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Investec Loyal Crowned Line Honours Winners
Following a three hour hearing at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania before the International Jury, the Race Committee's protest against Investec Loyal was dismissed and Anthony Bell and the crew of his 100ft maxi were finally declared the line honours victors in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

This afternoon at the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 prizegiving, held in front of a crowd lining Constitution Dock, CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre, Lord Mayor of Hobart, Damon Thomas, and Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia presented Anthony Bell with the JH Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece for the line honours victory.

"It is the long way around in some ways," said a delighted Anthony Bell. "It is very relieving to get to this point. There are rules in every sport and, while it wasn't ideal to go through this, I think that ultimately it gets beyond any question and whatever those questions that were asked have been properly answered."

Bell explained that the query to the ABC helicopter pilot about Wild Oats XI's sails had been made by their tactician Michael Coxon. Coxon is also Managing Director of North Sails Australia and, after the strong winds of the first night at sea, he had been concerned about Wild Oats XI's mainsail, made of their new product 3Di and believed to be the most expensive sail of its type in the world.

"One of the things that they did take was that Michael Coxon's question was not to gain any advantage for our boat at all, but more to test how his business client's product, that they bought off him, was going," said Bell of the international jury's decision.

To date ten boats of the 77 still racing (out of 88 starters) have arrived in Hobart, the latest being Syd Fischer's modified TP52 Ragamuffin. Of the boats now docked, Stephen Ainsworth's Reichel Pugh 63 Loki is currently favourite for the overall IRC handicap prize in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart. However still ahead of her on handicap is Roger Hickman's 26 year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose. Still racing, she must finish before 08:12 local time tomorrow (30 December) if she is to beat Loki's time under handicap.

Seventh home this morning, 12 minutes after Living Doll was Matt Allen, former Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Rolex Sydney Hobart organisers, aboard his first generation Volvo Open 70, Ichi Ban.

Ichi Ban had suffered a few issues during the race. On the first night the lock jammed, holding their main halyard, and in the strong conditions they were forced to spend the rest of the night sailing with three reefs. It was only on the following morning they were able to send a crewman aloft enabling them to hoist the sail fully once again.

"That meant we had a really poor first night and it was really hard to recover from there," said Allen. "We also broke one of the D4s [rigging on the mast], but luckily we picked it up before, otherwise we would have lost the mast."

Stop-Start Volvo Format Breaks Momentum
The five Volvo Open 70s are heading for the northern Emirates in the latest stage of the Volvo Ocean Race's anti-piracy plan. This edition of the iconic race has turned into even more of a stop-start affair and the organisers will be desperate to rekindle momentum.

Already having to deal with a series of gear failures that has seen the fleet down to just four boats racing on Leg 1, and now the threat of piracy necessatating this expensive and time consuming break in the middle of Leg 2. The organisers have to maintain public interest during the shipping and then repeat the whole exercise again on Leg 3.

The modern Volvo Race has been developed into a series of stages with the stopping places providing opportunities for local promotions, the ports bidding for inclusion. The recent routes have skipped the southern ocean leg to Australia in order to include the growing markets of India and China.

But with the new routing including eight stopover ports - up from three in the original race - and again missing out the southern ocean leg - the race is beginning to look more like a Formula 1 season event. Crews are now flying to the next start port, with some crew members taking the weeks break to fit in some home leave. Perhaps this is the format for coming races - the boats being ferried between paricipating ports to skip any difficult weather/circumstances that could damage them. -- Gerald New in SailWeb:

Dubarry Storm - Designed To Perform
Dubarry Storm The great thing about the best technical clothing is that it's fit for purpose. There's no frilly bits, no cherries on top, and it won't fall to pieces when the going gets tough. It's a focused, durable, effective masterpiece - just like you. With its waterproof outer and a storm flap inside the zip, it's going to keep you dry. And its snug chin guard and polarfleece inner will keep you warm. It's warm, dry, confident styling in six colourways, and it does exactly what you want a jacket to do.

Dubarry Storm - the calm within the Storm.

Why We Love Knock-Out Races
Delaying race starts or finishing them early to reduce risks is a tricky path to tread. The truth is, we cherish ocean races not all will finish.

One big change in offshore racing over the last five or ten years or so has been the increasing assumption of responsibility by race organisations for adverse weather that might be encountered by competitors.

Most event organisers continue to stress that the decision to start a race and continue racing is the 'sole and irrevocable responsibility of the skipper', yet more and more are delaying starts or even finishing events early because of fears that conditions could overwhelm competitors.

Inevitably, this leads to questions about whether, or how, results are compromised. As an example, take the decision by the organisers of the solo B2B race to shorten the course off the north-west of the coast of Spain, giving just 12 hours' notice. Britain's Alex Thomson is one of those who felt he lost out by being unable to position himself for this and applied for redress.

