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Record Fleet Bound for Fastnet
Photo by Carlo Borlenghi, carloborlenghi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Fastnet Start The record-sized Rolex Fastnet Race fleet set sail from Cowes in classic conditions - a beat westward up the Solent in a building west-southwesterly and sunshine, but with an ominous looking cloud line over the mainland.

In the end there were 314 starters, the largest fleet ever to start the Rolex Fastnet Race following the previous record of 303 in 1979.

The first start at 1100 BST saw the giant multihulls heading off. Fastest out of the blocks were Gitana 11 (FRA), the 23.5m trimaran skippered by Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Race skipper Sebastien Josse and Roland Jourdain's MOD70 Veolia Environnement (FRA). With round the world yachtswoman Dee Caffari manning her aft grinders, Veolia's sistership, Steve Ravussin's Race For Water (SUI), was over the line early and had to restart.

Visible from most parts of the Solent with her 40 meter long hulls and 47 meter tall mast, the world's fastest offshore boat, the Loick Peyron-skippered Maxi Banque Populaire (FRA) trimaran, thundered across the line and had reached the Needles within an hour, sailing upwind at more than 20 knots. Five hours after starting, Banque Populaire was already approaching Start Point, close to 100 miles down the southwest coast from the start.

Next up were the IMOCA 60 monohulls, and by the Needles, Marc Guillemot -- Yann Elies doublehander Safran (FRA), were leading the newer generation boats.

The ebb tide was beginning to kick in by the time the Class 40s started and most chose to hug the island shore in the most favourable current. Shortly after passing through Hurst Narrows there was disaster for the Italian entry, Eutourist Serv-System, when she dismasted.

The wind against tide conditions, that were particularly severe at Hurst Narrows at the western entrance to the Solent, would subsequently take their toll on the 43-foot trimaran, Strontium Dog (GBR), that also suffered a dismasting.

The most impressive display were the smaller IRC boats, funnelling their way through Hurst Narrows, and slowly being overhauled by the larger boats that started after. Doing well in IRC 1 was the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens (NED), skippered by veteran sailor Piet Vroon, competing in his 23rd Rolex Fastnet Race.

Before the giant fleet had left the Solent, there were a number of casualties. In addition to the two dismastings, the First 375 Little Spirit (GBR) suffered damage to her forestay during a collision with the Bavaria 44 Emerald Star (GBR) and was forced to retire, as was IRC 3 Howling Monkey (GBR) holed in a collision with the J/109 Jambo! (GBR). The canting-keeled Prodigy (GBR) also retired, with mainsail damage.

Conditions for the bulk of the fleet tonight should be relatively fast, particularly for the smaller boats, which will benefit from the wind veering north of west, as the boats further up the course are set to remain headed.

www.fastnet.rorc.org

Emirates Team New Zealand Claims the First AC World Series
Photo by Chris Cameron, ETNZ. Click on image for photo gallery.

AC 45 Cascais Cascais, Portugal: Emirates Team New Zealand made an incredible recovery during the 'winner takes all' fleet race on Sunday to win the America's Cup World Series Cascais, the first event of a new global series leading up to San Francisco in 2013.

With nine boats on the start line, the competition was close, and with a tricky, patchy race course area, there were passing lanes throughout the day. ORACLE Racing Spithill jumped out to a convincing lead early, but couldn't protect it. On the second lap of the race course, Kiwi skipper Dean Barker found more wind on his side of the race course to make the pass.

Artemis Racing, too, was able to work its way up to a second place finish from being back in the pack early; the early leader, ORACLE Racing Spithill, was forced to settle for third.

But the feel-good story came from the Spanish Green Comm Racing. From a position of dead last early in the race, Vasilij Zbogar and his crew of dinghy champions began picking off the opposition on the final leg of the race to earn a fifth place finish, an incredible achievement for the novice crew.

