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Mirabaud Safe In Port, Hugo Boss Hopes To Sail On Monday
The yacht Mirabaud, helmed by Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret arrived in Mar del Plata at 5pm (CET) on Saturday. The pair coaxed their damaged yacht into port under jury rig following their dismasting on the 12th of March.
In good health (despite the recent anaemia suffered by Michele Paret which requires further medical examination) the co-skippers were warmly welcomed by a small delegation of friends, journalists, members of their shore team and Mirabaud's local South American contacts.
At the time of losing their mast, Mirabaud was positioned 650 nautical miles east of the Argentinian coast and 450 nautical miles north of the Falkland's Islands. The pair were in a close sixth place and battling for a podium position. Michele's health problems had rapidly improved after they rounded Cape Horn and the boat was in good shape and ready for the final push to the finish.
Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret will now take a well-earned rest while Mirabaud will return to Europe via cargo ship.
But up at the front of the fleet, where the peloton trio contemplate their slow passage to the Doldrums, and the two leaders are now into the Northern Hemisphere.
Jean-Pierre Dick, leading now in the trade winds by 144 miles from MAPFRE revealed today that they had a close shave a day and a half ago:
"All is well. We have fifteen knots of SE'ly wind. We are going well, quite fast. It is pleasant, especially after what happened the other day. A day and a half ago we had a squall with 35 knots of wind. We broke the front ballast and it took some hours to repair, finally finishing a few hours ago. Now we have ideal conditions. And we are satisfied with what we see ahead."
Standings at 1400hrs Sunday 20th March 20, 2011:
1. Virbac-Paprec 3, 2791.4 nm to finish
Ferrarese Fights His Way Into The Congressional Cup
That's their reward for beating back a tough bid by Australia's Will Tiller, 2-1, in the wind-bedeviled give-and-take final of the Ficker Cup, whose winner earns automatic entry into the world-class event that will be sailed on the same protected outer Long Beach Harbor waters on the same Catalina 37s.
A fleet of highly ranked match racers---France's Mathieu Richard, Great Britain's Ian Williams, Italy's Francesco Bruni (last year's winner), Russia's Evgeny Neugodnikov, New Zealand's Phil Robertson, Sweden's Johnie Berntsson and Finland's Staffan Lindberg---awaits them on a higher level of competition.
From there the windward mark boat was whiplashed left and right, hustling to move weather marks for almost every lap of the two-lap races to keep them directly upwind. Early on there were whitecaps on the course in the port's outer harbor, but by day's end it was as flat as a fish pond and fading fast.
But that didn't diminish the intensity of the competition, particularly that involving Ferrarese and Tiller. To reach their finale, Ferrarese had to come from behind to dispatch California's Chris Nesbitt of Balboa YC, 2-1, as Bob Hughes---a Michigan veteran with an Australian crew---pushed Tiller to the same edge in their semifinal duels.
The finals were remarkable. Ferrarese won the start, but the lead changed four times on the first lap. Then, after they rounded the leeward mark, the Italian tacked in Tiller's face as he was passing the mark and the Aussie snagged its anchor line and stopped cold---penalty on Ferrarese, soon to be doubled for gaining an unfair advantage.
Ferrarese did one penalty turn, as required, and managed to hold the lead until the finish, when he did his other turn as the onrushing Tiller closed in under spinnaker, only to fall short by four feet.
Tiller then won a less eventful Race 2 by 33 seconds, but the tempo returned in the decider when Tiller drew a pre-start penalty, only to put one back on Ferrarese before the horn. But Ferrarese got off with a slight lead that he protected until winning by 30 seconds.
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Conrad Completes Solo Figaro Massif Marine
After 2 nights and 3 days of non-stop sailing, Conrad Humphreys onboard "Blue Climate and Oceans Project" has completed La Solo Figaro Massif Marine 2011. The intense, 40 hour sprint was his first qualifying race this year, in preparation for La Solitaire du Figaro, which takes place later this year.
The challenging 320 miles course, set between the rocky islands of Belle Isle and Isle de Re really tested the competitors' limits, as fresh to strong north easterly winds provided the sailors with some exhilarating sailing.
Conrad's goal was to finish and come away from the race having learnt more about the boat and himself. After an initial poor start, his recovery back to mid fleet was encouraging and for most of the race he was never more than a few miles adrift of the leaders. He lost ground on the long downwind leg back to Les Sables and eventually crossed the finish in 18th place amongst 25 starters this morning at 08:33 hrs (French time.)
