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Rolex Middle Sea Race
Crossing the finish line at 1110 CEST Tuesday morning, Niklas Zennstrom's J/V 72 Ran (GBR) was the second boat to complete the 606-mile Rolex Middle Sea Race. With Esimit Europa 2 taking line honours, Ran is dockside in Valetta having beaten Esimit Europa 2 on corrected time. But the crew will have to wait until tomorrow --- when several competitors with the potential to topple them arrive -- to see how they have fared against the rest of the handicap leaders.

Zennstrom, owner and helmsman on Ran said, "We wanted to do well, so we made sure we planned as much as we could. We studied the different weather models that were available to us, and really tried to understand the racecourse as well as possible. I think we handled it well; we didn't make a lot of mistakes, which is what it's all about in this kind of race. Though it was pretty light conditions; you didn't have the tough conditions where you really have to handle the boat. It's a fun race because there are always different corners to go around, different islands -- for sure it's very tactical."

At 17.16 this evening, Andres Soriano's Mills 68 Alegre crossed the finish line. Twelve nautical miles behind them, Med Sprit (FRA) was approaching the South Comino Channel. Between Gozo and Lampedusa there are a half dozen boats close reaching in a light 5-10 knot easterly. While further up the track between Lampedusa and Pantelleria, the bulk of the fleet -- close to 40 boats -- are beating into a headwind, hoping for a Wednesday finish.

At midday today, Chris Opielok's Corby 36, AOC Rockall (GER) was currently leading Class 4, and in contention for overall handicap as well.

www.rolexmiddlesearace.com

Star Centennial Celebration Europe
The "European Regatta Centennial Celebration" in honor of 100 years of the Star, was a great success in both sea and ashore events. A unique event in France it was attended by about 100 teams from 14 different countries for three days of racing in St. Tropez.

Competitors enjoyed the usually good conditions with ideal racing for the final, Sunday, October 23. It is indeed beautiful sailing with the wind 14 to 17 knots and flat seas for last race. In the end, and after six races conducted in all, the Swedish champion Frederik Loof and Max Salminen SWE 8450 prevailed by only two points ahead of the Italian Diego Negri and Enrico Volton of ITA 8266. The Star GER 8340 with Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen took third place.

In Saint-Tropez, the Star was a sensation, the Olympic sailing boat requires a lot of agility, technique, concentration, physical fitness and a great confidence in his team-mate. The star that represents the class is not nearly out!

During the awards ceremony the President of the Nautical Society, Andre Beaufils, presented the trophies to the first three and the special prizes such as the first mixed crew won by Xavier and Nathalie Rohart.

A trophy was awarded to the yacht built entirely of wood by its owner - the Polish Star 1152 "Rozpior" with Raubo Marcin and Lukasz Lesinski. Not to mention the trophies for the youngest to not so young competitors. The City of Saint-Tropez was keen to give the winner a wonderful overall photo of the race taken by Jean-Louis Chaix.

Special Prizes:
- Exhalted Grand Master (more than 70 ans): GER 8407 - Walter and Xaver Soellner
- Grand Master (between 60 and 70 ans) : ITA 8467 - Guido Sodano and Andrea Folci
- Master (between 50 and 60 ans) : SWE 8351 (6th overall!) - Tom Lofstedt and Hakan Lundgren
- Youngest: FRA 8137 - Clement Brillaud and Maurice Pflumio
- Wood Boat: POL 1152 - Raubo Marcin and Lukasz Lesinski
Mixed crew: FRA 8337 - Xavier and Nathalie Rohart

Final top ten:

1. Berg Propulsion, Fredrik Loof / Max Salminen, SWE, 6 points
2. ITA 8266, Diego Negri / Enrico Voltolini, ITA, 8
3. Audi Sailing Team, Robert Stanjek / Frithjof Kleen, GER, 15
4. Jeanneau, Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Zycki Dominik, POL, 17
5. Pantaenius, Guillaume Florent / Pascal Rambeau, FRA, 21
6. SWE 8351, Tom Lofstedt / Hakan Lundgren, SWE, 37
7. SUI 7252, Jean-Pascal Chatagny / Ducommun Patrick, SUI, 43
8. Lara, Merkelbach Huber / Gerrit Bartel, GER, 43.0001
9. Starnatic, Alexander Hagen / MA Hasche, GER, 57
10. FRA 8237, Rohart Xavier / Nathalie Rohart , FRA, 65

Full results: www.starclass.org

Transat 6.50: Scott Cavanough Forced To Abandon His Boat
Scott Cavanough (797 - brainchild.org.au) was forced to abandon his 2010 Brett Bakewell-White's design prototype. The boat dismasted and that severely damaged the bow.

