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Keel Problem On Groupe Bel Approaching Cape Horn
At 1640hrs UTC this evening Kito de Pavant and Seb Audigane warned their technical team that they were concerned about an unusual noise from the keel of their IMOCA Open 60 Groupe Bel. Their initial examination revealed abnormal movement in the head of the keel, but further diagnosis was impossible under the present weather and sea conditions, 25 knots of NW'ly wind and big following seas.

Groupe Bel was approximately 280 miles west of Cape Horn at 2100hrs UTC with the crew remaining on course and focused on the getting out of the Pacific, carefully monitoring the evolution of the weather and sea conditions. Race Direction of the Barcelona World Race watch the progress of Groupe Bel and have been in regular contact with the French duo, and they have alerted the MRCC Chile as a security precaution.

Fully ballasted with two reefs in the main and the small ORC headsail, Groupe Bel progresses towards Cape Horn which they are expected in around 24 hours time. The duo will carry out a more detailed evaluation of the problem when they are in the lee of the land, in flatter water.

Groupe Bel lies in sixth position in the Barcelona World Race after 66 days since leaving Barcelona. The two co-skippers have significantly reduced their speed to preserve the safety of the boat and themselves.

"To make a round the world race under sail is not an exercise to be taken lightly."

Ranking on Monday 7 March At 20:00 (UT+1):
1. Virbac-Paprec 3 / Jean-Pierre Dick & Loick Peyron, 5450 nm to finish
2. Mapfre / Iker Martinez & Xabi Fernandez, 214 nm to leader
3. Renault / Pachi Rivero & Antonio Piris, 1444
4. Neutrogena / Boris Herrmann & Ryan Breymaier, 1631
5. Groupe Bel / Kito de Pavant & Seb Audigane, 1746
6. Mirabaud / Dominique Wavre & Michele Parret, 1860
7. Estrella Damm / Alex Pella & Pepe Ribes, 1912

See the rest of the ranking on the race website.

barcelonaworldrace.com

Brad Van Liew Extends Velux 5 Oceans Lead with Timed Run Win
Brad Van Liew has extended his lead at the top of the Velux 5 Oceans rankings after picking up maximum bonus points for the fastest passage between the ocean sprint three speed gates. During the sprint from Wellington to Punta del Este the American ocean racer sailed his yacht Le Pingouin between the gates, set at longitudes 135º W and 115º W, in two days, 14 hours and 48 minutes.

The Velux 5 Oceans is scored using a points system rather than elapsed time. Each of the five ocean sprints features a timed run between two gates set by the race management. The timed runs offer skippers a way to score extra points to add to the points awarded for final positions of each leg.

Combined with the 12 points he picked up for winning ocean sprint three, the three-point timed run victory gives Brad a maximum 15 points for the latest leg, putting him ten points clear at the top of the leaderboard on 45 points. Operon Racing skipper Zbigniew Gutkowski was second fastest between the speed gates picking up two bonus points and Derek Hatfield on Active House takes one point for the third fastest run.

During the timed run the skippers passed Point Nemo, the most remote spot in the world, more than 2,000 nautical miles from land in every direction. Named after Captain Nemo, a character in Jules Verne's book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Point Nemo is located at 48°S 52' 31.748", 123°W 23' 33.069".

After three ocean sprints:

1. Brad Van Liew, USA, 45 total points
2. Zbigniew Gutkowski, POL, 35
3. Derek Hatfield, CAN, 30
4. Chris Stanmore-Major, GBR, 25

www.velux5oceans.com

Conrad Humphreys Aiming for the 2016 Vendee Globe
Seventh in the 2004-2005 Vendee Globe (aboard Hellomoto), the British sailor Conrad Humphreys has announced his return to solo racing, after several years racing with a crew or on multihulls, including aboard Extreme 40s. For the moment, Conrad has chosen to enter the Figaro circuit. The Plymouth-based sailor has given himself two years to return to the IMOCA circuit with the aim of getting a long-term project together for the 2016-2017 Vendee Globe.

Conrad has been training since last year with the Artemis Academy team - in conjunction with the Mediterranean Training Centre in la Grande Motte - and will be racing in the prestigious Solitaire du Figaro this summer. "The Figaro circuit is one of the best ways a skipper can prepare for the Vendee Globe" said Conrad Humphreys, "The standard of the top racers is impressive and I don't have any illusions: I'm in it to learn as much as I can".

He is certainly someone who sees projects through: starting out racing Cadets, he was at a very young age a member of the British team, winning two world championship titles at the age of 16 and 17. But Conrad also raced in the 1993-1994 Whitbread and finished in fifth place in the 2004 transatlantic race.

www.vendeeglobe.org

This Spring It Is A West Coast Swing For Morris Yachts!
Click on image to enlarge.

