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The Finish Line Beckons
Seventy five days of hard racing, the living might be relatively easy now but the small miles, and fractions of a miles are hard won for the Barcelona World Race's 'peloton' trio: Renault Z.E Sailing Team, Neutrogena and Estrella Damm.

With good speeds in the brisk SE'ly winds some 700 miles off the coast of Florianapolis, BRA, blessed now with sunshine, ready miles and even the chance to build some serious hours in the bunk, to try to recharge the weary bones and stressed, aching muscles.

But, with the DTF miles counting down nicely and memories of southern storms, soaring albatross, and the south's endless pallid, grey chill packed away with the extra thermals, balaclavas, gloves and thick socks, so the F Word inevitably bobs into conversations:

" We also want to finish for our sponsor Estrella Damm, because we know that it is important to them. And I personally, can't wait to come back to Barcelona, to my city, to our people, to the welcome ... now Pepe and I are very excited to think we will be able to finish the course". Said Estrella Damm's Alex Pella today.

For Hugo Boss' Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak there is the disappointment of knowing that 48 hours of constant hard work since they stopped, trying to make their repairs independently in the Falklands, has not been enough. They will have to wait now for the arrival of their shore team members who were due to fly to the remote South Atlantic Archipelago Wednesday on the one scheduled flight per week from RAF Brize Norton in England. The duo were staying at sea, off the east coast of East Falkland, before an expected rendezvous with their team off Stanley, the Islands' capital.

At the front of the fleet Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez have just started to feel their first hints of their own Doldrums slowdown, but not before they have clawed back 137 miles on the race leaders Virbac-Paprec 3 who are 323 miles ahead.

Rankings at Wednesday 16th March at 1400hrs UTC

1. Virbac-Paprec 3, 3322,7 nm to finish
2. Mapfre, 323.5 nm to leader
3. Renault Z.E, 1300.1
4. Neutrogena, 1527.5
5. Estrella Damm Sailing Team, 1619.7
6. Gaes Centros Auditivos, 2237.9
7. Mirabaud, 2660.9
8. Hugo Boss, 3131.1
9. Forum Maritim Catala, 4557.8
10. We Are Water, 6478.1
11. Central Lechera Asturiana, 8227.6
RTD Foncia
RTD President
RTD Groupe Bel

www.barcelonaworldrace.org

Emirates Renews Commitment to Emirates Team New Zealand
Photo by Chris Cameron, www.chriscameron.co.nz. Click on image for photo gallery.

Emirates Team New Zealand Emirates Airline on Wednesday announced its continued support of Emirates Team New Zealand, as the team took further steps forward towards mounting its challenge for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco, with the launch of an AC 45 catamaran.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, said the airline was continuing its support of Emirates Team New Zealand due to the fact that the yachting team had consistently proven itself both as a top competitor and a brand-builder.

Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director Grant Dalton paid tribute to the many sponsors and suppliers - including Emirates, Toyota New Zealand, a sponsor for 20 years, and Omega, a sponsor for 18 years - who have stood by the team in the hard times since the end of the 32nd America's Cup at Valencia in 2007.

Dalton said the team had paid an initial fee to America's Cup Race Management to secure access to a supplied one-design AC45. The yacht and wing sail were delivered to the Emirates Team New Zealand base over the past week for assembly by sailing and shore crews.

Dalton said the team would make a further announcement on its involvement in the 2013 America's Cup in a couple of months. "In the meantime we are developing the sailing team; the design team is working through concepts for the AC72 catamaran and we are continuing meeting with several potential sponsors." -- Warren Douglas

www.emiratesteamnz.com

* But will they compete???

The long-expected news that Team New Zealand have entered the 34th America's Cup has been delivered in an unexpectedly low-key manner.

America's Cup entries would normally be accompanied with much fanfare, but Team New Zealand's confirmation they had officially signed on with America's Cup race management came yesterday in the form of an understated media release.

The looming March 31 deadline for entry left Team New Zealand with no choice but to confirm they've signed on for the next event.

However Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton was holding off making any firm commitment while the country deals with the aftermath of the Christchurch quake.

He said he was not willing to offer any guarantees that the team would be on the startline in 2013.

Although the news that Emirates and long-term sponsors Omega and Toyota will back their next campaign is a positive development, Dalton said there was a funding shortfall to be addressed. -- Dana Johannsen in the New Zealand Herald

www.nzherald.co.nz

Dubarry Lahinch - Hanging Ten In Style
Dubarry Lahinch - Hanging Ten In Style Misguided though their choice of watersport may be, you'd have to admit that surfers know a thing or two about keeping control on a wet, rolling surface - and looking good while they're doing it. Dubarry's new Lahinch, inspired by Ireland's world famous surf destination, features a durable, lightweight upper that's quick draining and drying, and a two-part sole that uses Formula 1 technology to create a cushioned cocoon for the foot. The moulded sole acts like a shock absorber, the heel protects and supports the ankle and the toe protects, well, your toes.

