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The Tough Get Going
Photo by Amory Ross, Click on image to enlarge.

Newport, Rhode Island, USA: The sunshine burnt off the morning fog almost on cue as the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 got underway with six of the smallest yachts in the fleet beginning their journey across the Atlantic. A gentle breeze wafted in from the southeast to give the competitors some champagne sailing conditions, at least for the moment -- all of the yachts competing in the TR2011 know there are bound to be difficult times ahead.

Skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), local favorite Carina, a 48' sloop, got away to a great start, hugging the coast to escape a knot of foul current. Onboard are four fathers and five sons, as well as the youngest crew member in the race, Dirk Johnson, Jr. (Middletown, R.I.). At just 16 years of age Johnson has been sailing since he was a baby and has always wanted to sail across an ocean.

The Army Sailing Association's British Soldier currently leads the fleet on the water and her skipper, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Bate(Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.), was relishing the challenges that lay ahead, as he commented just before the start.

"The first goal for us is to get around Nantucket Shoals and then we'll head into the Atlantic proper. I love the open ocean and the big rolling waves. After a day or so the crew will settle into a routine. For me, the most marvelous thing about this race is enjoying the fun and banter with the crew, you just cannot get that anywhere else. There will be difficult times ahead, but we will battle through. We know that we will get some pretty foul weather, but we know that it will improve. The crew of British Soldier are not all highly experienced offshore sailors, but they are all good characters who can keep each other entertained when the going gets tough and I think that is priceless."

The next start is on Wednesday June 29 at 1350.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi, and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

Williams Victory at 2011 Portimao Portugal Match Cup
Portimao, Portugal: Ian Williams won his first World Match Racing Tour event in three years today sailing to victory at the Portimao Portugal Match Cup. The last time Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar tasted victory was at the Danish Open back in 2008, the same year that he was crowned World Champion for the second consecutive year.

Williams' victory over Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing in Portugal means there has been a different winner in each of the four completed stages of the 2011 Tour which is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested seasons in recent years.

Williams took down current Tour leader Bruni with two back-to-back wins in a wet and wild Final. The win shoots Team GAC Pindar up the World Match Racing Tour standings from tenth to third place, which at the halfway stage of the Tour is a huge boost for the 2007 and 2008 World Champion.

Results from 2011 Portimao Portugal Match Cup:
1.Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar
2. Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
4. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
5. Torvar Mirsky (AUS)The Wave Muscat
6. Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners
7. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
8. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
9. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
10. Alvaro Marinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team
11. Reuben Corbett (NZL) Aon Racing Team
12. Olli-Pekka Lumijarvi (FIN) Siragusawa Sailing Team

2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (after 4 stages):
1. Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing, 81 points
2. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, 58
3. Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar, 46
4. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 45
5. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat, 45
6. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 43
7. Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners, 40
8. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team, 35
9. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing, 31
10. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, 30

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J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race
Photo of Sundowner by Eddie Mays, Click on image to enlarge.

After a day dominated by the weather which threw everything it had to offer at the record-breaking fleet that competed in Saturday's 80th Anniversary J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, the last of the 1900+ yachts home, Pendragon of Dartmouth, a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40, made it across the finish line a mere three seconds before the line closed officially at 2200hrs, bagging themselves the 'Tenacity Trophy' at today's Prizegiving at the Island Sailing Club.

Some 16,000 sailors faced wind speeds of up to 28 knots and there were huge swells to contend with off the Needles and at St. Catherine's as the record-breaking fleet of 1,900 yachts undertook this most famous 50 nautical mile westabout Island circumnavigation on Saturday. A number of incidents were reported to the Coastguard, including 'Man Overboard' reports and capsizes as well as dismastings. There was a lot of sail damage across the fleet that ranged from high tech racers through to many smaller boats competing. However, a spokesman for the Race Management team at the Island Sailing Club, stressed that some of these incident reports were not attributable to the Race and were involving spectator boats rather than competitors.

Line Honours went to French skipper Lionel Lemonchois and his 50ft multihull Prince de Bretagne who were first to cross the finish line in 3hrs 49m and 58s.

Nick Rogers, who usually sails a 470 double-handed keelboat with partner Chris Grube, helmed Contessa 26 Sundowner to victory.

Rogers mastered difficult conditions to win the Gold Roman Bowl, awarded to the best corrected time around the 50-nautical mile course, after handicaps are calculated.

Winning the trophy has become something of a family affair in recent years, with uncle Jeremy Rogers claiming the coveted prize in 2002, 2003 and 2006.

"I've been trying for a while, it's a bit of a family tradition and I don't dare think how many times I've been round the Isle of Wight, so to have won is really pleasing," said Rogers.

