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Solitaire Du Figaro Underway
Photo Alexis Courcoux Jean-Christophe Marmara/Le Figaro. Click on image to enlarge.

Figaro The 42nd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro race got off to a good start on Sunday in Perros Guirec, despite the light five-knot westerly breeze and unusual downwind start. Hundreds of fans lined the cliffs and crowded onto the many spectator boats to see the fleet of Figaro sailors set off on the first 320-mile leg of the four stage month long race. Treated to a colourful downwind spinnaker start at 11 am, which was fired by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French Minister for the Environment, the crowds watched on as the fleet headed off to the first mark blanketed by a curtain of mist and haze.

Nicolas Lunven (Generali), winner of the 2009 edition, reached the Radio France mark first, two miles into the race, followed by Thomas Rouxel (Bretagne-Credit Mutuel Performance) and Eric Drouglazet's shocking pink Luisina spinnaker rounding in third. Sam Goodchild (Artemis), the first British entry and youngest competitor as well as first sailor rookie, rounding in seventh. Notably Isabelle Joschke (Galettes Saint Michel), the Franco-German sailor competing on her fourth Solitaire with a new sponsor, fought her way out of the busy start line and rounded in sixth place.

Spinnakers were swiftly packed away and genoas raised to sail with care round, leaving to starboard the rocks at the the Seven Islands or Sept Iles plateau, before the 90 mile crossing of the English Channel to Hands Deep, the next waypoint, in Plymouth Sound. It looks like the fleet will have a dark first night with little moonlight and a low gradient breeze as the damp and light front travels across the Channel from West to East and dies out on the approach to the southern English coastline. Rounding the next point of passage at Hands Deep buoy off Plymouth could be further complicated by the turning tide at 07:00.

Follow the progress the skippers make with the position reports and rankings will from 16:00 local French time, updated 5 times a day.

The first leg takes the fleet from Perros Guirec to Caen.

Top ten in the weekend's Prologue

1. Alexis Littoz-Baritel, Savoie Mont-Blanc
2. Eric Drouglazet, Luisina
3. Duthil Frederic, Sepalumic
4. Charlie Dalin, Keopsys
5. Eric Peron, Macif 2009
6. Paul Meilhat, Macif 2011
7. Laurent Pellecuer, Architecture Jp Monier - L'Option Sud
8. Laurent Gouezigoux, Valorisons
9. Erwan Tabarly, Nacarat
10. Conrad Humphreys, DMS

Spectacular Start to Clipper 11-12 Round The World Yacht Race
Photo by onEdition. Click on image for photo gallery.

Clipper 11-12 Round The World Yacht Race Southampton, UK: The Royal Navy's helicopter carrier, HMS Illustrious, and a fleet of hundreds of spectator boats gave a spectacular send off to the amateur crews on board the ten yachts competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

The event, 'raced by people like you', is the world's longest ocean race at 40,000 miles and set off from Southampton this afternoon. It is the first time since 2004 that a round the world yacht race has started from the iconic sailing grounds of the Solent and the large community of sailing and boating enthusiasts turned out in force to witness the spectacle under blue skies and eight to ten knots of breeze.

The south south easterly direction of the wind prompted Race Director, Joff Bailey, to opt for the course that took the yachts from west to east across the start line when the cannon fired at the Royal Yacht Squadron. First to charge across, and clearly intent on keeping the Clipper Trophy Down Under, was race debutant, Gold Coast Australia, closely followed by compatriots Geraldton Western Australia. Keppel Corporation-sponsored Singapore also made a strong start to in third place across the start line, with New York, De Lage Landen and the bright pink Welcome to Yorkshire in hot pursuit. Visit Finland was next with the dragon of Qingdao breathing down their neck. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Derry-Londonderry completed the order on the start line as the fleet chased across the Solent towards the first mark at Stokes Bay in Gosport, where the race is headquartered and where hundreds more spectators were watching from the beach.