Morris M36 After a successful event in Florida's Coconut Grove, Team Morris will spend this month in Maine. Come see the Morris Service and Brokerage team at Portland's Maine Boatbuilders Show, March 18-20. Meanwhile, the Morris sales team is prepping for a return to California for Strictly Sail Pacific - April 14-17th. Morris will be showing the M36. Morris has been delivering M-Series and Ocean Series yachts steadily to The Bay and the entire West Coast over the past years and looks forward to catching up with owners and those who have been encouraging Morris' return!

We're California Dreaming!

www.morrisyachts.com/The-Morris-M36

Livesport Telecom New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championships
Click on image for photo gallery.

Livesport Telecom New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championships Olivia (Polly) Powrie and crew saved their best for last winning the finals 3 - nil over Stephanie Hazard. The two were certainly very evenly matched and the racing in the finals series was action packed with the lead changing in each race.

Powrie and her crew won the first race by 11 seconds and the second by 1 minutes and 21 seconds, then it was down to race three in a must win for Hazard.

The start of race three brought a smile to the competitors' faces when a gust of 26 knots and white water hit the course area. The Race Committee went into the pre-start and both boats entered but when conditions worsened and the wind dial on the Race Committee boat when up to 28 knots the race was abandoned.

The squall lasted about 2 minutes and settled back down to around 15 knots which was a pleasant change from this mornings light airs and race three was re-started.

It was an even start with Hazard a boat length to windward of Powrie. By the top mark Hazard was still 1 length in front, but downwind Powrie caught up and was to windward of Hazard as Hazard sailed past her proper course to the bottom mark and was given a penalty. Powrie rounded directly behind Hazard and managed a cleaner rounding and by the top mark was in the lead and won the last race by 27seconds.

In the petit finals between Jessica McDowell and Samantha Osborne, it was the first to win 2 races.

It was an even start in race one with Osborne who was carrying a pre-start penalty managing to clear it upwind and win the race by 28 seconds.

In race two McDowell led off the start line and round the bottom mark but Osborne managed to sail over her downwind and take race two and third place overall in the regatta.

It was great close racing in the final series and fantastic spectator viewing from the Westhaven car park and seawall. -- Sara Roberts

Final
Powrie beat Hazard by 11s
Powrie beat Hazard by 1m21s
Powrie beat Hazard by 27s

Petit Final
Osborne beat McDowell by 28s
Osborne beat McDowell by 4s

Final results
1st Olivia Powrie, RNZYS
2nd Stephanie Hazard, RNZYS
3rd Samantha Osborne, RNZYS
4th Jessica McDowell, RNZYS
5th Danielle Bowater, RNZYS

From SailRaceWin:
sailracewin.blogspot.com

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron: www.rnzys.org.nz

Moves To Replace Asgard II
The Asgard II, which sank in the Bay of Biscay on September 11th, 2008. The vessel was owned by the State and operated by Coiste an Asgard. Click on image to enlarge.

Asgard Ireland could yet have a tall ship to replace the Asgard II and the Lord Rank, if a new group formed to press for a replacement is successful.

A reference group has come together to include tourism interests, commercial port interests, youth organisations, maritime organisations and education groups. The group also includes some of the former Asgard II and Lord Rank operators.

Ireland lost the Asgard II when it sank in 2008 off France, and last year the Lord Rank hit rocks and sank off the Antrim coast.

The new group is under the chairmanship of Lord Glentoran, supported by Dr Gerard O'Hare, David Beattie and Enda O'Coineen. It has organised a conference and workshop on March 26th, hosted by Dublin Port.

The group is seeking to engage with as many stakeholders as possible on March 26th and has pledged that the new vessel will be owned by the community in Ireland and the Irish diaspora.

Since the loss of the Asgard II and Lord Rank, Ireland has been left with no sail-training opportunities for young people, and likewise for maritime development, enterprise and tourism.

The Tall Ships Race visits Waterford in June, and this week Dublin City Council announced that, for the first time since 1998, Dublin will welcome back the International Tall Ships Races in 2012.

As final host port, the event will see up to 100 tall ships sail into Dublin for a four-day festival and celebration, from Thursday, August 23rd, to Sunday, August 26th, 2012. -- David O'Brien in the Irish Times:

www.irishtimes.com

RIO 2016: The RS:X Class Weighs In
The deadline for making submissions to the ISAF Mid Year Meeting in St.Petersburg, Russia is 1200hrs UTC on March 10th.

The debate behind closed doors is heating up with all the different interest groups trying to work out a complete slate of 10 events that may have a chance of winning a majority in Council.

This correspondent, for one, believes that keel boats both for men and women should be in the Olympic Sailing Regatta just in the same way as multihulls, windsurfing, kitesurfing, single handed dinghy and double hand dinghy should be.