Meanwhile, Ben Ainslie will also refocus sights on his London 2012 campaign after a 'fun' sail around the Solent in 30 knots of wind and 20 foot waves.

Ainslie helmed 40 foot yacht Keronimo with a crew that included Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood. He may have three Olympic golds but the 80-year old Gold Roman Bowl still remains elusive from his impressive resume.

He was hopeful of his chances of winning the top prize, won a record four times by former British prime minister Ted Heath, but the conditions, which weren't aided by a startline tussle with his one-time colleagues on Team Origin, who he skippered to last year's ISAF match racing world title, conspired against best-laid plans.

Enfant Terrible and Low Noise New ORCi World Champions
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Cres, Croatia: After a long week that featured weather conditions varying from 0 to nearly 30 knots, and amongst the largest fleet ever assembled for an ORCi championship event, two new ISAF offshore World Champions are crowned in Cres. Alberto Rossiʼs Farr 40 Enfant Terrible has won the crown over 55 rivals in Class A, and Giuseppe Giuffreʼs M37 Low Noise has won the top prize over 62 opponents in Class B. In a championship full of many twists and turns due to weather conditions and starting line controversies, these two emerged unscathed with 13 and 12-point margins of victory, respectively.

"This was a really difficult regatta," said Rossi, who is based in Ancona, Italy, "and I think our racing in the Farr 40 Class has really helped us. Our boat is stock - no modifications except for 200 kg in ballast - and our crew weight was just 20 kg different than the class limit. Even our sail inventory is the same." This is Rossiʼs first championship win in ORC racing.

Rossiʼs overall success was due in part to the huge points acquired by several of his rivals in yesterdayʼs plague of black flag penalties, rig failures and other accidents and mistakes. Todayʼs highly shifty Bura conditions, however, prevented race managers from finishing more than one race, even with a 2-hour early start time on the day, leaving the scorecard two short of the necessary 7 races needed for a discard.

Unlike Enfant Terrible, Low Noise is no stranger to the ORC podium, having earned their 2009 ORCi World Championship title in Brindisi. But like the Class A winner, Low Noise is only slightly-modified from the stock production M37 design. Designer Maurizio Cossutti reports that Low Noise has only a modified keel made for owner Giuffre, who hails from Milan.

The Silver medalists in Class A and B were, respectively, Richard Vojtaʼs Grand Soleil 42R05 Bohemia Express, whose mixed Czech, Portuguese and Brazilian team were happy to be back on the podium after narrowly missing out in last yearʼs Worlds in Flensburg, and Gianfranco Ciocceʼs Vallicelli-designed Comet 38S Scricca Indeco from Italy. Bronze medalists Class A and B were, respectively, Ricardo di Bartolomeoʼs GS42R05 Man (a sistership to Bohemia Express, but with a different keel), the reigning European Champion from Italy, and InnaVaclavovaʼs M37 Escandalo from the Czech Republic.

Corinthian Trophy winners were Peter Mosnyʼs Quebramar, a Judel/Vrloijk 42 from Slovakia, who finished 4th overall in Class A, and Escandalo in Class B. Owner-driver Award winners were Enfant Terrible in Class A, and Scricca Endeco in Class B. Winners of the most inshore races was the Croatian GS56 Marina Kastela in Class A, and Iacoppo Lacerraʼs NM 38S Rewind Energy Resources from Italy in Class B. Winners of the offshore races were Man in Class A and Claudio Semagiottoʼs Grand Soleil 40R Despeinada from Italy in Class B.

Complete results:

Running the Rhumblines
John Galloway laid further claim to the title as tactical master of Pioneer Bay when he helmed Queensland Marine Services to a runaway win in the Whitsunday Sailing Club Maurice Drent Boating Services series last week.

Skipper Galloway and crew well known for their ability to sail smart and fast in all wind and sea conditions clearly dominated when they claimed both the corrected time and line honours double. Queensland Marine Services is always rated among the top contenders to feature in the handicap places and her crew rarely pilot the comfortable cruiser racer to win line honours over the larger and faster Questionalble Logic, Another Fiasco and Reignition.

But that changed in the tricky wind system when both skipper John Galloway and crew sailed every wind variation on merit to win the line honours by 1 minute 59 seconds ahead of the Terry Archer steered AC 40 Questionable Logic while the former Rolex Sydney Hobart Performance handicap champion the Scott Jutson designed Another Fiasco finished third another 3 minutes18 seconds off the pace.

Selecting the best tactical options with the wind that blows over the deck has allowed the Queensland Marine Services crew to firm a strong grip on the five race Maurice Drent Boating Services trophy with their impressive 1-4-2-1 score.

