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Jean-Pierre Nicol Slips Through Into Figaro Lead
There has been plenty of action in the first 24 hours of racing on the second leg of La Solitaire du Figaro from Caen to Dún Laoghaire, Dublin. Jean-Pierre Nicol, racing on board Bernard Controls moves into the lead following the bold decision to race in close to shore through the rocky area round the Cherbourg peninsula this morning, whilst David Sineau (Britanie Cosmetiques) is forced to abandon the race as a result of the damage suffered after hitting the rocks close to Barfleur.

Twenty to twenty five knots of established breeze from the West, North-West continues to propel the fleet on the upwind slog across the English Channel towards Land's End, the next point of passage, where the leaders are expected late Monday and early hours of Tuesday morning.

Soon after Sunday's start the fleet was hit by a strong squall which left Louis Maurice Tannyeres (St. Ericsson) with a ripped genoa and the accompanying French Naval Patrol ship, PSP Cormoran saving some drifting paddlers and holidaying fisherman from being swept out into the Channel. Overnight the solo sailors covered the first 120 miles from Caen across the Cotentin coastline, round the Cherbourg peninsula and down between Sark and Hern to round Guernsey a relatively strong 25 knots of wind, gusting 35. Local knowledge of the tricky tidal currents and rocky seaboard came in handy as the fleet negotiated the complicated passages; Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) being the boldest to sail on the inside of the Gros du Raz lighthouse through a very narrow channel in rough seas. The gamble paid off to give him a mile advantage over the chasing pack.

The 40 strong members of the shore operations and race management have arrived to Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club to prepare for the arrival of the 46 skippers expected on Wednesday 10th of August.

Editor's note: release above written before latest placings, which now has Eric Drouglazet in the lead by just one tenth of a mile. The entire top ten are within 1.3 nm of each other.

Top ten at 1900 hours French Time Monday evening:

1. Eric Drouglazet, Luisina, 278.90 nm to leg 2 finish
2. Jean-Pierre Nicol, Bernard Controls, .10 nm to leader
3. Jeremie Beyou, BPI, .50
4. Erwan Tabarly, Nacarat, .70
5. Morgan Lagraviere, Vendee, .70
6. Thierry Chabagny, Gedimat, .80
7. Frederic Duthil, Sepalumic, .80
8. Adrien Hardy, AGIR Recouvrement, 1.10
9. Gildas Morvan, Cercle Vert, 1.20
10. Laurent Pellecuer, Atelier D'architecture Jean Pierre Monier, 1.30

www.lasolitaire.com

Loick Peyron at Cascais
Energy Team finished this weekend of racing in Cascais feeling satisfied that they had done as much as they could after just ten days of learning to sail the AC45. At the conclusion of these four races, even if the top teams are the favourites, this first weekend is seen as satisfactory for the French team, after their battle alongside the big names in the long race today. The skipper of Energy Team tells us more.

Loick, how do you feel about this first weekend of racing?
Loick Peyron: I feel fine. Really. I'm quite pleased. Yesterday, it's true that it wasn't that great with the lack of wind and we were only just discovering these boats in such light conditions. No, yesterday wasn't wonderful for several reasons. Firstly, because the whole of the crew were suffering from food poisoning, so we were only really at 50% of what we are capable of and then there was the question of our experience in light conditions. We did in fact have a great race to start off with. Ending up second just behind the Kiwis was fantastic.

Are you worried about the gulf between you and the top teams, as there is quite a gap?
LP: Yes, we're a long way behind in a lot of areas, but sometimes we have managed to get back up there very quickly. Today's long race was really interesting, as we were always battling it out with Oracle, Team New Zealand and some other good teams.

We can see that the Kiwis and the Americans are very aggressive in the start phase...
LP: Yes, indeed. That's their job and they have been experts at that for almost 20 years now in the America's Cup. Above all they are great starters, these America's Cup champions, but today, we certainly didn't make fools of ourselves. Far from it, as we gave it our all today. These boats are physically very demanding. It happens very quickly and you never get any time to rest.