Making its debut along with the AC45 catamaran was the new Guest Racer program - where each team takes a guest aboard its race boat to compete with the team. The list of guest racers this week included VIP guests like Yves Carcelle, the Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, pop singer Little Boots, Cecilia Meireles, the Secretary of State for Tourism in Portugal, along with names more familiar to the sailing world like former Cup winner John Bertrand, Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard and team principal Torbjorn Tornqvist, as well as ORACLE Racing founder and principal Larry Ellison, who was aboard ORACLE Racing Spithill today.

The America's Cup World Series now moves on to Plymouth, UK, where the same nine teams will compete from September 10-18, before moving to San Diego, California in November.

America's Cup World Series Cascais - Final points after Sunday's races

Place - Team - Points

1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 10
2. Artemis Racing, 9
3. ORACLE Racing Spithill, 8
4. ORACLE Racing Coutts, 7
5. Green Comm Racing, 6
6. Aleph, 5
7. Team Korea, 4
8. Energy Team, 3
9. China Team, 3

Cascais AC Match Race Championship - Final points after Saturday's races

Place - Team - Points

1. ORACLE Racing, Spithill, 10
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 9
3. Artemis Racing
4. Team Korea
5. ORACLE Racing Coutts
6. Team Energy
7. Green Comm Racing
8. Aleph
9. China Team

americascup.com

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Dubarry Storm - the calm within the Storm.

www.dubarry.com

So Long Dun Laoghaire
At precisely 12:00 on Sunday 14th August, the Race Committee fired the start signal of the third leg of the Solitaire du Figaro, 477 miles from Dun Laoghaire to Les Sables d'Olonne, as public crowded the pier to wave goodbye to the sailors and dozens of boats enjoyed the show. But soon the sunny, warm, pleasant conditions sunny gave way to the rain, wind gusts and a roulette game for the 46 skippers.

Who thought that the most thrilling part of the third leg would be the finish? It's maybe too soon to tell, but clearly the 8 mile long inshore course and the following run along the green Irish cliffs delivered enough surprises for a whole leg, with continuous changes at the top.

This morning on the pontoons of Dun Laoghaire, an unusual fatigue marked the sailors' faces, as everyone talked about the latest weather forecast. The hint was "be wary" of the apparent simplicity of the 477 miles to Les Sables. And wary they had to be since the very first minutes of the inshore race the situation appeared to be not the simplest one.

In extremely tricky conditions, breeze shifting, coming from all directions and going from 5 to 15 knots in a matter of seconds, it was hard for the sailors to "read" on the water where the next puff was going to come from and going from the top to the bottom of the fleet was just a question of not be stuck in a bubble of light air.

According to the latest position report, at 16:00 it was Portuguese Francisco Lobato (ROFF) to have a slight advantage on experienced Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and on overall leaderboard leader Jérémie Beyou (BPI). First British skipper was reported to be young Sam Goodchild (Artemis) in fourteenth position and third in the special newcomers' "rookie" standing, chased by Jersey based Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence), also racing his first Solitaire du Figaro. Conrad Humphreys (DMS) was in 21st position while Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) in 42nd.

Up to the next mark at Wolf Rock (at the tip of Cornwall), that is to say over the next 180 miles, it is likely that the fleet will keep on sailing on a long starboard tack and positioning oneself well on the course will be key.

But, for now it's impossible to say who will take the best option. The answer will only be known Monday, around noon, when the sailors will be approaching the Scilly Islands.

www.lasolitaire.com

Silva Hispaniola & Feelgood New ORCi European Champions
Click on image for photo gallery.

ORCi European Championship Hanko, Norway: An intended seventh and final inshore race was started but unable to finish today in the last day of the ORCi European Championship hosted by the Royal Norwegian YC (KNS), so results from the finish late last night of the shortened short offshore race stand, and the new European champions are confirmed.

