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Team Australia to Contest the 34th America's Cup
The Australian Challenge for the 34th America's Cup was officially accepted by the defending Golden Gate Yacht Club on 11 January 2011.

For the first time in over a decade, Australia has a team in the competition for the America's Cup.

Australia has a storied history with the America's Cup. Apart from our famous 1983 victory, Australia has challenged for the Cup on seven previous occasions and sought to challenge on another three.

Australia has also been one of the leading nations providing sailors and technical staff to America's Cup teams worldwide. A look at recent crew lists and design teams will show a consistent presence and a high level of success.

The Australian Team is progressing with intensive work on all fronts: Crew selection is taking place, the technical programme is underway and the formal structure, including legacy provisions, is being cemented in collaboration with Deloitte.

Further announcements including the name of the challenging Australian yacht club and key appointments will be released shortly.

ausac34.com.au

And Another...
America's Cup event organizers have confirmed the receipt of an eighth entry for the 34th America's Cup in 2013. The official announcement by the team is expected soon.

The receipt of an eighth entry for the 34th America's Cup in 2013 was confirmed today. This seventh challenger for the America's Cup joins ranks with Aleph (France), Artemis Racing (Sweden), Energy Team (France), Mascalzone Latino (Italy), Team Australia, and one undisclosed team. The United States' ORACLE Racing, vying to Defend the Cup, is the eighth entrant.

"With the AC45 sea trials underway for entered Cup competitors, we're pleased to confirm the addition of an eighth team to the international field of entries to date," said Iain Murray, Regatta Director for the 34th America's Cup and CEO of America's Cup Race Management (ACRM).

ACRM is managing the day-to-day operations of the AC45 wing-sailed catamaran as entered teams take turns putting the boat through its paces. The AC45 is the forerunner to the larger AC72, which will be sailed in the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013.

The entry process and validation procedures are set out in the America's Cup Rules and can be found at americascup.com.

The entry period for the 34th America's Cup runs November 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011.

www.americascup.com

London 2012 Announces Ticket Sale Dates
London 2012 Announces Ticket Sale Dates The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today confirms that tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games will go on sale on Tuesday 15 March 2011 and Paralympic Games tickets will go on sale on Friday 9 September 2011.

The process for Olympic Games tickets will open for six weeks, enabling people to consider their options before making their final choices and submitting their application. Applications will close on 26 April 2011 and all oversubscribed sessions will be allocated via a ballot process.

Applications can be made at any point during the 6 week application period - it is not a first come, first served process.

LOCOG will announce full details of the purchasing process and the finalised schedule for all 650 sport sessions in February 2011. The two million people who have already signed up to the London 2012 ticketing database - http://www.tickets.london2012.com will receive all the information about how to apply and those who have registered will be able to use their existing log-in details to access the application process.

Further details of the application process for Paralympic tickets will be announced later this year, with prices announced in May 2011.

On 15 March, the process will open for all Olympic Games tickets - including UK Games Break packages via official London 2012 supporter Thomas Cook, hospitality packages via Prestige Ticketing, international travel and accommodation packages via Jet Set Sports and globally via each National Olympic Committee or its Authorised Ticket Reseller.

Tickets for the London 2012 Festival events will go on sale in autumn 2011, with further details announced in the coming months.

For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at www.london2012.com

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.

Join the team www.dyneemaexperience.com

New Zealand, New Opportunities
Loick Peyron and Jean-Pierre Dick in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Chris Cameron / DPPI. Click on image to enlarge.

New Zealand, New Opportunities Virbac-Paprec 3, long-term leaders in the Barcelona World Race, are currently in dock in Wellington after yesterday evening's surprise announcement that they would be stopping during the Cook Strait passage of the race to make key repairs.

Each stopover past 140 degrees East must be for a minimum penalty period of 48 hours, hence as Virbac-Paprec 3 arrived on the dockside in Wellington at 2311hrs (NZL local time, or 1011hrs GMT) they may not leave until 2311hrs (NZL) on Friday 18th February.

Before the team arrived in Wellington, they were met by a helicopter team who took some spectacular images and video footage of the boat sailing past New Zealand's dramatic coastline - see the Multimedia section of the Barcelona World Race website.

Meanwhile other boats have been looking to make the most of opportunities on the water. MAPFRE have been chasing Virbac-Paprec 3 hard since the French duo took the lead on January 23, an advantage which they extended as far as 781 miles on February 7, 2011. Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) have extricated themselves from a tricky high pressure zone around New Zealand's South Island, and are currently making steady progress up the coast, 480 miles from Wellington.

Groupe Bel has gained 30 miles on third-placed Estrella Damm, who have tacked further offshore in search of for better pressure, and are now closer to Groupe Bel's line, with the 'laughing cow' just 72 miles behind.

Meanwhile, Group Bel's own planned stopover could present chances for Renault Z.E., currently 400 miles behind. Antonio Piris explained their dilemma: "I think we have to make the decision in the next couple of days. If we don't stop of course of course there will be gains for us at the beginning."

