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Golding and Sanso on Podium
Photo courtesy Mike Golding Racing. Click on image to enlarge.

Transat Jacques Vabre Looking surprisingly relaxed given the slow light winds which had slowed them through their final miles, Mike Golding and Javier Sanso fin ished the Transat Jacques Vabre on a perfect Caribbean morning, arriving into Costa Rica's historic Puerto Limon - where in 1502 Christopher Columbus landed - to secure a hard won third place in race which winner Marc Guillemot had described as the toughest of his career.

Sailing upwind through the gentle, long swell in just a gentle breeze Golding and Sanso eased the IMOCA Open 60 Mike Golding Yacht Racing through the finish line in the early morning to be greeted by a large, colourful and noisy crowd. Mike Golding Yacht Racing finished at 8:59 in the morning, Costa Rica time, 14:59h GMT. Their time for the course from Le Havre is 17 days, 1 hour, 29 minutes and 38 seconds, finishing 1 day, 6 hours, 7 minutes and 28 seconds after the first placed IMOCA Open 60 monohull Safran.

The duo played their stealth card for the final stage of the race, a spoiler just in case there was any unexpected, major slow down in the final hours of the race, but in the end it was not needed as they never stopped moving through the last hours, trimming hard until the finish gun confirmed their success.

For Golding's sixth Transat Jacques Vabre, it is the fourth time he has been in the top three, sailing three different IMOCA Open 60's. But this was one of the toughest races, he explained on the dock. As well as two big storms which battered them through the second part of the first week, the duo struggled with a debilitating sequence of small problems which affected their ability to stay with the electric pace set by the leading pair, Safran and G roupe Bel.

But, given that their partnership was only forged a couple of weeks before the start, both were openly happy with their third placed finish.

Having lost his mast while leading the Vendee Globe which has then lead to a long re-fit for his IMOCA Open 60 which included updating the head of the keel, Golding has not sailed many miles with the re-fitted boat this summer.

For Sanso's perspective he was delighted with the result especially after the storm shortly after the start and the electrical issues in the closing stages: "It was a pretty tough race and we are happy with the result. Certainly when I look back and remember being in Le Havre and looking around at the standard of the fleet, and all the rock-stars of the IMOCA Open 60 world, I am very pleased to be in here with this result. Yes, it is a little frustrating that we had our problems which held us back, our electrics, battery and engine problems, but in the end it is a good result to be proud of. It was tough in the big storm. I don't mind telling you we were down bel ow for a time just ready for whatever was going to happen, lifejackets on, harnesses on, but the thing is it was so bad outside I don't know what we would have done."

Another Day In Court... And It Now Could Be May...
From Fred Meyer, Commodore, Societe Nautique de Geneve:

The America's Cup Defender, Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), today argued before the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in defence of two of the Defender's fundamental rights as per the Deed of Gift: the right to choose the venue and the right to race a challenger that complies with the Deed of Gift measurement requirements.

"The Defender is hopeful the five Judges of the Appellate Division will respect and uphold its Deed of Gift right to select the venue and to define the rules as has been the case for 158 years and 32 editions of the America's Cup. If Justice Kornreich's decision is upheld, it would be the first time in the history of the America's Cup that the Defender is deprived of its fundamental right to choose the venue. We expect a swift decision from the court in order to move ahead with the 33rd America's Cup and at last return it to the water," said SNG vice-commodore Fred Meyer.

On the matter of selecting a venue and on the matter of the rules of the America's Cup, the Deed of Gift clearly states: 'These ocean courses shall be [...] selected by the Club holding the Cup; and these races shall be sailed subject to its rules and sailing regulations [...]'

The Deed of Gift stipulates that racing for the America's Cup between 1 November and 1 May must take place in the Southern Hemisphere, but Justice Cahn's 12 May 2008 New York Supreme Court Order 'that the location of the match shall be in Valencia, Spain, or any other location selected by the SNG' led the America's Cup defending yacht club, Societe Nautique de Geneve, to select Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

The Emirati venue was selected for several reasons: the suitability of the weather conditions for a February Deed of Gift Match, the infrastructure offered by the country and the experience of the UAE in organising world class sporting events.

* And from Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club Spokesperson:

In its continuing effort to host the 33rd America's Cup in Ras Al Khaimah, today Societe Nautique de Geneve asked the Appellate Division to reverse the October 27 Supreme Court decision which had declared RAK as non-compliant with the governing Deed of Gift.

In recent weeks, SNG has publicly committed to Valencia as the venue, even while attempting to re-instate Ras Al Khaimah via appeal, as well as floating Australia as a possible venue.

