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Cape of Good Hope Astern
Powering through driving rain and 32 knots of SW'ly wind, Sodebo rounded the Cape of Good Hope this Tuesday at 1702 GMT after 17 days, 5 hours, 54 minutes and 32 seconds at sea. Thomas covered the 8,405 miles at an average speed of 20.31 knots and has now broken through into the Indian Ocean, a nasty, dreaded, liquid desert.

Having been forced to the West of the Saint Helena High, the deficit of 9 hours and 27 minutes on crossing the equator some ten days ago, has logically increased. With the same starting point, Idec covered 1,005 fewer miles than Sodebo in getting to this stage of the course, but also demonstrated less pace with an average of 20.12 knots.

As such, in a very honourable time and far from conciliatory weather conditions, Francis' 'challenger' rounded the first of the three major capes of this circumnavigation of the globe with a deficit of less than two days on the reference time, 1 day, 22 hours and 41 minutes behind to be precise.

Coville has been holding out on the leading edge of a very active low for longer than scheduled. The skipper will remember this morning's radical rotation of the wind for some considerable time as he was pummelled by nearly 50 knots of breeze, which almost pitched the boat's stern forward over her bows, providing a nice shot of adrenalin.

Still making an average speed of between 22 and 23 knots in conditions he describes as "wild", Thomas is watching night close in on Sodebo. On the speedo, over 540 miles swallowed up since the same time yesterday.

There is no intermediate record between Ushant and the Cape of Good Hope, solely a passage time which gives us a snapshot of Thomas' progress at this stage of the course. The real record, one which will be authenticated by the official WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council), is that of the Indian Ocean, which is recorded between the Agulhas Cape, just off the Cape of Good Hope, at 20 degrees East, and the South of Tasmania, an island faraway beneath Australia. Between these points, Francis Joyon racked up a time of 9 days, 12 hours and 6 minutes.

The other records which are possible on this round the world are those of the Pacific Ocean, between Tasmania and Cape Horn, then that from Equator to Equator. There is also the record for the greatest distance covered in 24 hours that Thomas beat during his last record attempt, where he devoured 628.51 miles at an average speed of 26.19 knots as he approached the Kerguelen Islands. -- translated by Kate Jennings

Virbac-Paprec 3 to Stopover In Wellington
At 2005hrs (UTC) this evening, Tuesday February 15, Virbac-Paprec 3 skipper Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) contacted Denis Horeau, Race Director of the Barcelona World Race, to report that he and co-skipper Loick Peyron (FRA) wished to make a technical stop in Wellington, having broken two mainsail batten cars in the previous hour as they reefed the mainsail.

Virbac-Paprec 3 report that they have already used their other spare batten car to repair a breakage shortly after Recife, where the team first made a technical stop to fix damage to the mainsheet track. They will also take the opportunity to work on some other wear and tear incurred during the race.

The stopover is unscheduled and Virbac-Paprec 3 have no technical support crew in Wellington. The only team member present in New Zealand is team manager Luc Talbourdet who was there to greet the crew during their anticipated passage close to shore. However Luc Bartissol, who was the technical manager for the build of their previous boat, Paprec-Virbac 2, lives in New Zealand and will be assisting with the repair. Other suppliers who were involved in the build of Virbac-Paprec 3 will also be called in to help.

The race rules state that any stopover after 140 degrees East must be for a minimum duration of 48 hours once the boat arrives at the dock. This is unlike Virbac-Paprec 3's previous stopover in South America, after which they were able to depart and resume racing as soon as the repairs had been made good.

The current Barcelona World Race leaders had rounded the top of Farewell Spit at the north-eastern edge of New Zealand's South Island at 1815hrs this evening, en route to Cook Strait, a compulsory leg of the course which takes the fleet past the capital city, Wellington.

Virbac-Paprec 3are expected to arrive in Wellington at some point over the course of tonight (European time, equivalent to the during the day of Wednesday 16 February, New Zealand local time).

