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IYAC in Newport Wins Wight Vodka's 2011 Favourite Yachting Bar Contest
Wight Vodka The crew at Wight Vodka and Scuttlebutt Europe teamed up yet again to determine the yachting fraternity's favourite bar the world over, and are thrilled to announce that Wight Vodka's 2011 'First in Class' prize is awarded to IYAC in Newport, Rhode Island!

IYAC came out on top due to the massive volume of votes received by their faithful patrons and their passionate submissions in the early rounds. It is fantastic to welcome them alongside the Soggy Dollar in the BVI who won 2010's contest, and the Peter Cafe Sport in the Azores who claimed the podium in 2009. This year's contest was tight between the winner and the runners-up, including the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Salty Mike's in Charleston, South Carolina, the King & Queen in Hamble, England and the Pier View in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the Dog Watch in Stonington, Connecticut, the Clubhouse Yacht Club in Breskens, Holland, and Nippers in Great Guana Cay in the Abacos.

Ritu Manocha, owner of 50¡ North, the company behind Wight Vodka, said "I'm so glad that IYAC won this year's competition! A few of the Wight Vodka team members spend their time on and off the water around Newport and Block Island, and with the history of the America's Cup being battled out for so many decades in those Rhode Island waters, it's fitting that IYAC is crowned as the 2011 worldwide favourite yachting bar. They will receive a trophy and bottle of Wight to celebrate their win, and if you find yourself in Newport you must make your way to Thames Street and enjoy a few cocktails while spinning a few tales at IYAC!"

We again asked participants to comment about their favourite bar, and this year's entries were both truly enjoyable if not inspirational. A sampling below for your reading pleasure!

- This place is known as the drinking bar with a yachting problem.
- Their 'Lemon Crash' cocktail was named after one of their J-24s (Editor's comment: I wonder what happened?)
- The bar supports the clubÉand vice versa!
- Stunning atmosphere, especially during West Highland Week!
- You never know if you're going to see someone in a wedding dress or a swimsuit.
- The commitment of the owners and patrons to several major charity events, including being founders of 'Sail for Pride.'
- The only pub where you find the rock stars, pro sailors and keen weekenders mixing it up together.
- Major respect to the great Jan! Pubs like this are definitely what Sundays are made of.
- $2.00 Bourbon Nights... Ooooh to be young again!!
- It's a short walk for drinks after sailing.
- It's walking distance back home!
- Okay, okay they are a client of mine and are the fastest paying on the planet.

See the IYAC Facebook Page...

Sanya Promise Early Return as Destination Village Opens in Abu Dhabi
Team Sanya have vowed to make an early return to competition by completing the opening stage of Leg 2, after being forced out by a rigging failure while leading the fleet.

Skipper Mike Sanderson confirmed today that the first ever Chinese entry in the Volvo Ocean Race planned to finish the stage once repairs were completed in Madagascar.

“It has taken quite some time to come to terms with this second blow to our campaign’” he said. “But that’s all part of what can happen during a Volvo Ocean Race and we are more determined than ever to get racing again.”

Under race rules relating to boats which missed the cargo ship, if Team Sanya reach the safe haven port successfully, they will collect four points for sixth place for the first stage of Leg 2 and then automatically add one more under race rules for the second stage and a further two points for the Abu Dhabi In-Port Race.

Sanya suffered a rigging failure on December 19 and had to make an emergency stop at a port in southeast Madagascar.

Since then the team have been working flat out to make the necessary repairs. Due to the state-of-the art rigging used by the team, an entire new set of replacement rigging has now been created by Future Fibres.

* The final sprint stage of Leg 2 is set to be one of the most exciting ever with the fleet set for a neck and neck 98 nautical mile dash, finishing in Abu Dhabi on the afternoon of January 4.

For the first time in the race’s history the website race tracker will update every 60 seconds to allow race fans to follow the fleet minute by minute.

Racing is scheduled to start at 1000 local time (0600 UTC), with the boats expected to cross the finish line off the Abu Dhabi Corniche between 1500 - 1600 local time (1100 - 1200 UTC).

Shortly after the boats will drop their sails and motor one by one in leg finishing order to the nearby Abu Dhabi Destination village on the city’s waterfront where they will be be officially welcomed to the city. Each boat will be escorted in by a fleet of tradional dhows sporting sails embazened with the colours of the UAE national flag.

