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Quantum Key West 2012
Photo by Joy Dunigan / International Melges 32 Class Association. Click on image for photo gallery.

Key West, Florida, USA: With eight races in the books and two more still to be contested, the outcome of several marquee classes at Quantum Key West 2012 remains in doubt.

To absolutely no one's surprise, the deep and talent-laden Melges 32 class has come down to the wire with Samba Pa Ti holding a slim four-point lead over Pisces. Skipper John Kilroy and the Los Angeles-based Samba team posted a strong score line of 2-4-3 on Thursday and will look to protect its advantage on Friday when two races are expected to be held.

Farr 40 is another class that won't be decided until the fifth and final day of the regatta. Struntje Light, the German entry owned by Wolfgang Schaefer, leads Charisma by four points. Those two were tied going into Race 8, but Struntje Light placed second while Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) finished sixth.

Barking Mad got the gun in two of three races on Thursday and might well be winning the class had it not lost a man overboard and failed to finish Race 2. Skipper Jim Richardson is still only seven boats out of the lead despite taking eight points for the DNF.

Organizers with Premiere Racing managed to complete the second three-race day of the regatta and that gave some class leaders a chance to really put the hammer down on the competition. Quantum Racing enjoyed a spectacular day with three first place results to build an insurmountable 14 ½ point lead in the 52 Class (IRC 2).

One of the most impressive performances of the regatta has come from Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., which has won all eight races in Farr 30 class. Phillipe Mourniac is calling tactics for Groovederci, which is coming off a victory at the class world championships and clearly has not lost a beat.

Another boat that is unbeaten is Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer owned by Niklas Zennstrom of Great Britain. Adrian Stead has done a brilliant job calling tactics on Ran, which has dominated Numbers (JV 66) and Shockwave (Reichel-Pugh 72) in the Mini Maxi (IRC 1) class. -- Bill Wagner

Standing After 8 Races

Mini Maxi IRC 1 - 3 Boats
1. Ran, GBR7236R, Niklas Zennstrom, 8
2. Numbers, USA119, Daniel Meyers, 19
3. Shockwave, USA60272, George Sakellaris, 21

52 Class IRC 2 - 8 Boats
1. Quantum Racing, USA52011, Doug DeVos, 10
2. PowerPlay, CAY52, Peter Cunningham, 24.5
3. TeamOrigin 1851/ Team Bella Mente, GBR1851N, Hap Fauth, 33

IRC 3 Shared start with High Performance IRC - 5 Boats
1. Antilope, GBR46N, Willem Wester, 12
2. Vitesse, USA4240, Jon Halbert, 26
3. Sarah, USA52756, Greg Manning, 27

Farr 40 One Design - 7 Boats
1. Struntje light, GER40, Wolfgang Schaefer, 23
2. Charisma, MON69, Nico Poons, 27
3. Barking Mad, USA50955, James Richardson, 30

Farr 400 One Design - 5 Boats
1. Red, UAE400, Joe Woods, 12
2. Team Premier NorCal, USA403, H. Blackett & S. Shapiro, 18
3. Meridian X, USA404, W.S. Shelhorse, 23

High Performance Shared start with IRC 3 - 4 Boats
1. Carbonado, CAN5, Rob & Sandy Butler, 18
2. Big Booty, USA60208, Pat Eudy, 20
3. Stray Dog, USA8668, Charles Engh, 20

Melges 32 One Design - 19 Boats
1. Samba Pa Ti, USA13131, John Kilroy, Jr., 18
2. Pisces, USA230, Benjamin Schwartz, 22
3. Heartbreaker , USA201, Robert Hughes, 34

Melges 24 One Design - 15 Boats
1. West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, USA820, Bora Gulari, 7
2. WTF, USA811, Alan Field, 17
3. Blu Moon, SUI825, Franco Rossini, 17

Farr 30 One Design - 7 Boats
1. Groovederci, USA706, Deneen Demourkas, 8
2. Theend, USA316, Richard Goransson, 25
3. Mummbles, USA704, Brad Kauffman, 27

J 80 One Design - 18 Boats
1. Le Tigre, USA1152, Darden Hillard, 14
2. Rocad Racing, SWE243, Mikael Lindqvist, 32
3. Church Key, USA59, Chris & Liz Chadwick, 35

PHRF 1 ToD PHRF - 10 Boats
1. Teamwork, USA52939, Robin Team, 19
2. Tres Hombres, USA35029, Kitterman, Tyer, Ghormley, 20
3. Mental, USA022, Paul Stahlberg, 23

PHRF 2 ToD PHRF - 11 Boats
1. L'Outrage, USA73456, Bruce Gardner, 11
2. Tangent, USA53228, Gerry Taylor, 24
3. Kalevala II, USA52439, Tapio Saavalainen, 25

J Boats Subclass ToT ToT - 7 Boats
1. Teamwork J, USA52939, Robin Team, 16
2. Rush J, USA51, Bill Sweetser, 18
3. Mental J, USA022, Paul Stahlberg, 20

Team Sanya Celebrate Leg 2 Stage 1 Finish
Team Sanya finished the first stage of Leg 2 at the secret port on Thursday night, scoring a major points haul more than five weeks after racing started in Cape Town.

