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Editor: Yes I missed an issue last night. Fog, rain and a broken aircraft meant hours trying to sleep in an airport terminal after a sumptious meal of overpriced mystery meat en plastique.
PUMA Arrival Brings Fleet Back up to Full Strength
The six boats in the 2011-12 edition are preparing to rejoin battle over the weekend with the second of 10 in-port races on Saturday (1300 UTC) and the start of Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the same time.
Weather forecasts suggest the teams will be heading straight back into possible boat-breaking conditions in Leg 2, with the teams facing the prospect of beating upwind in up to 30-35 knots for the first 24 hours. That will raise uncomfortable memories for at least some of the fleet after the havoc wreaked on the way out from Alicante.
The three teams that actually finished Leg 1 - winners Team Telefonica, second-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama sailing team in third - have had more time to prepare their boats but are still working against the clock to get back in peak condition after three weeks at sea. The first targets are the non-scoring practice race on Thursday and the pro-am on Friday and it is still not clear how many will be ready in time.
On Thursday, the teams are due to take part in the non-scoring practice race, though it is unclear whether the three damaged boats will be ready in time.
The same goes for Friday's pro-am, though at the moment all six boats are on track to take the line in the V&A Waterfront In-Port Race and the start of Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi. The route for the that leg has been substantially redrawn because of the threat of piracy.
The Race announced in August that the route for Legs 2 and 3 would be re-drawn because of the increased threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. With the fleet set to depart Cape Town for the start of Leg 2 on Sunday, Race Director Jack Lloyd has made parts of the plan public for the first time.
The six boats will leave Cape Town as scheduled on Sunday, December 11 and continue to be tracked as normal until they reach a point in the Indian Ocean. From there, details about the boats' location will be switched off to the public as they sail on to a Safe Haven Port. At that port, the boats will be loaded on to a ship protected by armed guards and featuring other security measures and transported to the northern Emirates. The sailors will not travel on the ship.
Once unloaded, Race Management will decide where exactly to re-start the race for a short competitive sprint into Abu Dhabi, which is hosting the event from December 31 to January 14.
The scoring system has been modified, so that 80 percent of the points of Leg 2 are based on the race between Cape Town and Safe Haven 1 and 20 percent for the short sprint into Abu Dhabi. For Leg 3, the operation will be reversed, with a short sprint from Abu Dhabi at the start of the leg. The boats will go back on a ship and be transported again to a Safe Haven Port. From there, they will sail on as normal to the Leg 3 finish in Sanya, China.
Abu Dhabi won the first of the 10 in-port races in this edition in Alicante, briefly taking first place on the leaderboard. The current situation is:
1. Team Telefonica - 31 points
Proving Ground for the Vendee Globe
In every way, this is one of the race's major turning points. With the wind set to pick up considerably on Saturday, the race for supremacy is very much on then and all the competitors are clear that this is no delivery trip. Indeed all eight skippers have their sights on winning an entry ticket to the Vendee Globe 2012 and learning valuable lessons along the way, which will gear them up nicely for the round the world race. However, if they can steal a march on their rivals in the process then so much the better...
The mere sound of the voices of those skippers in the Transat B to B spoke volumes today at the lunchtime radio chat sessions live from the Paris Boat Show. Leading the northern posse, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) and François Gabart (Macif) proved to be particularly chirpy, clearly happy with their position as they are the first to feel the effect of the depression rumbling out of Virginia. Jean-Pierre decided not to play his prudent card, hoisting his downwind sails at the first sniff of more breeze and is reaping the rewards some 25 miles further North than Michel Desjoyeaux' bright young protege.
Of the British contingent, both Mike Golding (Gamesa) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) are Vendee Globe veterans and both were on the pace, albeit back in fifth and sixth place on a central option after each suffered potentially major issues. Last night Mike was carefully filtering the water out of the precious engine oil which had siphoned its way out into the bilges, so it could be reused. Meantime Alex came close to losing his biggest downwind sail in the early hours of this morning after the halyard snapped sending the A3 crashing into the sea where it got tangled up in the rudders and keel.
Wight Vodka's 2011 Top Ten Sailor's Bars are Announced
Without further adieu, the top ten Favourite Yachting Bars based on your nominations are below. Voting will run from Saturday 10th December through Tuesday the 27th December, so please get the word out to help your favourite bar join our illustrious winners including the Peter Cafe Sport in 2009 and the Soggy Dollar in 2010. May the best bar win in 2011!
- The Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI
Voting starts Saturday at www.scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html
ISAF Sailing World Championships
Poland's Zofia Noceti-Klepacka had more on her mind than just winning her RS-X races on Thursday, crediting her impressive comeback on a new mental outlook.