By the first mark Gold Coast Australia had extended their lead to a quarter of a mile while Singapore had moved up to second, with Geraldton Western Australia nipping at their heels. Visit Finland had gained two places to round it fourth.

Positions will be updated every three hours on the race viewer on the official website,

Arkadiy Kistanov Maintains Lead To Win Finn Silver Cup
Photo by Anna Geroeva. Click on image for photo gallery.

Finn Silver Cup Leading from the first race to the end, Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) kept his head on the final day of the Finn Silver Cup in Moscow to win the Junior World Championship after three more races were sailed. Milosz Wojewski (POL) had a great last day to climb to second overall, while team mate Artur Ponieczynski (POL) dropped one place to take third overall.

The weather brought some tricky wind on the final day in Moscow. Basically it was determined by clouds, with gusts up to 10 knots and lulls down at 3 knots.

There were four other Russian sailors in the top 10, an indication of the hard work and determination that has gone into the strong Russian youth team. Kistanov led from the opening race and though he had his worst results of the regatta on the final day managed to keep his head and stay just ahead of the two fast approaching Poles on points.

It was not the easiest regatta in terms of the conditions on the water, so the fact that he managed to maintain the lead through eight tricky races perhaps signals the start of a great Finn career ahead. However all of these strong, fit, young sailors are the Finn heroes of the future. It will be fascinating to see them develop over the years and many already have their eyes set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. -- Robert Deaves

Top 10 after 8 races (38 entries)
1. Arkadiy Kistanov, RUS, 35 points
2. Milosz Wojewski, POL, 43
3. Artur Ponieczynski, POL, 46
4. Andrey Yanitsky, RUS, 61
5. Julian Massler, GER, 65
6. Robert Bakoczy, HUN, 67
7. Dimitar Vangelov, BUL, 72
8. Viktor Filippov, RUS, 73
9. Victor Pilgunov, RUS, 75
10. Egor Terpigorev, RUS, 86

The Hong Kong Sailing Federation (Hksf) Is Looking To Fill The Following Positions
(i) Coaching Director, and
(ii) Short-Term Racing Coach

(i) Coaching Director: The position of Coaching Director is a new appointment in the national authority's organisation. The successful candidate will be required to assume total responsibility for reviewing, modifying and updating, where proved appropriate, the Federation's current policies and procedures in respect of programmes for Dinghy Instructor training, Elite Athlete and Racing Coach training, Safety at Sea Survival certification courses , knowledge and the ability to teach the HK PVOL course are also preferable.

The Coaching Director will thereafter assume responsibility for organising and overseeing the aforesaid programmes, including conducting inspections of Recognized Teaching Centres in Hong Kong.

Applicants for this post are expected to be well experienced sailors and holders of valid and suitable qualifications (equivalent to RYA qualifications) to function effectively in the following aspects:

(1) as a qualified Coach in varies disciplines which shall include, but is not limited to,
Dinghy, Keelboat, Multihull, Power Boat etc;
(2) as a qualified Personal Watercraft Trainer;
(3) as a qualified Teaching Centre Inspector;
(4) as a qualified Sea Survival Instructor;
(5) as a qualified First Aid Instructor;

and must have extensive experience in dinghy instructor and elite athlete training.

(ii) Short-Term Racing Coach: The position of Racing Coach is offered for a very limited period, in the first instance, from 26 Nov 2011 to 25 Feb 2012. The successful applicant will be engaged for the purpose of providing intensive training and preparation of Hong Kong athletes in the Optimist, 420, and Laser Radial and 4.7 classes, for the Asian Sailing Championships in Malaysia from 16 to 25 February 2012.

Applicants for this post are expected to have extensive experience and successful records in coaching athletes for competition at Championship level in the above youth classes, founded on their own successful careers in racing at World Championship, or equivalent, levels.

Interested applicants shall send their application with full CV details and expected salary to for consideration on or before 2 August 2011. Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview. If you receive no reply by 17 August 2011, you may consider your application unsuccessful.