Apart from the big teams, which other teams have impressed you so far?
LP: The Koreans have been good in general, which isn't that much of a surprise. They were our colleagues in the Oman team last year, so we know what they're like and they know how to sail this type of boat. Mitch Booth isn't bad either. We caught him up today, before he crossed in front of us on the finishing line, but I didn't want to try anything risky with the boat. I took it rather conservatively, as we need to avoid taking too many risks, except in the start phase, where you have to, which is what I did today.

www.americascup.com

Dubarry Sligo

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www.dubarry.com

Silva Hispaniola and Ille Moro Lead ORCi European Fleet
Hanko, Norway: After three races sailed in moderate to fresh conditions in big waves, Peter Schmidt's Evento 42 Silva Hispaniola and Ludvig Daae's Bavaria 42M Ille Moro have taken the early leads in the 2011 ORCi European Championship. With perfect 1-1-1 scores, this gives Silva a substantial 7.75 point lead over current runner-up Westwind, Peter Suselbeck's First 40, in Division 1, while the Silva team has only a 3.5 point gap over current runner-up Feelgood, Martin Nillson's Salona 37.

A long night of strong southwesterly breeze set up the day for big 2-metre waves and swells rolling up the Oslofjorden, reinforced by winds varying from 10-12 knots in the lulls to nearly 25 knots in the occasional rain squalls buffeting the course.

Daee was not without being challenges, however, as runner-up Feelgood could have very well have been in the top spot in the 14-boat class now if not for a spinnaker broach in the closing few boatlengths to the finish of Race 1, and a poor start during a blustery rain squall that descended on Division 2 at the start of Race 3. In fact, the margins between corrected time victory and defeat in this class were extremely tight: 33 sec in Race 1, 2 sec in Race 2, and 6 sec in Race 3.

But it was Division 1 that really showed competitive zeal, having earned general recalls from the race committee at all of their three starts, followed by black flag warnings in subsequent starts. And just like in Division 2, the margins of victory for the Silva team were exceedingly thin over the 6-mile two-lap windward-leeward courses in the first two races - 3 sec in Race 1 and 32 sec in Race 2 - but this exploded out to 1 min 46 sec in Race 3.

Racing resumes tomorrow with the start of the Middle and Long Offshore races scheduled for 1100 local time. The forecast is now for lighter weather, followed by breezy conditions for Wednesday morning in the scheduled 24-hour race.

kns.no/ORCiEC2011

Lahana Protects Her Rating
Peter Millard and John Honan were compensated for the loss of their Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel race record when Lahana was named as the provisional winner on IRC handicap today. Lahana the former New Zealand Maxi of many names including Zana and Konica Minolta when owned by Stewart Thwaites surrendered her 2010 record breaking line honours win to the more modern super maxi Wild Oats X1 on Saturday.

Both Peter Millard and John Honan who celebrated winning the 308 nautical mile Qantas Brisbane to Gladstone race line honours over the Easter weekend understood their 348 n/ml Brisbane to Keppel Race record was under a serious threat from the more modern Wild Oats X1.

But they never gave up hope of sailing Lahana to her IRC rating when Wild Oats X1 set the race handicap clock ticking after she crossed the finish line off the Rosslyn Bay Marina at 12-22-20 on Saturday afternoon.

The crew of big boat sailors including Carl Crafoord, Tony Hearder, Bob Fraser and Mark D'Emilio made sure the 'think tank' in the back end of Lahana remained in a strong position to save her 1.6830 rating against Wild Oats X1.

As to be expected it was a tough assignment however the Lahana crew became the new provisional corrected time leader when they completed the course just over 3 hours astern of Wild Oats X1.

Lahana and Wild Oats X1 firmed as a strong chance to convert their provisional places into a reality when the breeze became fickle and shifty during the dusk to dawn hours to deny any of the smaller yachts the chance to generate the required boat speed to upset Lahana's deserved victory celebrations today.

This was a fitting reward for the Lahana crew who were forced to experience watching Wild Oats X1 sail away with their record but capped a smartly sailed 348 nautical miles to have a crucial 1 hour 4 minutes or 11.04 seconds per nautical mile faster corrected handicap to win the major Club Marine trophy ahead of Wild Oats X1 and the Stewart Lewis steered Marten 49 cruiser racer Ocean Affinity. -- Ian Grant

Laser Masters Worlds
Click on image to enlarge.

Laser Masters San Francisco, California, USA: With a breeze of barely six knots on San Francisco Bay early Sunday morning, the 2011 Laser Masters Worlds commenced with a whisper, rather than the anticipated gusty bang. By the end of the day, however, the Bay showed its true colors and the wind and waves had kicked up to the norm of 17-23 knots from just shy of due west, under the Golden Gate Bridge.

