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Sodeb'O Crosses Equator
Frenchman Thomas Coville, who is hoping to break Francis Joyon's record of sailing solo around the world, is back in the North Atlantic. His trimaran Sodebo crossed the equator on Sunday 20 March at 09:20 GMT after 49 days, 22 hours, 12 minutes and 32 seconds at sea - 1 day, 19 hours and 54 minutes behind Francis Joyon's record.

Since his departure from Ushant on 29 January, the trimaran has traveled 23,777 miles (averaging 19.84 knots). During the last stretch, from Cape Horn to the Equator, Coville was faster than his predecessor. Despite being carried primarily upwind and with a damaged starboard bow, Thomas reached the equator in 11 days, 21 hours and 56 minutes - over 16 hours better than Francis in 2008.

This meant that Thomas was 226 miles ahead five days ago. He is now aproximately 484 miles behind, but since yesterday the NE winds have been building, and Thomas Coville's speeds have been increasing from 12 knots to 17 knots.

In order to beat the record, Thomas must cross the finish line before 28 March 2011, 13:40:34 (local time). For the next seven days he must keep his average speed above 18 knots.

During his previous attempt two years ago, Thomas was faster than Francis in the final stretch. This year, the skipper must be two days quicker - a difficult ask.

Timings and Distances

Start Equator (second passage):

IDEC: (10 January 2008) 48 days, 2 hours, 18 minutes - 22,626 miles at 19.6 knots
SODEBO: (20 March 2011) 49 days, 22 hours, 12 minutes - 23,777 miles at 19.84 knots
Difference: 1 day, 19 hours, 54 minutes - 487 miles behind

Cape Horn - Equator:

IDEC: (2008) 12 days, 14 hours

SODEBO: (20 March 2011) 11 days, 21 hours, 56 minutes
Difference: SODEBO 16 hours, 4 minutes quicker than IDEC

www.sodebo-voile.com

Weather Or Not, The Congressional Cup Ready To Go
Long Beach, California, USA: A morning buffet of lightning, thunder, rain and sunshine welcomed some of the world's best sailors to the Long Beach Yacht Club's 47th Congressional Cup Monday.

That was the weather preview for the week of the most prestigious Grade 1 match racing event in the United States that starts Tuesday with the first of two round robins leading to Saturday's championship sailoffs. Racing will start daily at 11:30 a.m. or later, as conditions permit.

Francesco Bruni of Italy, ranked No. 8 in the world, is the defending champion, and he'll be going against three former winners---Dave Perry of the U.S. (1983, 1984), No. 36; Mathieu Richard of France (2007), No. 3, and Johnie Berntsson of Sweden (2009), No. 17---along with Ian Williams of Great Britain, No. 5; Evgeny Neugodnikov of Russia, No. 9; Phil Robertson of New Zealand, No. 10; Staffan Lindberg of Finland, No. 19; Simone Ferrarese of Italy, No. 21, and Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands, No. 29, who qualified by winning last summer's Grade 2 Trifecta Events series at Chicago, Detroit and Manhasset Bay, N.Y.

That's eight foreign teams and another from a U.S. territory. The current weather pattern should make them all feel at home some of the time.

Williams hasn't won the Congressional Cup but brings in a strong resume, mostly built after he shelved his law career.

His tactician this week is an American, Bill Hardesty, a San Diego native who is involved with building the program at the Chicago Match Racing Center.

"We won a world championship together [in 2007] and three World [Match Racing] Tour regattas together," Williams said.

The total purse is $40,000, with $10,000 for the winner.

Daily video highlight shows by www.t2p.tv

concup.com

Dubarry Crosshaven

Dubarry Crosshaven - The Best Gets Better
Click on image to enlarge.

You'd have to go around the world to find a better boot than Dubarry's Ultima or Shamrock - so they did. Green Dragon's raced round the world in Dubarry boots and their Southern Ocean feedback helped to create the world's best offshore boot. Top of the Dragons' list was a waterproof built-in gaiter with top draw-cord to make sure your foredeck forays don't result in a bootful of briney. They're warmer too, lined with GORE-TEX® Duratherm waterproof insulation, heel and toe reinforcement and a new super-supportive footbed inspired by Formula 1 technology.