The possibility of setting up a jury rig was impossible. Scott got on board the escort boat Pen Ar Clos this morning.

Scott followed the standard safety procedure and he - at regular intervals - has pressed his ERPIB's red button, indicating that he had a technical problem and that he was asking for help. Yesterday, the race director asked one of the seven escort boats, Pen Ar Clos, to navigate through the night at high speed to be, in the early morning, alongside the Australian sailor.

It has to be said too... The American sailor Emma Creighton (574 - Pocket Rocket) remained all night near Scott, accepting to put her race aside for a while. Emma has set sails again this morning after the arrival of the escort boat in the zone. Beau geste Emma...

Scott will stay aboard Pen Ar Clos until Brazil.

More news on www.charentemaritime-bahia.transat650.net

Recruitment for Sunset+Vine; Associate Producer for the America's Cup Uncovered Production Team
- Proven commitment to and track record producing creative features for broadcast

- At least three years' experience at AP level on broadcast programming

- Technical post production skills (FCP) an advantage, as would experience working as part of a team producing weekly programming

- Strong script writer and story teller

- Thrive in a small dedicated team

- Thorough knowledge and passion for the sport of sailing and the major international sailing events would be an advantage

- Position would be London based with potential for travel to Americas Cup events and stand-alone shoots

- Available from January 2012, salary commensurate with experience

- Send CVs to Ann-Marie Mayhew with the subject heading 'AP for America's Cup Uncovered'. Interviews will be held mid-November

2013 NYYC Invitational Cup Presented by Rolex
Newport, RI, USA: New York Yacht Club Commodore Robert C. Towse Jr. announced today that the third biennial Invitational Cup will be held September 7-14, 2013. Rolex will again be the presenting sponsor.

The Invitational Cup is a regatta for yacht clubs from around the world and their sailors. It has become an important Corinthian (amateur) sailing competition. The racing is in NYYC Swan 42s - the eighth one-design class created by the New York Yacht Club since 1900.

In the inaugural NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex in 2009, 19 yacht club teams from 14 countries, from four continents competed. The second Invitational Cup in 2011 included 22 yacht club teams from 16 nations from six continents. The team from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, skippered by Terry McLaughlin, won the 2011 event; the New York Yacht Club with skipper Phil Lotz won the 2009 event.

According to Commodore Towse, "The Invitational Cup has become a significant event for the New York Yacht Club and yacht clubs from around the world. We were delighted with the level of competition and interest by the competitors this year. Congratulations to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. We look forward to hosting the event in 2013 and expect a high level of interest by yacht clubs from around the world."

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN) has accepted the challenge to defend its win of the 2011 NYYC Invitational Cup in 2013. Invitations to international clubs will be issued in the spring of 2012.

Clubs from the United States will have the opportunity to earn invitations to the 2013 Invitational Cup by competing in the U.S. Qualifying Series to be held on September 4-8, 2012 in Newport where the top three clubs will earn an invitation. Later this fall invitations to the U.S. Qualifying Series will be announced on the web at invitationalcup.org

Volvo Ocean Race Game
Online registrations for the final beta test of the all-new Volvo Ocean Race Game have topped the 10,000 mark with just under two weeks still to go until the official virtual warm up race starts on October 29.

Using live weather data, players of the new game will pit their wits and sailing prowess against each other on the virtual racecourse, while the real boats compete for real out on the world's oceans for the Volvo Ocean Race trophy.

The new game will be launched on October 29, the day of the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante and features many enhancements over the previous version which attracted over 220,000 players during the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race.

This time the game will be available to play on Facebook and on the Volvo Ocean Race website, as well as on several major news and sporting sites. For the first time, players will also be able to access it using iPhones and Android devices.

Players will also be able to tag their Facebook friends and share the game with other Facebook users.

