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Minoprio Defeats Ainslie
The Andy Green Cam! Photo by Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images. Click on image for event gallery.

The Andy Green Cam Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia: The Monsoon Cup, the final event of the World Match Racing Tour, with MYR 1.57 millon (approxUS$454,000) prize money was sailed on the Pulau Duyong basin in Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia this week.

Yesterday Adam Minoprio and his ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing crew of Tom Powrie, David Swete, Nick Blackman and Dan McLean won the ISAF World Match Racing Championship on the way to the Monsoon Cup finals.

Today the new World Champion sailed against the legendary Ben Ainslie, 32 year old British sailor, three-time Olympic gold medallist and ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1998, 2002 and 2008. Ainslie's mainsheet hand is double Olympic Gold medallist Iain Percy and the balance of his crew Matt Cornwell, Christian Kamp and Mike Mottl are considered amongst the best in the world.

Ben Ainslie related 'A pretty disappointing day. Everything we did was wrong and the spinnaker coming down on the last run really capped it off

'We are pleased for Adam and his boys... they gave us a lesson today. We have more work to do as a team.

'It's great to make the final in this last Tour event of the year. For us, the focus of the World Match Racing Tour has been around trying to build ourselves up; mainly the relationship between Iain Percy and myself in terms of an after guard relationship based around the Cup.

'It's been a little bit frustrating that we haven't been able to do more World Tour events and we feel we have a good crack at winning the Tour outright and we are keen to do just that in the future.

'This has been a great event. We watched the television coverage for the first time last night and we were trying to analyse some of the manoeuvres. I was amazed at the television - it's fantastic. There is the bow cam and the mast cam and Andy Green cam; it's really good and I'm really impressed. It's far better than the coverage of the last America's Cup and something which should be incorporated in the Cup in the future.'

Monsoon Cup Results
1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing Team
2. Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin
3. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
4. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ALL4ONE
5. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
6. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
7. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team

Tour Standings
1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 138 Points
2. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 97 Points
3. Ben Ainslie, (GBR) Team Origin 95 Points
4. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR 93 Points
5. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team Racing 79 Points
6. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 75 Points
7. Sebastien Col, (FRA) French Match Racing Team 55 Points
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 48 Points

www.worldmatchracingtour.com

Best Sailor Bar In The World
The Main Bar at the RHKYC We've had hundreds of submissions on the online form at www.scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html and will soon have a complete list of all nominated bars posted there. A few clubs, most notably the Salcombe Yacht Club in England and the main bar at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, have VERY fervent memberships and have inundated your humble narrator with dozens of postings and recommendations.

Speaking of the RHKYC, see the picture at right (click to enlarge) sent to us from the club's secretary. Now THAT's a bar! Absolutely beautiful, and from all accounts welcoming to all sorts of sailors in all kinds of attire. Bravo! I can picture myself in a white linen suit knocking back Mai Tais, using the bar stools as walking sticks, etc...

Another notable sailor's bar, talking a slightly different approach, was recommended by our friend Andy Dare. Andy writes "The Micalvi in Puerto Williams Deepest southern Chile

It's the Southernmost Bar in the world (excluding the Antarctic) & the closest to Cape Horn. (click on the photo for a selection of shots..)

The Micalvi in Puerto Williams

Its full of character, being built in the bridge of a old ship that actually sits on the bottom, so the whole place really does have a list to Port, even when you enter.

The fireplace is made from an old funnel & they serve the best Pisco Sours ever...... And .... for as long as you can manage to mumble the words for more!

Its like a mini museum, as the walls & ceiling are covered in Great Cape Horn-ers stories & Antarctica Memorabilia.

We added our signed Antarctica Battle flag to the rapidly dwindling space & joined the club."

A few others from the mail box:

* Dave Rogers recommends the Mermaid Bar, Vava'u Yacht Club, Tonga

South Seas sailor bar in its truest form....situated on a gorgeous harbour surrounded by hills, mangroves and a scattering of cruising yachts from around the globe. Tie your dinghy up alongside, kick off your shoes and sample beers from Oz, NZ, the local Ikale and Maka brews. Like all good sailor bars its unliklely you'll remember getting home that night. Nirvana.

