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Across The Finish Line
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

Barcelona Race Winners Breaking the finish line this Monday morning at 10hrs 20mins 36 seconds (UTC) Jean-Pierre Dick (45) and Loick Peyron (51) have won the second edition of the Barcelona World Race on Virbac-Paprec 3, completing the 25,200 miles round the world race in 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds at an average speed of 11.18 knots.

For Jean-Pierre Dick the victory repeats his 2007-08 triumph in the inaugural edition of the round the world race for crews of two, when he won with Irish co-skipper Damian Foxall. Today's win also adds an elusive round the world victory to Peyron's two previous podium finishes, each ten years apart - second in 1989-90 in the inaugural Vendee Globe solo round the world race, and second in The Race in 2000, for fully crewed giant multihulls.

The French duo highlighted their drive and pace when they set a new 24-hour speed record for IMOCA Open 60-footers of 506.33 miles on January 22nd (average speed 21.1kts) Without doubt the success of their proven partnership amounts to more than the sum of its parts, even given Peyron's 30 years of ocean racing successes and Dick's incredible durability, his appetite for short handed and solo racing, his meticulous, scientific approach and delivery, and his remarkable trajectory towards the top of this exacting and demanding sailing discipline. Their partnership has never been beaten on the oceans, winning the Transat Jacques Vabre together in 2005 when Dick defended the title he won with Nicolas Abiven. Dick, previously a full time business director who only really turned 'professional' in 2002, has joined the elite ranks of Michel Desjoyeaux and Bernard Stamm as the only skippers to have won two solo or two-handed round the world races.

Though they made two technical stops for repairs, amounting to a time-out total of 63 hours in Brazil and Wellington, New Zealand, the Virbac-Paprec 3 pair stayed the course to fulfil their ranking as one of the pre-race favourites. Of the 14 IMOCA Open 60s which started off Barcelona on 31st December, four of which were otherwise considered potential winners or podium contenders, President, Foncia, Groupe Bel and Mirabuad all retired with mast or keel failures.

Dick and Peyron led the race out through the Straits of Gibraltar on January 3rd and after re-taking the lead on January 23rd were never passed.

* "We Are Down To Zero With No Food And No Fuel"

150 miles more and Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez will be able to step back onto dry land after more than 94 days at sea, having sailed around the globe. However, "MAPFRE"'s final miles won't be easy. Just after 14:30 local time, the Basque skipper Iker Martinez called the shore team to tell them, quite explicitly that: "from hereon we are down to zero. We don't have any food nor fuel left...not even enough to get the engine going. We hope we can finish tomorrow," and then the skipper from Hondarribia said, "please bring us some food and fuel as we cross the finishing line."

The Olympic champions are sailing at over 8 knots on a North-Northeasterly course and are passing the West of the isle of Ibiza. Over the past 24 hours, the Basque skippers have covered 185 miles, at an average of 7.7 knots.

The double Olympic medallists are very close to becoming the first Spanish crew to cross the finishing line and also of becoming the first entry to reach Barcelona having received no external help and having made no technical stopovers. That's quite an achievement for a crew that stepped onto an IMOCA Open 60 for the first time just 14 months ago, when they began their work in the class.

The latest calculation of a finishing time by the shore team for the IMOCA Open 60 "MAPFRE" is that Iker and Xabi could reach Barcelona between 11:30 and 17:30 local time, the most likely time being around 15:00.

* At 00:50hrs UTC this morning, Monday, Race Direction received a call from Juan Merediz and Fran Palacio on Central Lechera Asturiana to say that they have damage to a structural ring frame around the engine box and have turned back to head probably for Auckland.

The duo were in 30 knots of wind at around 45deg07S 158 deg W and had just passed the W Pacific ice gate. The duo have substantially reduced sail sailing and have just over 1000 miles to sail to Auckland.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE
The 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE, third event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, started on Monday in Palma with gruelling conditions, sun and clear blue sky. The 49ers and Star races were delayed waiting for the wind to ease. In the end a thousand sailors took the start and filled the bay of Palma with sails. The breeze lovers made the most of the day with many teams taking it all!

