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No Medcup For 2012
Madrid, Spain: World Sailing Management (WSM), organizers of the MedCup sailing circuit, the official international competition of the TP52 and Soto 40 classes, regrets to announce to all those involved and interested in this prestigious circuit, that it has decided to suspend the 2012 season.

This difficult business decision was taken for the following reasons, all of them related to the economic and financial crisis affecting the whole world and Europe in particular:

1. Serious uncertainty regarding the number of boats, mainly in the 52 Series (TP 52 class), willing to commit to compete in all of the events comprising the circuit with the risk of an insufficient number of competitors to ensure the competitive level reached by the circuit in previous seasons.

2. The lack of financial resources available to local authorities in their bid to become potential venues for the events of the circuit, which limited the ability to address their usual obligations and maintain the circuit's level of quality.

3. Together with the abovementioned factors, a decrease in the support needed from AUDI AG, which has been the circuit's title sponsor, has led WSM to terminate, early and peacefully, the sponsorship deal linking both companies.

In brief, WSM believes that it is more rational to suspend the Circuit than let it continue with falling standards.

Nevertheless, WSM will continue to work during 2012 in order to overcome these difficulties, confident that it will be able once again to provide the sailing world with the spectacle that the MedCup Circuit has always been.

Heading North
With Mike Golding (Gamesa) leading the eight Imoca 60s across the Caribbean Sea in the Transat B to B, the competitors are setting a course to the North, far from the direct course. The thinking behind this option is that the fleet will be able to squeeze around a zone of calms via its western limit over the course of Thursday. Ultimately, the aim then is to hang a right as soon as possible and hook onto the depressions rolling across the North Atlantic.

Leading the fleet at the first position report this morning, and taking back the head this evening, Mike Golding (Gamesa) perfectly captured the complexity of the current situation: "All's well. The wind is fairly fluky so we've had quite a few sail changes. Right now I'm under full mainsail and solent, switching from one reef in the mainsail. I'm very pleased with the modifications and the boat's really geared up for solo sailing and hence the Vendee Globe. Clearly, once I finish there will be a list of additional modifications. Hopefully there won't be too many though. I imagine that I'll be able to hang a right in a couple of days. The forecast is improving a bit so we'll have a shorter route. The European and American models don't agree though. Heading North is clearly the right strategy but it's difficult to know how far to the West of North you can reasonably go!"

It would seem that the boats furthest West could benefit from slightly stronger wind over this tricky transition phase over the coming days. From late in the day on 8 December, they should be able to hang a right and slip between the very deep depression to the North and the zone of high pressure. The game plan will involve positioning themselves properly, neither too far North, where the winds are very strong, nor too far South, where there's a risk of being becalmed.

Tracking The Race

Radio sessions
During the Paris boat show, the radio sessions will be live everyday from 1330 to 1430 UTC on the FFVoile or Lorient stands and on the website

From 12 December, there will be live radio sessions from the Cite de la Voile from 1100 to

Possibly Too Close For Comfort
Campagne de France sails close to Cessna Citation during the duel for leadership. Photo by Cessna Citation. Click on image to enlarge.

Global Ocean Race Close competition has always been a basis of the Class40 Association, but after one week and over 1,300 miles of racing through the Indian Ocean, the five, double-handed, Class40s in the Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) are taking this characteristic to extremes. The Franco-British duo of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron took the lead on Monday night with their Pogo40S2 Class40, Campagne de France, before Conrad Colman and Sam Goodchild regained pole position at 05:00 GMT on Tuesday with the New Zealand-British team's Akilaria RC2, Cessna Citation, but relinquished the lead to Mabire and Merron just four hours later.

West of the leading pack by 200 miles, the two first generation Akilaria's - Phesheya-Racing of South Africans, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire, and Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon's Financial Crisis are racing through the high latitudes within sight of each other at 41 degrees South. Meanwhile, the New Zealand father-and-son team of Ross and Campbell Field in third on BSL continue to stalk the leaders, chiselling away at the distance deficit and shadowing Campagne de France and Cessna Citation.

At 15:00 GMT on Tuesday, Campagne de France was leading the fleet by a margin of four miles over Cessna Citation.

