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Transat Jacques Vabre
Click on image to enlarge.

Transat Jacques Vabre Jean Pierre Dick confirmed his supremacy again this morning as the ultimate double handed monohull ocean racer when he and co-skipper Jeremie Beyou brought Virbac Paprec 3 across the finish line of the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre to win in the very early hours of the morning in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

Victory completes a remarkable year for Dick, who also won the two handed Barcelona World Race around the world on April 4th this spring, winning with co-skipper Loïc Peyron, and for Beyou who won the intense solo one design Solitaire du Figaro this summer.

They set a new record time from Le Havre to Puerto Limon for the mononulls beating the 2009 record by one hour and seven minutes, setting the mark at 15 days 18 hours and 54 seconds.

* Alex Thomson (GBR) and Guillermo Altadill (ESP) sailed Hugo Boss across the finish line off Puerto Limon, Costa Rica this Friday evening at 23hrs 20 mins 0 secs UTC, 17hrs 20 mins 00secs local time, to finish the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race in second place in the IMOCA Open 60 Class.

Hugo Boss completed the 4730 miles theoretical course distance in 16 days 9 hours 20 minutes 0 sec at an average speed of 12,03kts. They finished 15 hrs 4 mins 6 secs after Jean Pierre Dick and Jeremie Beyou on Virbac Paprec 3

* Francois Gabart and Christopher Pratt completed the IMOCA podium of the tenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre when the duo, looking tired, drawn, but brought their IMOCA Open 60 Banque Populaire across the finish line in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

Banque Populaire finish third behind victors, three times winner Jean Pierre Dick with Jeremie Beyou on Virbac Paprec 3 and Britain's Alex Thomson and Spain's Guillermo Altadill on Hugo Boss.

Finishing around five hours and 40 minutes behind Hugo Boss, the duo expressed their satisfaction at winning the 'race of the south', when they lead in today's regular stream of finishers which had chosen the more southerly routing, the opposite to that which proved ultimately decisive for the first two duos.

After a head to head duel which has run relentlessly through the last seven days Banque Populaire finally eclipsed near sistership MACIF sailed by Francois Gabart and Christopher Pratt who broke the finish line only 1 hour and 50 minutes later.

"The fight with MACIF has been really great. This afternoon we were worried we would not come third, so it's great to make it. We won the race of the southerners, in the end the northerners were too strong." Said Le Cleac'h who finished second in the last Vendee Globe.

* The Multi 50 of Yves Le Blevec and Samuel Manuard Actual crossed the finish line of the Transat Jacques Vabre to win the Multi class this Sunday morning, November 20, to at 07h 07mn 43sec UTC/GMT. That sets an elapsed time for the theoretical course of 5323 miles from Le Havre to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica of 17 days, 17 hours, 07 minutes and 43 seconds, sailing at an average speed 12.52 knots. Their measured actual course is 6508 miles at an actual average 15.31 knots.

Victory in this race is something of a bonus for Yves Le Blevec and Sam Manuard. In many respects their target was to simply finish. Two years ago Le Blevec capsized on the first night at sea of the 2009 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre and a year ago he had to retire from the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale. And only a matter of weeks before the start of this race they were dismasted.

They sailed a shrewd, smart race to win, setting the required rhythm early, sharing the lead with Crepes Whaou! from the second day on the course. But that duel was cut short when the three times winning skipper Franck Yves Escoffier had to retire with Crepes Whaou! after sustaining a back injury. Indeed four Multi 50's were forced to retire in a very short time frame.

Oracle Racing Spithill Takes The Double
Photo by Christophe Favreau, Click on image for photo gallery.

America's Cup San Diego saved the best for last, testing the international America's Cup World Series fleet with the strongest winds of the week, with gusts approaching 20 knots on Sunday afternoon, making for great racing conditions.

ORACLE Racing Spithill, winners on Saturday of the Match Racing Championship, came from behind to win the Fleet Racing Championship, becoming the first team to secure a double win at the AC World Series. Once again, team principal Larry Ellison was on board with the team today.

It was Emirates Team New Zealand who exploded off the starting line to lead the fleet of nine AC45s into a tense, action-packed turn at the first mark just a few hundred yards away. While the Kiwi team led early, the long leg upwind allowed several teams to shine, none more so than Artemis Racing who worked their way up to the front of a very tight pack by the top gate.

But ORACLE Racing Spithill chose the favored mark at the top and was soon leading the fleet downwind at speeds near 25 knots, slowly extending away from the pack of boats giving chase. Artemis Racing had a near disaster at the bottom mark, their headsail not deploying cleanly, with a near-capsize dropping them well down the fleet.