The 2.4 paralympic fleet, sailing out of Calanova Yacht Club, was the first to complete two races. Thierry Schmitter (NED) enjoyed the strong winds to win both races and take the lead from German Heiko Kroger and Megan Pascoe (GBR).

Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) took a convincing lead in the 470 women fleet with two victories.

The young New-Zealanders, Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders (NZL) take the races and the lead, in the 470 class.

Tom Slingsby (AUS), crowned ISAF sailor of the year in 2010 for a double world title in the Laser and the Etchell (with John Bertrand and Andrew Palfrey), along with several SWC victories, enjoyed his most favoured conditions by claiming both races. Simon Grotelueschen from Germany and Belgium sailor Van Laer Wannes take second and third overall. The Lasers are divided in three groups.

In the Radial division, Evi van Acker (BEL) claimed the day in her group and lead the overall standings with a narrow margin over Annalise Murphy (IRL) and 2010 SWC winner, Marit Bouwmeester (NED).

After a postponement, the Star fleet completed the two scheduled races in challenging conditions. Double Gold medallists and current World Champions, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) are making a successful come back to the competition after a long break with two bullets.

Last of the water today, the 49ers waited for the wind to decrease before heading to sea. Dylan Fletcher and Alan Sign (GBR) took the honours with two bullets.

* The women's match racing teams at the 42nd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca, Spain completed their full schedule of matches today with 10 of the 21 flights sailed in Stage One.

The 24 teams are divided into 3 groups for the Stage One round robins. In Group A, Claire Leroy (FRA) and Silja Lehtinen (FIN) are undefeated with scores of 3-0.

In Group B, four teams are undefeated and leading the way with scores of 3-0: Nicky Souter (AUS), Renee Groeneveld (NED), Sally Barkow (USA), and Silke Hahlbrock (GER).

Group C completed four flights and two teams are undefeated with scores of 4-0: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA). Stage One will continue tomorrow.

The top two teams from each group will move into the Gold Group and the next two will move into the Repechage Group. The Repechage Group will sail a round robin to determine who will join the Gold Group in the knock-out quarter-finals.

Day One Results:

Group A: Leroy-FRA 3-0, Lehtinen-FIN 3-0, Skudina-RUS 2-1, Roca-ESP 2-1, Goncalves-POR 1-2, Spithill-AUS 1-2, Kutovaya-RUS 0-3, Bekkering-NED 0-3.

Group B: Souter-AUS 3-0, Groeneveld-NED 3-0, Barkow-USA 3-0, Hahlbrock-GER 3-0, Monina-ITA 0-3, Echegoyen-ESP 0-3, Abrahamsen-DEN 0-3, Wang-CHN 0-3.

Group C: Tunnicliffe-USA 4-0, Le Berre-FRA 4-0, Macgregor-GBR 3-1, Meldgaard-DEN 3-1, Hazard-NZL 2-2, Kjellberg-SWE 0-4, Zimmermann-PER 0-4, Abbott-CAN 0-4.

Racing will continue on Tuesday 5th with starts scheduled at 11am and 10am for the Women Match racing.

Virbac-Paprec 3 Wins the Barcelona World Race with Southern Spars
Barcelona World Race Southern Spars would like to acknowledge the outstanding performance of skippers Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron, as Virbac-Paprec 3 crosses the finish line for the team's second back-to-back win in the double-handed Barcelona World Race.

Southern Spars supplied the mast and EC6 Continuous rigging for Virbac-Paprec 3 with a design brief to keep weight to an absolute minimum while providing maximum performance. The result was a classic 29m mast with two sets of spreaders and utilising one backstay cable rather than three as in the past. This innovation was as a result of the desire to save weight and expose a smaller surface to the wind.