* Peter Bullick brought our attention to The Baron Darnton.

This bar is on the island of Sanda. a mile sw off the Mull of Kintyre. The bar is owned by Dick, an amazing charactor, who can tell you stories about his very interesting life. He bought the island about 10 years ago and set about restoring the many buildings. He has restored the houses and old school, the bothy or bunk house and the old lighthouse keepers cottages that can be rented out. However the bar is something else. Good food and atmosphere. I have sailed there from Bangor, 40 miles, and thoroughly enjoyed the liquid refreshments and great food. Dick welcomes everyone as if they are lost friends. All his customers have to arrive by boat and therefore share a common achievement and the bar talk reflects this. Just google 'Sanda' to appreciate the place.

* And a reminiscence of one that's slipped below the waves, from our friend Peta Stuart-Hunt (who just landed another PR contract with Sailing Logic, congrats to both):

"The Lord Nelson Inn on Virgin Gorda, BVI.

I grew up in what was definitely considered as one of the best sailors' bars in the world of its time (and boy was that THE time!). My family ran it for a few years from 1968-1972 or thereabouts. Sadly it doesn't exist anymore but when we had it I learned to strip and bleed a generator in the dark, pump water to the header tank for water, catch and cook the best lobster, scuba dive with the wonderful Bert and Chip Kilbride who started Kilbrides Underwater Tours and the main road over to North Sound and Bitter End YC was barely a scar on the mountain; the Moorings were just being started up by the Carys.

I was weaned on Mount Gay, became a champion darts player teaching the hundreds of drop in sailors how to play this very English game, and limbo dance, sang them calypsos and met a lot of lovely and fascinating people, always in transit (always sad for the ones left behind!). They loved it! I loved it!"

Keep the cards and letters coming, we'll start the voting for the Best Sailor's Bar in the World in 10 days' time! Our thanks to Wight Vodka for their support of this vital endeavour.

Online form at www.scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html

And One Sailor's Bar That's Got Two Special Promoters...
As a barman in a yachting club, Ray Shepherd-Smith would no doubt have seen the occasional customer three sheets to the wind, and many others with the wild look of the sea about them.

Never before, however, had he seen drinkers who may have come from another world.

An apparent paranormal event is being investigated at the Royal Findhorn Yacht Club in Moray, in which Mr Shepherd-Smith poured drinks for two elderly men who appeared as if out of nowhere on a dark night and then disappeared into thin air.

They told him they were life members who were coming for a last look around.

Members at the prestigious club, which has a reputation for being haunted, checked on the CCTV that monitors the building, but there was no footage of anyone entering or leaving.

The clubhouse, a grand three-story stone building, was once the home of James Chadwick, who founded the club in Findhorn village in 1929. His ghost is said to still inhabit the building and local yachties are now wondering if he has found someone to keep him company.

The visitors appeared shortly before 7pm one evening last week, when Mr Shepherd-Smith, 52, who lives in the flat above the club with his wife Claire, was getting ready to open up the bar.

He explained: "I was in the kitchen getting some lemons and didn't hear anyone come in but two elderly gentlemen in coats were standing at the bar when I came through.

"I asked if they were members and they said they were life members. The smaller man asked for a rum and the other chap wanted a whisky with ice in it."

Mr Shepherd-Smith added: "I had never seen them before and as I was preparing their drinks the taller chap said they had heard the club was closing and had come down for a last look.

"They went towards the bar door as though they were going for a look round. I rang up their drinks on the till but when I went to check where they were, the rest of the place was in darkness.

"I even went upstairs to check in the street but there was nobody there. It was very surreal and all very odd."

Full story in The Times: www.timesonline.co.uk

Relax With A Wight Martini
Wight Vodka The team at 50 Degrees North, the creators of Wight Vodka, has a rather intense history of developing some fantastic cocktails. With names from the 'Wight Sundown' to the 'Wight & Stormy,' there's also something to be said about enjoying Wight Vodka's clean, crisp flavour all on its own (perhaps poured over ice), like you would a fine Scotch whiskey. Since its launch in 2007, Wight Vodka has been thoroughly enjoyed by skippers and crew from St. Andrews to Sydney. And just this past weekend, we've heard rumours of a fabulous Wight Vodka Party held at the King & Queen in Hamble.