Jean-Pierre Dickspoke to his team by telephone this evening, saying: "We replaced the two broken pieces late this afternoon. We have no more spares to finish the race and have no confidence in the replacements. So we have a sword of Damocles over our heads because they are indispensible for us to complete the second half of the circumnavigation. Without them, we cannot sail. To continue is to take a big risk. Stopping is the best solution even if it's a tough decision because it means a 48-hour time penalty. We need to restart at virtually the same time as our pursuers. It's a new race that starts then... -- Emily Caroe

Join The 2011 Dyneema ® Experience Team and Win a Complete Re-Rig For Your Boat
Dyneema Experience Team DSM Dyneema, producer of Dyneema®, the world's strongest fiber™, is recruiting the globe with its partners for 40 'skippers'. They can test running-rigging made with Dyneema® fiber and share their experiences through social media.

If you are selected as part of the 2011 Dyneema® Experience Team, we'll re-rig your boat completely free of charge with ropes made with Dyneema®®. All we ask of you is that you test and experience rigging with Dyneema® and share this with us, your friends, family and other sailors worldwide, through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

The most active 'skipper' of the 2011 'Dyneema® Experience Team' will experience a masterclass with a friend on one of the Volvo Ocean Race Yachts in Alicante.

Dyneema® has proven to be highly versatile for a wide range of products in the yachting industry. The combination of high performance and durability makes it the ideal material, for running rigging for performance cruisers and professional sailors.

The closing date for applications is March 4, 2011. The 2011 Dyneema® Experience Team ends on September 23rd 2011.

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Harken Youth International Match Racing Championships
Click on image for photo gallery.

Harken Youth International Match Racing Championships Slow and steady wins the regatta. Jay Griffin and his crew of Henry Kernot, Hamish Hardy and Will Parker sailed well in the extreme light airs which presented themselves on the Auckland Harbour this afternoon.

The schedule for today was finals Griffin v David Hazard (RNZYS) first to win three. Petit-final, Josh Porebski (RPNYC) and Jordan Reece (RSYS) first to win two, but only one race in each could be completed.

Griffin beat Hazard by 5 seconds and Reece beat Porebski by 43 seconds.

Race Two was started and then abandoned, and after much discussion between the Umpires and Race Committee the knock out series had to be terminated due to a lack of wind.

David Hazard was a bit shell-shocked after considering that the results would go back to who was the top placed skipper after the round robins. His crew Callum Jones commented "At the end of the day we did what we could. We were leading, then we got a big shift and he got into puff and we couldn't get back into them.."

In the petit-final Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's Jordan Reece beat Wellington's Josh Porebski to take third place overall.

Today's Results
Griffin beat Hazard by 5s

Petit Final
Reece beat Porebski by 43s

Final Results
1. Jay Griffin, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
2. David Hazard, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
3. Jordan Reece, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
4. Josh Porebski, Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
5. Codie Banks, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
6. Valerio Galati, Lega Navale Italiana Trani
7. Adam Middleton, Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club
8. Stephanie Doyle, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club

La Solitaire Du Figaro 2011: Strong Potential Line Up Of 71 Pre-Entries
Click on image to enlarge.

Figaro With 71 pre-entries, including 24 rookies, an increasing number of non-French sailors and some big names in offshore racing, La Solitaire du Figaro Figaro, promises to deliver exceptional racing for the 42nd edition of the race over the 1,695 mile-course.

Confident with last year's victory, including three out of four leg wins, Armel Le Cleac'h returns to defend his title once more. Following a very good 2010 season, the French skipper returns with the intent of equaling the record held by some of his predecessors, Philippe Poupon, Jean Le Cam and Michel Desjoyeaux, to make it a hat trick by winning the Figaro circuit's crowning event. "The Solitaire is an interesting race in sporting terms. To date, there are two of us who could make the hat trick in 2010, Nico (Troussel) and myself." said Le Cleac'h.

Three winners of previous editions will be at the start: Eric Drouglazet (winner in 2001), Jeremie Beyou (winner in 2005), and Nicolas Lunven (winner in 2009). There are many other contenders aiming for the top spot on the podium, including Gildas Morvan, Thierry Chabagny, Gerald Veniard, and Frederic Duthil.

