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French Rocket Ship Extends Lead
Franck Cammas has Groupama 4 firing on all cylinders as his team pushes the boat hard towards the Doldrum belt ahead. There is no let-up and Cammas is intent on putting as many hours as possible between his team and the chasing pack in conditions in which Groupama 4 simply excels.

Cammas reported this afternoon that his helmsmen are having a ball steering the boat, but the wind is on the beam, the sea is messy and the spray constantly crashing over the deck is giving the red-eyed crew a tough time. The boat is wet both on deck and down below.

The east south-easterly trade winds are becoming more unstable as the fleet progresses north towards the no-wind zone. It is Cammas' plan to position Groupama 4 between the fleet and the unpredictable Doldrums, an area where a substantial lead can be very easily be swallowed up by the chasing pack.

However, there is no threat tonight from the four boats behind, which all lost miles on the French team between the 1600 and 1900 UTC position reports. Their nearest rival, PUMA's Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) need to close a gap of 78.6 nautical miles (nm) and Read has a 10-mile buffer on overall race leader Telefonica (Iker Martinez/ESP). CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS) are a further 20 nm in deficit, while Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) are a shade under 230 nautical miles in arrears. None can match the 21.5-knot average speed of the French rocket ship and only PUMA are coming close, but still a knot slower.

Groupama are expected to enter the 'stealth zone', an area where the positions of the fleet will remain undisclosed in order to protect the crews from pirate activity, on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Team Sanya remain in Madagascar where they are working to repair damage suffered to their rig on Monday while in the lead. They have suspended racing from this leg.

volvooceanrace.com

Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Photo by Christophe Favreau, www.christophefavreau.book.fr. Click on image for photo gallery.

ISAF Perth The very best of grandstand sailing was on display as the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships wrapped up in perfect conditions, with spectators taking every available seat and space around Bathers Bay to watch as the final four world titles were decided in the women's 470, 49er, men's RS:X and Laser classes.

A large crowd gathered in the Worlds Village to watch the final medal presentations and closing ceremony ahead of fireworks and a farewell party for athletes, officials and volunteers on the shore at Bathers Bay.

The ISAF World Championships for 10 Olympic classes were held over 16 days with some 1100 athletes from 79 countries sailing for both a world title and to qualify their country for next year's London Olympic Games.

Final medal standings:

Laser
1. Tom Slingsby, AUS
2. Nick Thompson, GBR
3. Andrew Murdoch, NZL

Laser Radial
1. Marit Bouwmeester, NED
2. Evi van Acker, BEL
3. Paige Railey, USA

470 Men
1. Mathew Belcher / Malcolm Page, AUS
2. Luke Patience / Stuart Bithell, GBR
3. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO

470 Women
1. Tara Pacheco / Berta Betanzoa, ESP
2. Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR
3. Jo Aleh / Olivia Powrie, NZL

RS:X Men
1. Dorian van Rijsselberghe, NED
2. Piotr Myszka, POL
3. Nimrod Mashich, ISR

RS:X Women
1. Lee Korzits, ISR
2. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, POL
3. Marina Alabau, ESP

49er
1. Nathan Outteridge / Iain Jensen, AUS
2. Peter Burling / Blair Tuke, NZL
3. Emil Toft Nielsen / Simon Toft Nielsen, DEN

Star
1. Robert Scheidt / Bruno Prada, BRA
2. Robert Stanjek / Frithjof Kleen, GER
3. Mark Mendelblatt / Briann Fatih, USA

Finn
1. GIles Scott, GBR
2. Pieter-Jan Postma, NED
3. Edward Martin Wright, GBR

Elliott 6m Women's Match Racing
1. Anna Tunnicliffe / Deborah Capozzi / Molly Vandemoer, USA
2. Lucy Macgregor / Annie Lush / Kate Macgregor, GBR
3. Claire Leroy / Etodie Bertrand / Marie Riou, FRA

Full results at perth2011.com

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Transat B To B: D+12, Home Safely
It was a fine afternoon: despite the cold and a few residual squalls, friends, families, shore crews and locals flocked to Lorient, South-West Brittany, to welcome in the Transat B to B racers. Clearly keen to tie up and return to their lives on land, the sailors nevertheless relished the welcome that had been reserved for them.