The VP3 team comments, "This has been our third build with Southern Spars who once again stood out as our preferred mast and rigging supplier. A lot of development has gone into our new rig; made possible by the expert design, project management and build skills that Southern has on hand.

Needless to say, our team is thrilled with the final result, which has exceeded our initial expectations, and we look forward to a continued partnership with Southern Spars."

Ocean Sprint 4 Continues to Test Skippers
It has been a weekend of dramas in the Velux 5 Oceans as the fleet continue to race north through the South Atlantic in ocean sprint four. Over the last 72 hours each of the four solo skippers have had to contend with an array of problems on their Eco 60 yachts, now starting to tire having sailed more than 22,000 miles through the world's oceans in the last six months.

After falling into the cockpit of Operon Racing while trying to reef his mainsail, Polish skipper Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski feared he might have broken some ribs and was forced to rely on painkillers to carry out even the most menial of tasks onboard. Then, the alternator broke, leaving Gutek to rely solely on his hydro and wind generators. In a final blow to the Pole's run of bad luck, the bowsprit on Operon Racing broke, limiting the ability to fly spinnakers.

"I think I have found a solution," Gutek said this morning. "I have two spare tillers in case I need temporary steering gear, so I have used them to reinforce the bowsprint and I hope it will hold."

On Active House, Canadian Derek Hatfield got a scare when he found one of his watertight compartments full with nearly 1,000 litres of water. It was initially thought the leak was due to a crack in the keelbox and Derek informed the race committee of his intention to stop in Brazil to repair the damage, but the problem was later found to be a broken ballast tank line and the decision was taken to continue racing.

British skipper Chris Stanmore-Major reported this morning that he is facing a shortage of water onboard Spartan. To keep weight down on what is predominantly a lightwind leg, CSM chose to only take 20 litres of water in his tanks, however problems arose when he discovered his water maker was broken.

"I now have no water maker and only about ten litres of water left onboard," he said. "I have a replacement pump head on the boat which I will try to fix today and get the water maker going again. I'm feeling pretty confident about how things are going, I just need to fix the water maker and grab some miles back."

The fleet have now been at sea just over a week and have sailed more than 1,700 nautical miles up the coast of South America from Punta del Este. Around 4,000 miles of tough sailing still lie ahead of them as they race towards the sprint four finish line in Charleston, USA.

Positions at 1200 UTC

Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)

Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 3843.6 / 0 / 179.4 / 7.5
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 3899 / 55.3 / 134.1 / 5.6
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 3938.8 / 95.1 / 152.4 / 6.3
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 3991.3 / 147.7 / 150.9 / 6.3

And The Winner Is: Everyone
Sir Richard Branson racing his 105ft cat Neckar Belle in the BVI Spring regatta. Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

BVI Spring Regatta Tortola, British Virgin Islands: Red-hot racing, professionally run courses, a family friendly regatta village, and - of course - killer parties...exactly what sailors on 122 different competing yachts experienced at Nanny Cay - the 40th Anniversary BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival's base - this weekend.

A glance at today's final standings underscores exactly how competitive this event has become. In the tightly contented Racing A, Willem Wester's Grand Soleil 43 Antilope, with Volvo Ocean Race legend Bouwe Bekking aboard, suffered only a single second-place finish to soil their otherwise immaculate record. Team Intac, Mark Plaxton's Melges 32, which benefited from America's Cup great Peter Holmberg's local knowledge, took a third-place finish in today's first race, sullying their "picket fence" of seven other bullets. In Racing C, James Hudleston's modified Beneteau Oceanis 440, Three Harkoms, beat out El Ocaso and Smile and Wave in what has been one of the weekend's more entertaining dogfights. In Racing D, Kevin Rowlette's Olson 30, Rushin' Rowlette earned six bullets and two seconds, edging out Magnificent 7. Competition was fierce in Performance Cruising, where a four-point spread separated Fidelis II from second-placed Northern Child. Bob Beltrano's Swan 53, Nai'a, dominated the show in Jib and Main A, and in Jib and Main B, Thomas Mullen's J/95, Shamrock, strutted to victory. And in the IC 24 class, Robert Jenning's INTAC proved untouchable, beating out Team Maximus.