On the basis of not only great boatspeed but excellent crew work throughout the week, Peter Schmidt and his German team on his Evento 42 Silva Hispaniola have dominated Division 1 and with a 9.5-point margin have claimed the 2011 ORCi European championship crown. The German team never had a finish worse than 4th in the entire 8-race series, and never worse than 3rd in the six inshore races.

But had there been a final inshore race scored today, allowing a discard to the scores, the outcome could have been much different. Runner-up Peter Ortendahl's IMX 40 Gertrud would have dropped their 12-point DSQ in Race 3, and trading that for a better result may have been able to close the gap with the larger Silva and given the Swedish team gold rather than silver medals.

Five points behind Gertrud in the standings, Jan Henrik Bryde's Norwegian team on his IMX 40 Xanthippe took the final place on the podium, but was the top finisher for the Division 1 Corinthian Trophy. The IMX 40, like her sistership Gertrud, benefited in part by the on-again, off-again conditions of the two offshore races which favored the smaller, slower boats in each class.

In contrast to Silva's dominance of Division 1, the winner of Division 2 was never clear all week, as new leaders came with nearly every race, although one team managed to emerge as the dominant force late in the competition. Martin Nilsson's Swedish team on his Salona 37 Feelgood had impressive results in the inshore races - 3-1-6-2-2-2 - and survived well enough in the small-boat dominated offshore races to keep 10 points clear of the runner-up and claim the new ORCi European Champion Division 2 crown.

Complete results at: kns.no/ORCiEC2011
Slideshow of Monday's inshore racing is available from Peter Gustafsson/blur.se at:
www.flickr.com/photos/blursailing/sets/72157627394315656/show/

Act 5, Big Finish To The Week
Photo by Chris Cameron, ETNZ. Click on image for photo gallery.

AC45 A week of big winds and high adrenalin action, Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week delivered some of the closest and intense 'Stadium Racing' the circuit has ever seen - in front of the biggest crowds ever recorded for the event. The ultimate winner was The Wave, Muscat, skippered by local Isle of Wight born Leigh McMillan, Britain's Olympic Tornado representative in Beijing 2008. For last year's overall winners, this was the Omani team's first Act win this year.

For the 48 sailors from 15 nations, Act 5 concluded in a more manageable 10-15 knots for the 11 Extreme 40s but with a powerful three to four knot tide testing each team's tactical prowess. Incredibly, considering the giant race schedule, the outcome once again came down to the last race with The Wave, Muscat team having to finish within six places of second placed Luna Rossa if they were to hold onto the Act 5 title. While Luna Rossa soared away from the start into an unassailable lead, so it appeared that they might take the win as Leigh McMillan's The Wave, Muscat lumbered out of the blocks in eighth. High tension for the fans watching as well, but the former Tornado ace punched his way up the fleet and although Luna Rossa was a leg ahead by the time she took the gun, The Wave, Muscat's fourth place was enough to secure her victory.

The flood tide getting up to 3 knots and the wind lighter than it had been for most of this regatta, proved highly challenging for the competitors as they attempted to stay out of the tide, short tacking up the shore at Egypt Point within metres of the huge mass of spectators. On one occasion Luna Rossa tacked on to starboard and in an on-the-water ballet four boats to leeward of her were forced simultaneously to do the same. Some boats rapidly ran out of water coming into the shore as they were unable to find a lane out as they attempted to tack for safety.

But the worst incident of the day occurred at the start of race five when Groupe Edmond de Rothschild managed to collide with Luna Rossa breaking the French team's bowsprit in the process. Until this moment Pierre Pennec's team had been on a charge winning today's second race. Instead they had to stand down for the final four races.

