nicky Souter by 208 points in the ISAF world match race women's rankings. Leroy won the gold medal in the Grade 1 women's match racing competition at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

In the open match racing rankings Ben Ainslie (GBR) maintains his position at the top with no change in the top eight. Brazil's Henrique Haddad is the biggest climber in the open rankings moving from #49 up to #22 after he won the Grade 3 Open Brazilian Match Race Nationals at Lago Paranoa, Brazil.

In the Open Rankings none of the top eight have competed since the last rankings were released on 8 December 2010.

Henrique Haddad (BRA) had a successful run of two wins and a second place finish in October, November and December which has seen him catapult up the rankings.

The Brazilian won two Grade 3 events, the most recent being the Open Brazilian Match Race Nationals in December and came second in the Grade 2 Mumbai International Match Race in October. Haddad is currently #29, his highest place to date, on 7,595 points nestled in between Simone Ferrarese (ITA), 8,137 points, and Alexis Littoz-Baritel (FRA) on 7,496 points. Click here for the Open Rankings.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be 30 March 2011. The rankings will include results from Marseille Y's Cup, France (Open Grade 2), Ficker Cup, USA (Open Grade 2), ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final - South America, Brazil (Open Grade 2 and Women's Grade 2) and Congressional Cup, USA (Open Grade 1).

Top Ten Open
1. Ben Ainslie, GBR
2. Adam Minoprio, NZL
3. Mathieu Richard, FRA
4. Torvar Mirsky, AUS
5. Ian Williams, GBR
6. Bjorn Hansen, SWE
7. Pierre-Antoine Morvan, FRA
8. Francesco Bruni, ITA
9. Eugeniy Neugodnikov, RUS
10. Philip Robertson, NZL

Top Ten Women:
1. Claire Leroy, FRA
2. Nicky Souter, AUS
3. Lucy Macgregor, GBR
4. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA
5. Renee Groeneveld, NED
6. Ekaterina Skudinna, RUS
7. Katie Spithill, AUS
8. Sally Barkow, USA
9. Genevieve Tulloch, USA
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA

Maxi Championship
The International Maxi Association (IMA) has published the Notice of Race for the Rolex 2011 IMA Championship, consisting of 4 events reserved to supermaxis, maxis and mini maxis, taking place between April and September 2011.

The Notice of Race states the key conditions for the 4 sailing events that are part of the Championship, sponsored by Rolex SA.

The first event of the championship is the PalmaVela, Palma de Mallorca, Spain (april 20 -24), organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma in cooperation with IMA for the Maxi fleet. Following is the new Rolex Volcano Race (Gaeta-Aeolian Islands-Capri, Italy: 24-28 May), organized by IMA in conjunction with Yacht Club Capri and Yacht Club Gaeta; then the Giraglia Rolex Cup (offshore, 19-25 June, Italy), organized by Yacht Club Italiano; the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup & Mini Maxi World Championship, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Porto Cervo, Italy, September 5-11), in conjunction with IMA.

Included in the Notice of Race are details on the rules, regulations, entry and qualification guidelines.

Published on IMA website are also the NoR of single events and links to respective organizing yacht clubs.

IMOCA 60 OC7 For Sale
Photo by Thierry Martinez, Click on image to enlarge.

IMOCA 60 Veolia Environnment / BT For Sale 2007 Farr Yacht Design. WINNER of the Route du Rhum 2010 with Roland Jordain as VEOLIA ENVIRONNMENT, and WINNER 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race and Artemis Challenge with Seb Josse as BT. The boat has been constantly developed since it's launch in 2007, and the sale includes multiple masts, spare boom & daggerboards and rudder. A total internal replacement in March 2010 of all electronics, and machinery after her recovery from the Transat Jacques Vabre, and an September 2010 optimised lightweight energy system means the onboards systems are like new.