Slingsby Wins D-One Gold Cup
Click on image to enlarge.

D-One Gold Cup Riva del Garda, Italy: Tom Slingsby turned the closing race of the 2011 D-One Gold Cup into his own personal parade on the waters off Fraglia Vela Riva del Garda. Going into the medal race that carried double points with no possibility of being discarded the overall score table was still wide open and a few duels were expected within the fleet for the individual podium spots. The first attempt at running a race was short lived and had to be canceled towards the end of the first run when the early-morning northerly (Peler) died down. The intense duel between Thompson and Glinsby would have to be repeated. After a half-an-hour wait, the "Ora" (the southerly breeze on Lake Garda) kicked in earlier than expected and gave the race committee the opportunity to give a second start at 11am.

That race proved to be a non-event, even with a light breeze between 6 and 8 knots. The Australian had a conservative start but thanks to his boat speed and excellent helming, he managed to build a lead of more than 100 meters at the first weather mark over second-placed Giles Scott. Slingsby then extended the lead to over 200 meters at the finish line. A finish in ninth place for Andrea Casale meant Scott was victorious in his duel third podium spot as the Italian finished ninth in the medal race. Argentina's Agustín Zabalua, winner of the 2010 Gold Cup, scored an excellent third place and finished eleventh overall.

As a result, Tom Slingsby wins the second edition of the D-One Gold Cup and proves that the dinghy designed by Luca Devoti, when helmed by Olympic champions, can reach excellent speed and provide an impressive show on water. It is important pointing out that the top five skippers in the overall leaderboard weighed between 80kg and 98kg in a windy venue like Riva del Garda, a very wide range for dinghies.

The next edition of the D-One Gold Cup will take place in Tuscany, near the end of next year's summer. The 2011 Volvo Cup D-One, after the events in Alassio, Bracciano, Cattolica and Riva del Garda, will proceed to Marina di Scarlino in conjunction with the National Championship (16-18 September) and the Barcolina of Trieste (1-2 October).

Tom Slingsby comments on his victory and the D-One class:

Top ten final results
1. Tom Slingsby, AUS, 8 points
2. Nick Thompson, GBR, 16
3. Giles Scott, GBR, 22
4. Andrea Casale, ITA, 35
5. Matt Howeard, GBR, 48
6. Charlie Cumbley, GBR, 51
7. Michael Maier, CZE, 74
8. Giorgio Poggi, ITA, 75
9. Fabio Toccoli, ITA, 75
10. Riccardo Pontremoli, ITA, 75

Compete In Two US Women's Grade 1s For The Price Of One (Almost)!
The Santa Maria Cup (Sep 28- Oct 1) and Rolex Osprey Cup (Oct 5 - 8) have openings for a few more international teams. Scheduled back to back, these events provide an International team with the unique opportunity to spend minimal time and money to participate in two excellent grade 1 events.

The Santa Maria Cup is in Annapolis MD with racing starting on Sep 28 - Oct 1, and sailed in J-22s. The Rolex Osprey Cup is in St. Petersburg, FL racing from Oct 5 - 8 in Sonars. Both events require a 4 person team. St. Petersburg and Annapolis are just a short flight apart, with many flights scheduled each day.

Please contact Jeff Borland ( ) for information on the Santa Maria Cup, and Pat Seidenspinner ( ) for information on the Rolex Osprey Cup.

Heading Home To England
It could be a case of 'Lie back and think of England' for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker over the coming days after his team set off from Cascais to complete their 2,000 mile Volvo Ocean Race qualifier.

Walker, twice an Olympic silver medallist for Britain, is eager to reach England and show off the team's new Volvo Open 70, Azzam but the immediate goal is to complete a series of tests with the boat .

"We have some specific data gathering speed tests to run and we may run the boat so that we test by day and rest by night," Walker told before setting off.