They made it into the Transat B to B finish port at the end of this afternoon after a more boisterous delivery trip than planned for both skippers. Francois Gabart experienced a hard night just after crossing the finish. Whether it was down to the decompression or the wear on gear, the sailor spent the whole night on deck making repairs here and there. It was nothing very serious, but on top of the fatigue racked up over the past ten days of intense racing, the past few hours at sea have been tiresome. Meantime Armel Le Cleac'h benefited from the course being shortened to go and test his monohull in the bad weather in Biscay, albeit with an eye on safety. The two sailors arrived in Lorient in good shape. Indeed the minute they met on the pontoon, the two main protagonists of this Transat B to B were already starting to analysis their race.

Overall standing (after jury):
1. Francois Gabart (MACIF), finished on 14 December at 23h 11mn 30s
2. Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) finished on 15 December 02h 08mn 10s
3. Vincent Riou (PRB), finished at 05h 30mn 20s
4 = Mike Golding (Gamesa), finished at 08h 58mn 00s
4 = tied with Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss), following redress from the jury
5. Marc Guillemot (Safran), finished at 11h 33mn 00s
6. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec) finished on 16 December at 20h55mn 00s
7. Louis Burton (Bureau Vallee) finished on 17 December at 08h 25mn 00 s

www.transatbtob-imoca.org

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Draws to a Close
The 26th ARC finished in fine style on Saturday 17 December with a spectacular prize giving ceremony at the Gaiety Nightclub in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. 2011 was a vintage ARC, with most boats experiencing fast crossing times - the ARC crossing record almost tumbled after standing unchallenged since 2006.

After a downwind start in perfect conditions in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the 217 yachts, including a record-breaking 31 multihulls, headed south and then west across the Atlantic towards Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. Classic trade wind conditions provided exciting downwind sailing, with the Franco-Russian team on super-maxi Med Spirit finishing in 11 days and 14 hours; only 9 hours outside the ARC crossing record set by Capricorno (ITA) in 2006. Following Med Spirit over the line was trimaran Rayon Vert (FRA), Gunboat 66 Phaedo (USA), ex-Whitbread maxi Rothmans (SWE) then Open 40 Vaquita (AUT) - these five boats finishing within 13 days and almost 3 days ahead of the next bunch of finishers.

Most of the fleet experienced a 'wind hole' as they closed Saint Lucia, leaving some boats becalmed and chasing the lightest of breezes or resorting to the motor. Line honours prizes for boats crossing the line first in their division without motoring were awarded to Med Spirit (FRA), Rayon Vert (FRA), Vaquita (AUT), Hassebas (NED) and Dantés (GER). The overall Cruising Division prize for calculated results was awarded to Standfast 56 Splendid (NED) skippered by Kees-Jan Baartmans, and vintage Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) skippered by Ross Applebey, won the RORC Racing Division.

Of the 217 boats that set off from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 20 November, 215 crossed the Atlantic successfully (two retired to the Canaries) and 214 crossed the finish line in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. Damages were limited to blown sails, a few broken booms and two broken forestays, but all of the damaged boats were able to finish. The organisers and participants were deeply saddened to learn on 8 December of the sudden death from suspected heart attack of Andrew Nash, who was sailing on Ocean Wanderer.

Full list of winners online at www.worldcruising.com/arc/results.aspx

Organizing Clubs Announce Atlantic Ocean Racing Series Results, Look Ahead To 2015
The Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club have announced the winners of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series for 2011. George David's Rambler 100 took overall honors winning the New York Yacht Club Commodore Gerry Cup with a fleet first in the RORC Caribbean 600 and fleet seconds in the Annapolis to Newport Race and the Transatlantic Race 2011 itself. Rambler 100 set course records in the Caribbean 600 and the TR 2011 and averaged a remarkable 16.83 knots in her Atlantic crossing. This average speed is the highest ever for a monohull in an established ocean race, eclipsing Alfa Romeo's 16.46 knots in the 2009 Transpac Race.

Second in the AORS and the winner of the New York Yacht Club Comet Trophy was Clark Murphy's Leopard with a fleet second in the Rolex Fastnet and fleet thirds in the Annapolis to Newport Race and the TR 2011. Third and the winner of the New York Yacht Club Aloha Cup was Chris Bull's Jazz with a fleet fourth in the Rolex Caribbean 600 and fleet fifths in the Annapolis to Newport Race and the TR 2011.

These AORS awards wrapped up a remarkable year for Atlantic Ocean racing. For the Transatlantic Race 2011 itself, Ken Read's PUMA Mar Mostro won overall and was the recipient of the RYS Queen's Cup, Rambler 100 was second and Leopard third. Twenty-six yachts in six classes started and finished the TR 2011, and 11 yachts qualified for the AORS.

