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The Ainslie Incident
Photo by Mick Anderson, sailingpix.dk. Click on image for photo gallery.

Ben Ainslie Ben Ainslie's campaign for a sixth Finn World Championship title came to an end on Saturday (10 December) after he was disqualified for both of the day's two races after an incident with a media boat driver on his course.

Ainslie's progress was impeded by the boat on the final downwind leg of race nine of the World Championship series in Perth, and after the race finish he boarded the media boat to voice his unhappiness at the boat driver's actions.

A jury hearing late on Saturday night found fault from both parties, but disqualified the Skandia Team GBR sailor from both of the day's races for gross misconduct. With the disqualifications not able to be discarded from his race series, Ainslie will end the regatta in 11th and will not feature in the final medal race on Sunday.

Stephen Park, RYA Olympic Manager:
Clearly this is a disappointing position for Ben and of course for the team. It's particularly disappointing bearing in mind that all parties that spoke at the hearing all effectively said exactly the same thing. Everyone accepted that there was fault on both the side of the television production crew and indeed on Ben's side. Unfortunately because of the situation we were in, with the sport trying to move to better television images to appeal to that market, sometimes there's a learning process to go through from a television perspective and sometimes there are implications and this is an example of one of those.

Both parties, the television side and Ben have both apologised to each other and as far they're concerned we're ready just to go back out and get on with our respective jobs tomorrow.

It's particularly disappointing that this Championship has effectively been determined in this way in the jury room rather than between sailors on the water.

There have been various rumours in the media about Ben having 'assaulted' the driver of the boat. As far as we're concerned there wasn't an assault which took place, and as far as the driver was concerned that was part of his statement to the jury so we're pretty keen to put that to bed and recognised that that's a bit of over exaggeration and sensationalism.

While we accept the penalty from the jury and do not condone Ben's behaviour, i would hope, on the basis of the jury's facts found, that it is recognised that lessons need to be learned both from the side of the International Sailing Federation as organising authority as well as the sailors. At the moment the sport seems to be fumbling its way into trying to make the sport more appealing for television but surely there is a better way than trialling new race formats, rule regulations and specifically in this case media initiatives than trialling them at the World Championship which is arguably the most important event in the Olympic cycle outside of the Games themselves.

Ben Ainslie:
I overreacted to what I thought was a situation where I felt my performance was being severely hindered. I'm very thankful that everyone involved has taken it how it was - as something which was blown out of proportion in terms of what actually happened. We've all apologised to each other and are looking forward to moving on.

I'm obviously really disappointed with the decision. Unfortunately it's part and parcel of the sport trying to develop its area within TV and in a number of instances this week that line has been crossed and that's something which everyone has to accept is a development.

I'm very sorry that the jury decided to react the way they did over something which really wasn't as big as it was blown up to be. It's very disappointing that the Championship has been decided this way. I've worked extremely hard over the last six weeks and have been training incredibly hard to get to this position in a venue which has been difficult for me with my size against the bigger sailors. I feel like I've actually sailed one of the best regattas of my life so to be in this situation now is very disappointing but I certainly hope now that it's one of the British boats on top of the podium if it can't be me.

ISAF World Championships
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, http://www.oceanimages.co.uk. Click on image for photo gallery.

Perth Perth, Western Australia: Four new world champions took to the podium as dusk fell over Perth and marked the end of a full day of medal racing.

Finn

Giles Scott won a game of cat and mouse on the water to secure the title of Finn world champion and the Finn Gold Cup, beating Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) by just one point in a tense final day of racing.

Former world champion Ed Wright (GBR) took the bronze medal finishing fifth in the Medal Race taking him to 35 points overall.

Laser Radial

World number one Marit Bouwmeester (NED) held off a determined Evi van Acker (BEL) to claim her first world championship title.

Paige Railey (USA) won the bronze by the smallest of margins, taking the medal by a single point.

Men's 470

With an 18-point lead going into the Medal Race, Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page sailed a smooth safe race to claim the men's 470 world title.

The Australian duo's fourth place finish was enough to secure Malcolm Page his fifth world championship title.

Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell led the field for the entire race to cross the line first but had to settle with silver.

The biggest cheers at the boat park were reserved for bronze medallists Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) were greeted by an excited crowd at the Royal Perth Yacht Club Annexe.

Women's RS:X

It was a battle of three of the best and a race between three good friends in the women's RS:X Medal Race with Israel's Lee Korzits taking gold over "sisters" Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) and Marina Alabau (ESP).