Their consistency in all the sprint type races in recent months suggests that Queensland Marine Services providing they are not 'slugged' with an impossible handicap could be a front runner for a major place in the Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week regatta in August.

But meanwhile her crew buoyed with the result of outpacing the pacesetters Questionable Logic, Another Fiasco and Reignition to claim a rare line and handicap double last week will purposely focus their attention on maintaining a tidy tactical strategy.

Both skipper and crew will no doubt become a target for tactical attention when the sails are tensioned for the final race of the series.

However based on the result from last week the only challenge facing John Galloway is for the relatively modest skipper to prepare a speech when Club Commodore and rival skipper Kevin Fogarty presents him with the Maurice Drent Boating Services trophy.

This is a fitting reward for the skipper and crew who understand the value from outsailing the fleet by a commanding 4 minute 59 seconds to firm a vice type grip on the trophy.

But that result is now history and they will need to again sail tactically smart to protect their reputation as the fastest sailing team on Pioneer Bay this week. -- Ian Grant

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

Textiles to composites - Part 2
Buying into a barely proven technology and having to immediately replace the ingredients... Bill Pearson on the birth of 3Di production

Three-time America's Cup winner Matthew Mason has not been idle between the big events

Fork in the road
After 15 years in partnership with Marcelo Botin it is finally time to explore some new territory for South Africa's Shaun Carkeek

Seahorse build table - Kid sister
Javier Soto Acebal has a very modern new mini-MedCupper at quite an old-fashioned price

Sailor of the Month
Two legends from different sides of The Pond

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...

Azores and Back Race, Leg One
Click on image to enlarge.

Probably the fastest forty footer in the world, La Promesse, won the first leg of AZAB in a near record time of 6 days 03 hours when Dutch solo sailor Jan-Kees Lampe crossed the line at Ponte Delgada in St Miguel.

La Promesse has taken line honours no less than four times on this classic 1200 mile sprint from Falmouth to Ponte Delgada in the Azores, but this was her fastest time yet helped by some strong north westerlies and a new secret weapon as Jan Kees describes, "  I sailed the entire leg down to the island on a starboard tack with full main and during the first one and a half days, my Code Zero of 80sqm. On the second day I made 287nm in 24 hours. But  I have to admit that I had this tennis ball in my stomach for most of the time. When the wind had picked up to a level I thought was to much for the Code Zero I had a terrible fight with the thing to get it furled.

Even after I had bought a brand new Karver furler with a larger diameter, I heard myself shouting to the sail; "Who's the boss here? You can play tricks on me but you'll lose in the end!"

The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club attracted a very experienced  International field of ocean racers to this tenth edition of the Azores and Back race, second boat home was Frenchman Pierre-Yves Chatelain in his new 45 footer Destination Calais, closely followed by another  Dutch Ostar veteran Nico Budel in his Class 40 Hayai, both boats are Marc Lombard designs.  Rob Craigie also an Ostar class winner, sailing the J122 Jbellino took second in class 4 and second overall on IRC racing two handed with Charles Allen. Weather guru Chris Tibbs sailed a near perfect great circle in his J105 Taika to win Class 3.

Conditions were very favourable for the front runners with a north westerly breeze over the first four days until a cold front turned the fetch into a beat, a stiff test for the bulk of the fleet with gusts over 35 knots and big seas. The torment was extended as calms around the volcanic island trapped many of the crews, especially those who had been eagerly anticipating a cold beer in the marina that evening only to be rewarded with a late breakfast or even lunch. Their pain was eased by the hospitality of the very friendly hosts at the Clube Naval de Ponte Delgarda. -- Jerry Freeman

Result, first  leg  Class 4 IRC; 1 La Promesse, 2 Jbellino, 3 Jammy Dodger, 4 Destination Calais, 5 Ding Dong.

Result, first leg Class 3 IRC; 1 Taika , 2 Elixir, 3 Truant , 4 Comedy of Errors, 5 Fan Fan. 

Result, first leg Class 2 IRC; 1 Tamarind, 2 Vela Fresca, 3 Growler, 4 Slippery K, 5 Whistledown III

Result, first leg Class 1 IRC; 1 Franglais, 2 Strategem

Fireball Worlds: Another Frenzied Day on the Water!
From a wet and windy Sligo where another four races were sailed in a building SE wind, it became a case of the fittest having the most fun on the water. Granted there was a World title to be won but the weather took its toll on the fleet with many retrials before the day was done.