The mainstays of the Figaro Beneteau Class, which include other candidates for the podium, have also registered entry: Eric Peron, Thomas Rouxel, Laurent Pellecuer, Jeanne Gregoire, Erwan Tabarly,Romain Attanasio, Nicolas Berenger, Marc Emig... Jean-Paul Mouren returns to compete on a record 25th edition.

The young emerging talent will be forces to be reckoned with, Adrien Hardy, winner of the third leg last year, Fabien Delahaye 1st rookie 2009), Paul Meilhat, Anthony Marchand (1st rookie 2010), Yoann Richomme ... No matter how many miles sailed, they know that victory is gained only after crossing the finish line, and fully intend to apply the lessons learned in their previous editions.

This year is also marked by an absolute record number of rookie entries; 24 pre-entries with some impressive CVs, who will present serious competition for the old hands at the event.

The proposed course presentation of La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 and the list of pre-entries can be downloaded from the press area on the event website.

* Today Vendee Globe sailor, Conrad Humphreys launches a new sailing campaign that will commence with La Solitaire du Figaro. The programme will kick off in 4 weeks time with the first qualification event, La Solo Les Sables Massif Marine, which will start in Port Olona, the home of the Vendee Globe. This will mark a special return for Conrad as his last single-handed race was the Vendee Globe 2005, where he finished 7th almost exactly 6 years ago.

Conrad switched to multi-hull racing after the Vendee Globe and skippered the Extreme 40 "Motorola" in the inaugural Volvo Extreme Series. He has also been a regular competitor in the Archipelago Raid, finishing 4th in 2008 with Ryan Crawford. Offshore, he has kept his weather and tactical knowledge sharp by navigating for ex CYCA Commodore, Matt Allen onboard his yacht "Ichi Ban", with strong performances in the last four Sydney Hobart races.

In 2007, Conrad led the host city bid on behalf of the City of Plymouth for The Artemis Transat and more recently, created the new mass-participation event, The Blue Mile - Race for the Environment, with leading environmental charity, WWF-UK.

The search is now on to secure a major backer for the 2013-2016 IMOCA 60 campaign and the Vendee Globe. Conrad's programme for the next 18 months has been underwritten by a core family of partners, with the objective that this year's Figaro campaign and next year's Transat will be used to offer new partners the chance to "test the water" before committing to a global campaign.

Sail Faster And Smarter!
Speed and Smarts Speed & Smarts is a bi-monthly newsletter packed with tips to improve your racing performance. It's written by winning AC tactician David Dellenbaugh, and each issue has 16 pages full of instructional advice on tactics, strategy, speed, boathandling and rules (plus there's no advertising!).

Whether you race a one-design or big boat, at the top or bottom of your fleet, you'll find lots of valuable ideas in Speed & Smarts. In fact, when you consider the cost of other go-fast items you can buy, this newsletter gives you extremely good "bang for your buck."

View a sample issue at

Subscribe at

International Yacht Forum
The second International Yacht Forum Hamburg took place on February 12th, 2011 in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and may be considered as a great success: 274 participants attended the lectures of 21 speakers. The German Offshore Owners Association had called, and they all came: Particpants traveled all the way from Barcelona, Paris, St. Petersburg and even from Australia. Labeled "Sailing faster", the Forum assembled top designers of the international yachting scene in the Albert Schafer Hall, who spoke about newest trends and develpoments to yacht owners from all over Europe. Volker Andreae, chairman of the hosting German Offshore Owners Association welcomed seven globally known yacht designers: Doug Schickler (USA), John Corby (GBR), Jason Ker (GBR), Malcolm Runnalls (AUS), Mark Mills (IRL), Simon Rogers (GBR) and Torsten Conradi (GER).