Star

Great Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson lead in the overall standings after the opening day of racing in the Star class on Sunday, with Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen (GER) in second, Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows third after two races.

Race one averaged wind speeds of 13 knots, which clearly benefitted Polish pair Matuesz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki who won by 63 seconds form Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA).

Race one winners Kusznierewicz and Zycki did not finish race two after they were forced to retire after a double yellow penalty flag.

Women's Match Racing

A lazy Fremantle doctor - the local seabreeze - again hampered Women's Match Racing, delaying the start by three hours on Sunday

At the end of Sunday's racing, Price (AUS-2) was leading with 7 wins and 2 losses, followed by Macgregor (GBR) on 6 wins and 1 loss, and Kjellberg (SWE-1) on 6 wins and 3 losses.

Racing begins on Monday 12 December at 1000 local time, with the last three repechage flights left over from Sunday, followed by the three remaining flights of the Gold seeding.

www.perth2011.com
www.facebook.com/perth2011

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 www.Southatlanticpublishing.com

Benign Breeze for Leg 2 Volvo Racers
Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Leg 2 Volvo The six-strong fleet, which started Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race Sunday, is making painfully slow progress towards the Cape of Good Hope approximately 17 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast of the fleet. The first night at sea, after a hectic stopover in Cape Town, looks set to be spent inching along the coast, just four nm from the shoreline, in little or no breeze.

At 1900 UTC tonight, race leader Telefonica (Iker Martínez/ESP) leads Franck Cammas/FRA (Groupama 4) and the chasing pack by 0.20 nm, the slimmest of margins and in the most difficult conditions, almost no wind at all and with boat speeds of less than two knots.

However, once clear of the Cape, the teams should be able to crack sheets and enjoy some quicker reaching conditions, although the Wind Gods will be testing the fleet with a complex set of weather and currents and Leg 2 will be no walk in the park.

The Agulhas current, which runs south down the eastern coast of South Africa, meets the cold water of the Beneguela current and turns back on itself about one kilometre east of the Cape of Good Hope. The result, the shallow area of the Agulhas Bank, is a notoriously rough piece of water to be negotiated. Here, the westerly winds along the African coast collide with the typical three - five knot easterly Agulhas current and can potentially produce boat-breaking conditions. By hugging the coast, the worse effects could be avoided.

Two of six teams in the fleet stepped new masts for this leg having dismasted on Leg 1 and both Ian Walker/GBR (Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam) and Ken Read/USA (PUMA's Mar Mostro) will be cautious of the conditions they expect to find here.

Photo by Chris Cameron, www.chriscameron.co.nz. Click on image for photo gallery.

VOR In Port Race * Team Telefonica surged to victory in Saturday's Cape Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race to strengthen their overall lead after PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG had briefly hinted at a fairytale comeback to the Volvo Ocean Race.

Telefonica, first into Cape Town at the end of Leg 1, led from the start in warm sunshine and breezes averaging 14 knots in Table Bay, only for PUMA's Mar Mostro to sneak past them at the first mark.

Ken Read's team, who only arrived in Cape Town midweek after becoming the third team forced to retire from Leg 1, then looked to be in a strong position but a sail handling mistake allowed Telefonica and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand to streak past them on the way to mark 5, after which there was no way back.

Telefonica, last in the first in-port race in Alicante, finished the Cape Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in 52 minutes 55 seconds, with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in second 43 seconds back and PUMA third a further nine seconds behind them.

In-Port Race Results:

1. Team Telefonica (Iker Martínez), 52:55
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson) +0:43
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read) +0:52
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker) +1:19
5. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas) +1:49
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson) +4:10

* CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has welcomed the decision by the Volvo Ocean Race International Jury to dismiss a protest claiming that CAMPER's forestay set-up breached the Volvo Open 70 rules. The ruling relates to a protest lodged by the French entry Groupama at the end of leg one alleging that several aspects of CAMPER's forestay and rigging set-up over leg one were illegal.

Skipper Chris Nicholson says that it's a common sense outcome and brings an end to the matter.

"This issue over the last 18 months been looked at by the Rules Interpretation Group, the Arbitration Panel and the International Jury twice. In all cases it has been cleared and ruled as legal. We have always been open and above board about our forestay set-up. It is frustrating that despite this it has repeatedly been called into question at a considerable cost in time and effort to us.