Rankings at 1400hrs UTC Wednesday 16th February

1. Virbac-Paprec, 11533 miles to finish
2. Mapfre, 480 nm to leader
3. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, 702 Miles
4. Groupe Bel, 774
5. Renault Z.E, 1167
6. Mirabaud, 1510
7. Neutrogena, 1527
8. Hugo Boss, 1755
9. Gaes Centros Auditivos, 1942
10. Forum Maritim Catala, 3720
11. Central Lechera Asturiana, 4029
12. We Are Water, 4469
RTD Foncia
RTD President

www.barcelonaworldrace.com

New Vestas Sailrocket 2 Aims For Speed Sailing Record
During the last 15 months, the Sailrocket team has been focused on building a better, safer and - above all - faster boat in Vestas Technology R&D's facilities on the Isle of Wight. Now Vestas Sailrocket 2 will be launched to the public for the first time.

"Since we started pursuing the Outright World Speed Sailing Record 9 years ago, the record has been raised by exactly 9 knots. The current record holders, the kite surfers, have taken it out of the reach of all the previous contenders and it is going to take a very special boat to get it back. Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a boat that aims high. The only satisfactory outcome for us is the outright record," Paul Larsen, pilot and project leader from the Sailrocket 2 team says.

With the record raised to the current level, the ambitious team behind Sailrocket is even more eager to develop a boat to break the Outright World Speed Sailing Record. In order to do that, conventional design has been left behind and everything is pushed to the limit.

"Many lessons have been learned since the first Sailrocket was launched in 2004. The first boat shows the scars of the many learning processes we have been through over the years. In the end it performed as predicted; although she briefly emerged as the fastest boat in the world, she never achieved the Outright record title. The record was like a mirage: as we got faster, so did the record," Paul Larsen says.

"We learnt a lot with the first boat. The recent performance of the kite surfers vindicated our decision to build a new boat. I'm confident that Sailrocket 2 has the potential to take the record to new levels."

Vestas Sailrocket 2 will be launched on 8 March at Venture Quays, in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Both Sailrocket boats will be shown to the public.

www.sailrocket.com

ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego
ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego The Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego will take place on San Diego Bay, March 2 - 6, 2011.

After the inaugural U.S. event in Miami at the end of the 2010 season, the class is now heading west to make its 2011 debut at the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego. The event features 11 RC44 teams representing nine nations.

Match and fleet racing will take place over five days on San Diego Bay with spectacular free spectator viewing areas from portions of Broadway Pier, Harbor Island and numerous areas along the downtown waterfront.

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 RC44 class was conceived and co-designed by four-time America's Cup winner Russell Coutts. With an evenly split amateur and professional crew line-up, the class attracts the world's leading business minds as their owner-drivers, along with many of the world's top sailors.

For Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego information, or to book a hotel room, visit www.oraclerc44cupsandiego.com

Ayton Ends Her Quest For London Gold
Photo by Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR. Click on image to enlarge.

Sarah Ayton Sailing's double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton has today announced she is to retire from the sport with immediate effect, thus ending her quest for an historic third Olympic title at the London 2012 Games.

The 30-year-old Ayton, who is married to Olympic bronze medal-winning windsurfer Nick Dempsey, began her 2012 campaign in earnest in April 2010, nine months after giving birth to the couple's first son Thomas, and has been sailing for Skandia Team GBR in the two-person 470 class with Beijing Olympian Saskia Clark.

Ayton, who claimed Olympic glory in the Yngling class in Athens with Shirley Robertson and Sarah Webb, and again in Beijing with Webb and Pippa Wilson, was striving to become the first British woman to win three consecutive Olympic golds at her home Games in London.

But for Ayton, renowned for her dedication and 'no compromise' approach in her previous two medal-winning campaigns, the demands of Olympic classes sailing and motherhood have proved a relentless juggling act which left her drained and unhappy.

"To succeed at the highest level as an Olympic athlete you ultimately have to be pretty single-minded, and that's something that just doesn't sit happily when you're a mum as well," Ayton explained.

"Winning gold is what Olympic sailing is all about, so working towards 2012 and feeling like I can't give it my full attention has made me question why I am doing it, especially when it involves missing out on important time with Thomas.

"I've really enjoyed sailing with Saskia Clark, who's a fantastic talent," Ayton continued.

"I'm upset to be letting her down, but I know she's got 2012 firmly in her sights and is looking carefully at her options. I owe both Saskia and our coach Joe Glanfield huge thanks for the time and effort they have put into our programme.

Read more of Sarah's thoughts in her final campaign blog.
www.volvocarssailing.co.uk

Charles Jourdan in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends
Photo by Barry Pickthall / PPL, pplmedia.com. Click on image to enlarge.