In order to manage the racing, the Standard Apprentice, Grand and Great Grand Masters race in the morning, and all of the Masters and Radial Grand Masters Race in the afternoon. On the beach after the morning's racing in 6-14 knot winds, Nick Page (NZL) in 8th after his first day said, "The tides are very challenging, but overall, day one was good." Wolfgang Gerz (GER), a former Finn World Champion, took first in the first Grand Masters Race, and Colin Dibb (AUS) won the second race and is currently at the top of the leader board, with Peter Vessella (StFYC) just two points behind in second.

The afternoon racing for the Masters (Standard and Radial) and Radial Apprentice Laser sailors, brought wind, waves and in the last race, gorgeous clear skies. The Standard Masters class, has such a depth of talent that "even breaking into the top 10 is going to be difficult," said former America's Cup sailor Andy Roy (CAN), who finished eighth in his first race of the day. Arnoud Hummel (NOR), one of the race favorites who has finished just behind Worlds champion Scott Ferguson for the past two Worlds, won the first race, well ahead of Ferguson who finished 10th. Hummel also won race two and said he's done that - won the first day - for the fourth time in a row. -- Paige Brooks, with contributions from Em-J Staples

The racing will continue through Saturday, August 13.

sailingresults.net/site/event/17/default.html
www.facebook.com/st-francis-yacht-club-racing

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week Day 3
Photo by Mark Lloyd, www.lloydimages.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Cowes Week Isle of Wight, UK: The thousands of competitors at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week enjoyed another glorious sunny day, with a brisk west-north-westerly wind providing spectacular sailing.

Winds in the morning were more moderate than yesterday, at 10-15 knots, but a short shower that passed over Cowes at lunchtime heralded a rapid strengthening of the breeze. The mean wind peaked just above 20 knots, but gusts again topped 30 for a couple of hours before the breeze moderated a little in the early afternoon.

In the Quarter Ton class, 19 year old Mark Lees' Team Echo pushed the small boat hard all day to take their first win. On the long beat home against the tide from Gilkicker, Lees stayed in the tidal lee to the east of the Bramble bank for longer than rival, the Welch, Manser, Flemming and Fulford team, on Phoenix, who made an earlier break for the Island shore.

Louise Morton - who can usually be seen at the top end of the Quarter Ton fleet, has sadly had to miss racing this year.

Morton, who races here 1980-built Farr-designed Quarter Tonner Espada suffered a broken leg in a sailing accident six weeks before the regatta, so is spending this week on shore with a good pair of binoculars.

Thankfully Morton kept her entry so was able to offer the loan of her boat to the crew of fellow Quarter Ton sailors on Cote, which dismasted yesterday. "I was really pleased to be able to offer the team the boat because they were so sad not to be able to race."

In Class IRC 0 Charles Dunstone's Team Origin took his first win of the regatta, beating another TP52, Franck Noel's Near Miss, by more than five minutes on corrected time. "It was one of those days when everything went right," said Team Origin navigator Mark Chisnell. "We made no mistakes, got the right side of the windshifts, and extended our lead round the course. We saw marginally higher windspeeds upwind than yesterday, but today's downwind legs weren't as furious and exciting."

The smaller day boats headed towards the north shore after starting in a westerly direction from the Royal Yacht Squadron line. This made a start at the outer end of the line, followed by a quick tack onto port being the favoured strategy.

The 145 boats in the XOD class raced on a windward / leeward course in the shelter of the Isle of Wight to the east of Cowes. In such a big fleet consistency is the key to overall success, but only three boats have top 10 results in both the races sailed so far: Adrian Summers, Ian Paton and Ed Fitzgerarld's Excalibur added a fourth place to their existing seventh; William Norris' Beatrix scored seventh today following a ninth in the first race; and Karl Thorne and Caroline Driscoll's Mersa has notched up two 10th places.

The talk of the day was a spectacular pitchpole by Aberdeen Asset Management, after the boat had scored a second place - her best result so far in the event.

Standings:

1. Luna Rossa, 74 points
2. The Wave, Muscat, 68
3. Team GAC Pindar, 57
4. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 54
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 52
6. Alinghi, 51
7. Oman Air, 46
8. Niceforyou, 35
9. Emirates Team New Zealand, 35
10. Aberdeen Asset Management, 31
11. Artemis Racing, 21
12. Team Extreme, 16

Report by Rupert Holmes

Event site: www.aamcowesweek.co.uk

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Clipper 11-12 Race 1: Southampton to Madeira
Today brings with it the good news that injured Geraldton Western Australia crew member, Russell Sandbach, has been discharged from hospital. The diagnosis is a soft tissue injury and, following a period of rest, Russell is hopeful that he will rejoin the race at a later date. On board Russell's boat, things are also looking brighter as the team gets back into full racing mode following yesterday's incident.