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Grant ‘Louie’ Loretz (NZL)
‘You always know you’re going fast when Louie is hanging on the end of the sheet’ - Matt Mason; ‘Yipee... how cool, our boys are so proud of Dadda!!!’ - Barbara Loretz; ‘Talented, top bloke’ - Peter Lester; ‘One of the best in the business’ - Grant Spanhake; ‘Like a great wine he gets better with age’ - Francesco de Angelis; ‘Brings up the level of all around him’ - Tom Burnham; ‘A solid citizen and a great sailor!’ - Terry Hutchinson; ‘Go Louie!!!’ - Adolfo Carrau.

This month's nominees:

Steve Howe (USA)
Perennial enthusiast and one of the world’s best owner-drivers, Howe’s latest scalp is the 2011 Melges 32 Gold Cup, which he won recently in Ft. Lauderdale helped by a strong team that included Morgan Larson as tactician and multiple America’s Cup winner Warwick Fleury trimming mainsheet. Howe had similar success in several other tough one design fleets including the Farr 40s where he became a regular podium fixture!

Matt Cassidy (USA)
Lots of people have been chasing us to nominate Matt (those Christmas cards are working), but there is no doubt the roll of honour is plenty long enough to agree with them. Just a few from a long list... bowman on Team Aqua, winner of the RC44 Tour this year and mid-bow with Ed Baird on the TP52 Quantum Racing, then back on point with three-time world match race champion Ian Williams... Job done

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

* Seahorse has a special six issue subscription offer for those who vote and/or comment on the Sailor of the Month... vote and see!

Done and Dusted as Maluka Brings Up The Rear
At a ceremony on Hobart’s Constitution Dock this morning, the divisional winners of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart were awarded.

Having arrived ninth into Hobart, Chris Bull’s British Cookson 50 Jazz picked up honours in IRC Division 0, was second in ORCi Division 1 and finished fourth overall under IRC.

Up until Thursday (day three), when conditions turned light for the smaller/slower boats, Roger Hickman and his crew on the Farr 43 Wild Rose had been looking favourite to claim the overall IRC handicap prize. However, as progress slowed towards the end of their race, so Stephen Ainsworth’s 63ft Loki moved into the lead, claiming the prize ultimately. “You have to be philosophical,” said Hickman. “I have been privileged to have won two of these races previously.” Wild Rose won in 1993, while Hickman was sailing master on SAP Ausmaid for her handicap victory in 2000.

During the race Hickman said he contemplated Wild Oats XI taking line honours and Wild Rose (originally Bob Oatley’s first Wild Oats) winning on handicap. Unfortunately it was not to be, in either case.

“It was exciting, a great event,” said Hickman, who this year participated in his 35th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. “This one was special as we got to celebrate the loss of our dear friend Sally Gordon, who sailed with us for 15 Rolex Sydney Hobarts.” Gordon, Hickman’s partner, was lost along with Andrew Short, skipper of the boat she was sailing, during the Sydney to Flinders Islet Race in 2009.

This year Hickman mounted a campaign aboard Wild Rose and had success winning the Lord Howe Island and the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht races. For the Rolex Sydney Hobart Wild Rose was sailed with a crew comprising six men and six women, the youngest 25, the oldest 75. Despite having three first timers on board, there were still 98 Hobart races between the crew.

Sailing his first Rolex Sydney Hobart was British youth singlehanded round the world sailor, Mike Perham, who arrived yesterday aboard Jessica Watson’s Sydney 38 Ella Bache another Challenge.

Maluka of Kermandie was the last boat to arrive, finishing at 16:48 local time, after five days, three hours and 48 minutes at sea.

Built in 1932 as a coastal cruiser/fishing boat, the  yacht was being sailed by the Langman family, father Sean being a well known Rolex Sydney Hobart competitor. But in stark contrast to Maluka, Langman’s previous boats have always gunned to be first across the line. Langman was a previous co-owner of this year’s line honours winner, Investec Loyal.

This year Langman senior handed over skippering of the boat to his 18 year-old son Peter.  “I thought I’d show him a race with proper turned down bed and proper meals, although having said that, the upwind stuff was pretty bumpy and rough. In fact I won the seasickness award. I was pretty crook that first night.”