Dubarry Crosshaven - boots born in the Southern Ocean.

www.dubarry.com

Split Olympic Sailing Week
Split, Croatia: All seven scheduled races were sailed for almost all classes, so we can say that Split Olympic Sailing Week is once again a complete success! Except for Friday all the other days were quite windy, especially today with Bura peeking 27 knots! No changes at the top positions. Winner in Laser Radial is Tina Mihelic (CRO), in Laser (Tonci Stipanovic), in Finn Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), in RS:X Luka Mratovic (CR) and in 470 Varadi/Serke (HUN).

Four hard and challenging days, but also beautiful with some spectacular sailing are behind is. We wish you luck at the Worlds in Perth!

Final top three by class:

470
1. Imre Varadi / Aron Serke, HUN, 11.0 points
2. Deniz Cinar Ates Cinar, TUR, 11.0
3. Enia Nincevic Romana Zupan, CRO, 15.0

Finn
1. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspick, CRO, 6.0
2. Marin Misura, CRO, 11.0
3. Vasilij Zbogar, SLO, 11.0

Laser
1. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 15.0
2. Aron Lolic, CRO, 28.0
3. Sergey Komissarov, RUS, 26.0

Laser Radial
1. Tina Mihelic, CRO, 6.0
2. Francesca Clapcich, ITA, 11.0
3. Dino Sindik, CRO, 26.0

RSX
1. Luka Mratovic, CRO, 9.0
2. Andrea Ferin, ITA, 11.0
3. Mihovil Fantela, CRO, 17.0

Full results at www.jklabud.hr/sosw

International Following For Biscay Sprint
With less than 100 days to the start on June 18, the BNY Mellon Biscay Challenge, organised by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, has already attracted an international list of over 30 boats and skippers who have registered their interest in competing.

The Biscay Challenge is a non-stop 540 mile sprint from the Solent, across the Bay of Biscay to Hondarribia in the heart of the Basque Country.

"It is open to double handed crews racing mono and multi hull yachts from 25' to 50' and is designed to appeal as much to the Corinthian sailor as to the more experienced offshore racer," said Roger Townsend, hon race director.

"What is on offer to all entrants is a well organised race which will be both competitive and challenging, whilst at each end there will be great hospitality providing opportunities to meet fellow sailors from around the world and hopefully make lasting friends. No matter how competitors do in the race, we want to make this an event to remember.''

Plans are rapidly taking shape and sponsor BNY Mellon, one of the world's largest financial institutions, has announced it will host a reception for crews and their supporters immediately after the crew briefing on June 17 and will provide wines or beers at the pre-departure supper after that.

Interest in the race has spread to South Africa. Stellenbosch winemaker and veteran of the 1994 Round Alone race, JJ Provoyeur, a member of Royal Southampton's sister club the Royal Cape, has registered his intention to do the Biscay Challenge. There is also interest from France and Spain as well as the San Francisco Yacht Club

www.biscaychallenge.com

Magnus Olsson is Ambassador to Volvo Ocean Race Legends
Six-time race veteran, Magnus Olsson has accepted an invitation to become an Ambassador to the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion, to be held in Alicante 1-5 November this year. Olsson joins fellow Ambassadors Lady Pippa Blake and Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM.

The blond-haired Swede, renowned for his cheery and up-beat attitude as well as his sailing skills has been at the heart of this, the premier offshore race, since he first raced with rockstar Simon Le Bon onboard Drum in the 1985-86 Whitbread Round the World Race, the forerunner to today's Volvo Ocean Race. Becoming an Ambassador to the first official reunion of all the people whose lives have been touched by the race means the world to him.

Olsson had to circumnavigate the globe five times before he finally found himself in charge of his own crew, something he always said he never wanted. He and his 'rookie' Scandinavian team onboard Ericsson 3 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 survived a near sinking on leg four, suffering serious structural damage during the gale-ridden leg from Singapore to Qingdao in China.

They suspended racing in order to limp into Taiwan where they made substantial repairs, finally arriving in China on the day the rest of the fleet began the next leg to Rio de Janeiro.

For Olsson and his team there was no restful stopover. Instead they had just over an hour to load 40 days' worth of food and diesel and set sail again on the most demanding and, potentially, the most dangerous leg of the course, chasing the teams that had left seven hours earlier. They were quickly back in contention and a brilliant tactical decision by Olsson's young navigator, Aksel Magdahl, a sailor half Olsson's age and competing in the Volvo for the first time, swept them into pole position.

Passing the notorious Cape Horn in the lead, Olsson and the crew of Ericsson 3 won the 12,300-nautical-mile leg comfortably, by taking a northerly track, and in doing so, rewrote the history books..