"The simple fact is that nothing has changed in our forestay set-up since the International Jury ruled it legal in Alicante last month, and yet once again we have been dragged through the process of a jury hearing. It is pleasing nonetheless to see final confirmation that our forestay system abides with Volvo rules.

volvooceanrace.com

Luna Rossa Crowned Extreme Sailing Series 2011 Champions
Photo by Mark Lloyd, www.lloydimages.com. Click on image to enlarge.

Extreme Sailing Series The Italian team Luna Rossa has won the final Act of 2011 in emphatic style and crowned the Overall Champions of the Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Max Sirena, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson and Manuel Modena, who have raced together on the Extreme 40 all season, hardly put a foot wrong over the 35 races here in Singapore. They went into the final day with a previously unheard of 56-point lead over their arch rivals for the 2011 title, the French team of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. There was little Pierre Pennec's team could do as Luna Rossa put in another strong performance and after 10 races today, Luna Rossa topped the Act 9 leaderboard with a 45-point margin over 2nd placed The Wave, Muscat.

Despite 6 different Act winners during the year, coming into the final Act, only the French and Italian teams could win the overall title. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild took victory at the first Act in Muscat, Oman whilst Max Sirena's team shone at Act 2 in Qingdao, China.

In the end, it was the second place on the podium that turned out to be the most closely contested, coming down to the final double points race.

Eleven top international teams competed in the circuit with many of the world's best sailors on board, plus wildcard entries from Aberdeen Asset Management (Cowes) and Team TILT (Almeria/Singapore). 2011 saw a big step up of the public entertainment, with an extended mix of attractions on the public days that including the Olympic 49er class racing, Moth demo sailing, the NeilPryde Windsurfing Series and kids Oppie racing, all combined with on shore family-orientated entertainment from kids activities, dance and music took place within the Extreme Race Village.

The 2012 calendar of events will be announced on Tuesday, 13th December on the opening day of the World Yacht Racing Forum in Estoril.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 9 Final, Singapore standings after 35 races

1. Luna Rossa (ITA), Max Sirena / Paul Campbell-James / Alister Richardson / Manuel Modena, 260 points
2. The Wave, Muscat (OMA), Leigh McMillan / Kyle Langford / Nick Hutton / Khamis Al Anbouri, 215
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Dean Barker / Glenn Ashby / James Dagg / Jeremy Lomas, 215
4. Red Bull Extreme Sailing (AUT), Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matt Adams / Craig Monk, 214
5. Alinghi (SUI), Tanguy Cariou / Yann Guichard / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey, 206.5
6. Oman Air (OMA), Chris Draper / Kinley Fowler / David Carr / Nasser Al Mashari, 205
7. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA), Pierre Pennec / Christophe Espagnon / Thierry Fouchier / Herve Cunningham, 179
8. Team GAC Pindar (GBR), Ian Williams / Mark Bulkeley / Andrew Walsh / Matt Cornwell, 167
9. Team TILT (SUI), Alex Schneiter / Charles Favre / Arnaud Psarofaghis / Nicolas Heintz, 156
10. Team Extreme - the first club™ (FRA), Sebastien Col / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Franck Citeau / Christophe Andre, 150

Extreme Sailing Series 2011 Overall Championship final result after 9 Acts

1. Luna Rossa, 80 points
2. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, 73
3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 69
4. The Wave, Muscat, 67
5. Alinghi, 66
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing, 61
7. Oman Air, 53
8. Artemis Racing, 48
9. Team GAC Pindar, 33
10. Team Extreme, 22
11. Niceforyou, 17

extremesailingseries.com

Dubarry Sligo

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Backes/Jarlegan F-18 European Champions
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria: Frenchmen Olivier Backes and Arnaud Jarlegan turned unbeatable European Champions in the Formula 18 catamaran class on Sunday (11 December). The world champs of 2010 grabbed the "early" title for 2012 in a regatta already held this year in Las Palmas on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria, Spain. They won with one race short but continued scoring another bullet in the final one. This left their compatriots Francois Morvan/Maithien Vandame twelve points behind in second. Local heroes of the host club, famous Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria (RCNGC), Javier Padron und Miguel Perez, lost the lead they hold after seven races, but were celebrated as third crew on the podium. European masters (over 50 years old) Helge and Christian Sach from Germany impressed the young guns with a fifth place overall just one point behind Gurvan Bontemps/Benjamin Amiot from France, but 27 ahead of the best mixed crew Grant Piggott/Mary Rook from Great Britain on six.

