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Bahrain Sailors Released from Iran Safe in DIMC
Photo by Steve Crisp / Reuters, provided by DIMC. Click on image to enlarge.

Sailors Freed from Iran Saeed Harib, Managing Director of Dubai International Marine Club, welcomed the five sailors who were released today from Iranian custody. On hearing that the sailors were coming to Dubai, Saeed Harib dispatched a boat from DIMC to pick the sailors up and escort them to an orderly arrival in the DIMC Marina. 'Media attention had risen dramatically during the day and there was no solid information. But when we found out where they were we did our best to protect them inside DIMC which has the set up and support necessary,' said Harib.

'When they arrived we allowed a short photo opportunity and then set up a security barricade to allow them to go to the spa to take a shower and relax a bit before a short press conference.' He added. Olly Smith the team captain explained to the media that the team had strayed in to Iranian waters as there was no wind and they had broken their propeller. They were treated well although they were blindfolded a couple of times and locked in a room, they were however, treated well and allowed outside and had lots to eat. They even joked that they had gained weight. They were given a chess set and some darts to play with and after the first couple of days the guards left the door of the room open so that they could get some fresh air.

They stressed that the ordeal had not put them off sailing in the Gulf and they will be coming back to sail in the Maktoum Sailing Trophy at DIMC in February next year. 'Bahrain sail will carry on and grow, we are all committed to the project and developing sailing in the region,' said Olly.

They left the press conference and headed for the world famous Barasti Bar to relax.

Luke Porter, 21, from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset,
Oliver Smith, 31, from Southampton,
Oliver Young, 21, from Saltash, Cornwall,
Sam Usher, 26, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and
Bahrain-based David Bloomer

* Statement from Andrew Pindar OBE, Chairman of Sail Bahrain:
We received confirmation from the Foreign Office at 0830 this morning that our sailors had been released by the Iranian authorities. We are all absolutely thrilled with the news.

It has been an extremely worrying time for all of us and particularly for the families and loved ones of those on board.

The team has sent out a boat to meet the crew, where our Team Director, Nick Crabtree is looking forward to accompanying them safely to shore.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Foreign Office and the British and Bahrain Embassies for all their help and for bringing the matter to a swift conclusion and to the Iranian authorities for their understanding.

Oh Sure... RAK is Perfectly Safe...
America's Cup defenders Alinghi saw their efforts to have Ras al-Khaimah in the Middle East reinstated as the venue for the 33rd America's Cup sink further into the mire by the arrest of the five British sailors from the Volvo 60 yacht Kingdom of Bahrain yesterday.

After two years of expensive litigation and unprecedented animosity between Ernesto Bertarelli, the Swiss owner of Alinghi and Larry Ellison, who heads American challenger syndicate BMW Oracle, the AC debate may now suddenly have become slightly less contentious due to Iran's actions in the Arabian Gulf.

From the moment Ras al-Khaimah was chosen by Alinghi for the head-to-head next February, Ellison, the fourth richest man in America who was born to Jewish parents in the Bronx New York, expressed his concerns over its proximity to Iran and the 'grave' threat it posed to the safety of his team.

Despite the repeated assurances by Alinghi and the government authorities that the Middle East was safe sailing territory, Ellison continued to voice fears and lodged an objection to the decision. He has made no response to the latest arrests.

Ras al-Khaimah is situated on the southern end of the Persian Gulf, near the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Iran.

But Alinghi, who were arguing for RAK in the New York Supreme Court on Wednesday as the arrests were being made in Iran, were this morning maintaining their stance over RAK's safety.

"Alinghi has been sailing in the waters of the United Arab Emirates for almost two months without any problems as have other events," a spokesman said.

The New York Court is expected to give its ruling by mid-December but the best of three contest between the Swiss and the Americans which was due to start on Feb 8 now looks distinctly unlikely. -- Kate Laven in the Telegraph

Royal Lymington Challenge Cup

Lymington's Heating Up.....
The challenges have started to roll in! Five teams have already indicated they will be at the start line for the Royal Lymington Challenge Cup next June. It's going to be a hot event again in 2010, like last year but even bigger and better. Following the immense success of the 2009 event for IRC three-boat Club teams, the series will be held next year from Thursday 3rd - Saturday 5th June. Three days of close competition in the Solent and Christchurch Bay is expected to attract a big entry of IRC teams from the A-list of yacht clubs who will attempt to prise the trophy away from 2009 defenders, the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Get your club to challenge and join the hot line-up!