Today SNG also requested that, if the Appellate Court does not reinstate RAK in February, the 33rd Match be delayed from February until May 2010. SNG argued that this was to allow it to choose a venue in the Northern Hemisphere that would be Deed-compliant even though both SNG and GGYC had previously agreed to Valencia by mutual consent.

Additionally, SNG asked the Appellate Court to reinstate SNG's own peculiar measurement method that would include rudders in the crucial Length on Load Water-Line calculation. The effect of this abnormal practice, never before used in the America's Cup, would be to disqualify GGYC's yacht. The Supreme Court ruled against SNG's measurement method last month. We appreciate the Appellate Court having handled SNG's appeal on an expedited basis, and we look forward to its decision.

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Britons Break French Domination at Dart 18 Worlds
Photo by Steve Arkley,
Dart 18 Worlds Aruba: Finally, the British duo David Lloyd and Joanna Jones-Pierce broke the French domination at the Dart 18 Worlds 2009 in Aruba. They managed to steal one bullet from the leaders Emmanuel Dode and Fred Moreau. The three scheduled races could be sailed in a building breeze, starting with about 20 knots in the morning. At the first start in the afternoon, a shower with gale-force winds hit the open class of the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta. The runners-up John Moret and Paul Smissaert pitch poled and destroyed their F18 mainsail. The competition in the Dart 18 fleet was full on, with the Swiss team Heynisch/Gysi as newcomer to the top five. The podium positions changed in both classes.

It was a busy time for the rescue boats of the Aruba Watersports Center, as many boats capsized and several helmsmen fell overboard and had to be picked up.

"I have never ever started with 40 knots breeze", said Xander Pols on the beach. Just before the first race in the afternoon, a squall with gale force winds came over. John Moret and Paul Smissaert tried to bear away for the line, but pitch poled. That was already the second unfortunate moment for the Dutch F18 sailors on this fourth day. Their mainsail came undone in the morning, so they missed the first gun and fought back to a sixth position. But the second time of bad luck put an end to today's racing, as they fell through the mainsail and they struggled to get the boat upright again. Leo Ambtman and Maarten Kroon (NED) sailed their Tornado well and overtook the second position overall.

The program for Thursday includes another three races in windy conditions.

Top five Dart 18 Worlds 2009 after five races and one discard:

1. Emmanuel Dode & Fred Moreau, FRA, 5 points
2. David Lloyd & Joanna Jones-Pierce, GBR, 13
3. Matthias Huber & Dominik Volke, GER, 15
4. Ruud Goudriaan & Bart Damen, NED, 20
5. Werner Heynisch & Markus Gysi, SUI, 30

Top three Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta after races and one discard:

1. Xander & Mark Pols, NED, 5
2. Leo Ambtman & Maarten Kroon, NED, 26.5
3. John Moret & Paul Smissaert, NED, 28

The Mystery Ship Reappears
Photo credit: Ken D'Angelo. Click on image to enlarge.

Mystery Ship Reappears For years, storms along the Alabama coast have often exposed the wreckage of a sailing ship that locals suspected was a Civil War blockade runner or a Prohibition-era rum runner or various vessels in between.

When Tropical Storm Ida struck Nov. 10, the charred wooden hull reappeared on the beach six miles east of Fort Morgan in Baldwin County.

The wreck is most likely to be the three-masted schooner Rachel, which ran aground on the peninsula in the first half of the 1900s, according to Mike Bailey, Fort Morgan events coordinator.

"We're 95 percent sure that's it. At 155 feet long, it was one of the largest Biloxi schooners built," he said.

"It was built as a lumber schooner and was carrying a load of lumber when it ran into a storm. It didn't have a full crew and they couldn't handle the ship in the storm. They put out an anchor, but it ran aground."

The Rachel was built by John DeAngelo in Moss Point in 1918.

The ship wreckage has reappeared on the beach, usually after storms, for at least 40 years. A Jan. 11, 1970, story in the Press-Register described how an archaeology team from Mobile College, now the University of Mobile, studied the wreckage after it had been uncovered by Hurricane Camille in 1969.

At that time, archaeologists suggested that the debris was the Monticello, a two-masted schooner with a Civil War story to tell.

The Monticello sailed from Mobile on June 28, 1862, aiming to evade the Union blockade and head to Havana. But two Union gunboats attacked, and the schooner ran aground about six miles east of Fort Morgan.

Union forces burned the Monticello, according to the 1970 story.

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Chart of the Isle of Wight. Click on image to enlarge.