Volvo Ocean Race Game Schedule:
October 29th - Start of official Practice Race
November 2nd - Finish of official Practice Race
November 5th - Start of Leg 1 Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa

Volvo Ocean Race Game Links:
Official Website: www.volvooceanracegame.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/VolvoOceanRaceGame
Twitter: twitter.com/oceanracegame

Seasure Nominated for Sixth Dame Award In Five Years
Seasure The impressive new MPS - Multihull Performance Rudder Stock, has been developed during the past season to satisfy demand from multihull sailors. It features a revolutionary "Strike Release" mechanism allowing the rudder to flip when it strikes ground, a buoy, or rope, but keeps it secure when travelling at speed through the water.

Sea Sure is committed to a long term programme of developing products that advance the marine market. They have the engineering skills and capability to design, test and launch new products. This new product comes from their comprehensive development programme that has led to six Dame Award nominations in five years.

For more information please contact:
Graham Brown on +44 (0)1489 885401 or at
For the Seasure website please visit www.sea-sure.co.uk

Is One Design the Answer for IMOCA 60 Class?
Several sailors - seven in fact, have decided that the Multi-One-Design perhaps offers better value [than the IMOCA Open 60s]. The cost part of the MOD70 equation is known, but the value part is yet to be proven. Sponsors seem to be willing to take the risk on value if the costs are a known quantity.

The IMOCA board has decided that reducing costs is easier in the short term than increasing value. The aim will be to make the boats more reliable and less expensive.

One option is a one-design. With the MOD70 on a roll, a 60 foot one-design monohull has to have something special to compete with a 70 foot one-design multihull. Is solo versus crewed enough?A better idea, if one-design is to be considered at all - might be to divide the class into one-design and prototype (Open), which has several precedents.

There are only 28 F1 drivers in the 2011 season. There are only 11 places on the England Cricket team. There are sportsmen and women all over the world who are brilliant, but can't get the money to compete. That's the way some sports go. Rather than make the IMOCA class more accessible, another way to go is to make it tougher - to make competing in the class more valuable.

Any changes must take into account the lifespan of the current fleet, which includes six new boats bound for the start line of the next Vendee Globe. That is why the IMOCA Class has decided to give everyone, racers and owners, time to think about these changes. The first decisions are due to be taken in January 2012 with the aim of ensuring the best possible future for the class.

Excerpts from David Fuller's editorial in Yachtracing.biz, full article at www.yachtracing.biz/blog/2011/

Spinnaker Tales
The storm tormented Tasman Sea is certainly not the place to discuss the events of the day over a quiet lunch but apparently no one has told the legendary veteran skipper Bob Robertson.

Some time ago the self appointed 'Knight of Queensland ocean racing' stated he was done with the unfinished business of trying to win the gruelling 628 nautical mile blue water classic.

However the burning desire to equal the feat of Mackay navigator Bob Thomas who with his skipper Ed Psaltis of Sydney crewed Midnight Rambler to win the dramatic race in 1998 has prompted Sir Robbo to again face a supreme test of his personal tactics later this year.

He recently bought a new Beneteau First 40 class sloop and has christened the impressive challenger Lunchtime Legend which indicates the 'Old Salt' from Queensland's Sunshine Coast has committed to a serious investment to have the chance of making space for a Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race trophy on his mantelpiece.

Lunchtime Legend still relatively short of racing trim with the builders dust in her bilge finished fifth in her class at the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August.

At the time her proud owner skipper said "This is the first step toward a last shot at the Sydney to Hobart".

Naturally the dual winner of the Brisbane to Gladstone race and many other major places in Australian coastal classics including a third in the Rolex Sydney Hobart believes he has the experience and endurance to become a serious challenger when the fleet heads south on Boxing Day.

"I guess when you approach the sundown-side of sixty you could be classed among the pretenders but Lunchtime Legend has the crew experience and the potential handicap rated speed to be rated among the serious contenders". Bob Robertson said.

Sure he was excited when he told this columnist of his intentions during a (QLD) quiet little drink on the deck of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club last August.

As proved in the past the veteran Sunshine Coast ocean racing sailor has never backed away from becoming involved in a tactical 'dog-fight' to protect his reputation.

He has personally endured the physical and mental torment of numerous Hobart races and after several years of enjoying a family Christmas and New Year with a boating holiday on Moreton Bay has laid up the retirement plan to refresh the experience of enjoying a post race celebration on Hobart's historical Constitution Dock.

