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Pressure for the Podium
A race of "wild boar" with cross seas is being played 400 miles from Funchal, the end of this first leg of the Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50. The idea is the same as mentioned yesterday, progressing on port tack. And this is not easy to do when there is - in the race area - 25 knots wind! There is no doubt that this leg will be remembered and that the sailing conditions described in magazines and press kits can go the trash bin: This stage is unique because no one could predict such messy weather.

David Raison (747 - TeamWork Evolution) leader at the 8:00 am positioning saw Sebastien Rogues (719 - Eole Generation - GDF SUEZ) pass him by - only - 0.02 miles at noon. But if this duel here is remarkable, do not forget Jorg Riechers (753 - which is far from having giving up. He is 5 miles behind and a little damage before the start (ed. A collision 15 minutes before the start on the port side of his design Bertrand) does not seem to be a handicap. On the side of Series boats, Eric Llull (566 - Noble Cocoa) still sails cleanly. He is still in the lead, following an almost direct route from the begining.

Benoit Mariette (599 - Odalys Vacances) that has performed a remarkable comeback over the last 24 hours. He has cut his distance by half between 8 am and noon (French time), more than 8 nautical miles. Fabrice Sorin (781 - Cartoffset) remains third. But Fabrice will have to readjust in the East some time, or he risks to downgrade in the overall if we consider the eight series boats that are still in the race and only within 10 miles behind him.

Top three at 1600 hrs October 2nd

1. Benoit Mariette
2. Eric Lllull
3. Clement Bouyssou

1. David Raison
2. Jorg Riechers
3. Etienne David

Squeezing Down The Coast Of Africa
The first week of racing on Leg 1 in the double-handed, Class40, Global Ocean Race (GOR) has taken the fleet 1,300 miles from the start port in Palma, Mallorca, out into the North Atlantic, along the coast of Morocco to the Canary Islands completing approximately 20 per cent of the 6,800 mile route to Cape Town. Following a light winds start on Sunday 25 September, north-easterly breeze arrived with the fleet surfing towards the 100-mile wide funnel between Africa and Spain leading to the Strait of Gibraltar. After two and-a-half days of racing, the fleet shot through the Strait into the Atlantic in an easterly, Force 7-8 gale led by the father-and-son duo of Ross and Campbell Field with BSL and followed by four Class40s in the space of four hours. While the bulk of the fleet turned hard left along the coast of Africa, the Dutch duo of Nico Budel and Ruud van Rijsewijk were battling to preserve their downwind sail inventory on Sec. Hayai with damage to the A2 asymmetric and the total destruction of the boat's A6.

* Shortly before dusk on Friday, the Fields met a familiar yacht north of the islands when they encountered the maxi yacht and 1989-90 Whitbread Round-the-World Race entry, Fisher & Paykel: "We were sailing along, minding our own business, when this IOR beast came steaming over the horizon on our line, big spinnaker up with mizzen staysail," says Campbell Field. During the 1989-90 Whitbread, Ross Field raced with the late Sir Peter Blake on Steinlager 2, winning all of the event's six legs. "Quite an impressive sight and I was dreading the start of old IOR stories from Ross," he adds. During the encounter, the 82ft ketch came slightly too close for comfort: "We made our intentions clear and they sailed very close to leeward - which in itself gave us a few anxious moments as they struggled to keep her tracking in a straight line, so I got the camera out in case we needed some evidence for the big insurance claim as the underwriters might be a bit dubious with a description of the incident as 'mounted by a dinosaur'."

An invitation from the bigger boat via VHF to a stopover in the Canaries and a barbecue was politely declined by the New Zealand duo: "When I explained that we were in a race and were close second to a French boat ahead of us by a few miles, they very kindly offered to go and run them over!" Campbell reports.

"So they lumbered on ahead and over the horizon, although as we approached the northern tip of Lanzarote we overtook them again, which in itself is quite interesting; a 40ft boat racing around the world overtaking a yacht that - in its day - was a huge, state-of-the-art racing machine. According to Ross, there were damn near high-fives all round when Fisher & Paykel hit 10 knots and hitting 20 was an event worth writing a book about!"

Places at 2100 UTC October 2nd

1. Campagne de France, Mabire / Merron, 5274 nm to finish in Cape Town
2. BSL, Field / Field, 20.8 nm to leader
3. Cessna Citation, Colman / Romon, 158.3 nm
4. Financial Crisis, Nannini / Peggs, 222.1 nm
2. Sec. Hayal, Budel / van Rijsewijk, 392.7 nm
6. Phesheya-Racing, Leggatt / Hutton-Squire, 426.5 nm

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

Standby ticket
Mike Sanderson discusses his odds for the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race with Andy Rice

No walk in the park
Ben Ainslie can make it look so easy that it is possible to overlook how much work goes into that immense performance. Blue Robinson 

Under pressure
Even when your name is Elvstrøm you have to work hard to stay in front, as Jesper Bank explains to Dobbs Davis

Andrew Hurst

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...

