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Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta
Giles Scott (Finn) was Skandia Team GBR’s sole gold medallist at the 2010 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta. Click on image to enlarge.

Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta British sailing team manager Stephen Park says his charges will face their biggest test of this Olympic cycle so far when the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta kicks off on the 2012 waters of Weymouth and Portland on Monday (6 June).

The regatta, which is the fifth leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup series, has seen some 1,100 sailors from around the globe descend on the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in a bid to learn more about conditions at the 2012 venue and, for crews from a number of nations, take their first steps towards securing their qualifying berths for the Olympic and Paralympic regattas next year.

Sail for Gold (6-11 June) is one of a number of events which form the selection trials for Skandia Team GBR's sailors, and the RYA's Olympic Manager Park is expecting some close battles as British crews across the 13 Olympic and Paralympic classes try to make an early impression on selectors.

"Skandia Sail for Gold is one [event] that we're going to be looking at very closely at and it is the selection event for our Pre-Olympic Test Event team," Park explained.  "Most of the sailors are pretty keen to get into that team for the Pre-Olympics - the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta as it's now called - so that will therefore increase the pressure here, and the sailors all know that getting decent results here on the Olympic waters in Weymouth and Portland is actually going to be crucial to ultimate success in 2012.

"It's that ultimate Games success that the RYA's Olympic Selection Committee will be bearing in mind when they make any of their decisions."

* Concerns over the failure of British 49er sailors to win medals at key international sailing events have forced Team GBR management to consider slashing squad numbers if they do not medal at Skandia Sail for Gold this week.

In 2011, Team GB have won just two gold, a silver and bronze medals, even though there are five British 49er teams in the top ten world rankings and all competitions have been dominated in the early rounds by the British, only to see podium places squandered in the finals.

"When we have fewer squad boats racing, the statistics tell us that ultimately one of them does better," said team manager Stephen Park.

"Last year, we reduced the numbers and we did better but this year we have let them all race again and their form has changed so much it has been tough to determine who to lose and who to keep.

"Immediately following this event, the Olympic steering group will meet to discuss the future of the 49ers in terms of numbers and decide whether we need to reduce numbers ahead of the Olympics next year."

All 13 British teams contending the 49er class at Skandia Sail for Gold have been told that this might be their last chance before the selection window opens in October. -- Kate Laven in The Telegraph:

* Skandia Sail for Gold 2011 is crunch time for many sailors, the strong British Finn squad included. Ben Ainslie is the favourite, but the three-time Olympic Champion has never had it so tough trying to beat his fellow Brits, Giles Scott and reigning World Champ Ed Wright among them....

SailJuice: Ben, tell us about the competition between the four, or do you call it the five of you?

Ben Ainslie: Well, there's really Giles and Ed who have been guys who have got the results the last couple of years and then there's Mark and Andrew, the other young guns that are coming through and sail really well on their day so yeah, I guess there's five British guys who could say on their day are in the top ten in the world.

SailJuice: And who do you feel are most of a threat?

Ben Ainslie: Well it's pretty condition dependent to be honest. If we get a good breeze, then all of those guys are really hard to beat because they're all big guys. All the young guys, Giles, Mark, Andrew's over 6ft 5in, really fit and strong and are hard to beat. They're very quick and Ed is, Ed's a heavy air specialist as well. If it's a range of conditions, well it's a bit different and if it's only in the lighter conditions, I'm quite strong there, so it really depends. Like I said at the beginning, Giles and Ed are the guys that got the results the last couple of seasons so I expect them to be tough for the upcoming event.

SailJuice: So is it too simplistic to say you'll wake up on the 6th June [start of Skandia Sail for Gold] hoping that it's calm and sunny?

Ben Ainslie: No I don't look at it like that. I just need to be able to compete in all the conditions. That's what I've been working towards, so whether it's blowing 25 knots or it's blowing 5 knots I can go out, I can get the results over a range of conditions through the week that should hopefully get you to the top spot.

There are loads of other interviews from top sailors competing in Weymouth, featured on Use the full Ben Ainslie interview as your jump-off point:

A Tough Beat to Scheveningen
Photo by Anna Brooke. Click on image to enlarge.

North Sea Race The 2011 North Sea Race had more wind than had been forecast and turned into a tough cold beat to Scheveningen. Race veteran Radboud Crul said "I have done this race 24 times and I think this one was the hardest. It was a beat for most of the way and cold as well as wet with 25 - 30 knots of wind".