Recent post Rhum full structural survey is available. One of the most desirable 60s currently available. The boat is out of the water undercover in Concarneau, completing an end of charter refit, and will be ready to race the 2011 season resuming her place at the front of the fleet.

Contact Charles Darbyshire for more detail. +44 7768 982233

Blast from the Past for Sir Robin
Click on image to enlarge.

Robin Knox-Johnston Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person ever to sail solo around the world non-stop, was today united with the son of a New Zealand fisherman who he met on his historic singlehanded circumnavigation. When they first met off the south coast of New Zealand 43 years ago, Mark Waters' father Lawrie was one the first people Sir Robin had seen in more than 170 days alone at sea.

Sir Robin made history when he sailed back into Falmouth, UK, on April 22 1969 in his 32ft wooden ketch Suhaili after 312 days at sea. During the voyage Sir Robin ran aground off Dunedin, a small port in the south of New Zealand, while attempting to send a message ashore that he was safe. Lawrie Waters, a local fisherman, was one of four men who set out to greet Sir Robin in their fishing boat Anna D. The fishermen were the first people Sir Robin had had any significant contact with since setting sail from Falmouth, UK, on his momentous voyage in June 1968.

"I ran into bad weather coming past New Zealand so I came in close to Dunedin to let people know I was ok," Sir Robin explained. "I hadn't slept for 70 or 80 hours and I had no chart of the area, and as I got closer to land I ran aground. As I was sat waiting for the tide to come up a boat came out from Dunedin with four guys onboard. Lawrie Waters was one of those men, and we have kept in touch with each other for 43 years."

Sir Robin met again with Lawrie in 1977 when he stopped in New Zealand with the Whitbread Round the World Race, and again in the early 1990s when Sir Robin race round the world on 85ft catamaran Enza with Sir Peter Blake. Each year Sir Robin, now 72, and Lawrie, 76, write to each other.

Lawrie's son Mark, a member of Wellington's Royal Port Nicholas Yacht Club, was united with Sir Robin for the first time today during a Q&A session with the skippers of the VELUX 5 OCEANS solo round the world race, of which Sir Robin is the chairman. Mark presented Sir Robin with a letter from his father as well as a collection photographs of the pair together and pictures of Anna D.

"It was lovely to be given the letter and photos by Mark," Sir Robin added. "I really didn't expect that! Seeing the photos brought back some very happy memories."

ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings Take Shape
US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR came to an end over the weekend with Great Britain taking 14 medals to lead the medal table in the International Sailing Federation Sailing World Cup. The regatta, held at Biscayne Bay, Miami, is the second of seven stops on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit and throughout the week sailors have been competing in three Paralympic classes and ten Olympic events.

Great Britain top the Standings with seven gold, six silver and six bronze medals for a total of 19 from two regattas. Australia are second with nine medals including three gold. And France also have three gold medals and are in third with a total of five medals.

In the Finn class Great Britain claimed a clean sweep of the podium spots. Giles Scott came out on top to add 20 points to the 18 he won at Sail Melbourne in December. But Ben Ainslie leads the series after winning Sail Melbourne and coming second in Miami to lead Scott by one point on 39.

Leading the 49er series are Erik Storck and Trever Moore (USA) who finished third in Melbourne and fifth in Miami for a series score of 34

Paige Railey (USA) won gold in the Laser Radial but she is fifth in the series having only competed in Miami. Leading the Standings is defending champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) on 34 points, in second place Nathalie Brugger (SUI) trails by five points on 29 and Krystal Weir (AUS) sits in third on 24 points.

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS), 470 world champions and defending champions, remain top in the men's 470 series on 39 points having won gold in Melbourne and silver in Miami.

In the Women's 470 Kathrin Kadelbach and Friederike Belcher (GER), on 27 points, hold a seven point lead in the series over Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux (FRA).

Nick Thompson (GBR) finished out of the medals in fourth at the Rolex Miami OCR but, with 37 points, he has a 12 point lead in the Laser standings over Javier Hernandez (ESP).