Nice Treats the French Crew on Edmond de Rothschild Group to a Win
Photo by Mark Lloyd, Click on image for photo gallery.

Nice Grand Prix, The Nice Grand Prix, an event synonymous with light airs, rounded off this evening with victory going to the crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group. Pierre Pennec and his three crew controlled the seventh act of the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 to perfection. Putting up a very consistent performance throughout the first four days of the competition, the men of Gitana Team managed to leave Terry Hutchinson's team in their wake despite an incredible comeback by the American in the closing races. With this second victory, the catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has snatched back the reins of the championship, a leadership which had been left in the hands of the New Zealand team at the end of the Boston Grand Prix. After this seventh act, Pierre Pennec and his three crew are ahead of the Italians on Luna Rossa, whilst Dean Barker and his Kiwis complete the provisional podium for the 2011 circuit.

A second win! Seven months after their victory in the Oman Grand Prix, which opened the 2011 season of the Extreme Sailing Series, Pierre Pennec, Herve Cunningham, Thierry Fouchier and Christophe Espagnon have treated Edmond de Rothschild Group to another success, and on the only French leg of the circuit to boot: "It's really a great pleasure to win here in Nice in front of a French crowd, which has been behind us everyday", said a smiling Herve Cunningham on the podium.

The men of Edmond de Rothschild Group will only have a few days to savour their fantastic victory on the waters of the South of France. In a week's time, they'll be heading to Andalusia to contest the eighth act of the 2011 season. The latter will take place in Almeria from 12 to 16 October 2011. -- Translated by Kate Jennings

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild Group
Pierre Pennec - Skipper / helmsman
Christophe Espagnon - mainsail trimmer
Thierry Fouchier - headsail trimmer
Herve Cunningham - bowman

Ranking for the Nice Grand Prix, after 29 races)
1. Edmond de Rothschild Group, FRA, 229 points
2. Artemis Racing, SWE, 228 
3. Alinghi , SUI, 215.5
4. Luna Rossa, ITA, 209
5. Oman Air, OMA, 185
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, AUT, 179.5
7. Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, 163
8. Team GAC Pindar, GBR, 160
9. The Wave, Muscat, OMA, 156
10. Team Extreme, EUR, 119
11. Niceforyou, ITA, 118

Ranking for the Extreme Sailing Series 2011 after seven events
1. Edmond de Rothschild Group, FRA, 61 points
2. Luna Rossa, ITA, 59
3. Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, 54
4. The Wave, Muscat, OMA, 52
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, AUT, 49
6. Artemis Racing, SWE, 48
7. Alinghi , SUI, 48
8. Oman Air, OMA, 38
9. Team GAC Pindar, GBR, 21
10. Niceforyou, ITA, 16
11. Team Extreme, EUR, 15

Team Aqua Crowned 2011 RC44 Tour Champions
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Adris RC44 Cup Going into the final day of the Adris RC44 Cup, Team Aqua was going for the double. They had within their sights a third event victory of the season and the prospect of being crowned 2011 RC44 Tour Champions with an event to spare.

As Team Aqua (GBR) left the dock, they were not allowing any thoughts of a potential Championship win to enter their heads. With two more races to sail in the shifting 8-10 knot NW sea-breeze, and no discards allowed, a double figure finish could easily wipe out their 16 point cushion.

The first race didn't go to plan. The team rounded the windward mark in 13th. An early gybe got Team Aqua into a right hand shift moving the team up to 10th at the leeward gate. By the finish they had gained two more places to finish eighth.

With just one more race to sail they were 14 points clear. This meant that baring disqualification or breakage - they had done enough to win in Croatia and become 2011 RC44 Tour Champions.