The race committee had difficulty in anchoring the principal committee boat at the start which led to a ten minute postponement. RORC Racing Manager Ian Loffhagen explained: "having dragged the anchor twice the skipper of the Haven Hornbill, the oil spill platform kindly loaned by Harwich Haven Authority, assured me that he could hold the vessel within 10m of the required position. We decided to avoid further delay and go with this, so the postponement was only ten minutes".

First away were the ORC boats followed by IRC Two and Three boats and finally IRC Zero, One and Two. Two boats were OCS on the last start but both returned and started correctly. There was a solid north easterly breeze of about 18 knots and a short chop in the shallow waters off Harwich.

First to finish at 0538 was Richard Matthews' Humphreys 54, Oystercatcher XXVIII, which was fast enough to give him first place in IRC Zero ahead of the Volvo 60 Pleomax and second in IRC Overall. However it was not fast enough to beat Piet Vroon sailing his Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 who won IRC One and IRC Overall. Adding another high points factor win to his total in the Season's Points Championship Tonnerre has now done five races and has 475.8 points; a lead of over 100 points at this stage in the season will make Piet hard to beat.

Second in IRC One was Erik van Vuuren in the Salona 42 Pacha driven by E-Mission. The Dehler 41 Miles 4 Justice was third. In IRC Two Angus Bates' J/133 Assarian IV triumphed over Allard Natural Stone in second and Heartbeat IV in third.

In IRC 3 the J 109 Jeti, owned by Paul van der Pol beat sister ship Captain Jack in second and Inn Spirit in third. IRC 4 was won by another Dutch man Aste Biel in his S&S 41 Pinta-M. Blue June was second and Selene third.

There were only four boats sailing two handed but it is a credit to them that they all finished in the tough conditions. RORC Rear Commodore Nick Martin, who had brought the boat from the Solent to compete, was first in his J/109 Diablo J, with Lady of Avalon second and Joost & Vrolijk third.

In the race under the ORC rating system Auke Van Der Zee sailing his Grand Soleil 45 Solid Sue was fast enough to win ORC One and ORC Overall. Second in ORC One was Ijsvogel and third was Visione.

In ORC Two Radbour Crul seized victory in his Dehler 36 Rosetta From the Rocks and was second in ORC Overall. Redan was second in class and third in ORC Overall. Quantum Racing was third in ORC Two.

The OOD 34 Nada owned by Nico Hoefnagel, which was well suited to the conditions, was first in ORC 3 with EscXcape in second and Broersbank in third. There was only one boat in ORC 4, Gouden Ruiter, the Pion OOD owned by Willem Kats and he ploughed a lonely course being the only boat to sail the short course before joining the rest of the fleet at Smith's Knoll. -- Louay Habib

Dubarry Storm - Designed To Perform
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Dubarry Storm - the calm within the Storm.

Record Attempt Around The Isle Of Wight
The catamaran Photo by Christophe Launay, Click on image for photo gallery.

Hydroptere The trimaran l'Hydroptere is heading to England and is getting prepared to beat the record around the Isle of Wight. This record is held since November 2001 by Steve Fosset's catamaran Playstation. The first attempt will take place on Sunday June 5 (*Editor: no note on the website about Sunday, presumably on hold...) and they will be prolonged until June 14, 2011.

Last year l'Hydroptere missed the record by a few minutes. In fact at mid-term of the race, she was 40 minutes ahead of Playstation, but due to a fall in the wind, l'Hydroptere finished 8 minutes after Playstation's record.

This year, with the full support of the House of Champagne Lanson, the official partner of this record, the Hydroptere team is attempting this challenge again, more motivated than ever and determined to sign a triple wake of bubbles and spray.

The launch of l' in Spring 2011 represented a new milestone for the project. Now heading to the open sea, the Hydroptere Team is focused on the versatility of the concept and prepares the arrival of flying boats in the offshore sailing world.

l'Hydroptere's technological adventure has been possible principally thanks to the unconditional support of Thierry Lombard since 2005, Managing Partner of the private banking house Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie, whose founding year - 1796 - appears on the mainsail.