One of his Hobart Race rivals who should remain nameless has quoted 'Sir Robbo' as having made more comebacks than opera legend Dame Melba, however depending on luck and experience he may have the chance to sing the Queenslander song as part of the 'quiet little drink' during the post race celebrations at the Custom House Pub. -- Ian Grant

A MOD70 for Jean-Pierre Dick and the Paprec-Virbac Sailing Team
Following on from August's announcement that two international teams, Oman Sail and Spindrift racing, are to participate in the Multi One Championship, today it's the turn of a French team to join the ranks of the new one-design trimaran class. Jean-Pierre Dick and his loyal partners, Paprec and Virbac, are now taking up the challenge to helm the next MOD70; bringing the total number of international teams competing in the Multi One Championship to seven.

In addition to fleshing out the number of entries, this latest commitment from the trimaran novice, who is both a vet and a skipper, is all the more remarkable in that it completes the line-up for the French market. Indeed the class rules state that the maximum number of MOD70s per nation is restricted to four crafts and with Paprec-Virbac 70, the French quota has now been reached.

A native of Nice, Jean-Pierre Dick will take the helm of his MOD70 in the spring of 2013 following the next Vendee Globe.

A Close Call Dinghy Accident in Mossel Bay, South Africa
A totally harmless situation in the Eastern Cape Championship Regatta in Mossel Bay, South Africa turned into a life threatening disaster. To learn from it, I would like all regatta organizers, coaches and dinghy sailors to take the time to read this. We do not want to see more of these accidents anywhere in the world.

Lance Burger, an international judge, a meticulous sailor and yachtsman, was the victim of a terrible accident caused by poor understanding, and boat handling as well as lack of common sense by the driver of what was supposed to be a rescue boat (RIB).

Lance has tens of years of experience from dinghy and keelboat racing in Cape Town. He is a man with exceptional love for sailing sport and at the same time he has always taught his own children, other juniors and anyone prepared to listen the safe ways, the proper seamanship and the safety regulations. He would never make the slightest shortcut in anything related to boats, sailing and/or usage of powerboats.

Sailing his Laser in Mossel Bay this month he had a problem with his outhaul line. The only way to sort it out was to capsize the boat, and fix it in the water. While he was busy with this operation the rescue boat driver spotted the capsized Laser and noticed that it was not getting righted straight away. He made his way to Lance and his Laser, with full speed. By this time Lance had already completed his repair and was getting onto the centreboard. For whatever reason, the rescue boat driver did not slow down in time but actually drove over Lance who had no time to react or take cover.

The propeller of the outboard engine of the RIB hit Lance's face. His clothes got stuck on the propeller, not letting him get to the surface. Eventually Lance got freed of the propeller and the helpers could hold Lance's head above the water level. By that time he had already water in his lungs and his face was severely hurt and bleeding.

Lance's injuries were life threatening and only centimetres separated him from immediate death/

With hindsight, the driver of the rescue boat ignored two basic rules:

1. A rescue boat should always observe the situation from at least 5 boat lengths' distance to find out whether the sailor actually needed and wanted outside assistance. Only after that kind of signal from the sailor (or no signal at all...) should the boat get closer to offer help.

2. A rescue boat should never approach a capsized boat with speed. A slow and controlled approach offers a good view and time to observe and do the right things. A planing RIB is deadly when there are sailors swimming in the water.

Additionally, as Lance is suggesting, all rescue boats' outboards should be fitted with a prop guard. They don't only make it safer for the sailors and swimmers but also protect the props from being damaged on rocks / shallow waters. Certainly also a cost saving factor for any YC.

Also kill switches should always be used. Should the driver slip or fall over board, the engine must come to a stop. However, in Lance's accident, even usage of a kill switch would not have made a difference.

And last but not least, the regatta organisers must brief their rescuers with at least all of the above. No one should be sent out there without making sure that they can handle the boats they are using and also understand what is expected from them. A person who is not capable of participating in the racing is not necessarily any better as a rescuer. The youngsters love speed too much; hence responsible and mature control of the usage of the rescue boats is a key safety factor. This was certainly not the first time a rescue boat caused an accident that could have been avoided. -- Eero Lehtinen, Editor, Pro Sail Magazine

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The Last Word
I won't say ours was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like: What I'm going to be if I grow up. -- Lenny Bruce

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