Adris RC44 Cup 2011 Results (After thirteen races)
1. Team Aqua, 49 points
2. Artemis Racing, 61
3. RC44 Team CEEREF, 68
4. Aleph Sailing Team, 73
5. ORACLE Racing, 74
6. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 84
7. Team Nika, 91
8. No Way Back, 92
9. Katusha, 94
10. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 107
11. AEZ Sailing Team, 125
12. Ironbound, 126
13. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 151
14. RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by, 173

Qualifying Groups Announced For Argo Group Gold Cup
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club: The match is on in Bermuda as the top three sailors on the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) head up the three groups for the qualifying 'round robin' competition in the Argo Group Gold Cup. The Group 3 top seed is #1 ranked Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar. In the #2 slot on the Tour, Francesco Bruni (ITA) and his Bruni Racing Team sit atop Group 1 and #3 ranked Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and the Wave Muscat team top off Group 2. The three won't meet here in Bermuda until the quarterfinals… if they can get past the tough field set for 2011 racing in Bermuda.

The next three teams in the WMRT rankings are placed in the groups next. Peter Gilmour YANMAR Racing (AUS) is ranked #4 and slots into Group 2, Ranked #5 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team lands in Group 1 and #6 ranked Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team goes into Group 3 with tour leader Ian Williams.

Following them are the next three WMRT ranked teams. #7 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team joins Group 3, Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners #8 on the Tour lands in Group 1 and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team #9 slots into Group 2.

The rest of the selections for each group were decided by the Argo Group Gold Cup Organizing Committee, including Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore Peter Shrubb, event director Brian Billings, and Craig Mitchell, the Director of the World Match Racing Tour.

"After we placed the tour leaders by rank, we divided the rest of the competitors based on their ISAF rankings and performance in recent match racing regattas," said Commodore Shrubb. "Craig Mitchell and I had long discussions over this and the groups as we have structured them are as balanced as possible. "

Tunnicliffe and Team Maclaren Win the 21st Santa Maria Cup
Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Anna Tunnicliffe (Team Maclaren) (USA) took four exciting flights to win the 21st Santa Maria Cup today. Second place went to Julie Bossard (France) and third place to Becca Dellenbaugh (USA). There were consistently strong winds on this final day of the Championship accompanied by choppy water. In the third flight of the final, Elodie Fauve of Team Bossard fell overboard and quickly recovered but with the strong winds it meant a chilling finish. Team Ferris-Choat (Canada) finsihed fourth, Team Baylis (USA) was fifth, Team Lehtinen (Finland) was sixth, Team Ruhlman (USA) was seventh and Team Silve (Argentina) was eighth.

The Gay Lynn Trophy is given annually to the skipper of the top finishing Santa Maria Cup skipper in her first Santa Maria Cup. The 2011 winner is Becca Dellenbaugh. A second special Santa Maria Cup award is the Eleanor Ruth Wilcox Memorial Trophy for the Bowperson on the winning team. This award was given to Liz Bower Lewin, who dedicated her trophy to Team Maclaren and spoke too modestly of her role in the team's victory.

Dubarry Storm - Style Over Fashion
Dubarry Fashion's a funny thing. Everyone likes to make a statement but what does a jacket with spandex epaulettes, chainmail pockets and a dog motif say about you that you wouldn't mind being repeated? What if there was a jacket that did the basics well, a jacket that looks good and keeps you warm in the cold and dry in the rain? Meet the Dubarry Storm, featuring a waterproof shell and an inner storm flap to keep the weather out, and a polarfleece lining and a chin guard to keep you warm. Dubarry Storm - the calm within the Storm.

Running The Rhumblines
The warm tropical sailing wonderland of the Whitsunday Islands has continued to become 'the retirement village' for many of the World's past generation racing yachts.

It is not uncommon to see the major race winning maxi's like Matador, Condor, Ragamuffin, Hammer of Queensland, Merit and British Defender still actively sailing to Whitehaven Beach with a happy crew of International tourists on board.

They have certainly found a new lease of life in their famed sailing history as they set sail to showcase the pristine aquatic environment of the Whitsunday Islands to those who have never seen water so blue, sand so pure or Norfolk Pines so green.

This fleet have continued provide the opportunity to showcase the Whitsunday Islands to the World of tourism and thankfully have not been left to spend time at the mooring growing barnacles.

The Volvo Globe 60 Stratco Merit jointly owned by Leo Rodriguez and Ian Bishop placed the Whitsunday region and Queensland Tourism onto the World stage when the crew hoisted their spinnaker during the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

A special message "We'd rather to sailing in the Whitsunday's" told the story about her dedicated crew of warm water sailors as they prepared for another test of character and seamanship to master another cold water crossing of the storm torment Bass Strait.

There are a number of special stories surrounding the sailing history of the past generation racing yachts which now call Airlie Beach their home port.

Sure they have seen their best days of racing in some of the world's most searching weather systems including those experienced in The North Sea, Tasman Sea and along the ice-berg flow in The Great Southern Ocean.