* The broke two records (records for the Lake Geneva or Lake Leman) 29.18 knots over 1 km and hit a peak speed of 34.84 knots, 1 of June 2011. 21.32 kts on a hour 2 of June 2011

Launched in autumn 2010, this catamaran is part of a complete scientific process. As a lab boat, her main purpose is to test geometries and behaviours in varied real conditions for the development of l'Hydroptere maxi,

Platu 25 Worlds
Gmunden, Austria: After nine very competitive races, the new Platu 25 World Champion is the Italian "EUK II Monella Vagabonda" owned by Francesco Lanera and helmed by Sandro Montefusco, with the Swiss Mark Sigrist as a tactician. This original Pugliese-Swiss team is the new World Champion although it's the first time that the crew's members race together.

Francesco Lanera, owner of "EUK II Monella Vagabonda" is very moved. He laughs and then cries and after he laughs again: "All of us hoped in the victory. There was Sandro Montefusco, who is a guarantee but I don't get used to such a big emotion. It's simply fantastic and it's difficult to believe. I thank all those who helped us and contributed to this day. Family, friends and sponsors. Our team faced in a very determined way the difficult weather conditions in the last days".

The struggle has always been behind "Euk II Monella Vagabonda", among the Spanish and German boats. Until the end the second step of the podium was uncertain. -- English edited by Kev Scott (Thailand NCA)

Overall ranking after 9 races, one discard:

1. Euz Ll Monella Vagabonda, Sandro Montefusco, ITA, 37 points
2. Gaes Mundo Marino, Ferrer Sanchez , ESP, 51
3. Falkone, Cornelius Heeschen, GER, 61
4. Kyra, Lars Baehr, GER, 63.3
5. Bribon Movistar, Marc De Antonio, ESP, 64
6. Nanuk, Catalano Gianrollo, ITA, 68
7. The Collection-Coppe Dental, Jose Perez Manuel, ESP, 73
8. Mata Hambre, Alfonso Bonilla Ariza, ESP, 76
9. Mexillon De Galicia Movistar, Bernardo Paz, ESP, 100
10. Murtfeldt, Andre Teutenberg, GER, 100

Camper Returns to the Fiji Race
The organisers of the Auckland-Musket Cove race, otherwise known as the Fiji race, have had to delay the start of their event for 24 hours and after examining the changing weather forecast, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand have now decided they will compete after all.

Blasting past Cuvier Island. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, 2000 mile qualification sail, D Hamish Hooper/CAMPER/Volvo Ocean Race

"With the race start delayed... the nature of the race has changed considerably."

It was announced on Saturday (New Zealand time) that the start would be delayed due to gale-force winds. Today the wind was a constant 40 knots across the start line, with gusts of 50 knots in the Hauraki Gulf.

Emirates Team New Zealand withdrew CAMPER from the race on Friday because forecasts indicated head winds all the way to Fiji and on the return sail. That meant little chance of the team being able to do the down-wind sail testing they require, but due to the delayed start, the team is now expecting new conditions for the race, which will be useful in its training.

Emirates Team New Zealand meteorologist Roger Badham explained the team's decision. "The gale-force winds and low-pressure system is moving to the south of Auckland tonight. With the race start delayed by the RNZYS officials by 24 hours, the nature of the race has changed considerably.

"A more varied wind regime is now expected, with both upwind and downwind conditions ranging from eight to 18 knots. CAMPER should reach Fiji on Thursday and from there, the team plans to do some testing in the south-east trades winds by heading west and using the downwind conditions varying from 15 to 25 knots.

* After a 24 hour delay the Auckland-Musket Cove race started at Auckland at noon today. In complete contrast to yesterday's conditions, which saw winds gusting to more than 40 knots, the fleet crossed the line under very light airs, blue skies and bright sunshine.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand led off the start line for the 1141-nautical mile race to Fiji.

Racing with 13 crew rather than the 11 permitted for the Volvo Ocean Race, CAMPER will be in full 'race mode' for the next few days.

The race is organized by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in association with the New Zealand International Yachting Trust.

Expectations were that Team Vodafone Sailing might threaten the RNZYS record of 120hrs 21mins 45secs set by Systems Thunder in 2008. However, skipper Simon Hull said the light conditions meant the record was unlikely to fall.

As Camper and TVS led the fleet past Rangitoto Light, the next two yachts out into the Hauraki Gulf were Wired, owned by Rob Bassett and Brett Russell, and the historic Whitbread Round the World racer, Lion New Zealand, skippered by William Goodfellow.

