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The North Pays Off
There's no holding back the overall race leader Team Telefonica, with Spaniard Iker Martínez in charge, as they pulled back almost 10 miles on the Leg 3 leaders today jumping two places up the rankings in the process. All afternoon she has been threatening the fleet from her controlling position to windward and, at 1600 today, she rolled Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) to take up third place.

Telefonica are this evening just over a mile behind second-placed CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS) who in turn are 6.6 nm astern of the long-time leg leader PUMA's Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA). Telefonica's strong position to windward could provide Martínez with the ammunition he needs to translate 14 nm of leverage into distance ahead.

Telefonica lost more than 10 miles on the leaders early in the leg while positioning themselves to the north, but navigator Andrew Cape was relishing in the fruits of his labour today as his team carved chunks out of PUMA's advantage.

"The [decision to go north] caused a lot of initial pain, and that might have affected other people's decision not to do it," Cape said.

"But we knew we'd get rewards in a day and a half so we're pretty happy now. Two days down the road it's paying back.

In the three-hour period between 1600 and 1900 UTC today, Telefonica's speed continued to impress and she was the fastest boat in the fleet, averaging over a knot faster than CAMPER, her next target. However, between 1600 and 1900 UTC tonight, her speed has dropped and the trend has reversed.

As the fleet continues to rattle towards the turning point into the Malacca Strait tonight and clouds and thunderstorm activity come into play, all eyes will be on Telefonica, and what her next move is likely to be.

volvooceanrace.com

Mid-Week Battles
The weather has been "stuck on beautiful" at the Rolex Miami OCR, but more important to the 529 sailors competing here from 41 countries has been the wind on Biscayne Bay, which today strengthened in knots to reach low double digits and helped re-ignite several key performances of sailors turning the corner to enter the regatta's home stretch. Six days of racing, which count toward standings in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series, began on Monday for 354 boats sailing in the same 13 classes that will be featured at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Making the most out of the zippy conditions were the 24 teams split into Groups A and B in the Women's Match Racing discipline. Today's goal was to complete the second of two round-robin series in each group. This was realized in Group A but not Group B, which will finish up tomorrow and add its top four finishers to the top four from Group A that have won the honor of proceeding to the quarter finals, a single elimination "knock-out" round.

Group A's top finisher Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wis.), who sails with Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham (Miami, Fla.) and Alana O'Reilly (Charleston, S.C.), was especially exhilarated by her 10-1 win-loss record, which was helped by a victory in today's closely watched match-up with fellow US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), who sails with Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and has a 7-4 record. "I don't think we were ever more than a length apart the entire way around the course, so that was pretty cool," said Barkow. "There were probably about four lead changes; nobody got penalties but everything was really close."

Also moving on to the quarter finals are  Silja Lehtinen/Silja Kanerva/Mikaela Wulff (FIN), with an 8-1 record, and Ekaterina Skudina/Elena Siuzeva/Irina Lotsmanova (RUS) with a 5-2.

A complete roster of competitors can be viewed at the event website rmocr.ussailing.org , where real-time racecourse blogging, commentary and fan interaction, regatta results, photos and news updates have been integrated into a live coverage platform. Video highlights produced by T2p.tv and presented by Rolex will air beginning Wednesday, January 25, and will be available on-demand on the event website. Viewers also can follow the racing using the Kattack feature starting Thursday, January 26, on the Star, 470 (Men and Women) and Finn courses.