More information

Toughest Day At The Office
Adam Minoprio trails Ben Ainslie into the top mark on day 1. Photo: Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images. Click on image for event gallery.

Monsoon Cup The Monsoon rain in Kuala Terengganu on the east coast of Malaysia, with more than 200mm (eight inches) falling in the last 24 hours, has provided a dramatic backdrop to the 2009 Monsoon Cup, the final event in the 2009 World Match Racing Tour.

Overnight there had been heavy thunderstorms and during the skippers briefing this morning there was driving rain with claps of thunder and flashes of lightning.

David Tallis, Principal Race Officer of the Monsoon Cup commented 'Rain is not a problem for us unless it is so torrential that the loss of visibility makes racing unsafe, but we will come off the water if there is local lightning.'

Luckily neither case happened, rain eased just ahead of the scheduled start time but heavy thunderstorms lashed the sailors, as predicted, in the late afternoon.

Whilst most of the results were as expected, there were some surprises.

After a shock loss to World number seventh ranked Damien Iehl in his first match this morning, the 2009 Tour leader Emirates Team New Zealand BlackMatch skipper Adam Minoprio commented 'we won the start, made a silly little mistake and were penalized. That was it, we lost our first race, but we won't do that again.'

Another important match was between the 2008 and 2009 World Match Racing Tour Champion Ian Williams and defending champion Peter Gilmour.

Williams was penalized in the pre-start with about 15 seconds to go. Gilmour was penalized as the two boats tacked when the two sterns touched on the start line. He received an immediate penalty for not keeping clear as contact was made. Williams started clear ahead and went on to win.

But Williams finished 1-3 overall. Ruefully the defending World Champion commented 'You have to be right on the money and today we were not.'

For more news and results

World Match Racing Tour Announces 2010 Schedule
The 2010 Tour schedule will comprise of the same nine events as 2009 starting the year in France in April and ending once again in Malaysia.

April 6 - 11
Marseille International Match Race
Marseille, France

May 19 - 24
Match Race Germany
Langenargen, German

June 8 - 13
Korea Match Cup
Gyeonggi, Korea

June 22 - 27
Troia Portugal Match Cup
Troia, Portugal

July 5 - 11
Match Cup Sweden
Marstrand, Sweden

Aug 31 - Sept 5
St Moritz Match Race
St Moritz, Switzerland

Sept 8 - 12
Danish Open
TBC, Denmark

October 4 - 10
Argo Group Gold Cup
Hamilton, Bermuda

Nov 30 - Dec 5
Monsoon Cup
K.Terengganu, Malaysia

A refined Tour Invite Policy for the 2010 season will be retained which will reward 9 skippers and teams with guaranteed invites to six events of their choice for the year. "The Tour Card policy was first introduced at the beginning of the 2009 and overall it worked well but in order to improve upon it we have made a few revisions for next year." said Tour Director Craig Mitchell.

Based on a 9-event schedule, and a 12-team event format, at each event 8 invitations will be allocated by the Tour Invite Policy, 2 invitations go to winners of Tour qualifying events, and 2 or more wild card invites will go to each event promoter.

For teams that don't get one of the 9 Tour Cards they will still be able to race on the Tour through either an event wild card or at one of the 18 qualifying events that feed into the World Tour events.

New venues are also being targeted as the Tour plans to expand the number of events.

Don't Miss The Fun In Key West
Click on image to enlarge.

Key West Race Week The entry list continues to grow and it's clear that top tier racing sailors from around the world are making plans for great racing and fun in sunny Florida. North America's premiere keelboat regatta - Key West 2010, presented by Nautica takes place January 18- 22.

The first entry deadline is December 18, and there's still time to plan your winter escape. Don't delay! Key West's brilliant sunshine, warm water, dependable winds, and unique shoreside attractions all make "KWRW" a January must do. IRC, PHRF and One Design class entries to date indicate super competition.

Reminder: the 2010 Miami Grand Prix race dates are March 4 - 7. Farr 40, Melges 32, Swan 42 and IRC boats can make the most of a South Florida escape with more racing in the spectacular ocean waters off Miami Beach.

Details & Online Entry for both:

Wild Oats XI Begins 24-Hour Qualifier For Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
Bob Oatley's Rolex Sydney Hobart Race record holder, the 30.5 metre supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, was pushing into 15-20 knot headwinds south of Sydney late today on the first stage of her 24-hour qualifier for the classic, which starts on Boxing Day.

It will be the final overnight trial for the recently modified yacht, which is going for an unprecedented fifth consecutive line honours in the Hobart race.