Next stop is Act 6 in Trapani, Sicily, public days 16-18th September, preceded by two days of 'open water' racing 14-15th.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 5 at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week Overall standings after 30 races (12.8.11)

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan, 236 points
2. Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena, 228.8
3. Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou, 214
4. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara, 188
5. Oman Air (OMA), Sidney Gavignet, 179
6. Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams, 160
7. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Adam Beashel, 139
8. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec, 135
9. Niceforyou (ITA), Alberto Barovier, 132
10. Aberdeen Asset Management (GBR), John Pink, 126
11. Team Extreme (EUR), Roland Gaebler, 71
12. Artemis Racing (SWE), Santiago Lange, 23

Extreme Sailing Series 2011 Overall standings after 5 Acts

1. Emirates Team New Zealand, 44 points
2. Luna Rossa, 43
3. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 40
4. Artemis Racing, 38
5. The Wave, Muscat, 38
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 36
7. Alinghi, 33
8. Oman Air, 22
9. Team GAC Pindar, 13
10. Niceforyou, 12
11. Team Extreme, 11

www.extremesailingseries.com

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

Textiles to composites - Part 3
Bill Pearson moves on to a potential whole new generation of composite manufacturing processes

Breaking the mould
Future Fibres is now - definitely - also a mast manufacturer... as Andy Rice discovers

Update
Mark Reynolds enters the coach-boat debate, Terry Hutchinson gets a day off, Andy Hemmings is stuck in traffic, (more) changes pay off for Bella, lack of wind but not boats in Croatia. Plus Spithill ‘the younger’

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...

www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs

4th Brewin Dolphin Jersey Regatta - 2nd to 4th September
With a little under a month to go, the organisers of the Jersey Regatta have shifted into top gear to ensure that all is set for what promises to be another sparkling long weekend in the Island's busy sailing programme. This will be the thirteenth combined clubs' Regatta and the fourth sponsored by leading private investment management company Brewin Dolphin. Racing takes place from 2nd to 4th September incorporating cruiser, dayboat, dinghy and sport catamaran classes. The International Melges 24 UK National Championships will, again, be providing an additional element of excitement along with entries from Guernsey, the UK and France who will be battling it out with Jersey's best.

Racing takes place in and off St Aubin's Bay with up to three races scheduled for each day in all classes. This, coupled with the social events, including the Regatta party, ensures that competitors are kept busy throughout the three days. Jersey Marinas is, again, providing complimentary berthing in the lead up to and during the Regatta which, coupled with modest entry fees, ensures tremendous value for money! Visiting boats can be assured of a very warm welcome!

There is an 'early bird' discount for entries received by 24th August and the absolute closing date is 30th August.

The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions are available on www.jerseyregatta.com. Further information is available from the Regatta secretary, tel. 0044 (0)1534 732229 or e-mail

Brazil Sweeps Snipe Worlds
Click on image to enlarge.

Snipe Worlds The Brazilian sailors made their mark on the Snipe Worlds that finished Saturday in Rungsted, Denmark by securing all three podium places. In a great show of sailing and sportsmanship, eventual winner Alexandre Tinoco and Gabriel Borges did not sail the last race and cheered on their fellow sailors and countrymen on the sidelines after a tough series marred by fluky winds, rain and conditions that kept the race committee never at rest.

Finishing second overall and eight points behind was 2001 Snipe World Champion Alexandre Paradeda and Gabriel Kieling (BRA) and third overall, 2009 Snipe World Champion Bruno Bethlem and Dante Bianchi (BRA).

Eighteen countries participated with fifty-nine total boats on the line. The next Snipe Worlds will be held in 2013.

The Royal Danish Yacht Club and Espergaerde Yacht Club hosted both the Snipe Junior and Senior World Championships in Rungsted over the past 14 days.

Regatta website: www.snipeworlds.kdy.dk

Final Snipe World results:
snipeworlds.kdy.dk/uploads/snipe_s_-_endeligt_resultat_-_ny.pdf 

Clipper Race 2: Madeira to Rio De Janeiro
One of the first big decisions the teams had to make on the race to Rio de Janeiro was how to navigate their way round the Canary Islands. This morning's position reports reveal that all ten have gone west of the islands to avoid the big wind holes that the mountainous island chain can create. Furthest west of the fleet is Visit Finland who have decided to ease off the throttle slightly as team navigator, Tomi Lintonen, explains.