Earlier, in the AC500 Speed Trial, the fastest runs came on the teams' second attempt down the course. First it was Emirates Team New Zealand setting the pace. But then came the ORACLE Racing juggernaut. First Spithill and then Darren Bundock, skippering ORACLE Racing Coutts, broke the record, with Bundock's speed of 26.87 knots standing up as the winning speed.

San Diego is the last event of the calendar year for the America's Cup World Series. The teams will now have four months of winter training before the next AC World Series stop in Naples, Italy from April 7 to 15, 2012. Venice, Italy then follows from the 12 to 20 of May, 2012.

Results - San Diego Fleet Racing Championship
1. ORACLE Racing Spithill
2. Emirates Team New Zealand
3. Energy Team
4. Aleph
5. Team Korea
6. Artemis Racing
7. China Team
8. Green Comm Racing
9. ORACLE Racing Coutts

Results - AC500 Speed Trial
ORACLE Racing - Coutts - 26.87 knots
ORACLE Racing - Spithill - 26.79 knots
Emirates Team New Zealand - 26.56 knots
Artemis Racing - 25.98 knots
Energy Team - 25.96 knots
China Team - 25.67 knots
ALEPH - 25.19 knots
Green Comm Racing - 24.74 knots
Team Korea - 24.30 knots

The Calm Before The Storm?
Volvo Ocean Race leaders Team Telefonica were making final preparations for the heavy weather that lies ahead as the fleet charges into the third week of racing in Leg 1.

Two days after Telefonica snatched the lead from PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, the crew led by Spanish Olympic gold medallist Iker Martínez commanded a narrow 29 nautical mile lead over their rivals on Sunday.

With a wet and wild ride across the bottom of the South Atlantic forecast to rocket them towards the finish line in Cape Town at speeds of 25 knots, Telefonica were making the most of the last of the stable 15-20-knot trade winds, conducting last-minute checks of their Volvo Open 70 before they pick up a cold front later in the week.

After crossing the Equator in third, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Nicholson promised his team would slowly chip away at the leg leaders -- and at 1300 the gap between them and Telefonica was down to 147 nm. CAMPER were also the second quickest boat in the fleet with an average boat speed of 22 knots over the three hours running up to the latest report.

Navigator Will Oxley said the crew were preparing for the lack of rest that would come when the fleet pick up speed in winds of more than 30 knots.

Fourth-placed Groupama sailing team also gained miles as the fleet compressed, pulling back nine nm on the front runners. The French team, who were still paying for a tactical mistake made early in the 6,500 nautical miles leg from Alicante, Spain, said they were using the time to experiment with how to get the best from their boat.

Helmsman Charles Caudrelier said: "It felt like once we crossed the Equator, we would get to Cape Town soon. But actually the South Atlantic is very long and we will spend three, four, maybe five days on the same tack with almost the same wind and the same wind angle, just trimming the sails. It's slightly boring but, at the same time, we learn a lot and have time to work on the boat's trimming."

Dubarry Sligo - Dash of a Different Kind
Dubarry Sligo Maturity's a directional thing - not that everything's going south you understand, but with wisdom and experience, you move up the professional ladder and back in the boat. Tearing around the foredeck is great for kids but it takes the brains at the back to make the right calls. Dubarry's new Sligo reflects your style and seniority in five stylish colourways, with its seasoned, quick-drying leather and classy waxed canvas upper, comfortable footbed to calmly absorb any shocks, and award-winning sole to give your decisions a firm footing. Dubarry Sligo - the only deck shoe you'll ever need.

Artemis Racing Crowned 2011 RC44 World Champions
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 World Champion The 2011 RC44 World Championships came down to the eleventh and final race of the event to be decided. Katusha made a late comeback, Artemis Racing held their nerve and two new teams made it onto the podium for the first time this season.

It was Katusha (RUS), steered by Steve Howe this week with Francesco Bruni calling the shots, who relished the windier conditions in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote. The team did not put a foot wrong, as the wind touched 23 knots at times, storming to victory in every race. But even three wins was not enough to get close to the leaders Artemis Racing (SWE).

The Swedish team slotted in a fourth and then a second giving themselves a six point lead going into the final race of the Championships, to be assured victory they needed to finish in the top seven in the final race of the day. They started well but as they approached the windward mark they had it all on, Ironbound were pushing Katusha for the lead and Artemis Racing were eighth. By the finish Torbjorn Tornqvist, Morgan Larson and the team had gained one place to seventh, enough to give them the title by two points.

The RC44 World Championships also doubled up as the final event of the RC44 Championship Tour. With Team Aqua already securing the 2011 Championship Tour title, Artemis Racing needed to win in Lanzarote to secure second. So Puerto Calero ended up as a double celebration for the Swedish team, World Champions and second in the 2011 Championship Tour. Third place went to ORACLE Racing, even though the team were not in Lanzarote, their consistent season was enough to give them the final podium position.