Now if you've been counting that makes 6 core events X 2 which even I can make 12 and 12 is 2 too many. Sailing only has 10 slots to fill so something has got to give.

The game of musical chairs is well under way. Next May when the music stops as the ISAF Council make the final decision on the 10 events, two of the above will be left without a seat.

The wild card in the mix is the idea of 'mixed events'. The Multihull is currently slated as such as is the 470.

The completely new sailing discipline in the mix is kiteboarding. The IOC recognize it as such. It certainly deserves a place in the Olympic familly. The sport is growing worldwide. It will add diversity to the Sailing Games. It's attractive and media friendly.

Just like windsurfing which itself has a booming "Optimist" Class in the Bic Techno 293. Windsurfing has delivered medallists from every continent of the world except Africa. It leads in the presentation of the sport, developing new media projects and TV audience.

The bad news is that there are supposedly serious and responsible people within ISAF who think that windsurfing and kiteboarding should be combined into one event as a biathlon. If this was not so serious, it would be laughable.

Both the windsurfing and the kiteboarding communities are strongly against this idea.

If ISAF are serious about having kitesurfing in Rio then they must either make way by removing the duplication in the dinghy classes or, if they do not have the stomach for that, go back to the IOC and ask for two more medals for a genuinely new and refreshing sailing discipline.

www.rsxclass.com

Yacht Salesperson
Oyster Oyster Marine, UK's premier luxury yacht builder with a range of semi-custom ocean cruising vessels from 46 to 125 feet, is looking for a self-motivated individual to join its sales team with particular responsibility for the Mediterranean market.

Though a proven track record in the marine sales sector is a plus, an applicant with extensive, but non-marine, experience of selling to HNWIs will also be considered.

A strong sailing background and knowledge of yachts is essential, as, naturally, are fluent language skills in European languages. The position will likely be based at Oyster's HQ in Ipswich, though a European base is a future possibility.

Please contact: and +44 (0)207 830 9303

Around Tasmania Challenge Planned for 2012
Click on image to enlarge.

Around Tasmania Challenge Matthew Flinders achieved it more than two centuries ago, 40 cruising yachts are currently doing it - circumnavigating Australia's island State of Tasmania. Now the challenge is for maxi yachts to race around Tasmania in January, 2012,

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania is now seeking expressions of interest from owner/skippers of the world's fastest maxi yachts to compete in a race around Tasmania to follow shortly after the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

The 670 nautical mile circumnavigation, from Hobart to Hobart, will take the fleet past the most spectacular coastline in Australia and, at times, into the toughest sailing waters around the continent.

Depending on which way the fleet is sent, the yachts will sail past the towering cliffs and colourful bays of Tasman Island, along the East Coast, through the ripping tidal waters of Banks Strait, across Bass Strait, along the exposed and lonely shores of the West Coast and into the 'Roaring Forties' to round the southern coast of Tasmania, then past historic Bruny Island, explored by so many great navigators.

The start and finish would be at Hobart, capital city of Tasmania, 11 nautical miles up the River Derwent from well-named Storm Bay.

"Maxi yacht skipper Sean Langman has already shown keen interest and we hope that visiting maxi yachts Leopard of London and Rambler will be among the maxi yachts that take up the challenge before leaving Tasmania," RYCT sailing manager Richard Scarr said. -- Peter Campbell

Expressions of interest to Richard Scarr, email:

Cruising Club of America Awards
The Cruising Club of America (CCA) celebrated its outstanding sailors of 2010 during the annual Awards Dinner on March 4, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan where CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy (Middletown, R.I.) made presentations to the following winners:

Blue Water Medal: Alexander Whitworth (Sydney, Australia) received the Blue Water Medal for his circumnavigation of the world via the Northwest Passage West to East

Far Horizons Award: William E. Cook (Hyannis, Mass.) received the Far Horizons Award for a series of meritorious voyages to the far north of the globe including cruises to Greenland and Baffin Island, Canada.

Rod Stephens Trophy: Alessandro Di Benedetto (Rome, Italy) received the Rod Stephens Trophy for his resourcefulness in jury rigging Findomestic, a 21-foot (6.5-meter) monohull, during his approach to Cape Horn in 2010 during his solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

www.cruisingclub.org

Norway's Melleby and Morland Lead Bacardi Cup Standings
Click on image to enlarge.

Bacardi Cup Miami Florida, USA: The Norwegian Star team of Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen have won the opening race of the 84th Barcardi Cup, the first event of the 2011 Bacardi Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. After an hour delay due to light air, the 89-strong Star fleet got down to business as temperatures in the low 70s combined with elite-level competition to make Biscayne Bay the place to be.

Third overall after day one is the French team of Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau, followed by George Szabo with Caleb Paine (both San Diego, Calif.). Mark Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and Rick Peters (Venice, Calif.) round out the top-five.