The crew of seven on board the first Chinese entry in the Volvo Ocean Race crossed the finish line at the undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean at 19:03:16 UTC, with an elapsed time of 39 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Skipper Mike Sanderson and navigator Aksel Magdahl, who were not on board for the finish, leaped onto Sanya from a motoring tender to reunite and celebrate with their crewmates just moments after the finish whistle sounded in the pitch black dark.

The finish signifies a successful comeback for the team, who crashed out of Leg 2 with damaged rigging while they were leading, suspending racing on December 20.

The team sought refuge at Madagascar, where they remained for two weeks repairing their D2, before resuming racing on January 7. A tropical cyclone, the Doldrums and some short-lived trade wind sailing were all thrown into the mix as the crew endeavoured to finish what they started.

Despite finishing last in the leg, Sanya will collect four points for the first stage of Leg 2. Under race rules they will also collect one point for the second stage and a further two points for the Etihad Airways In-Port Race in Abu Dhabi.

There will be little recovery time for the sailors - - Mason, Ryan Houston, Dave Swete, Bert Schandevyl, Cameron Dunn, "Tiger" Teng Jiang He and Media Crew Member Andres Soriano - - with the Leg 3 race to the team's home port Sanya scheduled to start at 0800 UTC on January 22.

The Fabulous 40s'
Click on image for gallery of book spreads.

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

Aussie Teams Dominate Clipper Race 7 Podium
Gold Coast Australia has claimed victory in Race 7 of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race after the Race Committee made the decision to shorten the course in the stage from the Gold Coast to Singapore.

Extremely light winds which would have prevented the race management team from setting a fair course for the second stage of Race 7, combined with an increased threat of piracy in the Singapore Straits in the light conditions over the Chinese New Year, led to the tough decision. The positions of the yachts at the Celebes Sea Gate, which marked the end of the first phase of the race from Australia, will be taken as the final standings for Race 7.

Race Director, Joff Bailey, told the teams at 0700 UTC today, "Race 7 to Celebes Sea Gate from the Gold Coast was certainly long enough at 3,200nm to qualify as a serious race. It was run fairly, you all had chances to make gains and losses and see your tactics play out and I believe it was one of the most interesting races we have run."

During the race the lead changed hands a number of times as the ten internationally-backed yachts fought for supremacy with Geraldton Western Australia, Qingdao and Derry-Londonderry all taking their turn to lead the fleet. Gold Coast Australia's tactic of heading much further north than the other nine teams before hooking in to a favourable current allowed them to swoop into the lead in the final miles before the Celebes Sea Gate, which has now become the Race 7 finish line.

The first teams are expected to arrive in Nongsa Point Marina, Batam, early next week.

Woody's Back In Action
Photo by Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League. Click on image for photo gallery.

18ft Skiff champion John Winning is universally known as 'Woody' but after his recent effort this could be changed to 'Iron Man'.

On 4 December, 'Woody' was knocked unconcious in a wild 18ft Skiff capsize on Sydney Harbour and spent four days in hospital with four broken ribs and two "small" bone breaks in his back.

Although he has rarely missed a race in his long 18s career, it was thought that such injuries would surely sideline him for the Giltinan Championship on Sydney Harbour next month.

Since the accident, 'Woody' has been replaced as skipper of YANDOO by his son John Winning Jr., but has been in the rigging area each day supervising the entire fleet as President of the Australian 18 Footers League.

Just five weeks after the accident 'Woody' was back in action as skipper of YANDOO in last Sunday's Race 1 of the Australian Championship and finished a very good sixth in the 17-boat fleet. -- Frank Quealey

Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Mandrake competes for the Hong Kong Team in the 2010 Commodores' Cup. Click on image to enlarge. Photo by Kurt Arrigo / Rolex.

Interest from teams wishing to stake a claim on the prestigious Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is running high with challenges from several nations including: England, Netherlands, France, Ireland and Hong Kong.

Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Bouwe Bekking has been announced as Captain of the Dutch team, with the possibility of two Dutch teams and talk of a combined Benelux team of Dutch and Belgian boats.

The Dutch selection procedure will take place during the two first big IRC events of the year, with trials at the Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta (21-22 April) and the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta (15/20 May), including the Vuurschepen Race (25/28 May) and RORC North Sea Race.

Teams from the Netherlands have competed in the biennial Commodores' Cup since its inception in 1992, only missing out in 2000 and 2010. They have not yet won the Commodores' Cup but finished on the podium in 1998 and 2002.

In early January the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Selection Committee met with owners and representatives of 19 boats who were interested in participating in trials for the English teams to compete.

The Selection Trial events have been confirmed for RYA Team GBR:
Offshore - the RORC Morgan Cup starting on 5th May.  A 24-36 hour race round buoys in the Channel, starting and finishing in Cowes. Inshore - a Commodores' Cup rating band class in the Vice Admirals Cup on 18th -20th May, organised by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes.