Such decisions are getting more commonplace. The Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV), which preceded the B2B, was delayed for several days because of a forecast of bad weather. In past years, the Fastnet Race has been delayed and so has the Vendee Globe.

The reasons are plain enough when you think of the route taken by some of these races. The depression into which the TJV racers would have sailed in November, and the one that worried the B2B organisers last week, would likely have hit the fleet at the edge of the Continental Shelf. It was sea state more than wind strength that was the great concern. Invariably it's waves not wind that are the wrecking ball.

If you take this logic to its fullest extent, though, you might well ask why start a transatlantic race from northern Europe in November at all? The simple answer is because these are traditional routes with historically calculable conditions for which the sailors and boats should aim to be fit.

But there is another dichotomy here. The attrition rate and occasional near catastrophe to be expected accounts for a big hunk of public interest. That's exactly what has made races such as the Route du Rhum, the TJV, OSTAR, the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race and the Fastnet, among others, famously infamous. How many would follow a race that was a low-risk tradewinds procession?

Read Elaine Bunting's full blog post at:

Host Committee For Newport America's Cup Established
A committee to take charge of the many arrangements needed for the America's Cup World Series regatta slated for Newport next year was formally established Thursday when Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee signed an executive order creating the panel, to be chaired by Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport.

Joining the governor at the Statehouse signing ceremony were Read, Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Racing, current America's Cup champion that will defend the title in finals set for San Francisco in 2013, and Richard Worth, chairman and CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority.

The panel will consist of at least 23 members, yet to be named, including representatives of: Aquidneck Island towns; the Newport County Chamber of Commerce; the convention and visitors bureaus based in Providence and in Newport; various state departments; the commercial shipping industry; and the marine industry.

The races, featuring high-tech AC45 wing-sailed catamarans, are scheduled for June 23-July 1 in Newport Harbor and will comprise the final event of the first World Series circuit, established to ocean racing during America's Cup off years.

State officials have estimated the event will generate $72 million in new spending and create 400 jobs.

From Providence Business News:

Scale HMS Victory's Rigging at the London Boat Show
Visitors at the 2012 Tullet Prebon London Boat Show will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to scale the rigging of HMS Victory in January.

For the first time ever people can experience what it's like to be aloft on the 18th century vessel that served as Nelson's flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar.

The fully rigged section of mast carrying the fore topgallant yardarm will become the centrepiece of the Classic Boat attraction at the London Boat Show.

Visitors will be able to scale the rigging, learn about HMS Victory's history and watch demonstrations about the use of artefacts extracted from the vessel.

The London Boat Show is held from January 6 - 12 at ExCel in London.

Spanish Castle to White Night - Now an Ebook
Spanish Castle Mark Chisnell's account of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race is now available in a text-only, eBook edition of the original, highly-illustrated Spanish Castle to White Night.

Eighty eight men set off from beneath the ramparts of Alicante's Castle of Santa Barbara, but only 36 would journey the full 37,000 miles to finish in the White Nights of St Petersburg. Japan's Black Tide, brutal weather, injuries and even the credit crunch all took their toll.

This is the story of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, ripping and roaring through the seven seas - from Spain, past Africa and on to Asia, round the Americas and back to Europe. It's a story of endurance, deprivation and adventure, a story of winners and losers, those who made it and those who did not.

Available now on the Amazon Kindle:

Cessna Citation Closes In On Cook Strait
After 29 days and 7,000 miles of racing through the high-latitudes of the Indian Ocean, the five, double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) Class40s are being severely tested as they approach the Leg 2 finish line in Wellington, New Zealand. At the head of the fleet, on race leader Cessna Citation, Kiwi yachtsman, Conrad Colman, and his British co-skipper, Sam Goodchild, escaped an area of light airs off the west coast of South Island on Wednesday evening GMT, only to run into strong headwinds and punishing seas along the continental shelf with under 200 miles to the finish. The second Kiwi team, Ross and Campbell Field on BSL, came to within 70 miles of Cessna Citation at 03:00 GMT on Thursday as they chase Colman and Goodchild along the coast.

In mid-fleet, the Franco-British duo of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron in third on Campagne de France remained trapped in light airs 380 miles west of South Island showing brief bursts of speed before slowing down early evening on Wednesday. While Campagne de France suffered mid-Tasman Sea, the Italian-Spanish duo of Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon in fourth on Financial Crisis continued to poll the best speeds in the fleet, fast reaching in 25-30 knots of breeze despite the batten damage sustained on Wednesday and stealing an impressive haul of miles from Mabire and Merron. Meanwhile, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire in fifth place on Phesheya-Racing were dropping below 45S, running downwind in strong winds, sustaining batten damage in a crash gybe 120 miles south of Tasmania.