Racing for the Bacardi Cup resumes Tuesday, March 8, and continues through Saturday, March 12. For photos, results and additional information on the 84th Bacardi Cup and 2nd annual Bacardi Miami Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank, visit www.bacardicup.com and www.MiamiSailingWeek.com

Industry News
A notice went to all Liverpool Boat Show exhibitors on the afternoon of Friday March 4 outlining how Marine Industry Events directors Rob Mackenzie and James Gower will pay back all show deposits:

Notice To All Liverpool Boat Show Exhibitors
Can we begin by first thanking you for your understanding and forbearance over the past three weeks which has obviously been difficult and distressing period for everyone concerned.

I'm very pleased to be able to tell you that the Directors have agreed to waive their own creditor status to allow James and I to inject the substantial additional personal funds necessary to allow MIE to refund all exhibitors in full. Many of our suppliers have also cooperated in this process by discounting their invoices to assist us in fully refunding exhibitors and their generosity has helped make these full refunds possible.

Those of our exhibitors who have paid deposits and/or balances will be receiving a cheque and credit notes for their various invoices next week. Credit notes will also be issued to companies who had been invoiced, but who had not yet paid deposits for their stands.

Full text: www.boatingbusiness.com

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Henri-Lloyd has officially opened a new Showroom and offices in Lymington, Hampshire on 7th March 2011.

The facility is located in the heart of Lymington its Henri-Lloyd's third within the UK and will compliment the successful and popular Lymington Sailing Store which is already well established in the area.

The Lymington Showroom showcases the latest marine collection and ensures that Henri-Lloyd has a strong presence in the South of England whilst supporting existing distributors in and around the area.

Lymington was selected as the location for the showroom as it is a thriving area with many new businesses and a popular sailing destination.

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The Dark Blue Book - the who's who of yacht racing and sailing business directory, is closing soon for entries for the 2011 edition. The book, now in it's 3rd year of publication contains the contact details and sailing CVs of hundreds of the sports top people.

With more information coming to light about potential America's Cup challengers and a possible 120 jobs on offer from the organizing committees, knowing who the decision makers are is important for everyone including the media, sponsors and partners.

As with past editions, listing in the Dark Blue Book for individuals is free.

Entries for the 2011 Dark Blue Book close soon. You can submit your details here.
www.darkbluebook.com/sailing-directory-listing-201/

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The 2011 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship being held at Sailing Club Uskok in Zadar, Croatia has attracted local bank, OTP banka, as its golden sponsor.

OTP banka have previously worked with Sailing Club Uskok after they sponsored the 2008 Open Junior European Championship and the annual Sea Organs Festival.

On behalf of OTP banka, golden sponsor of the 41st ISAF Youth Worlds, Damir Odak said, "OTP banka has always supported top-level sports and we are very proud of the great accomplishments that athletes from Zadar have achieved, especially sailors, knowing that we helped in their growth.

"OTP banka has been supporting Sailing Club Uskok for a number of years now, and we are very pleased that we can help once again in organizing yet another spectacle of sports." The official flag of the championship was raised last Wednesday to start the countdown towards the 41st edition of the ISAF Youth Worlds.

Sailing Club Uskok has previously hosted six major championships: 470 European Championship in 1999, 420 European and 470 World Championship in 2004, 470 and 420 combined Junior European Championship in 2008 and in 2009 they hosted the 49er European Championship. -- www.isafyouthworlds.com

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AB Volvo Penta and Garmin Ltd have entered into a joint development and marketing strategic alliance to provide instrumentation, navigation and communication equipment for marine use.

As a result of this strategic alliance, Volvo Penta and Garmin will jointly develop marine instrumentation, navigation, and communication equipment, which will be marketed in a complete customer offer for fully integrated drive systems and instruments.

As electronic systems continue to gain ground in the marine sector, the propulsion system in boats is being increasingly integrated in the driver's environment. Volvo Penta is linking engines and transmissions with instruments, controls and accessories in the electronic platform known as EVC, Electronic Vessel Control.

Using this electronic platform, Volvo Penta has been able to deliver products including the joystick and the Dynamic Positioning System, making boating easier and more convenient for the end user.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2004 Beneteau Figaro II. 98,000 GBP. Located in Gosport, United Kingdom.

This Beneteau Figaro II "Hot Socks" has acquitted herself well in events such as the Solitaire du Figaro, the bluQuble Solo 1000, OSTAR 2009 Fastnet 2009 and Shetland Round Britain and Ireland 2010. Ideally suited to fast offshore short handed sailing, her owner is now moving on to new projects and so "Hot Socks" needs a new jockey.

Brokerage through Sea Ventures (UK) Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/seaventures/

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

The Last Word
It only takes a room of Americans for the English and Australians to realise how much we have in common. -- Stephen Fry

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