The role call of leaders at the first mark of each race was expanded today when Simon McGrotty & Tony Fitzgerald (IRL 14981), and Joerg Nolle & Roger Leeman (GER 14508) took the honours in Races 1 & 2 respectively.

The other races were lead around the weather mark by the "usual suspects".

The Provisional Results for the regatta have just been posted and the 1-2-3 reads as follows;

1. Matt Burge & Richard Wagstaff, 16 points
2. Tom Gillard & Sam Brearey, 16
3. David Wade & Simon Potts, 19

Everyone will sleep well tonight after their physical exertions.

Best of the Irish, in 10th overall is Noel Butler & Stephen Oram, followed by Kenny Rumball & Seamus Moore in 12th and Simon McGrotty & Tony Fitzgerald in 13th.

Leading lady is Derian Scott in 14th overall.

Zwitserleven Round Texel Race 2011
Texel/Netherlands: The fresh Dutch champions catamaran sailing, Mischa Heemskerk (NED) and Bastiaan Tentij (NED), also won the 34th Zwitserleven Round Texel Race on Saturday June 25. It commenced around 13.30 h in a spectacular way with a down wind start, thus with spinnakers hoisted. And that with a strong breeze force 5. This caused some capsizes and collisions, by which also some favourites were early out of the race. Next the low tide on the Wadden Sea was the decisive factor. Mitch and son Taylor Booth (AUS) took line honours after 2 hours, 49 minutes and 52 seconds. The best mixed team was Chris Sproat and Georgina Burke from England. There were many dropouts. Of the 400 boats started only 147 finished. Everywhere cats stranded, but there were no personal injuries.

With the Bouscholte brothers in their wake Mitch and Taylor Booth finished first this afternoon. Both teams sailed on a similar Nacra carbon 20. A proud father and current skipper of Team China in the America's Cup, Mitch Booth, reports of his race around the island. 'It is great to do this with my son. We really have fun together. This is back to the roots of sailing catamarans. The Round Texel Race is the pinnacle of the cat sport. It has been five years since we sailed this kind of boats. To be this successful at the first attempt makes me happy." They didn't get line honours for nothing. 'It was rather chaotic at the start, because the wind was strong and the course was dead down wind. After that the fleet spread and we could sail away from the smaller cats. It was exiting till the VC buoy on the Wadden Sea. Unfortunately the two teams in the lead, Xander Pols and Peter Vink, hit the ground pretty hard. We too, but we came off better than them. That was the decisive moment in the race. After that we kept the rest behind us."

Carolijn Brouwer and Jeroen van Leeuwen (NED) were very unfortunate to drop out before the start already with significant damage to their 16-foot Viper. They were serious podium candidates for the mixed multihull class and for a top result on handicap, but were unluckily hit by a Prindle 16. The same happened to the Britons William Sunnucks and Oliver Egan with their M20 Vampire. These favorites for line honours had to return to the Texel beach as well. Olympic sailor Renee Groeneveld survived her debut to beach cat sailing, but nosedived almost exactly at the gun and at the start line. 'It was a bit too much for a first time. But I have a new hobby', she laughs. -- Diana Bogaards

Top three line honours:
1. AUS - Booth/Booth
2. NED- Bouscholte/Bouscholte
3. NED - Pols/Larsen

Top three on handicap:
1. NED - Heemskerk/Tentij
2. NED- De Koning/Visser
3. AUS - Booth/Booth

Complete results at

Marion Bermuda Race Course Record Set
Photo by Spectrum Photography. Click on image to enlarge.

The big story of the race is LILLA, a Briand 76 (Skipper Simon Di Pietro) who set the Marion Bermuda Race course record with an elapsed time of 68:58:45 and a corrected time of 71:48:26. Previous course record was 72 hours. With a crew of 12 multinational crew members, they enjoyed quite a romp to the onion patch, making 10's and 11's consistently, with top speeds reaching 13.5. De Pietro's Class 'A' entry started the race at 1:30pm EDT from Buzzard's Bay Marion, Massachusetts last Friday and officially crossed the finish line at St David's Head, Bermuda at 11:28am on Monday, June 20.

Two formidable competitors came in behind Lilla, all of the top three boats hailing from Mattapoisett, MA. Pescatore, a Hinckley SW 59, with Skipper George Tougas, arrived in Bermuda with an elapsed time of 86:50:57 and corrected time of 78:20:17. In 3rd place arrived Margalo, a DP 48, with Skipper Chip Johns, who is also the Commodore of the Beverly Yacht Club, one of the three sponsoring clubs of the Marion Bermuda Race. Margalo arrived with an elapsed time of 87:43:42 and corrected time of 78:46:48.

Race Results may be found here:

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The Last Word
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