Current weather models suggest the breeze may go forward and slightly east of north over the next 24 hours as the fleet continue towards the eastern extremity of the ice limit, 190 miles ahead of the leaders.

GOR Leg 2 leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 06/12/2011:

1. Campagne de France: DTF 5596 10.8kts
2. Cessna Citation: DTL 3.8 9.9kts
3. BSL: DTL 23 9.6kts
4. Financial Crisis: DTL 207 10.3kts
5. Phesheya-Racing: DTL 211 10.1kts

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Storms Prevent Perth Worlds Racing
Thunderstorms and lightening put paid to hopes of racing across the board at the Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships on Tuesday (6 December).

Event organisers kept a watchful eye on the weather conditions as storms swept across Fremantle overnight, and with no let up during the morning and the storms only predicted to worsen with gusts of 100 km/h forecast during the afternoon, the decision was taken to call off racing until Wednesday.

The Skandia Team GBR trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor had been due to resume their world title defence in the round robin stage of the women's match racing today, but remained confined to shore due to the conditions.

"So far we've averaged 15 minutes' racing a day since the start of the regatta which is a bit frustrating and means we have a lot more racing still to do," explained Lush.

"We still have plenty of time though, so it's the right call and is good to keep the racing fair and safe."

Macgregor, Lush and Macgregor have nine Group B preliminary matches still to complete, and will forego their scheduled lay day on Wednesday to resume competition.

With no racing possible, results from the four fleet racing classes to have started their regatta on Monday - Finn, RS:X Women, 470 Men and Laser Radial - remain unchanged with Ben Ainslie leading the Finn fleet after two races, and Luke Patience-Stuart Bithell and Bryony Shaw second in their respective 470 and RS:X events.

Snakes and Ladders
Phuket, Thailand: Frank Pong's "Jelik II" fought back with a Day Two win to challenge for the IRC Zero title, whilst an inexperienced one-day team, "Sail Plane", won in the Bareboat Charter.

The second day of racing, sponsored by Singha Corporation and Haadthip PLC., experienced good winds at the start easing off towards the end of the Round-The-Island course set for today.

Yesterday's two races affirmed a close fight is to be expected in the IRC Zero Class. Today, Frank Pong's "Jelik II" rebounded strongly from her two fourth place finishes to win Race Three. Hannes Weimer's "Team Premier" surged to the top of the standings leading the class on five points after today's race. Hong Kong's Sam Chan and Neil Pryde are equal on eight points in the Series. Hong Kong's Frank Pong has participated in the event since 1998, and said, "My team performed better today because the course was longer than the first day. If the wind was stronger, it would have been better because this vessel is simply much bigger than the rest. Wind was only about 10 knots. It is not enough. I am not sure yet if we can win the class because every team has a chance."

In the highly competitive IRC 1 Class, three-time defending champion Matt Allen of "Ichi Ban" continued his poor run of form, finishing eighth in Race Three. With 22 points, the Australian is down to eighth place in the 13-team table. Allen has won the Regatta every year since his debut in 2008. Japan's Yasuo Nanamori and his "Karasu" team overtook "EFG Bang Mandrake" to lead the standings with nine points following his second place finish today. Singapore's Steve Manning steered his Sydney GTS 43 to victory in Race Three and currently solidifies his fourth place in the series so far. Phuket King's Cup President Kevin Whitcraft's "Won Ma Rang" struggled today with only a seventh place.

Jean-Pierre Dick, 2011 French Sailor of the Year
Yesterday evening, Jean-Pierre Dick was elected French Sailor of the Year for 2011 at the Champions' Night organised by the French Sailing Federation. The trophy was awarded to him by Isabelle Autissier, President of the Jury to pay homage to his double-handed wins in the Barcelona World Race and the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. He follows in the footsteps of the windsurfer Antoine Albeau, who was honoured in 2010.

This new honour comes after a series of excellent results with three wins in the Transat Jacques Vabre and two in the Barcelona World Race. "This is a great moment and a great honour. In my life I was not destined to become a sailor, just a navigator and in the end I made this choice. I would like to share this title with Jeremie Beyou and Loick Peyron with whom I shared my victories."