The full list of venues for the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour will be announced in the coming weeks.

2011 RC44 World Championship Ranking (after eleven races)
1. Artemis Racing, 49 points
2. Ironbound, 51
3. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 58
4. Katusha, 59
5. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 60
6. No Way Back, 68
7. RC44 Team CEEREF, 77
8. Team Aqua, 80
9. Aleph Sailing Team, 86
10. Team Nika, 100
11. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 101
12. AEZ Sailing Team, 109
13. MAG Racing, 129
14. RUS-7 Sail Racing Team powered by, 136

Kieler Woche Takes a Look Forward
During a traditional curry dinner, the organisers of Kieler Woche set the course for the future of the 129 year-old sailing event on Friday the 18th of November in the club's historic "Kaisersaal", with the Kiel Yacht Club inviting sponsors, partners and representatives of the fellow organising clubs from the areas of sports, economy and politics. The focus will be on innovation and the European Sailing Circuit (ESC).

The organisers of Kieler Woche have been working on the European Sailing Circuit and the inclusion of the new Olympic sailing disciplines ever since this year's event. Their aim is to remain innovative and, through the ESC, to offer competitors attractive events with manageable travel expenses. Not being part of the Sailing World Cup opens up new doors for Kieler Woche. Bending to demands in terms of sponsoring (right up to title sponsoring) or adjusting the time periods (including having to change the date of Kieler Woche) is neither possible nor desirable for Kiel. Even in its 130th year, Kieler Woche carves its own path.

"The Sailing World Cup isn't really suitable for a traditional event such as Kieler Woche. We would have had to offer six days of regattas for the Olympic classes, scaring off other non-Olympic classes. But we really can't let that happen, therefore we have simply not submitted an application in the first place", said Chief Race Director Jobst Richter of Kiel Yacht Club regarding the World Cup, which as of 2013 will no longer take place in Kiel. This year has shown how few competitors followed the Wold Cup regattas around the world. The ISAF has also given up holding the award ceremony for the World Cup winners at the end of Kieler Woche, due to a lack of assets.

It is doubtful that the number of participating competitors will rise if the ISAF Sailing World Cup only makes two stops in Europe and wants to visit all five contingents as of 2013. While the destinations in Asia, Africa/Middle East, the Americas and Oceania are not yet fixed, the European stops will be Hyeres/France and Mallorca/Spain, due to the necessary timeframe. Kiel was not an option.

"We want to assist the ISAF, but in any case we will continue to organise Kieler Woche ourselves", commented Sven Christensen of Kiel Yacht Club and Point of Sailing, the agency marketing Kieler Woche.

Although Kiel sees good chances of preserving its status in the sailing world even without the World Cup, a power struggle with the ISAF should, however, be avoided. "If World Cups in other continents are set on the date of Kieler Woche or on a date too close to it, then there would be a cannibalisation effect", said KYC foreign secretary Dirk Ramhorst.

Alongside the ESC, Kiel also has plans for providing an outlook on future Olympic Games in 2012: "Experience what Rio 2016 has to offer in Kiel, 2012". It is under this premise that the new Olympic disciplines will find their place at Kieler Woche 2012 (16 to 24 June). From catamaran sailing (only removed from the programme for 2012) and women's skiff (following the women's Match Race/unique for the 2012 Olympics) right up to surfing disciplines (possibly including kiteboarding), everything that will be sailed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) should be offered in Kiel. -- Hermann Hell

Regatta Dates Kieler Woche 2012 - 16 -24 June

Running the Rhumblines
Merit the Leo Rodriguez skippered Whitsunday Sailing Club registered Volvo 60 has sailed some rough miles in a career including the physically demanding around the World race. Late next month Merit will be in full racing mode testing her boat speed against the best Performance class yachts in Australia as a competitor in the gruelling 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Her nomination has been accepted by the Cruising Yacht of Australia for Merit to compete and trace the former glory of winning her class in 2008 after be granted redress for her crews role in the dramatic rescue of the crew from the sinking yacht Georgia.

Naturally her crew were proud of achieving the win in dramatic circumstances and have continued to head south each year to chase further honours without success.

Hopefully a strong spinnaker sailing forecast will prevail to allow the 1997 launched Bruce Farr designed Volvo Globe racer to challenge her handicap rating when the fleet sets sail on Boxing Day.

Merit has the proven potential to handle to gale tormented waves of the Tasman Sea but needs a high percentage of spinnaker sailing wind to repeat her previous winning result.

Similar conditions would also favour the Bob Oatley owned and Mark Richards skippered Hamilton Island Yacht Club registered Wild Oats X1 to chase the race record she set in 2005.

The Wild Oats X1 crew produced an impressive strong wind Sydney Hobart practice session when they won the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week line honours trophy with a perfect score in August.