Last month Stratco Merit continued to express her speed with a class line honours win in The Great Whitsunday Fun Race on Pioneer Bay while the former Royal Papua Yacht Club Admirals Cup sloop Surefoot showed she can still compete winning the Performance Handicap Silver Medal during the Airlie Beach Race Week in August.

Owner skipper Rod Sawyer naturally has a personal 'love affair' with the 28 year old Peter Norlin designed Surefoot which besides winning her share of races on Pioneer Bay has the distinction of recording a top three Brisbane to Gladstone corrected handicap place in her famed log book.

Surefoot is still regarded among one of the hardest to beat in the Whitsunday Sailing Club point score races and a recent upgrade in the sail wardrobe has significantly improved her boat speed.

"It would be nice to have some more spare cash to replace a number of race weary sails but I'm happy with our results". Rod Sawyer said. -- Ian Grant

A Blast From The Past
Photo by Billy Black, Click on image for photo gallery.

12 Metre North American Championship Newport Rhode Island, USA: Media mogul Ted Turner returned to the sport he mastered many decades ago when he helmed the iconic American Eagle -- the 12 Metre he once owned and raced around the world -- in the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships held in Newport, R.I. over September 23-25.

Turner's well-honed skills earned him first place in the Traditional division as well as the Pine Brothers Sponsor Trophy for Best Overall Performance.

"It's great to see that Ted, at age 72, still has the touch and the love of the sport," said Gary Jobson, who served as tactician for Turner just as he did when Turner's Courageous won the 1977 America's Cup. The  regatta included nine 12 Metres (Victory 83, Courageous, USA , Intrepid, American Eagle, Weatherly, Columbia, Northern Light and Onawa) racing in three divisions (Grand Prix/Modern, Traditional, Classic) and drew several other celebrity yachtsmen as well, including America's Cup veterans Dave Pedrick, Richie Boyd, Scott Perry, Andy MacGowan, Jim Gretzky, Reggie Pierce, Tom O'Brien, Richie Sayer, and Stu Argo and other notable sailors such as Jeff Johnstone, Michael Keyworth, Brad Read and Jud Smith.

After five races over Friday and Saturday, scores were close going into Sunday, but light breezes led to postponement and eventually cancellation, leaving unfinished business between competitors. In the Grand Prix/Modern division only one point separated first place Victory '83 from second place Courageous. American Eagle took top honors in the Traditional division over Weatherly, while in the Classic division Northern Light bested Onawa.

Bannister's Wharf was home base for the yachts and crews, stirring memories of Newport's America's Cup days of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, when 12 Metre battle flags flew boldly above the docks as crowds inspected these beautiful, historic boats as they laid at rest. And just as in 1977 and 1980, they thrilled to see Ted Turner mixing with sailors at the dock after a long hard day of 12 Meter racing.

This was the last 12 Metre event to be scored for the Ted Hood Championship Trophy, given for best performance over the 2011 season. This was awarded in the Grand Prix/Modern Division to Victory '83; in the Traditional division to American Eagle; and in the Classic division to Northern Light.

This year's event inaugurated the Ted Turner Trophy, awarded for an individual's contribution to the 12 Metre Class on and off the water. To a standing ovation and thunderous enthusiasm from the entire fleet, Turner himself presented the magnificent trophy -- designed by Dan MacDonald of Three Golden Apples in Newport -- to Guy Heckman, who campaigns USA.

Final results

Grand Prix/Modern
1.Victory 83, 1,1,1,2,2; 7
2. Courageous, 2,2,2,1,1; 8
3. USA, 4,3,3,3,4; 17
4. Intrepid, 3,4,4,4,3; 18

1. American Eagle, 2,1,1,1,1; 6
2. Weatherly, 1,2,3,2,2; 10
3. Columbia, 3,3,2,3,3; 14

1. Northern Light, 2,1,1,1,1; 6
2. Onawa,1,2,2,2,2; 9

Featured Brokerage
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The First Class 7.5 is a superb fun class sports racer with the potential to knock up some incredible speeds. Wildside was not launched until well after she was built and has really not had a hard life since then. She is in top shape with a superb suit of sails.

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The Last Word
Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humour? -- Frank Moore Colby

Back On Wednesday
No issue for Tuesday this week as your humble narrator travels all day Monday to Bermuda for the Argo Group Gold Cup. Another "working vacation" as our family calls them. I work, the wife vacations. Our daughter joins us for this trip, she hasn't been to Bermuda since 1998 when she was 2 years old. There are a lot of young boys at the RBYC for the RenRe Junior Gold Cup. She's 15. Great.

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