Jean-Pierre Dick's successes:

- 2011 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre with Jeremie Beyou on Virbac Paprec 3
- 2010-2011 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Loick Peyron) on Virbac Paprec 3
- 2010 4th in the Route du Rhum
- 2007-2008 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Damian Foxall)
- 2006 3rd in the Route du Rhum
- 2005 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Loick Peyron)
- 2004-05 6th in the Vendee Globe
- 2003 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Nicolas Abiven)
- 2001 Winner of the Tour de France Sailing Race

The Fabulous 40s'
Click on image for gallery of book spreads.

Fabulous 40s A collector's book covering the first 15 years of the Farr 40 International One-Design Class compiled by Bob Fisher

The Farr 40 One-design Class is unique within the world of offshore yacht racing, having been a pathfinder during a period of great change within the sport. While major events around the world like the Admiral's Cup in the UK and Kenwood Cup in Hawaii were in terminal decline, this 40ft Bruce Farr® designed yacht has shone like a beacon on a distant shore.

The lavish, limited edition The Fabulous 40s book produced with the support of long-time Farr 40 Class sponsor Rolex, tells the story behind this remarkable Class.

152 of these boats are now spread across 19 countries, making it the most successful internationally recognized offshore racing class in the world. Key to this success lies only partially with the enduring beauty and sleek lines of its design. What really made this Class so successful is the fact that the yachts are owner-driven, quite literally. It was the idea, unique at the time, that owners - all amateur helmsmen - should be alone in having their hands on the helm during Class racing. Previously, owners had, by and large, become hostage to their crews, forced to hire the best 'guns' in the sport to gain any success, while they rode the stern as passengers, their only active role, to write the cheques.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 350 pictures, many of them double page spreads taken by some of the best photographers in the world, including Carlo Borlenghi, Daniel Forster and Kurt Arrigo, this 240 page book captures the close racing and comradeship between crews competing in many of the best locations in the world. This is a book for all yacht race enthusiasts and lists the results of all the Rolex world champioships from 1998-2011 as well as owners and their yachts.

'The Fabulous 40s' RRP - £60 + P&P (approx €70, $100US)
Our Price £50.00 Sterling + P&P

To preview the book and place an order, visit

La Solitaire Du Figaro 2012
The 2012 La Solitaire du Figaro was presented at the start of the Paris boat show earlier this week, and while there is some continuity in Eric Bompart Cashmere's main partner status for the second consecutive year, there are some big changes for 2012.

The dates and the course have been altered due to the Olympic Games. No longer finishing in August, the new start dates are in June and July. The village at Paimpol in Brittany opens on June 16, with a departure of the first leg on June 24. There are just three legs, none of them involve the United Kingdom.

Stage 1: Paimpol - Gijon
Start date: 24 June 2012

Stage 2: Gijon - Saint Gilles Croix De Vie
Start date: 1 July

Stage 3: Saint Gilles Croix De Vie - Cherbourg
Start date: 8 July

The year 2012 will also mark a change of organization. The Pen Duick company, a subsidiary of The Telegram, takes the reins of this major event of the Figaro-Beneteau circuit.

A well-known personality in the world of offshore racing, Gilles Chiorri is the new race director of La Solitaire du Figaro. At 47 years old, this former Figaro, also Merchant Navy officer, first made a name by dint of many exploits, including a first place in the Transat 6.50 in 1987, a second place in La Solitaire Le Figaro in 2002, and a victory in the Jules Verne Trophy (2001-2002) on "Orange". He has been Director of Events for OC Events since 2007 where he orchestrated the circuit including the Extreme Sailing Series.

Telefonica Back on the Water
Click on image to enlarge.

Telefonica Seven days, no more, no less. After over 21 days at sea on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, the boat sailed by Iker Martínez and co has spent just one week in 'boxes'. A 140 tonne crane returned the yacht to her natural habitat at midday Monday under the watchful eye of some quite exceptional curious onlookers: the sea-lions inhabiting the cool waters around the port of Cape Town. That's something you definitely wouldn't see in Spain.