Follow the fleet via the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron: or directly through the race tracker here:


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

Ease... slightly
Jeff Kent is a champion DN ice sailor who also builds some of the fastest boats and rigs in the class; together with fellow champion James Thieler he explains the curious physics of DN development

Long overdue
Camper skipper Chris Nicholson talks with Ivor Wilkins about New Zealand's first Volvo Race entry for more than 17 years

Design - A universal hull?
He gave us the tandem keel (as well as numerous books and some very fine screenplays)... and now Warwick Collins has had another new idea

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

Donnybrook On The Rocks
Photo by Talbot Wilson. Click on image to enlarge.

Donnybrook Our Annapolis to Newport Race on James Muldoon's Donnybrook started Friday afternoon and ended abruptly early Saturday morning when the keel of the big black boat met the rocks of the south jetty of the Chesapeake Bay tunnel near Norfolk, Virginia.

We were reaching up toward the channel at 6:45AM and bore off to cross over the tunnel. With all hands on deck, getting ready to launch a spinnaker for the next leg of our course around the 'middle ground.' The chart indicated 18 feet of water on the line we took, but the 12 foot deep keel proved the chart wrong.

We were doing 12-14kts when Donnybrook hit a solid wall of rock and the 73 foot 30 ton racer stopped in an instant. She spun to the right and bounced along in a jarring series of lesser hits. The crew were scattered in the cockpit and deck like fallen pins in the ally. Three of our mates were taken to the hospital as soon as the Coast Guard could get out to help us. One will have have surgery on a compound fracture of his forearm, the other two were treated and released.

After the initial shock, the crew rallied and hauled down the jib. I trimmed the main all the way in to drive the boat back up into the wind to try to head back on a close reciprocal course. We checked for lines overboard and Peter started the engine, put it in gear. Mr. Muldoon drove back out, bouncing Donnybrook painfully through the rocks as the crew got the mainsail down to take pressure off the damaged keel and furled on the boom.

Navigator Kurt Lowman called the US Coast Guard who responded promptly in their 45 footer from Little Creek. They offloaded our three injured and left us with two of their crew and a pump for 'just in case' as we motored to the Little Creek Marina which was now saving the t-dock space for us.

Donnybrook motored back to Baltimore later on Saturday and will be hauled there for inspection and repair. It will be interesting to see how high up on the keel the damage goes. That will tell us how high the rocks were and how wrong the 18 foot depth on the chart really was. -- Talbot Wilson

XOD Class Races At Royal Lymington Yacht Club
Photo by Hamo Thornycroft. Click on image to enlarge.

XOD Class Any spectators on the banks of the Lymington River on Friday afternoon (June 3rd) would be forgiven for thinking it was the early 1900s as ladies dressed in elegant long navy and white dresses joined gentlemen in reefers and caps and crews in white overalls, all preparing their classic wooden boats, that first raced in Southampton Water on 3rd June 1911, for the start of the XOD Lymington Division's celebration of the Class Centenary.

A fleet of 31 of these beautiful 21ft keelboats, first raced in 1911, mustered on the start line in the Solent. Lymington's resident fleet was joined by a dozen or so from the Yarmouth Division and members of the Itchenor and Parkstone divisions also attended.  

Despite a stiff easterly breeze, crews were determined to show off their period costumes to the spectators and resisted putting on their oilskins, instead choosing to get a little damp; no great hardship on the hottest day of the year so far.

The Royal Lymington Yacht Club, whose chief race officer Nigel Thomas himself looked rather grand dressed in a naval uniform of the period, set a windward-leeward course for the class across Lymington's river entrance. Pulling away from the start line very convincingly was the Fleet Captain William Norris in X 178 Beatrix, in close company with William Westmacott, grandson of the X's original designer, Alfred Westmacott in X 56 Xanthus and the Olympic bronze medallist (from 1968), and consistent top performer, Ado Jardine in X 140, Lucrezia. They exchanged the lead until the first mark, where Lucrezia got ahead, followed by Xanthus and Beatrix.

That order was maintained until the last beat when there was an exciting shift of position as Karl Thorne in X 34 Mersa in fourth split from the fleet and stood out into the stronger tide and better wind so that Xanthus, Mersa and Beatrix rounded the last mark almost together and followed Lucrezia downwind to the turning mark for the River.

The 'Best Dressed Crew' award went to the crew of X 119 Lonestar.  Thanks go to Danebury Vineyards, a Hampshire vineyard that sponsored the Edwardian Race Day reception.  -- Peta Stuart-Hunt

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Flirt has proven to be a highly competitive boat with regular race wins against TP52s and recently launched designs such as the Reichel Pugh 52. She is in excellent condition and ready for immediate racing at the highest level.

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The Last Word
A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds. -- Mark Twain

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