Some conclusions and dissertations as a short resume:

- all participants want ONE measurement rule, which is transparent and cheap
- in the Baltic Circuit yachts measured with different systems can compete
- if sailors spend few training hours, they need bigger rudders
- carbon rigging and masts are reliable and fast
- the parameter of crew performance increase with the help of clothing is underestimated

More details in the complete press release as PDF

The complete press release as Word-Document

AC45: 30 Minutes To Rig
One of the serious question marks hanging over the choice of a wingsailed multihull for the America's Cup has been the rigging process.

Those who were in Valencia 12 months ago would have been only too aware of the issues faced daily by the then BMW Oracle Racing team as they tried to keep USA-17 on a short leash between races, and without having to lower the wingsail each night.

A lot of thought and effort has gone into the prototype AC45, and the rigging and launching process.

Sail-World was on hand to document the exercise on Monday morning as a well drilled shore crew went through the process - which took just 30 minutes from the time the wingsail was pushed out of the shed to the AC45 splashing into the Viaduct Harbour.

Photo gallery and more comments from RIchard Gladwell at

Sailors From Around The World In Tavira
In 2011, sailors from around the world will invade the tourist destination of Tavira, to rival the most prestigious sailing events and championships, sponsored by the pioneering project - Tavira Sailing.

Tavira Sailing will transform Tavira into the Portuguese capital of sailing, with the organization of a total of six championships and regattas, National, International and Iberian, which will be held in this city.

Between March and July 2011, it is estimated that over 5000 people will pass through Tavira to attend trials. The first championship - Championship Iberian 420 - will starts on 9th March and expects to receive about 80 boats and nearly two hundred sailors.

Among the remaining races highlight the Junior Championship in Portugal, Portugal's Youth Championship, National 420 Championship, Optimist European Championship and European Championships of 420.

The project Tavira Sailing has the patronage of Montepio, which has a strong connection to this practice and the institutional support of the Municipality of Tavira, Tavira´s Nautic Club, Portuguese Sailing Federation, the Portuguese Association of International Optimist Class and the International Class 420. The Vila Galé group linked to this project from the outset on strategic partnership.

Calendar of events:

9-12 March - Iberian Championship 420
20-23 April - Youth Championship in Portugal
25-29 May - National Championship 420
7-12 June - Youth Championship in Portugal
2-10 July - European Championships Optimists
20-29 July - European Championships 420

From The "Not Sailing But Very Cool" Files...
For those of us who grew up with nine planets, and miss Pluto...

There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest.

The hunt is on for a gas giant up to four times the mass of Jupiter thought to be lurking in the outer Oort Cloud, the most remote region of the solar system. The orbit of Tyche (pronounced ty-kee), would be 15,000 times farther from the Sun than the Earth's, and 375 times farther than Pluto's, which is why it hasn't been seen so far.

But scientists now believe the proof of its existence has already been gathered by a Nasa space telescope, Wise, and is just waiting to be analysed.

The first tranche of data is to be released in April, and astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think it will reveal Tyche within two years. "If it does, John and I will be doing cartwheels," Professor Whitmire said. "And that's not easy at our age."

Once Tyche has been located, other telescopes could be pointed at it to confirm the discovery.

Whether it would become the new ninth planet would be decided by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The main argument against is that Tyche probably formed around another star and was later captured by the Sun's gravitational field. The IAU may choose to create a whole new category for Tyche, Professor Matese said.

The IAU would also have the final say about the gas giant's name. To the Greeks, Tyche was the goddess responsible for the destiny of cities. Her name was provisionally chosen in reference to an earlier hypothesis, now largely abandoned, that the Sun might be part of a binary star system with a dim companion, tentatively called Nemesis, that was thought responsible for mass extinctions on Earth. In myth, Tyche was the good sister of Nemesis.

Tyche will almost certainly be made up mostly of hydrogen and helium and will probably have an atmosphere much like Jupiter's, with colourful spots and bands and clouds, Professor Whitmire said. "You'd also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them," he added.

From The Independent:

See also

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The Last Word
No known roof is as beautiful as the skies above. -- Michael O'Muircheartaigh

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