Skipper Mark Richards said that the trial, which is expected to take the big boat to a point south of Wollongong then north to Port Stephens before returning to Sydney, would be treated in every sense as though it was the real thing.

The 24-hour run, which must be completed for Wild Oats XI to be eligible for the Hobart will, most importantly, reveal what additional pressures will come on the crew, which has been reduced from 24 to 18 for the big race. At the same time the yacht's reserve helmsman, Mike 'Moose' Sanderson, will get his first chance to slot into his role and acquaint himself with the yacht and its' systems. Iain Murray also will be acting as a helmsman.

At last report Wild Oats XI was pressing south in a three to four metre swell at speeds of up to 12 knots. Once Richards is happy with the upwind performance of the yacht he will then turn her north so the massive spinnaker can be set.

Wild Oats XI will be raced only once prior to Boxing Day: she will be going for her third consecutive line honours in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour on December 15. -- Rob Mundle

Revised Scoring System For 2009-2010 ISAF World Cup
The ISAF Sailing World Cup incorporates seven events across Australia, the USA, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain to form the definite series for Olympic and Paralympic sailors. Following its debut season in 2008-2009 - which featured over 2,000 sailors representing 65 nations - the World Cup returns to the same venues in 2009-2010 to build on its initial success.

Throughout its debut season the World Cup collected feedback from the sailors, event organizers, classes and ISAF's Member National Authorities on the series. Based upon this feedback, at the recent Annual Conference of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) held in Korea during November, ISAF's Executive Committee approved the following recommendation to modify the World Cup scoring system for 2009-2010: "For the overall SWC series score five out of seven events will be counted; at least one of the discarded events shall be a European SWC event. The Top 20 scoring system used during the 2008-2009 SWC will remain the same for the 2009-2010 SWC."

In line with the Executive Committee's recommendation, the scoring system for the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup has today been announced (link below)

The 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup series kicks off with Sail Melbourne in Australia starting 14 December 2009. Next stop is Miami, USA for US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR in January followed by quintet of European events: the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma, Spain; Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres, France; the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, The Netherlands; Kieler Woche in Kiel, Germany; and finally the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue at Weymouth, Great Britain.

For details of the scoring system see

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ARC Evacuation
The five crew members of British yacht Pelican were evacuated from onboard their 53 foot Roberts design last last night (Tuesday 01 December) following a rig failure, approximately 325 nautical miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. The Singapore flagged merchant vessel Crimson Mars diverted to assist the yacht at the request of MRCC Falmouth, after skipper Darryl Saxton called a MayDay yesterday afternoon citing the 'unacceptable risk to his crew' of remaining aboard, as the yacht was also unable to motor and the rig was considered to be in a dangerous condition following several failures. MRCC Falmouth and MRCC Ponta Delgada (Azores) were involved in co-ordinating the evacuation of the yacht with the merchant ship.

At approximate position 18 degrees 01N 030 degrees 27'W, the MV Crimson Mars rendezvoused with the Pelican, and as the yacht was unable to manoeuvre, the ship's Master decided to transfer the cre w of the Pelican via line and lifebuoy. All crew were safely aboard by 0200 hours. The MV Crimson Mars is now en route to Gibraltar and the Pelican has been abandoned; the owner having taken the decision not to scuttle the yacht. At the time of the incident, weather conditions were around F4 ENE with a swell of up to 2 metres.

All 5 crew of the Pelican, are from the United Kingdom, and the yacht was taking part in the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which departed Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 22 November.

America's Cup Savvy Pays Off For NZ Team in Phuket King's Cup
Phuket, Thailand: Chris Dickson, one of the most recognisable names in international yachting, again showed his brilliance on the race track, leading the small boat in the hot Racing division to convincing podium finishes in both of today's challenging races.

Faced with gusty sailing conditions at times up to 17 knots, Dickson, a key crew member on Hong Kong entry Full Metal Jacket steered by owner Chris Meads, showed his savvy style of racing calling clever start and course tactics to ensure Full Metal Jacket was up there with the 50s both on time and handicap.

While Neil Pryde's Hi-Fi continued their domination of the division taking out 1-2 in today's two windward/leeward races, the Corby 43-foot Full Metal Jacket finished with a first and then a second today.

Carrying a highly experienced crew including America's Cup sailors Jeremy Lopez and Andrew Maclean from Team New Zealand, Full Metal Jacket was in among the big boats in both races showing awesome boat speed in the light, shifty conditions. Small changes to the boat since it last competed here two years ago including lightening it up, putting on a spinnaker pole and clever tactical decisions have made all the difference to the boat's performance.