GOR leadeboard at 03:00 GMT 29 December:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 163 6.4kts
2. BSL, 70nm to leader, 6.1kts
3. Campagne de France, 373nm, 7.2kts
4. Financial Crisis, 638m, 11.7kts
5. Phesheya-Racing, 1138nm. 7.1kts

GOR cumulative Leg 1 and Leg 2 points following the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate:
1. BSL: 39 (4 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate)
2. Campagne de France: 36 points (5 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate)
3. Financial Crisis: 27 (3 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate)
4. Cessna Citation: 24 (6 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate)
5. Phesheya-Racing: 14 (2 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate) 6. Sec. Hayai: 6 (RTD from Leg 2)

Get Ready For Antigua
Photo by Tim Wright, Click on image to enlarge.

Antigua Race Week The 45th Antigua Sailing Week takes place at the end of April 2012 and plans are well under way to make the longest running Caribbean regatta an event not to be missed. The notice of race has been published and is available here:

Strong participation in Antigua Sailing Week is expected from the ARC fleet with some yachts already entered. They include a past winner, Spanish Swan 57 Charisma, skippered by three-time Olympian and Soling World Champion, Manuel Doreste Blanco.

Antigua Sailing Week attracts a huge variety of yachts and people from the four corners of the world. One of the largest is Billy Budd. At 112-feet, this magnificent yacht is owned by Mariacristina Rapisardi who has been on an epic adventure with her Oyster 72 by the same name. Over the past six years, Mariacristina and her partner Giovanni Cristofori have explored the Arctic and Antarctic, sailing thousands of miles between the two Polar Regions.

Tanner Jones and his Antiguan crew on J/30 Blue Peter will be back and looking to go one better than last year when they came a close second in Class 7. Blue Peter is one of the smallest entries in the regatta.

For 2012, there will be a fantastic spectacle prior to the regatta. Antigua Sailing Week is delighted to announce the return of the Yachting World Round Antigua Race, which will take place on Saturday, April 28, the day before Antigua Sailing Week officially begins. It will be open to all yachts, whether or not entered in Antigua Sailing Week. The Farr-designed 115 foot, Sojana, which completed the race in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009, holds the existing Round Antigua Race record.

Fireball International Week
A scorching hot day was forecast for day one of Fireball International Week incorporating the Australian Championships sailed at Mandurah in Western Australia. The temperatures delivered but the breeze fell a shade short. Whilst air temperatures reached 38c with a thunderstorm threatening, the sea breeze failed to fill, resulting in only one race being completed. .

A fleet of 63 boats representing Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Japan and Switzerland took to the turquoise waters of Comet Bay for the first two races of a six race series.

The forecast for Friday 30 December is for much more wind! 20 - 25 knots of regular sea breeze.

Provisional Results after day one:
1. Claude Mermod/Ruedi Moser, SUI
2. Kurt Liechti/Gabriela Ernst, SUI
3. Heather MacFarlane/Chris Payne, AUS
4. Andrew Martin/Andrew Stocks, AUS
5. Chips Howarth/Vyv Townend, GBR
6. Petr Koran/Jakub Napravnik, CZK

For full results visit:

Dekker's Christmas At Sea
Click on image to enlarge.

Laura dekker Laura Dekker had an eventful stay in Cape Town. She hauled her 38-foot Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch, 'Guppy' out of the water did some hull maintenance on her. The Volvo Ocean Race circus was in Cape Town while she was there, and the young girl got a taste of what sailing fast around the world can mean. On the pro-am race in Cape Town she was invited to sail on board CAMPER, on of the VO70's competing in the Volvo Ocean Race.

"She is definitely the fastest sailboat I have ever sailed on. No doubt this was the highlight of my time in Cape Town and maybe even the highlight of my whole trip.. really who gets a chance at sailing on a V.O.R boat?. This was a high I definitely can't ever forget and will remember for likeā€¦forever. It was breathtaking as the boats went through the water at 21 knots! And for me especially really interesting, the teamwork I do everything on my own not caring too much about going a knot faster or slower but these guys are always watching for the trim on the sails and if 0.5 knots more is possible they definitely will get it out of the boat."

Three days later she left Cape Town to watch the start of the Volvo Ocean Race on board her own boat. And then she turned the bow towards the Caribbean. Now she is getting ready for Christmas.

Dekker has 4700 nautical miles left before she reach Caribbean. When she does she will be the youngest who have sailed around the world, via the Panama canal, with stopovers.

Her world grinder: a 38-foot Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch named 'Guppy'


Laura's blog:

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2009 LeBreton Yachts SIG45. EUR 825,000. Located In Port Grimaund, France.

Exterior styling and Naval Architecture: Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost, Vannes/Paris, France Interior Design: Bjorn Johansson, Bembridge, UK

The SIG45 is flat out unique in its layout and deck design. The living arrangement are in the port and starboard hulls with full deck open. This area works great for outside entertaining.

Brokerage through Bruce Tait & Associates:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavours look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don't wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. -- Bill Bryson

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