Distilled in London an extraordinary seven times, Wight Vodka definitely makes a prized gift. And as the headline sponsor of Scuttlebutt's "Best Sailor's Bar" competition, you may just receive a bottle of WV simply by submitting your story and helping to choose the world's greatest. Enjoy and please remember our collective tag line to Tack & Gybe Responsibly with Wight Vodka!

www.wightvodka.com

ISAF Announces Approval of AC International Jury
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) today announced the ISAF approval for the appointment of the International Jury for the 33rd America's Cup.

The 33rd America's Cup Match is scheduled to be held in Valencia, Spain in February 2010 between the Societe Nautique Geneve of Switzerland and the Golden Gate Yacht Club of the United States of America.

The five-person International Jury will be:

David Tillett (Australia) Chairman
David has been an International Judge for 20 years and is the current Chairman of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee. He has been a juror at the 31st and 32nd America's Cup's as well as an Umpire at the 28th and 29th America's Cups. He has also been a Jury Member at four Olympic Games, and Chairman in 2004 and 2008.

John Doerr (Great Britain)
John has been an International Judge since 1987 and an International Umpire since 1980. A past Chairman of the ISAF Race Officials Committee. He was a Jury member and Chief Umpire for the 29th America's Cup and a Jury Member and Chief Umpire at the last four Olympic Games.

Josje Hofland (The Netherlands)
An International Judge since 1992 and an International Umpire between 1992 and 2000. A past Chairman of various ISAF Race Officials Committees and a member of the Racing Rules Committee between 1995 and 2008. She was a Jury member in the 29th America's Cup and filled the role of Chief Umpire in the Challenger Finals and Deputy Chief Umpire in the America's Cup match. Josje has also been a member of the Jury in three Olympic Games.

Graham McKenzie (New Zealand)
Graham is a competing sailor in keelboats. A member of the ISAF Constitution Committee. He was a Jury member for the 32nd America's Cup.

Bryan Willis (Great Britain)
Bryan has been an International judge since 1976 and an International Umpire between 1980 and 2004. He was an integral member of the ISAF Racing Rules Committee for 20 years between 1980 and 2000. Bryan was a Jury member and Chief Umpire in the 28th America's Cup, Chairman of the Jury and Chief Umpire in the 30th and 31st America's Cup and Chairman of the Jury and Arbitration Panel for the 32nd America's Cup. Jury Chairman of the 2000 Olympic Games and Jury Chairman for the last three Volvo Ocean Races.

* From Golden Gate YC: We welcome the news that ISAF has appointed the International Jury for the 33rd America's Cup. The panel is highly qualified.

We are pleased that it includes the members of the Expert Panel to which Justice Kornreich referred the five technical questions. The Panel's recommendations were confirmed by Justice Kornreich in her recent decision.

With the Jury's appointment we expect that the remaining rules issues, including revision of the SNG-ISAF agreement and the draft Notice of Race, will be quickly resolved consistent with the Court's decisions and orders, and in accordance with normal - and fair - yacht racing rules and procedures. -- www.ggyc.org

Staying Ahead
Murray Jones has been in charge of the Alinghi 5 sailing programme since the boat's launch in July. He is the linchpin between the sailing and design team and also manages the rig programme...

Seahorse: The obvious first question - are Alinghi also going the wing mast route? Murray Jones: No, we decided not to go with a wing mast for a number of reasons...

SH: What was your reaction to BMW Oracle's when you first saw it?

MJ: It looks pretty cool. I think they've done a nice job of designing and building it. It's early at this stage to gauge the performance, but you have to respect that they have done a nice job and to get it operating straightaway is a credit to them.

SH: Key differences between that concept, a solid wing mast and what you have?

MJ: The primary difference is that the wing is two distinct surfaces, you can adjust the camber quite easily and the twist profile vertically. It can be quite efficient and versatile in changing through the range of conditions; like upwind and downwind and also when the breeze comes up and you are depowering, you can twist it and in theory you should also have less drag.

SH: Alinghi now have a bigger mast up - what are the next plans for development?