Boatspod: Deal of the Week
BoatsPOD BoatsPOD, the online marine weekly brought to you by Boats.com not only brings you a snap shot of marine news but also a great selection of marine deals every Thursday. In this week's BoatsPOD, readers can enjoy the following savings:

25% off Rick Tomlinson Portfolio Calendars
15% off RYA Stage 1 and 2 Course at SailLaser Weymouth
30% off Henri Lloyd Ladies Genesis Jackets
30% off Henri Lloyd Gents Dimension Jackets
50% off Hobie Sailing Gym Membership
20% off Hobie Kayak Sail Adventures in Poole Harbour

To receive BoatsPOD, and to benefit from this weeks deals, register at www.boatspod.co.uk (Note: BoatsPOD is only available in the UK)

2012 ORC Certificates Now Ready For Issue
With the recent distribution of the 2012 ORC Manager software to all Rating Officers in 35 countries around the world, boat owners and managers can now request 2012 ORC International and ORC Club rating certificates from their national rating authorities. While some countries will continue using 2011 certificates into the remainder of their current season, 2012 certificates will be necessary for entry into any regatta using ORC International or ORC Club scoring for its results in the upcoming season.

In format the new certificates will appear the same as those issued for 2011, but the Offshore rating figures have been calculated based on a new more accurate formulation for the wind angles most commonly sailed in offshore races.

For those owners not yet ready to commit to their 2012 certificates but who want to explore how the 2012 ratings may affect their current boat, or they want to explore how changes in parameters such as crew weight, rig size and type, and sail size and type may affect their 2012 ratings, the ORC Sailor Services is a resource to help. This unique product - offered by ORC in English, German, Spanish, Greek, Croatian, Italian, and now Portuguese - offers online self-service for running test certificates for as little as €8 each, as well as a source for obtaining free copies of the 20,000 ORC certificates issued from 2009-present. In all, there are over 55,000 certificate records in this database.

Besides getting VPP-determined accuracy in ratings, ORC certificate holders also have access to free digital issues of Seahorse Magazine. Published monthly, Seahorse is the world's foremost international performance sailing magazine, highlighting in technical detail all that is new and exciting in offshore sailing. For this reason ORC sees Seahorse as a close fit with the interests and activities of the ORC community, and is proud to offer this as a benefit.

To take advantage of this offer, certificate holders need only to visit the ORC website at www.orc.org/seahorse and enter their ORC Reference number, sail number and yacht name to then have log-in access to their free issues, good to February 2013.

And for those interested in receiving hard copy issues of Seahorse by post or for those interested in the digital edition or hard copy who are not certificate holders, there is a special discount of up to 45% off news stand pricing which is explained on the same web page.

For more information on ORC or to find the contact information on where to obtain your 2012 ORC certificate, go to www.orc.org

Clipper 11-12 Race 7: Gold Coast To Singapore
The final three entries of the Clipper 11-12 Race fleet have arrived in Batam after completing Race 7 of the 40,000-mile marathon. 

Race 7 has proved challenging for the whole fleet and the yachts have motor-sailed in company for the past week due to lack of winds and increased piracy risks, which saw the Race Committee deciding to finish the race earlier than originally planned. Race winners Gold Coast Australia, the Northern Irish runner up, Derry-Londonderry, and Geraldton Western Australia in third position, arrived in Batam on Monday.

Visit Finland, Edinburgh Inspiring Capital and Welcome to Yorkshire arrived in Nongsa Point Marina after racing 4,600 miles across the South Pacific to the South China Sea.

It is a disappointing result for the Finnish team which is second in the overall standings and has already appeared on the podium four times in the previous six races.

After a well-deserved few days of relaxation and boat maintenance, the ten 68-foot yachts competing in the world's longest yacht race will cross the Singapore Straits to the Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore, for a ceremonial arrival on Saturday 28 January.

Overall standings after Race 7 
1. Gold Coast Australia, 73 points
2. Visit Finland, 53
3. De Lage Landen, 46
4. New York, 40
5. Singapore, 38
6. Welcome to Yorkshire, 37
7. Derry-Londonderry, 35
8. Qingdao, 34
9. Geraldton Western Australia, 31
10. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 14

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

SF City Council Approves EIR
The San Francisco City Council voted unanimously to approve the final Environmental Impact Report, which will allow America's Cup 34 to move forward, and hopefully into some smooth sailing. The meeting was attended by a packed crowd of concerned citizens, from both sides of the issue, and was well-run and thoughtful on all accounts. Tom Lippe, an attorney representing several environmental organizations including the Sierra Club and the Golden Gate Audubon Society, began the dialog, "The draft EIR, and EIR were rushed through…Its clear that these issues haven't been studied enough."