The Volvo Ocean Race Legends will celebrate the long and varied history of the world's premier ocean race and includes racing and social events in November this year for all those who have competed or been involved with the event since its inauguration in 1973.

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

volvooceanrace.com

Light Winds and Tidal Challenges for Warsash Spring Series
Warsash Spring Series The second meeting of the Warsash Spring Series took place on Sunday 20th March. It was a busy day where 150+ keelboats shared the water with 80 dinghies from the Hamble Warming Pan event. Again the wind was light - around 6 to 9 knots – but after an initial postponement, all classes eventually completed their races on schedule. Tacticians had the challenge of strong west-going spring tides throughout the racing. Unusually, the breeze was less steady for the White Group of sportsboats racing in the entrance to Southampton Water and this fleet finished when Black Group were already heading for home.

The Warsash Spring Series continues on Sunday 27th March 2011 and new entries are welcome via the website www.warsashspringseries.org.uk

Results: Warsash Spring Series, Day 2, 20th March 2011
IRC1: RAN (Farr 45) Niklas Zennstrom
IRC2: Trustmarque Playing Around (First 40.7) Peter Robson
IRC3: X-Yachts (X-34) Guy Jackson
IRC4: Hobby Horse (Mustang 30) Michael Fawcett
Sigma 38: Rapscallion, Diamond family
J/109: Shiva, Matthew Boyle
Laser SB3: Race 1 and 3 GBR3082, Joe Llewellyn, Race 2 In Your Pocket, David and Andrew Oddie
J/80: Race 1 Just Do It, Terry Palmer, Race 2 Aqua-J, Patrick Liardet, Race 3 Jumping Jenga, Stewart Hawthorn.

Seahorse April 2011
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

World news
Thomas Coville's rough start and Mich Desj's early shower, Bertrand Cardis aims for the skies... 2011 MedCup already on a roll, new AC45 cat impresses all who meet her, Hamilton Island and Glenn Bourke survive Cyclone Yasi and Peter Craig wants some more help at Key West. Patrice Carpentier, Rob ­Mundle, Ivor Wilkins, Carlos Pich, Vincent Gillioz and Dobbs Davis

Olympic and small boats news - Turning point
Andy Rice catches up with purveyors of fine wing rigs and very fast Moths, Bora Gulari, Magnus Clarke and Charlie Mckee

Design - Modern classic
Though still developing ideas for Oracle Racing, Paul Bieker has got some time back to give us the boats that we have been missing, including an all-new version of a great all-round performer

Sailor of the Month
Two particularly productive 'young' upstarts

www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs

Red Hat Auction
Click on image to enlarge.

Mount Gay Hat Auction Tortola, British Virgin Islands: If sailing is your game, you've seen Mount Gay's iconic, red regatta hats. Since 1987, these distinctive baseball caps have come to represent far more than just a stylish sunshade-they've become an internationally recognized symbol of competitive sailing, each custom embroidered with the name and year of a particular Mount Gay-sponsored event. But unlike mainstream fashion trends, Mount Gay hats are earned, not purchased. "The brand has never sold a red cap and it never will!" said Mount Gay's Raphael Grisoni. "There is no other way to get one than to sail in the regatta. They have become a sign of recognition among real sailors."

To help raise money for the Royal BVI Yacht Club's Youth Sailing Program, the 40th Anniversary BVI Spring Regatta (March 28 - April 3, 2011) has secured special permission from Mount Gay to auction off a single, ten-hat collector's series representing a decade's worth of Mount Gay BVI Spring Regatta hats. The auction includes ten brand-new mint-condition Mount Gay hats from the 2002 - 2011 BVI Spring Regattas, as well as a custom-made case to display this handsome collection of sailing history. The bidding is set to take place both on EBay and at the event itself, with opening bids starting at $1,000 and a "buy-it-now" option set at $25,000.

To enter a bid:
web.me.com/cid.nava/Mount_Gay_Hat_Auction_

Eighth Team Accepted, More Expected
The revelation last week of Emirates Team New Zealand as Challenger #2 was a welcomed announcement for the America's Cup. Although the second team to enter the Cup when the entry period opened last November, Emirates Team New Zealand had remained silent with its intentions while team CEO Grant Dalton worked to raise the necessary funds. Dalton cautions that his work is far from complete and that they have a long way to go, but Team New Zealand is a well-established brand and its entry is good for the America's Cup community.