Looking ahead to 2015, George David and Steve Frank, co-chairs of the TR 2011, said, ÒThere have been early discussions among the four Organizing Clubs for a TR 2015 to coincide with the Royal Yacht Squadron's bicentennial celebrations in that year. The group anticipates a companion AORS as well. Atlantic Ocean racing in 2011 has been at a high level with substantial fleets, and there's lots of enthusiasm to continue into 2015.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 were Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May with additional support from Sperry Top-Sider and Atlantis WeatherGear.

On the web at www.transatlanticrace.com

Media seeking further information, contact Michael Levitt

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.

www.dubarry.com

Is The RYA Out Of Step?
The sailors of the 1980 Olympic Team have now heard back from the RYA. Those who have followed it may recall that they were asking the RYA to undertake through their Articles of Association, never again to force another team to withdraw from the Olympics, without consulting their members through a General Meeting vote first. Also that an Early Day Motion had been tabled in the House of Commons in support of this initiative and recommending that the 11 Sailors are invited to the London Opening Ceremony as a gesture of recognition for what they were forced to forego.

In their delayed response the RYA have declined to do any more than make a vague and unenforceable promise to 'consult'. They do not even say 'who' and since it is at best a resolution of their Board, they can undo it at any time - even without their membership or elite sailors being told. The Team have advised us that they view this as wholly inadequate protection for future sailors. Also that no invitation to the London Ceremony has been forthcoming and that they have seen no evidence that it has ever been considered.

There is little doubt that the RYA of 1980's behaved badly towards the Team and they have done their best to ignore them since. However the Team say that it is not too late for the RYA of today to make an effort to put that right and ensure that no other generation of the best of British sailing has to endure the same treatment. The Team will therefore continue its campaign and welcomes support from readers by email to which they will then pass on to the CEO of the RYA.

Gavin Simonds (Soling crew 1980) noted: "The RYA of 1980 behaved appallingly badly towards us all, we were ignored and misled. We had hoped that the RYA of today would want to make an effort to put that right - very soon we are going to find out if this particular leopard has changed its spots."

Jerry Richards (1980 470 crew) says that: "It appears the RYA keep the right to make the same boycott decision the next time they are under political pressure, but have resolved only to try to handle it in a more courteous manner. How does that match up to their published mission to support sailing? Boycotts destroy most athletes' hopes and dreams - for life. Imagine a doctor or lawyer not being allowed to take the final exam, always wondering what they might have achieved."

Colin Simonds remarked: ''I spent 10 years campaigning to get to the Olympics - if it needs 10 years again I will find a way to get the right decisions made. We are now considering a range of further options, and are looking for even more public and RYA member support.

''We have had many emails of support to us and our campaign email address of which a selection have already been forwarded to the RYA Chief executive . We welcome more direct to the RYA or to us, and will pass them on. We MUST stop this happening again. -- Gavin Simonds (Member of 1980 Olympic Sailing Team)

Old Finn Farts Regatta August 25-26 2012
We have a fleet of about a dozen Ideal 18s, which, as there are no hiking straps, are IDEAL for those who carried 50 lbs of wet sweateers and have bad backs and creaking knees and can no longer hike (and some never did). Organizers guarantee flat water and shifty winds in Toronto Bay. Just watch the ferries. We intend to sail without spinnakers, two to a boat, 5-6 races each day, have a windward/leeward course, sail the leeward course slalom, and will require the two last races each day to cross the finish line sailing backwards. If we get more than 24 sailors we will find a way to accommodate all. Mainly we want to have fun and see old friends again.

Limited to all Finn sailors still alive. (There is a rumour that Bruder, Van Dyne and various Rogges will appear at least in our minds.)

For accomodations we will arrange hotel rooms on Toronto Bay or if requested billeting either in homes or on boats at the club. Book early!

$150 CAN Includes Barbecue and Dinner plus the usual Keg of Beer.
Non-sailing guests: Dinner $75.00; Barbeque $25.00; Cash bar.

Contact: Paul Henderson 416-487-3193
Tom Johannsen 905-681-8112

18ft Skiffs: Nsw Championship - Race 5
Photo by Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League. Click on image for photo gallery.

Skiffs Sydney Harbour: Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas became the 2011-2012 NSW 18ft Skiff champions when they finished with a total of five points after coming home second in today's last race of the series on Sydney Harbour.