One of the major sticking points was the ACEA's plan to erect an enormous JumboTron, a giant screen that would broadcast the America's Cup live, in Aquatic Park. The plan was to sink a number of five-foot cube concrete blocks on the Bay floor, and anchor the JumboTron just off the shoreline. For power, the screen would house several diesel generators within the structure. A handful of community members spoke about, "The consistent 30 mile an hour winds," that would buffet the giant screen every afternoon, and potentially knock it over and create a hazard.

Mary Murphym a lawyer for the ACEA quickly conceded that if the JumboTron were an issue, they would forgo the barge idea and look for a land-based alternative, to which there was major applause. Minutes later, the Dolphin Swim Club website read, "Great News (1/24): No JumboTron in the Cove! Congratulations to all who participated (sic) in getting this done! Go AC34!!!."

The vote was 10-0 in favor of approving the EIR. -- Jeremy Leonard, Surf City Racing
surfcityracing.org/category/sailingblog/

From Pressure Drop: www.pressure-drop.us

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

ORC - Finessing the offer
Allesandro Nazareth

Design - Changing the game(sa) - Part II
Merfyn Owen moves on to the substantial modifications recently made to improve the pace and reliability of Mike Golding's Vendée steed

Seahorse build table - Overrated
Save on materials with Hugh Welbourn's typically elegant alternative to a Mini 6.50 scow

Sailor of the Month
In the spirit of Christmas (huh! - ed) it's an all-American final for this month...

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...

www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs

Get Certified for Safety at Sea
The Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar on March 17-18 introduces a new approach to safety education that fits the needs of sailors in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race as well as delivery crews and cruisers. Sponsored by the Cruising Club of America, the seminar will be held at the Newport Hyatt Regency Hotel.

On Saturday, March 17, the seminar offers two programs. In one, anybody who has attended two or more US SAILING certified safety seminars since 2002 may attend a morning refresher course and then do hands-on in-water survival training in the afternoon. The other program is an all-day safety at sea seminar for people who have not attended a safety seminar recently.

On Sunday there are three options. Two are all-day courses in hands-on in-water survival training, and in Red Cross First Aid and CPR training. In addition, a Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar will be held on Sunday morning. Race winners, race officials, and other experts will speak on advanced topics, including a presentation by the doctor who serves as the race's special contact for medical advice.

The seminar presenters are experienced ocean sailors. They and their topics include Ralph Naranjo (Moderator, MOB, rescue), Frank Bohlen (onboard weather forecasting), Dan Dyer (heavy weather), Howard Lapsley (crew selection and  training), Henry Marx (life raft), Sheila McCurdy (damage control), Dan O'Connor (survival training), John Rousmaniere (lessons from recent incidents), Steven Thing (communications), Ron Trossbach (race rules, abandon ship), and Jeff Wisch (medical).  

The official 2012 Newport Bermuda Race Program will be distributed over the weekend, along with the International Sailing Foundation (ISAF) Offshore Special Regulations.  Many venders and suppliers will be on hand with displays of safety equipment, clothing, and other sailing gear.

The Newport Hyatt Regency Hotel offers a special room rate for safety seminar attendees who reserve no later than February 14 at (888) 421-1442.

More information about the Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar and the Newport Bermuda Race is at www.BermudaRace.com -- Talbot Wilson

ISAF Nations Cup 2012-2013 Bids Invited
ISAF is seeking bids from organisers around the world to host ISAF Nations Cup Regional Finals during 2012-13 and the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in 2013.

Held six times previously, the ISAF Nations Cup triggers a pyramid of events, with nations holding club and then national championships to select their teams to attend the Regional Finals, which in turn lead to the Grand Final, where nations are pitted against each other, creating a sound, viable and appealing series of events. It is about Nations and not skippers to determine the Open and Women's World Champion Nation in match racing.