Four boats failed to finish including, Charlie Dalin onboard Keopsys, who was forced to abandon the race yesterday - he went down below for a moment to check his charts when his yacht collided with a fishing vessel and caused damage to the crash box on the bow. A further three competitors retired last night due to equipment failure. -- www.conradhumphreys.com
1. Nicolas Lunven, GENERALI
- Charlie Dalin (Keopsys) DNF
Olympic Tickets: Worth It Or Not?
The tickets prices are from £35 to £55 for medal races, but other than stating that the spectator area is to be up on the Nothe (the park area close to town), race areas and details for spectators have yet to be finalised.
So if you are interested you have to buy your ticket in good faith.
Some clues are available, perhaps, in the courses set for the Sail for Gold regattas. And if that sort of format is followed much of the racing will be too far out to see in much detail.
Some wonder what the point is of paying money for a ticket when the same action can be seen free and possibly just as well from areas such as Ringstead or Osmington.
But I think that misses the point. Not every sport fits into a stadium, and that doesn't necessarily matter. Much of the enjoyment of going to a big sporting venue is simply being there, being part of a moment in history and immersing yourself in an atmosphere of excitement.
So if you're minded to buy a ticket to watch the sailing Olympics in Weymouth, go ahead and don't listen to the cynics. For anyone in the UK, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the action so close to home.
I think that if you just sit on the beach or up on the hills and watch without any of the commentary or razzmatazz - or even a guaranteed view - you'll regret it, you'll probably get stuck in a long traffic jam afterwards for no good reason and possibly wish you'd stayed at home for the better view on the telly. -- Elaine Bunting's blog, www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/elaine-bunting/
Dubarry Sligo - From High Seas To High Street
Dubarry Sligo - the only deck shoe you'll ever need.
18ft Skiffs: Queen Of The Harbour
Sydney Harbour, Australia: Samantha Milner became the Australian 18 Footers League's Queen of the Harbour when her 18ft Skiff Smeg took line honours in the race, which was sailed over the Easterly course on Sydney Harbour today.
Samantha, along with skipper Nick Press, Dan Phillips and John Valtwies had some sensational rides in the 25-knot winds that swept across the harbor course before taking line honours by 1m2s from Red Claw Wines (Matthew Searle, and queen Susie McKenzie).
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, and queen Emma Links) was a further 3m34s back in third place.
With each boat's crew consisting of one female as their queen for the coveted title, the conditions were even more demanding than usual.
Unfortunately for some it wasn't so lucky as one young lady Nicky Waller (wife of crewman Drewe Waller) on Rag & Famish Hotel, who was taken to hospital after the mast broke and the crew were thrown into the water.
Others weren't so unlucky but still didn't manage to complete the course when their skiffs were forced out of the race with broken gear.
John Winning (Yandoo) retired after finishing due to a pre start collision with De'Longhi (Simon Nearn), which was forced out with a broken spinnaker pole.
Next Sunday's race is the final race of the Australian 18 Footers League season. It will be your last chance to 'Pick the Podium', which you can do by going to http://www.18footers.com.au and registering FREE OF COST. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League
A Change Of Plans
This past week has been one of great shock, pain, and disbelief on seeing the images of the massive destruction from the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the ongoing threat of nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.
It became clear that it was not right to continue with my plans to do record solo sail to Japan next month. I have cancelled the sail for this year and shifted my Dolphin Spirit Project to fund raising for Japan relief.
The Save Japan Dolphins campaign will continue, but the priority is now to support recovery and rebuilding efforts, and closing of unsafe nuclear plants. I applaud and pray for the success of the brave men risking their life in high levels of radiation, working to cool the fuel rods and shut down the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Save Japan Dolphins has listed recommended relief groups to donate to at:
I will donate the $1,000 proceeds from our Ramblin' Jack Elliot benefit concert to two great organizations in Japan working on these issues:
Peace Boat Japan, an NGO based in Japan, promoting peace, human rights, and sustainable development, mostly through bringing people together on "peace voyages" on a ship traveling the world.
Green Action Japan, a Kyoto based NGO dedicated to educating the public on the perils of nuclear energy and shifting Japan's energy program from nuclear to energy efficiency and
From Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop:
* From Glenn Ashby: It was great to have many interstate and international sailors join the local McCrae and local Victorians at the recent State championships.