This was Maluka’s third participation in the race and, according to Langman, this year’s event provided several firsts for him - aside from finishing last, on New Year’s Eve, at the start Maluka was called over early and had to return to restart.

Ironically having sailed the slowest boat in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Langman is shortly to step on to the fastest boat in Australia, his 60ft trimaran newly acquired from France, to make an attempt on the course record from Sydney to Hobart.

Running the Rhumblines
Leo Rodriguez and his dedicated crew onboard Merit sailed a physically tough 628 nautical miles to Hobart on a special mission of loyalty for a lost mate.

They dedicated the race to well known Sydney Hobart race sailor Nick Wells who passed away in November.

Nick Wells besides being a respected friend of Merit’s skipper and numerous other Sydney Hobart race sailors was a line honours winning crew member on the yacht Tasmania in the 50th anniversary blue water classic.

“We made the decision to dedicate our race to Nick, a gesture that was appreciated by his son and Merit crew mate Ben”. Leo Rodriguez said.

Unfortunately their bid to win a second Hobart Race Performance handicap class title suffered a major setback when the fleet faced the fury of the ‘Southerly Buster’.

Merit a former Volvo Globe race sloop built to handle the rough stuff including the fresh and frightening winds and growling seas suffered a critical tear to her main and while the headsail was also damaged during the blow.

Apart from the damaged sails the race for the Merit crew was not without incident with Leo Rodriguez bearing a facial scar after being struck by a food container during the hobby-horse type slog towards Hobart.

However while Merit was slowed due to the sail damage her crew remained focused on finishing the race and completing their personal tribute to Nick Wells.

The crew were further tormented when Merit became motionless for almost six hours in the normally windy Storm Bay before they finally completed the race with a relatively slow 6.6knot average and an elapsed time of 3 days 22 hours 55 minutes 28 seconds.

“Usually rounding Tasman Island is a highlight but unfortunately we became ‘parked’.

“Merit is a boat that sails best in heavy weather and we just didn’t have that”. He said. There was the expected jubilant celebration on the deck of the Anthony Bell owned Sydney maxi Investec Loyal when she claimed a narrow 3 minute 8 second line honours win over Wild Oats X1.

Both crews had little rest during their 628 nautical mile match race where the lead changed on several occasions before the Loyal Foundation team claimed the closest line honours result in 29 years with the faster .299 seconds per nautical mile elapsed time. -- Ian Grant

Colman and Goodchild Take Cessna Citation to Victory in GOR Leg 2
At 08:20:40 GMT (21:20:40 local) on Friday 30 December, the youngest team in the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race (GOR), 28 year-old Kiwi, Conrad Colman and his 22 year-old, British co-skipper, Sam Goodchild, crossed the GOR’s Leg 2 finish line in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, in first place on their Akilaria RC2 Class40, Cessna Citation after 30 days 22 hours 20 minutes and 40 seconds, netting the maximum of 30 points for Leg 2.

Surrounded by friends and family on the wet, slick, wooden quayside, Conrad Colman was one of the happiest men on North Island: “It’s the legend of the youg’uns!” he laughed. “It’s absolutely fantastic and it can’t get much better than this,” adds Colman. “I’ve been wanting to sail in a race into New Zealand since I was six years-old when I watched Fisher & Paykel and Steinlager 2 match race down the coast, so not only racing into New Zealand, but winning is really something special.” His British co-skipper was relieved to be ashore: “The Indian Ocean isn’t the problem, it’s Cook Strait that’s the issue,” admitted Goodchild with a broad grin. “The last 12 hours have been pretty horrific.”

At 10:38 on New Year’s Day in New Zealand (21:38 GMT 31 December), The Kiwi father-and-son team of Ross and Campbell Field took second place in Leg 2 of the double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) with their Class40 BSL, crossing the finish line in Wellington harbour after 32 days 11 hours 38 minutes and 40 seconds and 7,000 miles of racing from Cape Town South Africa - just over one and-a-half days behind Leg 2 winners, Conrad Colman and Sam Goodchild on Cessna Citation.

Campbell Field, sporting a black eye from head-butting the forestay, explains the breakages: “We made a few errors, but most of the damage came from just pushing really hard,” he says. Between 19-20 December at 47S, the Fields produced a 24-hour run of 355.6 miles as they chased Conrad Colman and Sam Goodchild on Cessna Citation through the Southern Ocean. “You can avoid breaking anything and just toodle along quietly, but when you’re pushing to the limit you do run the risk that something is going to give.”