Dubarry Lahinch - performance perfected.

www.dubarry.com

500 Days To The Games
Click on image for photo gallery.

500 Days To The Games The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) marked 500 Days to the Games today, March 15. This key turning point in the journey to the ultimate sporting event on Earth is pulling the 'eyes of the world' to the shores of Weymouth and Portland.

As the venue for the sailing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy has been transformed into a world class sports destination that will host the top water sports athletes from across the globe next summer.

The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy annually hosts local schools events, national selections and championships as well as international youth regattas. The SailLaser School on site is constantly busy teaching youths from across Britain and PGL as well as the Official Test Centre regularly run general watersports courses and windsurfer training / tuition during the warmer months. The Academy in association with the Chesil Trust has also incorporated the successful 'Sail for a Fiver' into their core programme of events which to date has helped over 6,000 children try sailing for just £5 and is set to deliver a strong legacy with 1,600 children benefiting per year.

Ben Ainslie, CBE, WPNSA Director and Triple Gold Medalist, who grew up sailing on Dorset waters, is a supporter of legacy post the Games, 'a Sail for a Fiver child today may be a medal winner by 2016 and it is our job at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy to ensure this opportunity is given to young people'.

500 days to go also marks the moment that the application process for London 2012 Olympic Games tickets opens. Tickets are available across 26 sports and 645 sessions and people can apply for tickets for the Games between March 15 and April 26 at www.tickets.london2012.com . It is not a first come, first served system so applications can be made at any point during the period. Prices start at £20 for adults and there are special prices for young people under 16 and those over 60 at over 200 sessions. The London Organising Committee is currently undertaking the formal pre-planning consultation to seek the views of Weymouth and Portland residents with a view to offering a ticketed spectator experience in the Nothe Gardens, Weymouth for the duration of the London 2012 Olympic sailing competition. The consultation period will run until 31 March 2011.

www.wpnsa.org.uk

SAP 2011 505 Worlds at Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island will host the SAP 2011 505 World Championship and Australian Championship from March 20 to April 1, and will feature some high-profile and surprising entries from around the globe.

Among the notables is regular 505 sailor and 1996 Sydney Hobart line honours winner, Hasso Plattner, who broke the race record with Morning Glory, the name of all his boats. America's Cup, Flying Dutchman, windsurfing, have all figured in this tireless man's life. One of Team NZ's sponsors in 2000.

The German sailor is the co-founding CEO of sponsor SAP who returned to Australia in 2005 to contest the Farr 40 Worlds. Now the sixty something year old is coming to Hamilton Island to try his luck again with recurrent crew Peter Alarie.

Olympic 49er double world champion and reigning Moth world champion Nathan Outteridge is in 'world title' mode. He was hoping to add the Farr 40 World title to his growing list in February, but had to settle for fifth place aboard one of the Aussie favourites, Estate Master.

Now he and his 49er crew, Iain Jensen, can't wait to get the hands on the 505, and with little practice time on the boat, which is new to both, Outteridge is realistic about their chances. "We don't expect to win, but we'll be trying to anyway," he said.

Other big names are Brett Beyer (NSW), winner of an unprecedented seven Laser Apprentice Master's world titles; Hamilton Island's perennial windsurfing champion and SB3 convert Dennis Winstanley, who will crew for John McLean.

American 18ft skiff champions and regular 505 sailors, Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn, placed fourth at the 505 Worlds in 2010.

Reigning world champions, Germany's Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner return to defend their title, as does 2010 bronze medallist and 2008 world champ, Ian Pennell, with new crew Charles Dwyer (GBR). Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson (USA), the 2009 World's title holders, are also coming.

Returning too, is 2008 Australian champion Bill Cuneo (Qld), son of John Cuneo; 1972 Olympic gold medallist in the Dragon, America's Cup sailor and 505 Australian champion of 1965. -- Di Pearson

www.505sapworldchampionship2011.com

Project Engineer and Production Engineer Wanted
Formula Marine Due to continued growth, the Formula Marine Group, market leader in the design and manufacture of yacht spars, has vacancies for a Project Engineer and Production Engineer based at its subsidiary in Blokzijl, near Vollenhove in the Netherlands.

Experienced individuals are required with expertise in managing the technical aspects of large projects and displaying strong communication skills.