This impressive result confirmed Wild Oats X1 to be faster downwind following structural changes to her hull.

However skipper Mark Richards and the experienced crew who remain under considerable pressure to add another line honours to their impressive 5 wins from 6 Sydney Hobart Races understand that every wave and gust of wind that blows over the deck after they clear Sydney's South Head on Boxing Day will test their combined ocean racing skills.

As every Hobart race sailor has learnt to understand every nautical mile can be and has been spiced with gruelling physical challenges and the 67th race promises to be no different.

Meanwhile Wild Oats X1 remains the line honours favourite while the Merit crew will hope for a moderate to fresh spinnaker sailing forecast to firm their chance of repeating their 2008 Performance Handicap result. -- By Ian Grant

Sailing Legends - The Story Of The World's Greatest Ocean Race
Sailing Legends - The Story Of The World's Greatest Ocean Race By Bob Fisher and Barry Pickthall - Endeavour Books - £40 + p&p

A special numbered limited edition signed by the authors to make the perfect Christmas gift The Whitbread Round the World Race - now the Volvo Ocean Race - spans 40 years, ten races and more than 300,000 miles across the most inhospitable seas. From gentlemanly competition in yachts designed more for graceful living than screaming around Cape Horn, the race has progressed to purpose built craft with few creature comforts, crewed by fanatical, professionals.

Millions have been spent, legends created and six men have died. No one takes the race lightly and no one tells the story better than journalists, Bob Fisher and Barry Pickthall who have been there for every race from the first in 1973. They mark the anecdotes, highlight all the major stories, and provide biographies of sailing's greatest names from the first handicap and line honour winners, Ramon Carlin and Sir Chay Blyth, to double winner Conny van Rietschoten, French legend Eric Tabarly, those great New Zealand rivals Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton, through to the latter day Volvo race winners. They also detail the awesome advances in design and construction that make today's yachts formidably tough, surfing greyhounds capable of hitting 40knots + and sustaining 600 mile daily runs. The book also lists every crewmember to have taken part.

176 pages. 128 colour pictures and illustrations.

To order, go to

To view a "flipping book" format of Sailing Legends see

ZOKE Around the Island Race 2011
Over 240 yachts took to Victoria Harbour Sunday morning in one of Hong Kong's best loved and most inclusive sailing events. The ZOKE Around The Island Race got underway at 0830hrs, with one-design (Class) boats on the inner start line, and Cruisers and Beach Catamarans on the outer start line. The starts took a full hour and 20 minutes to complete in front of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island Clubhouse, with all boats following a 26nm clockwise circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island.

In contrast to the previous few years, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen was rewarded with a steady 10kt north easterly, which held in the harbour throughout the starts, and continued to deliver, with a little swing, well into the afternoon.

A large contingent of 50 volunteers operated a complicated and vital support network of safety boats and race management stations, to ensure that the RO was able to establish the progress of the head and tail of the classes and was kept apprised of wind strength all the way around Hong Kong Island.

The sailors' favourite stretch is always the run from Junk Bay past Shek O Rock and round Cape D'Aguilar, consisting of 10nm of spinnaker in 10 to 13 knots. This treat is usually tempered by the Cyberport Chasm, where easterly meets westerly … and disappears - today was no exception, although the wind gods managed to provide a couple of knots to keep proceedings moving.

Finding a good 10 knots at Green Island at 1200hrs, Strompf-Jepsen made the bold move to allow the race to 'go all the way' for the first time since 2005 and was rewarded with the finish of over 220 starters.

With a nice touch of symmetry, Sam Chan's FfreeFIre 70 took line honours, without her owner on board, as he was well on his way to taking the overall title on RHKATI handicap on his flying Fifteen, Noisy Forefather.

Full results are available at

18ft Skiffs N.S.W. Championship, Race 1
Click on image for photo gallery.

Skiffs Sydney Harbour: Unpredictable wind conditions on Sydney Harbour forced the starter to delay the start of today's Race 1 of the N.S.W. 18ft Skiff Championship for two hours.

When the forecast strong winds hadn't arrived, the fleet prepared to start the race, which had then been set for a three-lap windward-return course.

As the teams lined up (all with their bigger #1 rigs) the winds finally arrived, causing most of the fleet to capsize and forced the starter to abandon the race.

A decision will now be made by the Race Committee on the possibility of a re-sail.

Race 2 of the N.S.W. Championship will be sailed next Sunday. The championship will continue each Sunday until 18 December. Pending the result of the committee decision about a re-sail, or not, the best four performances of each team will be counted to determine overall placings.

Featured Brokerage
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The Last Word
You have to struggle to stay alive and be of use as long as you can. -- Daniel Berrigan

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