From the start of racing Dickson, even though the claims he has been in retirement for over two years, has lost none of his race smarts guiding the Full Metal Jacket team through a complex fleet of fast and bigger yachts.

Frank Pong's Jellik II, after again taking two convincing line honours wins, finished with a fifth and a fourth today. The provisional overall standings in the division after dropping their worst race score are Hi-Fi still in first place on 7 points. Full Metal Jacket has moved up into second place on 12 points and Jelik II equal third with EFG Bank Mandrake on 17 points.

IRC1 saw Matt Allen's Ichi Ban take two more first places, a clean sweep of the six races completed so far. Second and third in race one today was Yasuo Nanmori's Switchblade and Peter Wintle's Koull Baby respectively. Second and third in race two was Koull Baby and Robert Van Paridon's Tantrum respectively. This now leaves Ichi Ban unchallenged in first place with five points. After one drop, Koull Baby has moved up to second place on 14 points with Ben Copley's Katsu moving back down into third on 16 points.

Full provisional results for all classes are available from the event website -

Garmin Hamble Winter Series
Photo by Paul Wyeth, Click on image for photo gallery.

Garmin Hamble Winter Series Driving rain and vicious squalls marked the final day of the 2009 Garmin Hamble Winter Series on Sunday 29th November, and with around twenty five percent of retirees it was clearly a demanding day.

A rapidly changing low pressure system had made for a tough early morning call, and with both Black and White Fleets cleared for racing in what initially seemed acceptable conditions, it soon became clear that the sportsboats could not race safely in the increasing gusts. With the J/80 and SBR classes already started, White Fleet PRO Jenny Wilson abandoned the Laser SB3 start and sent all boats safely back to Hamble.

For Black Fleet the committee laid a start line near Fastnet Insurance buoy and with two separate courses set for the seven IRC and one-design classes. With a wind direction of 200 degrees and a west going tide the DAKS race buoy was chosen as the first windward mark for all classes, with IRC0, 1, and 2 finishing at DAKS after a series of runs and beats, while the J109, J105, IRC3 and IRC4 classes had a slightly shorter course finishing at Air Canada.

The end of series prize giving is next weekend, where the overall class winners will receive their awards, and the Garmin Yacht of the Year and Sportsboat of the Year will be announced. An added treat will be courtesy of the Sigma 38 class which is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, and they will be presenting a bottle of bubbly to each of the class winners.

Garmin Hamble Winter Series - Overall Results:

Black Fleet:

1st 'Tangent Minus 1' Paul and Julia Aisher, 13 points
2nd 'Paragon' Michael Blair, 18
3rd 'Biela' Richard Barnes, 19

1st 'Puma Logic' Sailing Logic Ltd., 20 points
2nd 'Jaguar Logic' Sailing Logic Ltd., 22
3rd 'Premier Flair' Jim Macgregor, 28

1st 'Elaine' Mike Bridges, 9 points
2nd 'Starspray' Bateson Family, 22
3rd 'Malice' Mike Moxley, 29

1st 'Light' John Rainger, 14 points
2nd 'Persephone of London' Nigel Goodhew, 17
3rd 'With Alacrity' Chris and Vanessa Choules, 25

1st 'Menace' Derek & James Morland and Tim Rees, 10 points
2nd 'Catch 22' David Rider, 27
3rd 'Crakajax' Ursula Bagnall & Richard Hollis, 30

1st 'Fay-J' Paul Griffiths, 11 points
2nd 'Voador' Simon Curwen, 14
3rd 'Journeymaker 5' Chris Jones, 15

1st 'J Dream' David & Kirsty Apthorp, 6 points
2nd 'Aria' Luca Rubinelli, 15
3rd 'Outrajeous' Richard & Valerie Griffith, 17

White Fleet:

Laser SB3
1st 'Robina' Jo Lloyd and Sue Antonelli, 69 points
2nd 'PamBere' Gillett, Jones, & Ross, 74
3rd 'Trunk Monkey' Joe Burnie, 90

1st 'Oil!' John Cooper, 19 points
2nd 'Boats.Com' Ian Atkins, 31
3rd 'Elle Sappelle' Thor Askeland, 44

SBR Sportsboats
1st 'Touchdown' Oliver Hemming, Anthony Vollmer, & Lucien Farrell, 19 points
2nd 'X-Static' Tim Grisgby, 31
3rd 'Finn M'Coul' Tom Clay, 57

For full results of the 2009 Garmin Hamble Winter Series, plus Hamble Big Boat Series and Autumn Championships, go to:

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The Last Word
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