VOR Legends Alicante, Spain: Refitted and ready to go, the immaculate Charles Jourdan is heading to Alicante this November to race against others in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends, the first official regatta and reunion.

"We are very excited about coming to Alicante," says Peter Olsson, the boat captain and owner's representative. "We have had her refitted, starting with replacing the sails, and she will be in first-class condition when we arrive Alicante. We plan to race in her original Charles Jourdan livery," he adds.

Head to head with Charles Jourdan will be the maxi Rothmans, who also raced against her in the The Whitbread 1989-90. Like Charles Jourdan, Rothmans is also in immaculate condition. Joining them are the classic Swan 57 Berge Viking from 1981-82, the much-loved Copernicus from 1973 and Great Britain II, who in 1973-74 was the fast yacht around the world. Now known as Whitbread Heritage, she raced in the first five races under four different names.

Charles Jourdan was the sixth maxi yacht to finish the 1989-90 Whitbread, from a fleet of 23 starters, but she came close to not finishing at all after a collision with a whale on leg three.

The Volvo Ocean Race Legends in November this year will celebrate the long and varied history of the world's premier ocean race and includes racing and social events in for all those who have competed or been involved in the event since its inauguration in 1973. It promises to be an occasion not to be missed, with many former sailors travelling from all over the world to take part.

The official Notice of Race is now available for download together with full information on how to take part and a preliminary schedule of events from:

www.volvooceanrace.com

Will the 80th Race Be Another Record-Breaker?
Peta Stuart-Hunt highlights some interesting entries for the 2011 Race taking place on 25th June

Since online entries for this historic 80th Anniversary Race opened in mid-January, the Entries team has been besieged, already processing 367 entries (at the time of writing). Will the 80th Race be another record-breaker? The Race organisers at the Island Sailing Club are certainly hoping for a record year and rumour has it that there is already an office sweepstake up and running!

The largest entry figure for this Race so far stands at 1,875 boats, achieved in 2008.

Last year's Race recorded 1,754 entries and 1,607 who finished the Race. This is the highest-ever recorded number of finishers in the history of the Race. There were 47 retirements and 16 disqualifications/OCS (On the Course Side of the starting line).

One boat that particularly caught my eye is STREN, a Tumlare described by owner and skipper Roddy Steel as "a 1948 Classic double ender". I did a little more research and in one of Gavin Atkins' weblogs in Intotheboatshed.net, he references the Tumlare as follows:

"The Tumlare gained recognition when K Adlard Coles raced and cruised one before the Second World War, and wrote about his experiences in his book 'Sailing Years' : An Autobiography. In most yachties' minds I guess his name is probably most associated with another of his books, 'Heavy Weather Sailing'.

Still, his 'Sailing Years' caught my interest when I read it some years ago, and like lots of people I was also naturally curious about his boat, with its deep keel, fairly slim hull, even slimmer canoe stern and tall, narrow rig. All those things go together, naturally, to make a fast and sweet boat...."

More on www.roundtheisland.org.uk

* Editor: A very happy birthday to Peta today!

Torvar Mirsky Makes Debut In Extreme Sailing Series
Emerging Australian sailing star Torvar Mirsky, will this year make his debut in the one of the worlds most competitive sailing events, the Extreme Sailing Series. Torvar will take the helm of the 2010 winning Oman Sail team, The Wave, Muscat and the team have been training hard for the event which kicks off in less than one week in the Sultanate of Oman.

At just 24 years old, Torvar has been competing on the World Match Racing Tour for the last four seasons, where he has made an impressive stamp on the Tour amongst his rivals, fighting off more experienced competition to finish second at the last event of the 2010 World Matching Tour in Malaysia and third in the overall Tour. The Extreme Sailing Series presents a host of new challenges for the talented young sailor, not least the switch from monohull to multihull.

Torvar, originally from Perth, has spent the last month in Oman where the team are based, preparing for the first event of the Series which kicks off in Muscat, from the 20-24 February.

Torvar is joined by fellow Mirsky Match Racing team member Kyle Langford (AUS), as well as Nick Hutton (UK) and Omani national Khamis Al Anbouri, who were both part of the 2010 winning team. Also joining the Series from the Mirsky Match Racing team is Kinley Fowler (NZL), who will take up the position of tactician onboard their Oman Sail team mates boat, Oman Air. Veteran of four Volvo Ocean Races, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet will take up the helm of Oman Air, joined by Nasser Al Mashari, a graduate of the Oman Sail training programme, and British America's Cup sailor David Carr (GBR).

After leaving Oman the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series will head off to China. The Series consists of nine events on three continents over 11 months, ending in Singapore in December.

www.facebook.com/OmanSail

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1995 Melges 24. EUR 20,000. Located In Perros Guirec, France.

Superb Melges 24 ready to sail or to race, complete and current equipment. Road trailer.

Brokerage through Royal Nautisme Brest: www.yachtworld.com/royalnautismebrest/

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

The Last Word
Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. -- Adam Smith

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