With two fifth place finishes in Melbourne and Miami Jessica Crisp (AUS) leads the women's RS:X standings on 32 points.

With only Sebastian Wang-Hansen (NOR) competing in both Sail Melbourne and the Rolex Miami OCR in the men's RS:X, the standings are very close. Wang-Hansen is in tenth on 16 points but only four points behind series leader Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) who won gold in Miami and King yin Chan (HKG) who claimed the honours in Melbourne.

Women's Match Racing and Star class were not on display at Sail Melbourne so whoever won gold at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR would jump to the top of the standings.

Claire Leroy, Marie Riou and Elodie Bertrand (FRA) beat Anna Tunnicliffe, Deborah Capozzi and Molly Vandemoer 3-1 in the Final of the women's match racing.

Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) had already clinched gold in the 57-boat Star class before the Medal Race in Miami.

Damien Seguin and Matthew Bugg both have 20 points at the top of the 2.4 Metre standings. Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are level on 38 points after the Australian's won gold at the Rolex Miami OCR and the British duo won bronze. And in the Sonar John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas lead the Standings on 20 points.

Heading West Across America
High-octane racing is guaranteed as some of the biggest names in both international sailing and global business join forces for the opening round of the 2011 RC44 Championship Tour in San Diego, California from 2 - 6 March.

After their inaugural event in the US in Miami at the end of the 2010 season and an outing at Key West Race Week, the class is now heading west to make its début at the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego. Eleven RC44 teams representing nine nations are gearing up for this first event in the 2011 RC44 Championship.

Racing will take place over five days in San Diego, with four days' of fleet racing where the boats can only be driven by their owner, and one day of match racing when the pro sailors can get their chance to shine at the helm.

Among the top sailors set to compete on the 2011 RC44 Championship Tour are class designer Russell Coutts (NZL), American yachting legend Paul Cayard and San Diego native son Rod Davis, Audi MedCup winners Morgan Larson (USA) and Jose Maria Ponce (ESP), Olympic Gold medalist Kevin Burnham (USA), along with some of the world's top match racing talent including Cameron Appleton (NZL).

The 2011 RC44 Championship Tour takes in six venues, including in Austria, France, Sweden, and Spain, before coming to a close with the 2011 RC44 World Championships in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands in November.

With Larry Ellison' ORACLE Racing team winning the 2010 RC44 Championship at a thrilling Miami showdown in December, each of the 2011 teams - established and new - will be vying to topple ORACLE from its throne.

2011 RC44 Championship Tour dates:

2 - 6 March - Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego, USA
11 - 15 May - Gmunden, Austria
29 June - 3 July - Italy / France
17 - 21 August - Marstrand, Sweden
28 September - 2 October - Spain
15 - 20 November - 2011 RC44 World Championships, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

Seahorse March 2011
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Faster, higher, stronger
Ben Ainslie is in business again in the Finn fleet - but the game has moved on quite a bit since he left, as Blue Robinson has found out...

Terry Hutchinson has his first serious taste of A-Class action, Dee Smith gets into the rating discussion, Brad Van Liew pushes on as Nathan Outteridge goes swimming... Plus Jim Teeters and Nicola Sironi pay tribute to former S&S designer Bill Langan

Paul Cayard
And the America’s Cup really is coming home

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

Rod Stephens Book Download
Roderick Stephens, Jr., began his career as a self-taught sailor on Barnstable Bay, Massachusetts. Rod entered the marine industry at an early age - working at the legendary Nevins Yard in City Island.

When Rod Stephens died he had been working on a book about sailing. While it might not be completely current to modern yachts and yachting, we felt it of interest to the average sailor and thus published it here posthumously. Please note that we have left the book in its original form: there are some blanks through the text and editing has been minimal as we wanted very much to have Rod's unique personality to shine through the pages. We hope you enjoy reading it. -- Sparkman & Stephens

Lining Up for the Hardy Cup
RSYS’s David Chapman (boat 6) closing up on Evan Walker (boat 3) in last year’s Hardy Cup on Sydney Harbour. Photo by Aline Van Haren. Click on image to enlarge.