The rules allow for up to four teams per country and one place has already been offered to Scotland who have until the end of February to confirm a team entry.

2012 marks the 3rd consecutive challenge from Hong Kong for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and the sailors in this southern most part of China are working hard to put together a strong team which will emulate or better their runners-up placing in 2010.

Seahorse February 2012
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Aussie reflections
Blue Robinson considers some of the other heroes of Olympic sailing and Andy Rice discusses the perfect race with Tom Slingsby

A moose on the loose
Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson assesses the performance lessons from Volvo Leg 1 while Wouter Werbraak looks at routing choices

Third time's a charm? - Part II
Britt Ward of Farr Yacht Design explains the unusual deck layout decided upon for their VO70 Azzam

RORC news
A change of guard and a look ahead to events further afield... Eddie Warden Owen

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

SOTO 40 European Championship
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

The activity continues in the Soto 40 European Association, this time featuring the new European circuit for the class: the Soto 40 European Championship.

The competition will consist of five events that will crown an overall European champion and the winner of the Owner Driver Trophy.

The first event of the Soto 40 European Championship will be Trofeo Conde de Godo organized by Real Club Nautico de Barcelona from May 24th to 27th.

The second meeting of the Soto 40 European Championship will be framed in the prestigious Sardinia Cup Offshore nations teams  World Championship organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, from June 11th  to 16th  , where Soto 40 boats will compete together with the TP52/IRC 52 class.

In July comes the great event of the Mediterranean, the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre. This year, in order to avoid clashing with the London Olympics, the Royal event will be held from July 18th to 21st in the Bay of Palma, a date with all the usual attractions of the Palma regatta.

In mid-August, the Soto 40 fleet will move to Sotogrande to celebrate the fourth round of the Soto 40 European Championship, during the Sotogrande Cup, held from August the 10th to 13th, coinciding with the prestigious Polo tournament.

The Finals of the Soto 40 European Championship will be in Valencia, more specifically in the Port America's Cup from September 19th to 22nd in which every race will score double points. The event should decide the Soto 40 European Champion and Soto 40 European Owner Driver Champion.

Where Are You Going?
Should we be worried about the decision by the UK Government to plough on with their plan to force sailors to fill in a form online every time they enter or leave the country?

The RYA thinks so. Certainly the e-Borders programme seems very ill thought-out.

This scheme comes into force in 2014 and will oblige everyone to submit online all the details of who is board, when and where they are going a minimum of 24 hours beforehand.

The detail hasn't been spelled and key questions are unanswered. How is it going to work in practice and what happens if you have to change your plans or head towards somewhere else but can't get internet access?

Since it covers all voyages beyond territorial waters, will it affect everyone making a passage across Lyme Bay or the Bristol Channel? Will you have to apply online before doing the Fastnet Race?

The RYA has repeatedly pointed out flaws to the scheme, arguing that e-Borders is not flexible enough for yachts. It is, they say, 'an inappropriate, disproportionate, ineffective and inefficient mechanism for securing the sea border'.

More from Elaine Bunting in her blog:

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 Louay Habib: re:The Tullet Prebon London Boat Show

Personally, I think that the London Boat Show has completely lost its way, especially as far as sailing boat enthusiasts are concerned. In my opinion the Southampton Boat Show is now the primary show for sailing boats.

January has traditionally been a good time for sailors to meet up after going cold turkey. The Christmas break means that sailors can not spend hours talking about sailing with their buddies causing considerable anxiety issues. After several weeks of cold turkey, the withdrawal symptoms are such that many sailors are badly in need of several hours of discussion about all topics of the maritime world. However, visiting Excel is not very effective at feeding the habit, It is a sterile environment, more aircraft hanger than halls of passion. Outside Excel there is a concrete wasteland, devoid of decent pubs, restaurants and historic London vistas.

Also, lets get real. Most sail boat owners are not in the slightest bit interested in motor yachts and vice versa. The two are poles apart. I actually think introducing bikes, surf boards and even skiing to be more complimentary to sailing folk than motor yachts.

Excel is a really handy location if you are coming from the City of London but if you are venturing up from the South Coast - the epicentre of sailing in the UK ut is an expensive trip, which takes about 3 hours. You could get to the Dusseldorf Show or the Paris Show in about the same time and spend about the same in transport and accomodation costs.

Southampton in September is a far better option for most sailing enthusiasts. The show takes place at the end of the season giving plenty of lead time to have your purchase ready for the following year. The boats are actually in the water and the location has good transport routes and a significant local catchment group. Leave Excel to the motor boats and make Southampton the real sailor's boat show for the UK.

For those of you that need to get your fix in January after going cold turkey at Christmas... how about organising a boat jumble on the south coast?

It would be a great opportunity to meet up with fellow petrol heads to buy or get rid of old kit. If you are sly enough, you might just make enough money for a few beers with your buddies and a taxi ride home.

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The Last Word
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