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Hugo Boss Repaired and Heading Back to the UK
Having made the difficult decision last week to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre, HUGO BOSS skippers Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel re-routed and made their way to the port of Horta in The Azores. The collision with an unidentified object in the water on the previous evening had caused damage to the starboard bow which although they had successfully stabilised, was not possible to repair whilst at sea.

HUGO BOSS arrived into the port of Horta at 0230 local time on Thursday 19th November. The team on the ground had a small weather window in which to lift HUGO BOSS from the water ahead of the impending high winds and create a temporary repair before the next low pressure system set in.

Once the external hull was sealed, HUGO BOSS was lifted back into the water, where an internal temporary repair was affected. The work in Horta will allow a safe delivery back to the UK where a full repair will take place.

With all repairs complete the shore team left Horta on Saturday evening, for the 1,300 mile delivery to the UK. The team were keen to take advantage of the existing favourable conditions, which would allow for a good downwind passage back to the HUGO BOSS base in Gosport. The current eta for the boat is Friday 27th November.

Alex, Ross and the HUGO BOSS team would like to thank everyone in Horta for all their support and assistance, particularly the Harbour Authorities without whom the repair would not have been possible.

The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012
The International Sailing Federation announced today that, as a result of actions taken by the ISAF Racing Rules Committee and the ISAF Council during the ISAF Annual Conference, several changes in The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 will take effect on 1 January 2010.

Rule 18.2(c) will be changed to prohibit a newly discovered and potentially dangerous tactic that was an unintended consequence of the current wording of this rule. The revised rule will no longer permit a boat to tack just before she reaches a mark and, as a result of her tack, become entitled to mark-room from boats that had been clear ahead of her when they reached the zone. A parallel change in rule B3.1(c) outlaws a similar tactic in a sailboard race.

The definition Obstruction will be changed so that a boat racing will no longer be an obstruction to other boats that are required to give her room or mark-room. This change will simplify the analysis of some situations near a mark in which both rules 18 and 19 apply, and it will not otherwise change the 'game'.

Additions will be made to the definition Party to correct unintended omissions. The revised definition will mean that, whenever redress is requested for a boat by the race committee or considered for a boat by the protest committee, that boat will be a party to the resulting hearing. Also, a race committee that requests redress for a boat will also become a party when its request is heard.

A new rule, rule C2.12, will be added to the Match Racing Rules. It will prohibit a tactic at the windward mark that the match racing community does not wish to allow.

After the 2009 rulebook was printed, ISAF revised its Advertising Code and, in so doing, eliminated all references to Category A advertising. References to the Advertising Code in Appendices J, K and L will be changed to make them consistent with the revised Code.

Changes made in detail:

David Thomson / Alex Alley for the Global Ocean Race 2011-12
British yachtsman, Alex Alley, was the sixth entry to sign-up for the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 and while the total number of confirmed entries now stands at nine Class40s, Alex is the second team to formally announce a co-skipper for the circumnavigation. Earlier this week, he verified that Gosport based, offshore sailor, David Thomson, will be co-skipper in The People's Boat campaign.

Thomson competed in the Portimao Global Ocean Race 2008-09 taking third place in the double-handed class with Jeremy Salvesen, an adventurer and entrepreneur, on the Akilaria Class40, Team Mowgli.

Thomson - aged 34, five years younger than Alley - has very broad experience as a professional racer, sailing teacher and project manager. He has broken several world speed records as crew on the maxi-catamaran Playstation, competed in the America's Cup and Classic British Yacht Regattas and has also sailed on many of the latest generation IMOCA Open 60s, including Hugo Boss currently being campaigned by his brother, Alex.

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 Peter Cook: The report states 'However, owing to the increasing wind strength (between 20 and 28 knots) and direction of the swell, the towing line repeatedly pulled deck cleats off the lightweight racing yacht'. So what is surprising about that? How un-seamanlike! It was perfectly predictable. One deck cleat pulls out and they then attach it to others - which then pull out. The towing line should never have been attached to a cleat in the first place.

Even with substantially-built yachts with cleats or windlasses through-bolted to something solid the only place to secure a tow is round the mast - the strongest towing anchorage available. On a modern, lightly-constructed yacht this is even more relevant. If the report is accurate, what were these people doing attempting an Atlantic crossing without this piece of basic knowledge?

I hope that they make a substantial contribution to the Spanish Maritime Rescue Service.

Featured Brokerage
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Back on Monday
Your humble narrator is taking the next few days off to indulge in some socially sanctioned gluttony... back on Monday!

The Last Word
Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger. -- Abbie Hoffman

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