"These are important days in terms of time on the boat. It is very hard to do downwind testing normally as you go so fast it takes forever to get back upwind. If we can do some downwind testing we will take the chance."

The run from Cascais to England -- where they will compete in the Fastnet Race starting August 14 -- gives the crew a dress rehearsal of sorts for one of the later legs in the 2011-12 race, from Lisbon to Lorient in France.

"The forecast is quite changeable. A few days ago it looked dreadful with lots of light air upwind. Now it looks like we can head west quickly before getting an angle to get north and a system to bring us back east to the UK. It looks like we get a mixed bag but we should get some fast reaching which is what we all enjoy."

Walker and his team are in something of a race against time, having got their boat in the water later than most of the other teams, and the pace will hardly slack with a competitive test in the Fastnet, against Volvo Ocean Race rivals Groupama and Team Sanya, coming up soon.

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Running The Rhumblines
Click on image to enlarge.

Whitsunday Islands Victorian Michael Hiatt has again welcomed the opportunity to escape the chill factor associated with Southern Ocean south westerlies by steering his Farr 55 Living Doll towards the warmer winter climate racing in the Whitsunday Islands.

Michael Hiatt the Living Doll fashion label chief executive and his experienced crew of ocean racing sailors including Volvo Globe race navigator Will Oxley sailing master Ross Lloyd and Ben Lamb are on the long haul to defend their Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week IRC championship later this month.

All are very familiar with the picturesque coastal scenery between the cold Victorian port of Williamstown and the friendly winter yachting paradise of Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island and have capped the experience by winning the past two "tropical shirt' regattas hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

When the friendly Michael Hiatt accepted the championship trophy in 2010 he said" The Living Doll crew will be back for more racing in a warm friendly environment in 2011"

They have kept that promise and remain as the favourite to win their third consecutive grand prix title series in what is promising to be another highly competitive tactical regatta over the demanding Whitsunday Sailing Club courses.

Unfortunately an over sight on not listing the entries on the official Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week web site prevents an analysis to evaluate the possible challengers to the Living Doll crew.

However judging by the commitment and experience which has allowed the Living Doll crew to test their boat speed against Australia's best in the Audi Sydney to Gold coast race has again revealed they will be race ready to defend their title.

Whitsunday Sailing Club's Tasar Australian championship silver medallist Aaron Linton who has been the local knowledge expert with Living Doll racing team will again be on deck for the series.

Linton's knowledge combined with owner/skipper Michael Hiatt and Ben Lamb paved the way for Living Doll to dominate the regatta in 2010.

Last August Living Doll showed she was among Australia's best performing IRC class racing yachts and they are returning to protect that reputation when the annual Whitsunday Festival of Sails officially starts with the 31n/ml Double Cone Armit Island race on Friday August 12th.

They set up the series win with an impressive line and corrected handicap victory winning the opening Island passage race last year and their current results suggest they remain as a strong contender to also win the Audi Australian IRC championship final at Hamilton Island on August 27th. -- Ian Grant

RORC Channel Race
The RORC fleet set off east under spinnaker for the start of the 122 mile race. Harry Heijst's Winsome, got probably the best start of the entire fleet hugging the island shore in the best of the early tide. Despite the fickle breeze the 98 yachts in the fleet made relatively good speed past Hurst Castle. However in the vicinity of the Bridge Light Buoy the wind faded away causing the fleet to compress. The high performance yachts watched their chance of overall victory evaporate; time was most definitely not on their side.

The leg to St Catherine's was painful and as the new breeze filled in from the South West it was those who were offshore that benefitted. There were several retirements but those that stuck it out were rewarded with some excellent sailing in a moderate breeze once they got to Bembridge Ledge.

The shy reach east to Saltdean Light Buoy (off Brighton) favoured the yachts carrying asymmetric spinnakers and by the time the fleet finished back in the Solent it was a glorious day with fair winds for a wonderful finale to the race.