While Thurlow Fisher took out the championship, today's race was a one-boat affair as Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage) gave an awesome performance throughout the North-East course to score a brilliant 4m4s win over Thurlow Fisher.

Two earlier disappointing placings for the '7' team saw them finish third overall on 15 points, behind Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, Greg Dixon and James Hozack), which was runner-up to Thurlow Fisher on 10 points.

Third placing today went to Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Paul Montague and Tom Anderson), which finished 55s behind Thurlow Fisher.

Fourth place overall in the championship went to Smeg (Nick Press) on 15 points, followed by Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) on 25 and Appliancesonline.com.au on 26 points.

The Australian 18 Footers League's next race will be on Sunday, 8 January 2012, when it conducts the Cordukes Clubhouse Trophy. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

www.18footers.com.au
www.flying18s.com

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 Richard Dobbs: The letters from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston et al on the Ainslie incident are relatively clear on a significant concern with the race organisation in Perth.

I am looking forward to hearing the response from ISAF or the race organisers in a future Scuttlebutt Europe - it does not appear that they have yet had a chance to addressed the concerns raised on their websites.

If no explanation is forthcoming, one might ponder the reason for this. Perhaps:

1. They don't think the concerns raised are serious.
2. They cannot justify why they did not police the media boat properly.
3. They have never heard of Robin Knox-Johnston.
4. They don't read Scuttlebutt Europe.

If they don't want to get into the incident, perhaps they could let us know which of these (or other reasons) apply?

* From David Branigan: The stream of ill-informed comment regarding the Ainslie incident last week is starting to obscure the actual facts which need to be re-stated in the hope that some of the more hysterical commentators might take notice:

FACT: It was the official event TV production company with special sanction to enter the course area, not a media boat involved in this incident.

FACT: The majority of actual media boats respect the needs of the competitors while trying to capture great stories and imagery that are strengths of our sport.

FACT: In fairness, the RIB driver in this case was an unpaid local volunteer acting in good faith even if it didn't work out on this occasion. He must be properly respected and thanked for this fact.

FACT: The evidence that the RIB interfered with Ainslie on the run to the finishing-line did not include the aerial TV footage that has been withheld from public consumption (on legal advice to ISAF) until the Rule 69 process has concluded. However, it is available to the RYA and should definitively show whether or not the TV boat's wake obstructed Ainslie or even whether it altered the outcome of the race that Pieter-Jan Postma of The Netherlands won.

It's already been suggested already that 'mission-critical' roles should not rely on unproven personnel, voluntary or professional. This is clear: only by employing the latter can you retain some form of real sanction over the expertise, seamanship and sailing knowledge of, in this case a RIB driver.

Events, sponsors and competitors gain great benefit from the efforts of genuine sailing media.

Pillorying press with the same vituperation reserved for elements of tabloid media is simply unfair and will lead us towards 'worst case makes for bad law.' Ultimately, everyone will lose out.

In comparison to the number of races sailed, how often do media boats actually interfere with a race? Rarely, I suggest. And while accidents can and will happen, professional sailing media stake their own reputations on ensuring this does not occur.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2004 137' Danish Yacht. US$ 17,500,000. Located In Antigua & Barbuda.

Ranger, a replica of the "J-Class" yacht which won the Americas Cup in 1937, was a labor of love by the current owner. A stellar team contributed to the successful build of Ranger, finally launched by Danish Yacht in 2004. Naval architects Studio Scanu, Reichel-Pugh, and Fred Elliott worked with the original lines of Starling Burgess and Sparkman and Stephens to create a yacht that not only wins honors in regattas, but cruises in style as a proper luxury yacht. A departure from the original, she carries a central cockpit and doghouse as well as a splendid mahogany interior boasting 4 staterooms aft for owner and guests with 3 ensuite baths - all created by Glade Johnson Design. In addition, the interior is extremely quiet, as acoustical engineer Joe Smullin was in charge of isolating it from the hull, greatly reducing vibration and noise .

Whereas the hull is steel, true to the original, the new teak doghouse is carbon fiber underneath and the classic raised panel interior is actually Nida-cored to keep weight down. Countless hours were spent on fitting modern technologies and living concepts into the matrix of a vintage yacht that conformed to the J-Class Association?s rules and regulations.

Brokerage through Northrop and Johnson: www.yachtworld.com/northropandjohnsonfl/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at
uk.yachtworld.com

The Last Word
What's right is what's left if you do everything else wrong. -- Robin Williams

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