The Project Engineer will have a minimum Mechanical Engineering (Master 2 Grade degree), with a detailed knowledge of large sailing yachts and proven skills in:
- Advanced Mechanical Engineering
- Aluminium Parts Design and Manufacture
- Project Management
- International contracts

The Production Engineer will have a minimum Mechanical Engineering (Bachelor or Master 1 Grade degree), a knowledge of sailing yachts and proven skills in:
- Basic Mechanical Engineering
- Aluminium Parts Design and Manufacture
- Technical data Management
- Drafting

Experience of CatiaV5 and Autocad in a manufacturing company is essential. English speaking with a command of Dutch. The positions are available from 31st March 2011.

Formula Marine is an equal opportunity employer seeking individuals who want to join an exciting, fast developing group of companies.

Please send a CV and letter of application to

EUROSAF Freestyle Championships in RS100 and RS FEVA
RS100 and RS FEVA The EUROSAF Freestyle Championships, a brand new event, has just been announced and will take place at Torbole, Lake Garda on 16 / 17 July 2011. The event will use new course and racing formats, so is certain to provide an exciting challenge for competitors.

The RS100 and RS Feva classes have been selected for the Championships, both perfect for action packed courses requiring fast and manoeuvrable boats. There will be Senior and Junior fleets - with the RS100 class for sailors born before 1993 and the RS Feva class for young sailors born between 1993 and 96.

Both ISAF and EUROSAF are keen to trial new course formats with a view to introducing them at more international events in the future. Multiple downwind marks, figure of eight, slalom and team races will all feature during the Championship.

Entries are limited to 32 boats, so enter early if you wish to compete. More details and the Notice of Race can be found on the EUROSAF website: http://eurosaf.org/1649

The EUROSAF Freestyle Championships are also supported by RS Sailing www.RSsailing.com and Italian RS dealer Boat Tech www.boattech.it .

Lars Grael to Skipper Argo Challenge for the America's Cup
As the Star Class enters it's Centennial Year, it is difficult to count all of the America's Cup skippers, crews, coaches, designers and boat builders who have contributed to the America's Cup. Bill Ficker, Dennis Conner, Paul Cayard, Tom Blackaller, Iain Murray, Buddy Melges are just a few of the Star skippers who have made America's Cup history.

It should come as no surprise then, that another Star sailor, Lars Grael will be joining their ranks as skipper of the Argo Challenge for the America's Cup. In addition, many of the top Star sailors in the world, including Christian Giannini, have expressed interest in joining the Argo Challenge as sailors on the America's Cup team. We even have Class member, Iain Murray, managing the field of play involving America's Cup Operations.

While we will be rooting for all of the Star sailors on all of the America's Cup teams, the effort by Lars and Argo Challenge deserves special notice.

From Bill Allen, President of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association: "Lars Grael has demonstrated time and again all of the qualities of a legendary and exemplary athlete, ambassador and family member. Despite his physical disability, Lars has had the best overall record of any skipper in the 2009 and 2010 Star World Championships. His thoughtfulness has contributed to guiding the Class in many matters. There are few men with his tenacity. Lars is admired by all and commands respect where ever he goes."

The International Star Class has over 3,000 active members in 38 countries. Fried Elliott, ISCYRA Director of Marketing & Media, encourages all Star sailors and fans to go to the Argo Challenge Facebook page and leave a comment in support of Lars and the Argo Challenge. -- Fried Elliott

www.facebook.com/ARGOChallenge
www.starclass.org/artman/publish/article_556.shtml

Conrad Humphreys in Solo Figaro Massif Marine
Professional Sailor, Conrad Humphreys will be sailing in the Solo Figaro Massif Marine 2011 under the colours of his foundation, the Blue Climate and Oceans Project.

The Blue Project is an innovative social enterprise that works with ambassadors, sports men and women and mass-participation events to inspire and encourage more people to care about our natural environment. Conrad founded the Blue Project in 2007 and in 2010 over 650 people took to the water to take part in the inaugural Blue Mile - Race for the Environment.

Conrad is one of 26 solo sailors who will take part in the Solo Figaro Massif Marine 2011. As the first event in the 2011 Figaro season, the Solo Figaro Massif Marine will start at midday Thursday 17th March from Les Sables d'Olonne, France.

Conrad comments:
"I am very proud to race the Solo Figaro Massif Marine as a Blue Ambassador and to name my boat 'Blue Climate and Oceans Project' for this first event".

Conrad is one of two Blue Ambassadors competing in the Solo Figaro Massif Marine, sailing alongside fellow ocean sailor and Blue Ambassador, Sam Davies.

To follow Conrad's progress during the Solo Figaro Massif Marine, please go to http://www.conradhumphreys.com or http://www.theblueproject.org

* This is a 320 nm race. The skippers will leave baie des Sables for a tour of the Ile de Re, passing by buoy PA, the up to the lighthouse at Birvideaux, north of Belle Isle, then go down again in the baie des Sables before the next rounding of Re and to the finish line at baie des Sables. A very technical course which demands strict attention to changing winds and sleep management.