Noceti-Klepacka, 25, said her turnaround from Monday's racing - where she had a 10th and an 18th - to winning two of Thursday's three Gold fleet races to move into third place overall was because of a personal tragedy.
"My friend died, so I was very sad," she said. "On the first day my head wasn't in the sailing, but everyone spoke to me and told me to sail for him. I am sailing for him. Sometimes there are things more important than sailing.
Noceti-Klepacka didn't just win races six and seven in the Gold Fleet. She smashed the opposition as she headed home by large margins, firstly in light winds and then in a moderate sea breeze.
Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page are on track to defend their Men's 470 world championship crown after taking the overall lead from Great Britain duo Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell on Thursday.
Israel's Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela finished second of Belcher and Page.
Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) has retained his narrow lead in the Finn class after taking out the only Gold fleet race on Thursday.
Postma was challenged for most of the race by his two closest competitors on points, Giles Scott (GBR) and Ben Ainslie (GBR), who finished second and third respectively in the Gold fleet's race 6. Scott and Ainslie therefore retained their second and third places overall.
Women's Match Racing
Close matches ensured exciting sailing wrapped up the end of the Stage 1 Round Robin for Group A in the Women's Match Racing with USA and Russia securing a berth at the London 2012 Olympic Games after finishing top of the group.
Australia and Finland can still make it through to the quarter-finals and secure an Olympic berth with a top four finish in the Stage 2 Round Robin repechage.
World number two, Evi van Acker (BEL), continues to lead the Laser Radial competition by 14 points overall despite finishing a race outside the top four for the first time.
World number one Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and world number five Paige Railey (USA) are her closest competition after Day 6 of racing in the ISAF Worlds off Fremantle.
* Aerial shark patrols over the sailing courses for the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships have been stepped up after a credible sighting of a large shark in the Fremantle Fishing Boat harbour.
Event Director John Longley today briefed international sailing teams on the sighting late Tuesday, saying it was being taken seriously.
"The report was made by a professional fisherman who is regarded as a reliable source," Longley told sailing officials. "We have informed Western Australian government authorities who will ensure that the usual helicopter shark patrol will concentrate on checking out the Fremantle course area. Our course boats and the Fremantle Rescue Service will also be on extra alert after the reported sighting."
"The safety of athletes is paramount." Longley said. "This is part of the reason why we changed the racing rules for the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds not to penalise sailors who need assistance to get back into their boats after a capsize."
Tricky Conditions On Marina Bay
The French and Italian teams are locked in a furious battle for the 2011 overall championship, and today the Italians' game plan was on track giving Luna Rossa the advantage. But no one is underestimating the French team's ability, as Pennec's team has shown in the past with their backs against the wall, they can quickly rally and turn the tables on their adversary. Although the conditions today on Marina Bay were difficult for all the teams, Roman Hagara's Red Bull Sailing Team has managed to retain the top spot on the Singapore leaderboard.
Tomorrow Act 9 of the Extreme Sailing Series reaches its halfway stage as the event opens to the public delivering more on-water action with Moth demo sailing and kids Optimist racing; then over the weekend the NeilPryde Racing Series will run alongside the Extreme 40 racing with 20 of Singapore's top windsurfers, including the LED night Tron race.
Also tomorrow, WEBCAM will go live streaming the action from the race village and race course. The live stream will start at 0530-1000 GMT (1330-1800 local time in Singapore) and for those on a different time zone, you will still be able to watch the live coverage on YouTube when you're up.
Extreme Sailing Series Act 9 Final, Singapore standings after 9 races (8.12.11) Position / Team / Points
1. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk, 64 points
German Frers - A Passion For Design
It charts a family design heritage spanning 3 generations that has been responsible for the launching of more than 10,000 boats from dinghies to day keelboats, distinctive cruisers to successful racers, powerboats and superyachts.
Early chapters chart six generations of family history: How one ship owned by a Frers ancestor, was escorting a pirated Portuguese frigate back across the Atlantic in 1820, took formal possession of what are now known as the Falklands, an act that remains is central to Argentine claims over the Malvinas Islands today; the influence that revolutionary Che Guevara, a first cousin, had on the current generation, and German Frers apprenticeship with the best designers - his Father, and the New York masters Olin and Rod Stephens.
During the 50's and 60's when the design skills of German Frers Snr. were at their zenith, good yacht design was very much down to intuition and experience. This book shows how those traditional skills continue to hold true, but are now mixed with the very precise demands of structural analysis, aerodynamics, computer wizardry and hi-tech engineering.
'A Passion for Design' also highlights the rise of Frers Snr.' first son German in the world of IOR and Maxi yacht racing during the 70's and '80's, his involvement in three America's Cup campaigns and his pioneering work in developing performance oriented cruisers and superyachts. Now, German (Mani) Frers Jnr. the third generation, is adding to this reputation, having worked with his Father on some of the most prestigious projects from Dr Jim Clark's 155ft Hyperion and Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli's 105ft Ulisse, to a variety of successful Open class racers and on his own account, Sweden's Victory America's Cup challenger.