MJ: We've been working on different sail areas on the boat and the taller mast has given us the ability to carry more sail. We are assessing the performance difference between the two masts and the different sail plans for different wind speeds and different angles. In a multihull the sail area is particularly critical; how much sail you should carry, because you want enough sail area that you can fly the hull and then once you're flying freely all the time, you don't really want any more because depowering usually increases drag. It's a matter of trying to learn how much sail area is the correct amount for different wind strengths.

SH: As we know, Valencia is on the cards for the Match. How are the team changing or adapting their plans?

MJ: We have always had to be versatile! Valencia in February will be in very changeable conditions, so we have to be able to sail the boat, change gears, change sails, depower and go right through the range. That will be more challenging for the crew.

Full article in Seahorse magazine, online at
seahorsemagazine.com/2010-January/alinghi.php

Yachtworld Magazine
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www.yachtworldmagazine.com

La Solitaire Du Figaro Announces 2010 Edition of the Race
The 2010 edition of La Solitaire du Figaro will cover 1,717 nautical miles between ports both old and new to the race. There will be the return to Gijon and Kinsale, which will bring back memories that are part of the rich history of La Solitaire du Figaro. Between these two stages abroad, Le Havre will host the race start for the 41st edition for the first time. Brest and Cherbourg-Octeville will each host a stop-over once more.

The City of Le Havre will host La Solitaire du Figaro race for the very first time. With a long history and experience of hosting large-scale events, the Paul Vatine's basin and its entire new infrastructure will undoubtedly provide all the facilities for a great start for the event from the 20th to the 27th July.

On July 27th the Figaro fleet will leave Le Havre for Gijon in Spain on a marathon 515 nautical mile leg, which will see the fleet sail on both the English Channel and the Atlantic Sea.

The second leg up to Brest will not be so straightforward; with a return crossing of the Bay of Biscay to negotiate and the SN1 mark to be left to port.

La Solitaire returns to the much-loved town of Kinsale for the 19th time in the 41-year history of the race. Although the event has not returned since 1997, it remains to this day, one of the greatest stopovers of the race. Relatively short at 349 miles, the 3rd stage of the race, will be nothing but easy. Upon leaving Brest harbour, the Figaro Beneteau 2 fleet will head out into the Chenal du Four along the Portsall rock plateau. Then follows an 89 miles stretch along the English Channel up the Cornish coastline to Wolf Rock, which must be left to port. The fleet will converge at the legendary Fastnet Rock, which must be left to starboard, after the 165 mile stint across the Celtic Sea, before heading eastwards to Kinsale.

The 41st edition of the race will conclude in Cherbourg in Normandy on the fourth and final 435-mile leg.

Schedule for La Solitaire du Figaro 2010:

Le Havre
Village Opening: Tuesday, July 20
Suzuki Prologue: Sunday, July 25
Leg 1 Start: Tuesday, July 27
The Solitaire stops in Le Havre for the first time

Gijon (515 Miles)
Arrival of boats: Friday, July 30
Leg 2 Start: Tuesday, August 3
The Solitaire stops in Gijon for the 11th time
Host City: 1991-1992-1994-1995-1996-1997-1998-2001-2002-2004

Brest (418 Miles)
Arrival of boats: Thursday, August 5
Leg 3 Start: Monday, August 9
The Solitaire stopped in Brest for the 10th time
Departure City: 1970-1971-1994-1999
Host City: 1981-1988-1997-2007
Arrival City: 1995

Kinsale (349 Miles)
Arrival of boats: Wednesday, August 11
Leg 4 Start: Monday, August 16
The Solitaire stops in Kinsale for the 19th time
Host City:
1974-1975-1976-1978-1979-1980-1983- 1984-1985-1986-1988-1990-1991- 1992-1993-1994-1995-1997

Cherbourg-Octeville (435 Miles)
Arrival of boats: Thursday, August 19
Closing Regatta: Sunday, August 22
The Solitaire stopped at Cherbourg for the 7th time
Departure City: 1991-1998-2006
Host City: 2008
Arrival City: 2000-2002

www.lasolitaire.com

Light Nor-Westers Set To Test All At Sail Sydney
Mat Belcher & Malcolm Page work hard in the shifty light airs. Photo by Harvie Allison, www.harvpix.com. Click on image to enlarge.