And a serious lineup:
1. Yoann Richomme, DBIC
2. Paul Meilha, Macif 2011
3. Jeanne Gregoire, Banque Populaire
4. Fabien Delahaye, Port De Caen - Ouistreham
5. Olivier Caplain, Jaidimat
6. Conrad Humphreys, Blue Climate And Oceans Project
7. Sebastien Picaul, Kickers
8. Nicolas Jossier, Impulsion - Entreprendre En Pays Granvillais
9. Francisco Lobato, Roff
10. David Sineau, Rabbits Forever
11. Isabelle Joschke, Galettes Saint Michel
12. Adrien Hardy, Agir Recouvrement
13. Clement Machetel, Team Baie De Saint.Brieuc
14. Nicolas Lunven, Generali
15. Michel Bothuon, Les Recycleurs Bretons
16. Morgan Lagraviere, Vendee
17. Giancarlo Pedote, Prysmian
18. Loïc Le Garrec, 500 Pour 100
19. Samantha Davies, Because I Am A Girl
20. Laurent Bourgues, Prim'soins
21. Laurent Gouezigoux, Trier C'est Preserver
22. Charlie Dalin, Keopsys
23. Xavier Macaire, Starter / Active Bridge
24. Thomas Ruyant, Destination Dunkerque
25. Anthony Marchand, Espoir Region Bretagne

Event site: solofigarolessables.blogspot.com

Tracking: www.massif.marine.fr/solo.figaro.2011.php

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Euan Ross: The current debate on Olympic classes seems to be polarising into two irreconcilable camps; these being 'contest' and 'spectacle'. The first advocates blood and guts competition in a range of demanding disciplines using a prima facie bizarre slate of equipment from the last century. The second readily admits that the World's best sailors fairly contest Olympic glory, but argue that the competition lacks televisual spectacle - and that this has now become of overriding importance.

However, perhaps spectacle alone is not enough and may not even be germane in this argument. Grown-ups don't watch the X-Games. Indeed, it seems that there are no hard and fast rules when considering which sports translate into absorbing television and which don't. It's obvious why football and tennis work as spectator sports, but what is the common denominator with F1, golf and road cycling. And of course, people have even been known to become obsessed with test cricket and the NFL. Maybe then, for sport to command a faithful legion of cognoscenti and endure on TV, it has to be comprehensible and engrossing at the same time, rather than simply splashy?

So in this context, what's the deal with kiteboarding? I have to assume that those who advocate the inclusion of this activity at the expense of a yachting discipline have actually watched it. That's where I'm truly baffled. The 'issue' with yachting as a TV sport used to be that it was simply incomprehensible to the masses, due to lateral separation of competitors on the race course; somehow, that's been forgotten. With kiteboarding, it's a whole lot worse, the problem exists in three dimensions not just two.

As a spectator sport, kiteboarding is frankly incomprehensible. When the 'fleet' is on the move, the riders and their kites appear as two widely separated visual clusters. To get both riders and kites in the same frame means that there is a whole lot of ocean on the screen. Even then, the 'kite cloud' cannot be readily disentangled and associated with the 'rider pack' to identify a competitor. Unlike boardsailing or conventional yachting, where sailor and emblematic equipment are closely united, allowing the spectator to follow progress and understand the course sailed, kiteboarders appear as anonymous plumes of spray, divorced from their insignia by 25 metres of invisible chord. Kiteboard coverage is obliged to rely on dissociated long-lens shots of individual riders, which include the opposition whizzing past in the background, out of focus, in the opposite direction.

So for those who want that sort of thing, why not make wakeboarding the Olympic sport, leave yachting alone and make everyone's life a lot easier?

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2009 Archambault A31. A$ 199,000. Located In Newcastle, stateprovince.NSW, Australia.

Designers Jourbet/Nivelt have delivered a performance hull that's optimised for IRC while having the headroom, cockpit space and stability for cruising.

Maximum beam is carried well aft to enhance form stability and afford a long waterline length when heeled. The lead keel draws 1.90 metres and confers a 40 per cent ballast ratio.

Down below there are six berths, including an enclosed aft cabin and double vee berth, plus a fully equipped galley, head compartment and navigation station. Construction is to Archambault's class-leading standards, with the hull being vacuum-bagged foam sandwich and the deck being fashioned with Resin Transfer Moulding. Vinylester resin is employed throughout.

Brokerage through Newcastle Yachting: www.yachtworld.com/newcastleyachting/

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

The Last Word
Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here's a drink to his health!
But not too many drinks, lest we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see them snakes again!

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