The XIII Canary Olympic Sailing Week saw light easterly winds most of the time with rarely trapeze conditions, but huge Atlantic swell on the race course. 84 crews from 13 nations, with a dozen former world champions, Olympic medalists and current America's Cup crew battled it out in ten tight races. Winners Backes and Jarlegan paid credit to their Phantom F-18 cat: "The boat goes incredibly well in conditions like this." Rank two and four went to Cirrus with a Hobie Wild Cat on third and Nacra Infusion taking fifth to seventh overall. Andreas Kling

Final results of the Formula 18 Europeans in Las Palmas/Gran Canaria (Spain)

1. Olivier Backes/Arnaud Jarlegan (France) 28 points
2. Francois Morvan/Maithien Vandame (France) 40
3. Javier Padron/Miguel Perez (Spain) 51
4. Gurvan Bontemps/Benjamin Amiot (France) 56
5. Helge and Christian Sach (Germany) 57
6. Grant Piggott/Mary Rook (Great Britain) 84
7. Coen de Koning/Thijs Visser (The Netherlands) 87
8. Mitch Booth/Janne Riihela (Spain/Finland) 90

Full result list, photos and additional information on the Internet: www.rcngc.com

Running The Rhumblines
Merit the former Globe race Volvo 60 will have plenty of loyal supporters when Whitsunday Sailing Club skipper Leo Rodriguez contests the gruelling Rolex Sydney Hobart Race starting on Boxing Day.

Every person who has either experienced sailing on this famed 1997 vintage Volvo race yacht along with her huge fan club of international, national and Whitsunday Sailing Club members will again monitor Merit's progress.

However there is no written manual on the best tactical strategy to apply but the Merit crew who have the distinction of safely executing a rescue at sea and later awarded the Performance Handicap class win for their effort will be again testing their skills in unfamiliar conditions. None of the previous 66 blue water classics have been the same with the race to experience standing on the stable Constitution Dock after 628 gruelling nautical miles of ocean racing this year expected to test the best against the rest.

Naturally the crew of warm tropical water sailors are not expecting another mid race rescue however should there be a call for help the Merit crew who are fully trained professional mariners will transform their role from racing to execute a safe rescue.

The Merit crew like all other Hobart Race crews are expecting to face another searching test of individual endurance which promises to be spiced with a number of hidden challenges. They remain aware that the open waters of Bass Strait between Green Cape and the landfall sighting of the Tasmanian coast has a significant history of presenting a supreme test of combined endurance and team work.

Generally this stretch of open sea normally tormented by gale strength winds and foam crested waves has proved to be a decider in achieving a major result or finishing back in the pack. However while Merit will be racing in her 14th year she has the proven design and construction pedigree to master the growling seas and howling winds.

Hopefully the Merit crew will not face to many hidden challenges when they set the course to finish in the top 20 on line honours and complete the course with a faster 3 day 9 hour 18 minute 53 second elapsed time from 2010 to feature in the Performance Handicap class top 3 in 2011. -- Ian Grant

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 Euan Ross: Bravo Ben Ainslie in invoking the spirit of Dunraven: "In those days the course was very badly kept. Excursion steamers thronged it and hampered the yachts badly. Not purposely I dare say, for steamer captains did not understand the effect of their lofty vessels upon the wind, and were anxious to give spectators their money's worth. Their unwelcome attentions were probably impartially bestowed, but it would be only human nature if a skipper was meticulously careful not to interfere with his own side."

If the facts as reported are to be believed, the Perth Race Committee was undoubtedly negligent in failing to supervise the press; these guys should have been sent packing, not England's finest. I see from the Perth 2011 website that: "The Host Broadcaster, appointed by ISAF, has unrestricted and priority access to the boat parks, onwater restricted areas and in the mixed zones.

* From Eddie Mays: The lad did wrong and has been punished for it

At the time of writing (Sun. 11/12/2011 @ 07:50) everyone seems to be very coy about the punishment meted out to the RIB driver and the camera crew, if any

Is our sport, in it's puest form, to be sacrificed to the great god TELEVISION

Even Ben Ainslie appears to be toeing the party line

I wonder what would have been the reaction of the RYA if his selection to 2012 had rested on the result of this regatta

Having spent a good deal of time over the past 20 years in and amongst racing dinghies & yachts I have lost count of the number of pictures I haven't taken because I might have interfered with a competitor.

The media does have an important part to play in promoting our sport but a firm balance needs to be struck and patently in this instance that was wrong. The camera boats were allowed to be too close to the action

Incidently what nationality was the camera crew ?

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The Last Word
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake. -- W. C. Fields

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