"After sustaining a very minor injury to a crew member and a minor rip in our spinnaker, we have eased back a bit to play it safe," he says. "This obviously shows on our performance, but it is a conscious choice which is likely to pay off in the long run.

"We dropped the spinnaker and the evening and night were rather uneventful, only interrupted at times by flying fish landing on deck. We passed the westernmost Canary Islands of La Palma and Hierro so far that we did not actually see them, despite La Palma being 2,425 metres high. The next place of interest will obviously be the Scoring Gate north of the archipelago of Cape Verde. Before that, however, we will be officially entering the tropics. The climate inside the boat does feel quite tropical already; the temperature is above 30 centigrade and humidity very high."

Joining them in their more westerly course is Geraldton Western Australia who are enjoying the strong downwind sailing conditions that the north easterly trade winds are delivering.

At the front of the fleet Gold Coast Australia and Singapore are in a fight for the lead, with Singapore's position further west just giving them the edge on the Australians this morning.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Sunday 14 August
Boat - Distance to Finish - Distance to Leader

1. Singapore, 3330nm
2. Gold Coast Australia, 3332nm, +2nm
3 Welcome to Yorkshire, 3333nm, +2nm
4 Qingdao, 3345nm, +14nm
5 Visit Finland, 3349nm, +19nm
6 Derry-Londonderry, 3350nm, +19nm
7 New York, 3353nm, +23nm
8 Geraldton Western Australia, 3354nm, +24nm
9 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 3363nm, +22nm
10 De Lage Landen, 3367nm, +36nm

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Team Vodafone Blitzes Record
Click on image to enlarge.

Vodaphone Team Vodafone produced a speed sailing white water wake when skipper Simon Hull steered the wave leaping New Zealand trimaran to a sensational record breaking performance earlier today.

Based on her performance the power sailing trimaran clearly demonstrated her claim to the fastest yacht to compete in the 22 year history of the International Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Week.

Race Director Denis Thompson said Team Vodafone had amazingly logged 20.8 knots to weather Grimston Point".

When Team Vodafone entered Pioneer Bay she was clocked at 22.5knots but they had earlier recorded a peak of 31 knots in a race which turned into a sprint for the impressive 18.48m trimaran as she romped around the course on their way to re write the race record.

They eventually smashed the long standing 31 n/ml Double Cone-Armit-Alden Island passage race by a comfortable margin when they crossed the finish line of the Whitsunday Sailing Club with an elapsed time of 1 hour 56 minutes and a race average of just above 16 knot.

Her record challenge started impressively when she leapt out of the start leaving he r smaller rivals with a hopeless chase as the big trimaran progressively disappeared over the horizon. The boat speed was lifted on the long spinnaker run to weather Double Cone Island.

Unfortunately the ideal 15-18 knot veered to the east forcing the fleet leader to lower the spinnaker when they were forced below the lay line.

However while Team Vodafone romped away from the fleet to claim a new race record the balance of the fleet produced some spectacular sailing while the spinnaker trimmers had a busy day trying to avoid wild out of control broaches.

Several other crews were not so lucky with five crews called on deck to frantically recover blown spinnakers in the initial hour while four other crews reported their retirement with steering and rudder failure. -- Ian Grant

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 Roland Whitehead: Before anyone gets too excited by the speeds recorded by the AC45s, 42.35km/h is 22.87 knots. That's some 3.4 knots slower than the first ratified 500m speed record set by Crossbow in 1972 and under half Rob Douglas' current record of 103km/h.

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This very competitive Dynamo 25 racing boat is in great condition for her year. She has been winning races all round her. If you are looking for a well priced boat to get you, on to the race course, this is the boat for you. She comes with an excellent sail wardrobe.

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The Last Word
Sharing the food is to me more important than arguing about beliefs. Jesus, according to the gospels, thought so too. -- Freeman Dyson

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