The bareboat fleets were equally competitive. In Bareboat A, John Wyles' Fastnet exchanged tactical fisticuffs with Team Eurogiro all weekend; ultimately, a one-point margin put Wyles' crew in the top spot. In Bareboat B, Tijmen van Elst's Team bk grondlogistiek applied the right pressure on Team Ontwikkelfonds, and in Bareboat C, Hunter Adkisson's Durley Dene earned bragging rights. Amongst the multihulls, Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis' Team Nanny Cay Triple Jack shut out all comers, including Sir Richard Branson's Necker Belle, which, at 105 feet, is the biggest multihull to ever pierce a BVI Spring Regatta starting line. Only two windsurfers turned up, but that didn't spell easy victory for Owen Waters. Amongst the new Classics class, Stanford Joines' lovely Windflower edged out Veritas, and in the Squib class, co-skippers Kaven Penn and Akeem David, aboard Charity, beat Hope.

One of the biggest smiles seen at the prize-giving ceremony belonged to Dominik Ondrej, age 4. Dominik's father, Georg, sailed their family's Austrian-flagged Beneteau 50, Happy Hour, to the Caribbean earlier this year in order to race. While young Dominik is a veteran cruiser, this was his first regatta, a moment his father recognized with a trophy - which the Ondrej family provided themselves - for the "youngest Austrian sailor".

Full results at

A Brisker Breeze For Warsash Spring Series
Photo by Eddie Mays, Click on image for photo gallery.

Warsash Spring Series At last, on the fourth week of the Warsash Spring Series, there was an opportunity for crew to sit on the windward rail whilst spray whipped across the foredeck. After three quiet weeks, on Sunday 3rd April the breeze blew steadily from the south-west. Competitors and race officers alike enjoyed the livelier conditions.

The final two weekends (9th/10th and 16th/17th April), see additional racing on Saturdays for the Spring Championship. Oxford and Cambridge University sailing teams will also be using the event for their Varsity Match competition using the new Sunsail First 40s. Entries are also welcomed from Farr 45s, "Big Boats", First 40.7s and J/109s. White Group Spring Championship classes include J/80, Laser SB3 and Quarter Tonner. The Warsash Spring Series continues on 10th April 2011. -- Flavia Bateson

Provisional Results: Warsash Spring Series, Week 4, 3rd April 2011

IRC 1 - Joopster - J/122 - Neil Kipling
IRC 2 - Malice - HOD35 - Mike Moxley
IRC 3 - X-Yachts - X-34 - Guy Jackson
IRC 4 - Erik the Red - Mustang 30 - Bernard Fyans
Sigma 38 - With Alacrity - Chris and Vanessa Choules
J-109 - Just So - David McGough

Laser SB3
Race 1 - Gill Race Team - Craig Burlton
Race 2 - Gill Race Team - Craig Burlton
Race 2 - Sailboat Deliveries - Sarah Allan

Race 1 - Aqua-J - Patrick Liardet
Race 2 - Aqua-J - Patrick Liardet
Race 3 - Henri Lloyd Shockwave - Dan Brown

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A New Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup
The International Maxi Association (IMA) is pleased to announce some news about the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup, the transoceanic crossing of the Atlantic for maxi yachts leaving towards Caribbean at the end of the Mediterranean sailing season.

As usual (the first edition was run in 2007) the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup will start by the end of November from Tenerife, but in agreement with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda the finishing line has been moved from St. Maarten, Antilles, to British Virgin Islands, more precisely to British Virgin Gorda, where there is now under construction a new clubhouse - and marina - of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The arrival of the fleet and the prizegiving should match with the opening and inauguration of the new YCCS clubhouse.

The Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup will be open to all IMA maxi categories. Real Club Nautico Tenerife has already confirmed his support for starting operation.

Simultaneously to the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will organize a new event leaving as well from Tenerife on the same day: the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta, reserved for maxi boats with LOA upper than 30.51, boats more cruising than racing-oriented. Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club will support the arrival operations.

The two events will therefore gather both in Tenerife and later in Virgin Gorda a spectacular maxi fleet, while the coordination among the two O.A. will ensure an excellent level of logistic and technical assistance. Prizes and special trophies will be awarded both to the winner of the IMA scorings and to participants among the Superyacht fleet.

With still many months to the event, several maxi yachts have already confirmed their entry to the IMA, like the wally Y3K belonging to Claus Peter Offen, IMA president, the new supermaxi Hetairos, owner Otto Happel - IMA vice president - Will Apold's Valkyrie, Sojana - owner Peter Harris; Sojana is the winner of 2010 edition - and Karl C. Kwok's Beau Geste, winner of 2009 regatta and record holder. New entry at the event, the Volvo 60 AmberSail.

The Notice of Race of the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011 will be soon available on the IMA website:

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: The Laser Caper, beyond its impact on an important class, tramples down with abandon some basic tenets of creation. Is the creator, or his or her representatives, entitled to get a reward from his or her creation? Until when? For a book, some countries extend this right up to 75 years after the death of the author (plus war years in France...). This concerns a purely literary creation (Marcel Proust's rights have only recently become public), but also any sort of book, incl. industrial or technical ones. Is a boat design a creation? Maybe less now, with so many mathematical studies and so much team work, but it certainly was when Bruce Kirby designed the Laser.

This is not a class problem, nor even a sport problem: it is a problem of ethics. One would expect that our sailing federation would care about ethics, and would put one of its international and Olympic classes back on track. ISAF's silence in this matter is deafening as well as damning.

* Paul van Os: From An interestng and thought provoking comment from Francis Joyon regarding the sustained speed of sail powered circumnavigation being faster than powered attemtps to date.

Perhaps therein lies the kernel for a new challenge:

Fastest non-stop sailpowered circumnavigation carrying 25 freight tons or 12 supernumery passengers.

Passengers to be bunked and fed in conditions consistent with present regulations for passengers - 3 meals daily to "board of Trade" standards, ablution facilities and accommodation consistent with at a minimum those required under current MCA rules.

It would certainly provide a new design challenge and focus on the practical potential of sail in this energy short world!!

An interesting thought.

* From John Harwood-Bee: The latest debate over the rights to produce 'Laser' sailboats seems to have thrown up some interesting points. Whilst it may not be possible to register a patent on a yacht it is most certainly possible to register and protect the DESIGN of the vessel under the design and patents laws. It is also possible to protect specific items of the construction with patents. In addition Intellectual Property Rights will have vested with the original designer of the Laser and only he would have the authority to licence those rights. There has been speculation that the original owner was declared insolvent and that a liquidator may have 'sold off' certain trademark usage around the world. In this case, dependent on the coverage of the original 'Laser' trademark, this SHOULD have been a licensing deal with renewal periods with the benefits accruing for the creditors of the original company.

What appears to be happening here is that Bruce Kirby, acknowledged owner of the design rights, has ,sensibly at his age, sold his interest to Global. For two years they have collected the fees from other builders. Now one of those builders has stopped paying and is seeking to dispute Globals rights to the fees. This seems to be a classic case for litigation and definitely not the place for the ILCA to interfere in an attempt to bulldoze through a very suspect change to the rules. I would respectfully suggest that ILCA take a long look at the lawyer who informed them that 'patents have expired'. They should check the long term renewable contracts mentioned by Bruce Kirby before they spend any more money on legal fees. In the meantime ILCA should 'butt out' until the matter is settled.

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The Last Word
If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril. -- Sun Tzu

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