The deadline for the first entry period is 10 days away, March 31, and America's Cup Event Authority now confirms the acceptance of a seventh challenger, as yet undeclared, bringing the total number of teams for the 34th America's Cup to eight: including defender ORACLE Racing and challengers Mascalzone Latino (Challenger of Record), Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Aleph Racing, Energy Team, Team Australia, plus the one still-private challenge.

The latest entry has hopes at ACEA buoyed for upwards of two additional challengers before the March 31 close of the entry period. Additionally, there's a late entry period that extends through the end of April.

www.americascup.com
www.oracleracing.com

Leigh Sailing Club Centenary
Photo by Graeme Sweeney, www.marineimages.co.uk. Click on image for photo gallery.

Leigh Sailing Club Centenary The sailing club that resides in the Old Railway station at the end of the high street, in Leigh old town is celebrating its centenary year.

And to mark this occasion, Leigh Sailing Club has commissioned a fantastic book, written by noted author and life long member Graham Dent, The book "Sailing Club in the Railway Station" describes the past 100 years of the club and sailing off the Leigh shore, with all the great characters of the past, and sailing champions of the present, the book is filled to the "gunwales" with Leigh Sailing Clubs proud history.

With 100 years of sailing history, Leigh Sailing Club has been at the cutting edge of sailing development, and with the march of progress some of the sailing vessels may have changed beyond recognition, but the magic of sailing from the wonderful shores of Old Leigh remains the same.

Leigh Sailing Club has a fully supported Dinghy racing program right through the sailing season, culminating in the bone chilling Boxing Day "Brass Monkey Race", The Club also has several traditional, classic boat owners, and cruising yachts, whose owners venture far and wide together around our shores

Leigh Sailing clubs greatest asset is of course its beautiful old station club house, in such a perfect location. From the clubs upper bar and balcony, members and their guests can relax and enjoy uninterrupted views over the Thames.

Book signing 12:30 - 15:00 Sunday 27 March, Leigh Sailing Club, High Street, The Old Town, Leigh, Essex, 'The Sailing Club in the railway station' by author Graham Dent

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 Daniel Charles: Regarding Olympic sailing, Richard Hart's remarks that "the perception (is) that there should be equal numbers of events for women as for men" and insists that "these pressures have left men's sailing with too few slots". How right he is! In France, women represent less than 20% of racing license holders, despite years of affirmative action. It is a very unhealthy state of affairs when equality of sexes takes precedence over equality of people. Offering to the fifth of the racing population the same number of events than to the other four fifths would be a serious disregard of democracy.

* From Mark Reynolds: Good points by Jim Champ, Euan Ross and Richard Hart regarding Olympic classes.

I would add to Richard's point about men over 85kg only having a place in the front of the Star and the Finn; don't forget the place in the back of the Star! Stars are now often sailed by skippers and crews of the same weight and sometimes the helmsman is heavier than the crew even at the top of the fleet, a result of the successful weight rule formula. At the last ISAF Sailing World Championship in the top 10 finishers, the Star helmsman ranged from 80kg to 110kg, the crews ranged from 90kg to 115kg. This total spread of 35kg, was over twice the spread of every other class. The Finn helmsman weights in the top 10 ranged from 94kg to 110 kg.

See sailjuiceblog.files.wordpress.com

Jim pointed out the popularity of classes by the number of new boats produced. Another measure of popularity, at least at the higher end of our sport, would be to use ISAF's ranking list which shows the number of sailors in each class that attend at least one graded event (World Championships, Grade C1, Grade 1, Grade 2 etc.)

Feb 2011 Ranking list totals by class
Laser - 988
Radial - 489
Star - 379
Finn - 326
Match - 321
RSXm - 313
470m - 307
49er - 227
RSXw - 163
470w - 137

What needs to also be considered is the durability of boats. In the Star in the last 4 World Championships the average age of the boats in the top 10 were over 2.5 years old showing you don't have to keep buying new boats to be competitive. I won the 2000 Olympics in a 5 year old boat.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2006 X-Yachts X-35 One Design. EUR 117,500. Located In Lelystad, Netherlands.

X-35 One Design Class, boat is standing on shore in Leystad.

Brokerage through X-Yachts Holland BV: www.yachtworld.com/x-yachtsholland/

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

The Last Word
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. -- Groucho Marx

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