"Flipping Book" excerpt:
Written by Barry Pickthall
Order from: South Atlantic Publishing. www.southatlanticpublishing.com
US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of the Year Awards
Nominees shortlisted for US Sailing's 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award: Melges 32 World Champion William Douglass (Southport, Conn.); Etchells World Champion Bill Hardesty (San Diego, Calif.); IKA Kite Course Racing World Champion Johnny Heineken (Larkspur, Calif.); Laser North American Champion Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.); Allstate Sugar Bowl J/22 World Champion Rob Johnston (Heath, Texas); Finn U.S. National Champion Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.); Star North American Champion George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.); and Velux 5 Oceans Winner Brad Van Liew (Charleston, S.C.).
Nominees shortlisted for US Sailing's 2011 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award: Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE Eliott 6m Champion Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wisc.); Farr 30 World Champion Deneen Demourkas (Santa Barbara, Calif.); 29erXX North American Champion Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.); Kieler Woche 470 Women Champion Erin Maxwell (Stonington, Conn.); Kieler Woche Laser Radial Champion Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.); Rolex International Women's Keelboat Champion Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.); and Skandia Sail for Gold Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.).
The winners will be announced in mid-January and honored on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, during a luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, when they will be presented with Rolex timepieces.
Owner skipper Rod Jones has gambled on a tried and tested Bruce Farr designed former International champion 50 class ocean racer Heaven Can Wait for a personal challenge on Australia's major blue water classics including the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Brisbane Gladstone Race.
Under her original owner the popular Middle Harbour Yacht Club skipper Warren Johns the sloop showed her class winning major class regattas in Europe and taking line honours with former World Contender champion Peter Hollis at the helm in the 2006 Brisbane Gladstone Race.
All of the well proven speed potential has taken on a totally new prospective with Rod Jones winner of two AUDI Australian offshore championships with smaller yachts expected to inject a competitive challenge when the re-vamped Alegria V competes in the Queensland Cruising Yacht Clubs Surf to City race in mid January.
Meanwhile his core crew of champion sailors including World Etchells champion Bucky Smith, talented navigator James Walker, Beijing Australian Olympic team coach Adrian Finglas, and the highly skilled Gregor McAllansmith and Sean O'Rourke have the proven combined skills to honour the expense of injecting a modern rig into the older generation ocean racer.
This decision has become the result of intensive consultation with designers, riggers and sail makers and has promoted some interesting conversations around the Australian ocean racing scene particularly in her former home port of Sydney.
As expected Rod Jones and the high performance OceanBuro sailing squad who have the distinction of already displaying two AUDI Australian Ocean Racing championship trophies and a fourth place at the 2011 SB3 World championship in the trophy locker have created a lot of interest with this latest project.
But while the entire computer based predictions suggest the speed sailing modifications to Heaven Can Wait have theoretically introduced a promising new career it will be up to the crew to place the results on the board.
There is no doubt that both skipper Rod Jones and his experienced crew are looking forward to test the 'sail-fast' modifications in the maiden race in mid-January.
"All of the work in the boatshed is complete and following the launching it will be down to the business of crew training". Rod Jones said.
Transforming the yesteryear champion to race competitively against the more modern designs will continue to create a lot of interest considering the results already achieved by the Sunshine Coast crew who are now respected among Australia's best blue water sailing combinations.
They were relatively unknown before winning their first regatta during the 2007 Geelong Race Week on Victoria's Corio Bay in late January but their image progressively changed when skipper Rod Jones and crew were presented with first of two prestigious Australian Championship trophies at Hamilton Island Race Week in August that year.
I guess it is a case of watching this space. -- Ian Grant
Culture Clash: Owners and Sponsors
The conflicting needs of owners who campaign their boats privately such as Britain's Niklas Zennstrom's Ran and those of corporate sponsors like the 2011 winners Quantum also created problems for both organisers and sponsors since private owners want only to go racing and have little interest in complying with sponsor's media and corporate demands.
Zennstrom, the founder of Skype who joined the circuit with a brand new TP52 in 2011 said he was saddened by the news.
"The MedCup race format and management under WSM has been second to none so it's sad to see that Audi as a title sponsor and WSM have not been able to come to an agreement," he said.
"Also Audi has been such a committed sponsor. However, the owners are getting together ASAP to work out what the right racing format should be for next year."
Zennstrom added he was hopeful the owners would be able to agree a scaled down version of the TP52 programme for 2012 with one stand alone event each month hosted by a yacht club.
Kate Laven in The Telegraph:
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.
Brokerage through Fox's Yacht Sales Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/foxsyachts/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at
The Last Word
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