At 09:49 on Monday local time (20:40 GMT 01/01/12), Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron crossed the double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) Leg 2 finish line in Wellington, New Zealand, in third place with Class40 Campagne de France after 33 days 10 hours 40 minutes and 15 seconds of racing through the Indian Ocean from Cape Town. Mabire and Merron’s hard-won podium place keeps them in second place on points behind Ross and Campbell Field on BSL and two points ahead of Leg 2 winner, Conrad Colman and Sam Goodchild with Cessna Citation.

GOR cumulative Leg 1 and Leg 2 points:

1. BSL: 64 (4 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate + 25 points for 2nd place in Leg 2)
2. Campagne de France: 56 points (5 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate + 20 points for 3rd place in Leg 2)
3. Cessna Citation: 54 (6 points at the Celox Sailing Scoring Gate + 30 points for Leg 2 win)
4. Financial Crisis: 27 (3 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)

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 Philip Crebbin & Barry Dunning: As former Olympic sailors who also seriously campaigned for the British 1980 Olympic sailing team, we certainly agree with the attempt to get the Royal Yachting Association to change its policies so that it cannot cancel the participation by a British sailing team in an Olympic Games without proper consultation of the membership and of the international sailing team.

However, we absolutely do not agree with the implication that the people listed would have been the Olympic sailing team in 1980 and the attempts then to get accolades for this group during the 2012 Olympics in Britain.

The decision to cancel the participation of the British Sailing Team in the 1980 Olympics was taken by the Royal Yachting Association while the squad were all at the Hyeres regatta in April 1980.  This regatta was held before we were due to have our Olympic selection trials regatta at Weymouth in May 1980.  As a result, all Olympic campaigns finished that week of the Hyeres regatta.

Most of us then cancelled our plans for Weymouth Olympic Week, but Vernon Stratton, the Olympic Sailing Team Manager in 1980, personally telephoned round and implored us all still to go as the organisation for the regatta was all in place and he wanted as many of the sailors to turn up as possible, to ensure the future of the regatta in those amateur days. However, some of the leading competitors had already made other arrangements and did not answer the call to go to Weymouth, just two examples being Rodney Pattison in the FDs and David Howlett in the Stars, who were both the leading international sailors in their respective classes and considered virtual ‘certs’ for the Olympic team if there had been one selected.

Those that did go treated it just for what it was, a “fun” regatta, (of course under the circumstances it was not really much fun!).  Many of us did not even use our best racing sails, but just older spare ones, and of course nobody had the adrenalin pumping from it being the Olympic Trials that had been worked towards for four years.

At the end of the regatta there was then a quite terrible decision made by the RYA, to award ‘certificates on velum’ to the class winners at this “fun” regatta stating that they would have been part of the 1980 British Olympic sailing team if a team was being sent to the Games.

There was much dissatisfaction over this and several people wrote strong letters to Vernon Stratton after the event to complain about it. It was a major mistake and it is quite amazing that it has now led to the present position all these years later.

The whole idea that the winners of these certificates should now campaign to get some new, extra accolades over 30 years later is quite unbelievable. They won a relaxed, “fun” regatta, not an Olympic Trial.  In fact, sailors who do get selected for the Olympic team and actually compete for Britain in the Games, do not receive anything for being in the British team (other than the team uniform), not even a certificate.

In terms of the RYA making the decision to cancel sending a British sailing team to the Olympics without any consultation, British sailing received little or no help or benefits from this decision not to go, despite being one of the very few sports that followed the Government directive.

Great Britain sent a team for nearly all other sports in 1980 and all the medallists were lauded as always. It should perhaps also be noted that the current head of the whole British Olympic effort for 2012, Lord Coe, became famous and got his big start to his highly successful career by winning a gold medal in a depleted field in athletics in the 1980 Olympic Games, which happened to be against his then Government’s wishes.

The plain fact is, there was no 1980 British Olympic Sailing Team.  It was all cancelled for the sailors in April 1980 and there were no Olympic selection trials, which were only due to be held after this in May 1980.

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The Last Word
When you lose your laugh you lose your footing. -- Ken Kesey

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