Hardy Cup Many of the most talented young match racing sailors from Australia and New Zealand will line up next week for the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's prestigious Hardy Cup, the ISAF Grade 3, under 25 match racing regatta on Sydney Harbour.

Five of the ten skippers, Matthew Steven (NZL), William Tiller (NZL), David Gilmour (AUS), Evan Walker (AUS) and David Chapman (AUS) have been competing in the match-racing regattas in Perth and will come to Sydney at the peak of their match racing skills.

Racing, in the RSYS Elliott 6 sports boats, will start with round-robin matches on Monday, 7 February and continue through to Thursday, 10 February.

Walker, the defending Hardy Cup champion and current Australian open match racing champion, last week won the Colin Mullins International Youth Regatta, defending local skipper David Gilmour 3-1 in the final. Both are competing in this week's Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth, with Gilmour leading and Walker in fourth place after three days of competition.

New Zealand, as always, is strongly represented in the Hardy Cup with Andrew Short, from Sandspit Yacht Club, the Cup winner in 2009. William Tilller, from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, has had two excellent wins in the US in the past year, the Oakcliff Invitational in New York and the prestigious Governor's Cup at Newport Beach, California.

The only woman skipper in the Hardy Cup is New Zealander Samantha Osborne from the RNZYS who is currently on an Olympic campaign for the London 2012. Her recent record includes finishing second in the ISAF Grade 1 Buddy Melges Challenge at Winconsin, USA, and in the Harken Women's International Match Racing regatta in Sydney. -- Peter Campbell

Kiteboard Demonstration at Miami OCR
Photo by RG Iossi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Kiteboard It should have become a demonstration of what kiteboarding has to offer to Sailing in the Olympic Games - but if there is no wind, there is no wind...

Some of the fastest kite racers in the world came to Miami to participate in the kiteboarding demonstration for the Olympic Racing Classes Regatta on the final weekend of the Regatta. The Regatta included over 700 sailors representing 58 countries. The kiters headed out to do the demonstration in an amazingly light wind forecast. Winds were around 2 to 10 kts., averaging around 2 to 8 kts. with extended lulls in the actual race area.

As there was no chance to get permission to launch from Hobie Beach, competitors where shuttled to a nearby spoil island to get on the water which proved to be a first demonstration of usability.

It turned out to be possible to load competitors that would represent a full medal race fleet into one boat and bring them to the designated race area.

As winds were really light, with extended lulls of almost nothing (less than 2 knots), it was clear that trying to run a kiteboard race would be anything than easy, however the race committee in agreement with the competitors decided to give it a try and to showcase what kiteboarding could be to the ISAF race officials at the OCR event.

It should be noted that ISAFs race management policies require a stable 6 knots breeze in the racing area for boards which surely was not given in the area the kiteboard race was meant to take place. Apart from the lulls the average wind strength would never have been considered to be suitable to start a valid race, but for a demonstration event it was at least worth trying.

Apart from these problems that all sailing classes had to face, the demonstration went pretty well. Once the wind decided to cooperate, the kites were up and planning immediately and showed better performance and low end speed than any other sailing class.

Large vessel racing is primarily confined to the more affluent countries. Smaller countries may pursue more realistic sports like kiteboarding, windsurfing, Lasers and the like. Many of these countries have Olympic team training programs in place, starting with kids and moving up to team membership in time. Kent indicated that the relative low cost and mobility of kiting gear gave the sport some distinct advantages.

In which other class can you load a fleet of racers including their equipment in a boat and shuttle to a suitable location...

Regarding "Norway Round The World Joins ... :

The Melbourne Olympic Games were in 1956.

* A tip of the editor's hat to Per Nilsson

Featured Brokerage
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The Last Word
My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. - Adlai Stevenson

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