Meanwhile, on board the other Australian entry it appears that Gold Coast Australia's gamble to keep further east has more than paid off as they steal a sizeable lead on their closest rivals, Visit Finland.

"What an amazing day's run for Gold Coast Australia," reports skipper Richard Hewson. "For the last 24 hours we have been running downwind with 20 knots of wind with 1.5 knots of current assisting us. At the moment we are averaging 10 knots and our speed record attempt was made yesterday evening by our birthday boy, Pat Cooper, reaching 13.8 knots surfing down a wave. What better way is there to end your birthday but surfing down a wave! "The 1800 schedule was a little disappointing for the crew, having us ten nautical miles behind the race leaders Visit Finland, however, the news that came shortly after midnight was that we were now the leading boat.

"At around the same time, we made final course alteration as we rounded the Ormonde Seamount and headed straight for Madeira."

Victory is not in the bag, however, and with 250 nautical miles still to run the crew on board the Finnish entry will be giving it their all to take line honours in the first race of Clipper 11-12.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Monday 8 August

Boat - Distance to Finish - Distance to Leader
1. Gold Coast Australia, 261nm
2. Visit Finland, 305nm, +44nm
3. New York, 350nm, +89nm
4. Derry-Londonderry, 358nm, +97nm
5. Singapore, 361nm, +100nm
6. De Lage Landen, 364nm, +103nm
7. Welcome to Yorkshire, 365nm, +103nm
8. Geraldton Western Australia, 406nm, +145nm
9. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 423nm, +162nm
10. Qingdao, 435nm, +174nm

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Camilla Ulrikkeholm Wins Lysekil Women's Match
Lysekil, Sweden: She ended in top of the first round-robin. She went undefeated through the quarterfinals as well as the semi-finals. At last she also won the final in three straight matches against Nicole Souter, Australia. Camilla Ulrikkeholm from the Royal Danish Yacht Club in Skovshoved is the winner of Lysekil Women's Match 2011, in her fifth competition in the Swedish event.

In her semi-final Trine Abrahamsen from Denmark forced Nicole Souter to five matches, and then she immediately had to race for the bronze position against Stephanie Roble, Chicago. Roble instead took advantage of her time to rest after having been defeated by Ulrikkeholm in their semi finals. The American girl secured third place through two straight victories against Abrahamsen.

Results from Lysekil Women's Match 2011, with prize money:
1. Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN, 10 300 €
2. Nicole Souter, AUS, 4 800 €
3. Stephanie Roble, USA, 4 000 €
4. Trine Abrahamsen, DEN, 3 200 €
5. Karin Hagstrom, SWE, 2 800 €
6. Silvia Roca Mata, ESP, 2 500 €
7. Linda Rahm, SWE, 2 000 €
8. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA, 1 300 €
9. Cristiana Monina, ITA
10. Caroline Sylvan, SWE

Results from the final of Lysekil Women's Match 2011:
Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN - Nicole Souter, AUS, 3 - 0

Results from the semi finals of Lysekil Women's Match 2011:
Camilla Ulrikkeholm, DEN - Stephanie Roble, USA, 3 - 0
Trine Abrahamsen, DEN - Nicole Souter, AUS, 2 - 3

www.lysekilwomensmatch.se

Byrne Named Afloat's July Sailor of the Month
Martin Byrne of Dun Laoghaire is the Irish Independent/Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month after his superb final race to clinch the Edinburgh Cup, one of the most significant events in the International Dragon Class' annual programme in Europe.

In a fleet of 44, including many of the world's top boats, he had already put together a solid series as the final day arrived in the excellent sailing waters off Abersoch in North Wales.

But whether or not he and his crew of Adam Winkelmann and Pedro Andrade came home with bronze, silver or gold, hinged entirely on that last race.

Sailing the immaculate Jaguar, he logged the kind of race that, for most skippers, is the stuff of dreams.

Jaguar emerged clear from the starting melee to such good effect that by mid-race she had a clear lead of 200 metres, a comfortable gap that enabled Byrne to keep effective cover on any challengers, such that the real race was for second place as Jaguar powered on to finish an extraordinary three minutes ahead.

It was textbook stuff. In his winner's speech, Martin Byrne said the secret of it all was the shoreside commander, his wife Triona, who looked after logistics and paperwork, and ensured everything ran smoothly all week.

Irish sailing needs more Trionas.

www.afloat.ie

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The Last Word
True virtue is life under the direction of reason. -- Baruch Spinoza

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