"We've done some basic maintenance work on her as well as some modifications, as the crew always come up with some interesting observations and ideas after sailing so many miles, especially after these 6,500 miles on the first leg", explained Horacio Carabelli, Team Telefonica's Technical Director and the person responsible for organising and coordinating the shore crew's workload.

Much of the time spent in 'boxes' has been set aside for routine checks such as taking the keel apart, removing the mast and other parts of the boat to then put them all back together again. There has been a crew of 12 people from the shore crew who were in charge of most of these jobs, although as Carabelli points out, "we've also brought in some other hands for other tasks, although fundamentally the people working over the last few days have been our permanent crew, the ones we travel around the world with".

Given the track record in this regatta so far, with two of the six entries dismasting, as expected, one of the boat parts that went under the microscope during the boat checks was the mast.

It's a meticulous task, but as Spaniard Fernado Sales, who is responsible for the rigging and mast department pointed out at the team base at Cape Town this afternoon,"Even though we know the mast is fine, we took it apart. We had time and what we decided to do was to take the entire thing apart. That means we took out everything that might be susceptible to unscrewing, loosening or moving along the way: all of the spreaders came out and the fixings which fix them to the mast itself, as well as the shrouds, and all of this had to to be put back together... So generally speaking we took everything that forms part of the mast apart to give it a good clean and to put it through ultrasound testing".

Clipper Race 6: Tauranga to Gold Coast, Australia
With squally conditions forecast for the fleet, an exciting race is unfolding off New Zealand's North Island as the ten teams gear up for a highly-charged sprint across the Tasman Sea.

Olly Osborne and his team on Visit Finland continue to occupy poll position whilst keeping a close eye on the changeable weather and their opponents in the vicinity with over 1,000 miles left to run in Race 6 from Tauranga to Gold Coast, Australia.

"The competition is still very close and we can still make out the silhouettes of several Clipper yachts on the leeward horizon. The sprint for North Cape should draw to a close tonight though as the yachts round the headland and begin the ocean phase of the race," Olly said.

"The wind is a lot more consistent now as is not being chopped up by the land, and with a fresh belt of north-easterlies on the way, we look set to make up some good mileage over the next few days. With points at stake and only a week to run, the competition will certainly be fierce, but as the conditions are set to improve and with a lot to look forward to in Gold Coast, everyone is in good spirits," he added.

Meteorologist Simon Rowell, who provides the fleet with weather information on a daily basis, said that although conditions should get a lot more stable as a low passes to the east, the teams will be looking out for approaching troughs and squalls. "The rising mid-level air ahead of them may well give them more squall activity on the surface," he said.

Despite slipping into ninth place yesterday after heading offshore to seek favourable winds, Gold Coast Australia's tactic has paid off and the team has moved up into joint second.

The fleet is expected to arrive in Southport Yacht Club in Gold Coast between 11 and 13 December.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Tuesday 6 December
1. Visit Finland, 1119nm (0nm)
2. Gold Coast Australia, 1124nm (+5nm)
3. Derry-Londonderry, 1124nm (+5nm)
4. Welcome to Yorkshire, 1126nm (+7nm)
5. New York, 1134nm (+15nm)
6. Singapore, 1141nm (+22nm)
7. Geraldton Western Australia, 1150nm (+31nm) position at 0800 UTC
8. Qingdao, 1155nm (+35nm)
9. De Lage Landen, 1155nm (+36nm)
10. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 1165nm (+45nm) position at 0600 UTC

National Maritime Museum Campaigns to Save Biggest Ship in a Bottle Ever Built
A charity has launched a campaign to save the biggest ship in a bottle ever built from becoming a millionaire's garden ornament.

The scale model of HMS Victory, built by Yinka Shonibare, is currently displayed on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square.

When it's removed in January, Nelson's ship in a bottle will need a new home. If the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich can't stump up the £650,00 fee for the art, it could be sold to an anonymous millionaire willing to pay double that.

The Art Fund charity had launched their first ever campaign to acquire a contemporary work, pledging £50,000 to kick-start fundraising efforts. Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said just 70,000 text message donations of £5 each would generate enough money to keep the art in a public place.

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The Last Word
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