Each Regional Final, which will have an Open and Women's division, with entries limited to one entry from each of the nations within that region eligible to participate, thus promoting a continental event and ensuring that all nations have the opportunity to participate.

Regional Finals will be held over a maximum of four days, with one or more crews going through to the 2013 ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final. As in the past, the Regional Finals will offer the opportunity for ISAF Match Racing Clinics prior to the event.

The ISAF Nations Cup 2011 was a successful event with competitors from more than 40 Nations all around the globe. The Regional Finals were organised in Cape Town (RSA), Doha (QAT), Gmunden (AUT), Gdynia (POL), Fort Worth Texas (USA), Sydney (AUS), Porto Alegre (BRA) whilst Sheboygan, Wisconsin played the host of the Grand Final.

ISAF is now seeking bids from organisers around the world to host Regional Finals during 2012-13 and the Grand Final in 2013. The event organisers must have the full endorsement from their national federation (MNA).

For further information please read the document at www.sailing.org/37732.php or contact Antonio González de la Madrid at the ISAF Secretariat or Michael O'Connor, Chair of the ISAF Nations Cup Working Party. Bid deadline is 5 March 2012.

Royal Southern to Host 175 Anniversary Yacht Racing Festival
Taking centre stage in this Summer's line-up of 175th Anniversary events being hosted and run by the Royal Southern Yacht Club is the Club's 175 Anniversary Open Regatta, supported by Mount Gay Rum, Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, Gaastra and Swarovski Optik.

This 16-day racing festival commences with registration on Friday, May 25th, the Titanic themed Crew Ball on Saturday, 26th  and, with an occasional reserve day built in, works its way through to the overall prizegiving on Sunday, June 10th.

The Royal Southern 175th Anniversary Regatta, incorporating both its regular May and June Summer Series Regattas, comprises 16 days of activity ashore and afloat, encompassing all classes of day boats, keelboats and ocean racing boats that regularly support the Club and even introduces some spectator-friendly model boat racing.

This Regatta is also the ideal platform for the Club to showcase its expertise in running major sailing events. Beneteau, Contessa, Farr, Impala, J-Boats, Laser SB3s, Sigmas, Quarter Tonners, Mini Tonners, Six Metres, Sportsboats, Foxers, XODs, IRC classes, Club classes and more  are all embraced in the amazing racing schedule.

To date the Royal Southern is anticipating that 33 classes and over 500 sailors will participate in what will be the largest gathering of competitive yacht racing ever run under its burgee.

The 175 Anniversary Regatta programme also includes the 50th running of the Cowes-Deauville Race [June 1st-2nd], organised in conjunction with the Royal London Yacht Club, Deauville Yacht Club, the Junior Offshore Group and, for the first time, the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

Mount Gay Rum has awarded the 175 Anniversary Regatta Red Cap status and will be supporting various events during this Anniversary year as a Corporate Partner.

Mount Gay Rum joins the Royal Southern's growing family of 175th Anniversary corporate partners including Piper-Heidsieck champagne, Gaastra yachting wear, and Swarovski Optik.

Details of the 175th Anniversary Regatta, classes and dates can be found here: www.royal-southern.co.uk/175

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1981 Nautor Swan 51. EUR 210,000. Located In Barcelona, Spain.

STARCHASER is a highly comfortable classic style cruising Swan but also with a successfull racing record. She is exceptionally well equipped for all types of sailing.

She recently had a major refit, including electrical systems, reconditioned teak deck, new rigging, new sails and much more.

Sleeps up to eleven in four cabins and saloon (9 is more comfortable!).

British flag.

Brokerage through Nautor's Swan Spain & Portugal: www.yachtworld.com/swan-spain/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at www.yachtworld.co.uk/

The Last Word
There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. -- Richard Feynman

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