The A class has been seen recently to have inclusions from many internationally renowned sailors that are looking to "up-skill" themselves and learn the basics of Multihull sailing on a light hight performance single hander.
The racing we had on the weekend at McCrae although shifty, was great racing and enabled a variety of different boats and rigs to perform well.
I was very happy to have some of the AC guys involved as it is great for the class and promotes us as a class internationally with the press and media they receive.
I had a good regatta and with the lend of my mate Will Howdens boat, I managed to put together some solid races and a good result.
I was extremely happy with Dave Brewers result of 2nd closely followed by Dean Barkers 3rd place after winning the last heat of the regatta.
Dave Brewer definitely man of the match sailing extremely consistently on an older Flyer Mk2 design.
* From Jim Champ: It's very easy to mistake the popularity of boats in one's own area for that worldwide. Its a good idea to take a look at the Class reports in Classes and Equipment part of the ISAF website, which gives you numbers. Here are a few extracts for boats built in the last 5 years.
Laser - 17,000
The Finn outsold the Moth and the Musto Skiff combined...
I hold no particular brief for the old lump, but I must admit it seems to manage phenomenal popularity even if the reasons escape me: their regular three figure turnouts at Masters worlds would be envived by almost every other class out there and makes a considerable contrast with the number of all female teams worldwide who sail skiff type boats of any class. In popularity terms there is no doubt at all which of those should be in the games, but there is of course more to it than that.
* From Euan Ross: With regard to Ben's response to my letter, I used the recent emergence of Kiteboarding as a contender for an Olympic yachting slot merely as example of 'jumping on bandwagons'. The proposal may be intended to enhance yachting's TV profile, but it seems that the ISAF haven't considered the details; particularly if Kiteboarding to be presented as a course-racing event. And then, is capitulation to the short attention spans of the 'Facebook Generation' really a step forward? The virtuosos of our sport sail Stars, Finns, 470s and Lasers and none of them would transition to kites. If the Olympics are about bringing the World's smartest sailors together in competition, we need to make sure these 'ancient mariners' have appropriate, rewarding equipment with which to ply their trade. Update the slate, but don't erase crucial disciplines to host a splashy spectacle. Frankly, I don't care if our kids find this boring - they seem to find much of what's worthwhile in life boring. My facetious point about wakeboarding vrs kiteboarding was that it's a lot easier to film, since the rider is attached to the wake-boat at a fixed focal length. There used to be powerboat racing in the Olympics, and we now have the dorky Derny pace bikes in the Keiran, but motorised sports are, perhaps, not to be encouraged.
* From Richard Hart: The discussion about selection of Olympic Events and Equipment is emotive because of the huge investments affected - in athletes' life time as well as in money. I think that Ben Hislop has a good point when he suggests that kitesurfing should be considered as a separate discipline. The pressure to include windsurfing and now kitesurfing coincides with the perception that there should be equal numbers of events for women as for men, and these pressures have left men's sailing with too few slots. The resulting arguments are doing sailing no good at all.
He says "I suspect that were it not the UK's best chance of a gold medal, most people wouldn't give two hoots about the Finn." There are large numbers of Finns sailed by club sailors in many countries, and it does not seem to me that ISAF Council (the ultimate decider) is a UK territory.
Quoting Ben (Hislop!) again "It also seems that there are a very small number of people who sail the dinghy outside the Olympic competitors". I think that this is inaccurate: In the UK there is not a large fleet, but during one week mid-August 2010, there were 20 UK Finns at Chichester Federation Week plus 13 at Sail for Gold - hardly a "very small number". Half a dozen other European countries have much larger fleets, and the Finn Masters' (over 40) World Championship attracts about 200 entries each year (maybe the Finn leaves an "Olympic legacy" of sailors!).
If you want to go to the Olympics, you have to choose the Equipment for your weight at the summit of your campaign. Lighter men have the options of Laser, 470, 49er, Tornado, Windsurfer, back end of a Star, or whatever. If you're over about 85 kg, the options are the front end of a Star boat (first find your Star), or a Finn. The Finn gives a natural progression for an experienced Laser sailor who grows too big for that Class: the two single-handers are complementary, and the Finn feeds naturally into keel boat sailing.
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