Sail Sydney Forecast 5-6 knot shifty north and north-westerly winds, with no breeze at all at times, on a day when temperatures are set to soar to 30 degrees, is sure to test the 233 entries (292 sailors) and officials at the Sail Sydney regatta on Sydney Harbour.

Hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club, with assistance from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, the predominantly Olympic and Youth classes regatta is into its third day and for competitors it is basically make-or-break time, as tomorrow is the final day of the four day event.

Not surprisingly, there are only two classes where the leaders have taken off on the rest of the fleet at this ISAF Grade 1 Olympic point-scoring event; Hannah Nattrass and Graham Biehl (AUS) have amassed a whopping 14 point lead over their nearest rivals in the Youth 29er skiff class, having won five of the six races sailed so far (with a third in the remaining race).

Mat Belcher and his Beijing Olympic gold medallist crew, Malcolm Page (AUS), whose three wins yesterday lift them to five points clear of their closest competition and training partners, Sam Kivell and Will Ryan (AUS). Every other pointscore is exceptionally close, making today's performances even more important.

At 8.30am this morning, sailors were looking at a lovely nor-easter on the Harbour – will it still be there when they hit the water?

Racing is due to get underway from 10.00am, with the 470, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7 and 420 classes, while the Laser, Finn, 49er, 29er, RS:X and Moth classes are due for a 12.30pm kick-off – but the conditions may decided differently. -- Di Pearson

www.sailsydney.org.au

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 Andrew Bishop, Director, World Cruising Club: Sailing is like any sport, the more experienced the participant the better they are at that sport, learning to respond to the varying conditions and challenges of participation.

Seamanship is a skill that is learnt and honed over time, miles sailed, experiencing different circumstances in varying conditions. Whilst the basics can be taught, the skilled seaman is the experienced sailor who has learnt to respect the sea and knows how to cope with its' challenges.

One thing about sailing is that without actually being on the boat when a difficult decision is taken onlookers who criticise can never be aware of all the facts that have been analysed by the skipper in making that final decision. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it can't help the skipper who is there in difficult circumstances, taking hard decisions under pressure, that ultimately affect the lives of his crew.

World Cruising Club requires yachts that participate in its events to carry a level of safety equipment onboard, to the same level as ISAF Offshore Regulations Category 1. Furthermore yachts participating on the ARC must have sailed to Gran Canaria, itself often a testing sail of over 1,500 miles for most participants. A final set of seminars are held in Las Palmas for those who wish to attend, including one on "Emergencies at Sea". Due to the nature of participants' individual preparations these seminars can only be voluntary.

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is an event that provides a framework to encourage yachtsmen and women to push their own personal boundaries by crossing the Atlantic for the first time. Individual preparation is paramount to success, and having the confidence to set sail is a key factor. Sometimes things go wrong, but it is the way that individuals cope which teaches them, and lessons will be learnt. That is what participating in a sport that pushes personal boundaries is all about.

* From Heiko Godel: We can not hear the whining anymore...

Not even a set of (questionable) high tech mega multihulls for the 33rd America's Cup can take 50 miles for a dial-up to get lost in foreign waters and we have not heard of any AC match having such long legs.

We can also expect that a pair of highly paid pro navigators should be able to avoid getting adrift into Iranian waters.

Remaining uncertainties (if any) could be easily prevented by a massive fleet of official race support and coast guard vessels as seen during the 32nd AC in Valencia.

Iran may not share our western values but, with all respect, they did not come for UAE waters to hijack an unlucky British crew. In fact they were simply patrolling their waters finding an unofficial visitor.

Try to enter (for example) the US by yacht without a valid visa and you will find yourself in serious trouble even if you call at immigration immediately upon arrival (I can tell you...). Did anybody ever challenge the safety during Key West Race Week? Isn't that also very close to former favourite disputant Cuba...?

We want the America's Cup back to a normal multi challenger event as fast as possible - get out and sail in February 2010 in RAK - finally...

May the better win!

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The Last Word
The wines that one best remembers are not necessarily the finest that one has ever tasted, and the highest quality may fail to delight so much as some far more humble beverage drunk in more favorable surroundings. -- H. Warner Allen

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