David Aisher's J/109, Yeoman of Wight, crewed by the British Keelboat Academy were the overall winners in a large fleet taking the Channel Challenge Cup.

In IRC Zero, Johnny Vincent's TP 52, Pace, scored a notable victory over IRC Zero RORC Season's Points Leader Venomous, skippered by Derek Saunders and Andres Soriano's Mills 68, Alegre.

In IRC One, Mark Devereux's Swan 42, Brevity, claimed their first class win of the season beating the current RORC Season's Points Championship leader Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens. Jonathan Goring's Ker 40, Keronimo, was third in class.

IRC Two produced a titanic battle between two J/122s, Neil Kipling's Joopster, and Alain Catherineau's Lorelei. Joopster won class by just under three minutes on corrected time. Quokka 8, sailed by Sailing Logic, took line honours for the class and was just five minutes short of eclipsing the winner after time correction.

IRC Three was won by Yeoman of Wight, second was Tor McLaren's J/109, Inspara, with Peter Olden's A 35, Solan Goose of Hamble, third.

IRC Four saw a clean sweep of podium places for French yachts. Nicolas de la Fourniere's X-34, Exile/Mirabaud, was first in both IRC Four and the Two-Handed Class. Frederic Waniart's Aphrodite 101, Vim, and Pierre Viard's Prism 28, Adrenaline, were second and third in IRC Four, respectively. -- Louay Habib

The Noble Marine Enterprise UK National Championships
The Noble Marine Enterprise National Championships at Looe Sailing Club saw mixed fortunes with only three races sailed. With gloriously sunny weather onshore the wind failed to materialise leaving the race officers doing a valiant job trying to find enough breeze to get the 59 strong fleet racing.

The Enterprise Class continues to attract a keen fleet of all ages and abilities, from Fireball European Champion Sam Dreary and 470 campaigner Christian Birrell and his brother Paralympic sailor Nicky Birrell; to young crews aged only 10, junior helms, married couples and masters to ages well beyond 40! Back in the fleet this year were past Ent campaigners Pete Vincent and Phil Ford who joined boats and crews who had travelled from as far afield as Scotland to enjoy the Championship camaraderie. The excellent racing on Sunday and Monday resulted in three races, a number sufficient to qualify for a National Championship Series.

Overall results
1. Christian Birrell and Sam Breary from Weymouth SC. 7 points
2. Paul Hobson and Libby Allen from Warsash SC and Bristol Corinthian SC 8 points
3. Tim Sadler and Hannah Sadler from Yorkshire Dales SC 15 points
4. Pete Lawson and Gareth Balfour from Bassenthwaite SC 18 points

Category prizes were 1st Master Paul Hobson
1st Junior under 18 to Libby Allen who also won the much coveted 1st Lady prize Generation Tray won by Tim and daughter Hannah Sadler
1st Helm under 18 won by Callum McKenzie and crewed by brother Rory McKenzie from Ogston SC
1st Married couple and 1st helm over 60 won by Brian and Linda Cumming
1st Lady helm won by Jane Scutt crewed by husband Nick Scutt from Middle Nene sc.

Next Years nationals will take place at Tenby SC from 11-18 August.

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 Heather Wood, via Norm Bailey: Guy Waites on board Red Admiral departed the Newport Yacht Club at 1500 Local time. As is our custom, a cannon was fired (by George our Dock Master) as Red Admiral passed in front of the Club in recognition of a Sailor's accomplishments and determination.

Red Admiral headed out of the harbour as the music was playing at the Newport Folk Festival/ Ft Adams.

Guy has just sent me a picture of the R2 buoy as he passed out of Narragansett Bay. I am sure he will enjoy a lovely starboard tack this evening as he heads South of Nantucket and ESE toward the Azores.

It is a beautiful afternoon. Clear skies, SW breeze, 10-12 knots. All the weather forecasts that I have seen are just like today, beautiful.

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The Last Word
If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up. -- Hunter S. Thompson

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