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Time Running Out For America's Cup Challengers
The prospect of an America's Cup with just three challengers is growing stronger as the runway to build a monster multihull for the 2013 regatta gets shorter.

Only four teams have begun building the new 72-foot wing-sail catamarans that will duel for sport's oldest trophy in San Francisco in September next year. Emirates Team New Zealand is among those now building the new design, as is the Auld Mug defender, Oracle Racing.

America's Cup Race Management chief executive Iain Murray, in Auckland today for a competitors' forum, remains optimistic that four of the remaining six teams who will sail in the next America's Cup World Series event in Naples will gather the funding necessary to build an AC72. But the second wave of global recession has left some European challengers struggling to keep above water.

Swedish challenger Artemis has begun work on its first AC72, while the resurrected Italian team, Luna Rossa, is putting together a boat with the help of Emirates Team New Zealand in a unique collaboration. The Italians are now in Auckland sailing against the Kiwi team in the AC45s, smaller versions of the actual America's Cup boat.

Murray doubted that Cup organisers would be able to give any financial assistance to those teams fighting to take their campaigns through to the America's Cup start line. A new challenger was today accepted for the America's Cup World Series warm-up regattas - British Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie's team - but has no intention of sailing in the 2013 Cup.

Teams are discussing the possibility of a best-of-three series each race day, with a winner declared each day. The races are certain to be short and sharp - raced on tight courses and lasting little more than 30 minutes.

With the boats predicted to "go faster than anyone expected" - around 18 knots upwind and 30-35 knots downwind - the races along San Francisco's city -front are likely to be sailed over two-lap courses with three-mile legs. -- Suzanne McFadden in Stuff.co.nz

www.stuff.co.nz/sport/

Pace Up, Pressure On
At 2200 UTC tonight, Team Telefonica (Iker Martinez/ESP) continued keep the pace up and the pressure on to lead the six-boat fleet towards the South Cape of Vietnam, 261 nautical miles (nm) ahead.

Even though the team had to back up to free some plastic stuck in the daggerboard, since 1600 UTC today they have been making small gains on the entire fleet and tonight at 2200 UTC, all five boats had loss valuable miles to the leader.

Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA), now four nm to windward is 5.6 nm behind, meanwhile, Ken Read has broken free from the clutches of Groupama 4 and Telefonica and has tacked, clearly considering the easterly route rather than the coastal option. As a result, PUMA's Mar Mostro is showing a loss tonight of 25 nm and is now 38 nm nm behind Martinez and his unstoppable team.

Further back in the field, the gap between Mar Mostro in third and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam in fourth has extended to 126 nm. Fifth placed CAMPER is 21 nm east of Azzam and 15 nm behind.

Bringing up the rear is Team Sanya who are now out in the South China Sea although still heading east and trailing by nearly 200 nm.

Gales are forecast for up to 125 nm off the Vietnam coast and the leaders are heading directly towards the area where, according to weather experts, conditions will become rough to extreme, with short period waves of around two - four metres in height.

The sea state is probably going to the deciding factor in how fast the teams will push, rather than the wind strength. "When the wind starts building, we will adjust our sails accordingly and start slowing the boat down as we need to," Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Rob Greenhalgh said.

On board, checks are bing made in readiness for the bad weather ahead and the crews are trying to be as rested as they possibly can, given the closeness of the competition. When to put the pedal down and when to back off will be critical and it could just be that the team that survives it might well win.

volvooceanrace.com

Musto HPX Pro -- New For 2012
Click on image to enlarge.

Musto The competition is heating up in the Volvo Ocean Race with both leading teams wearing Musto. We are getting valuable feedback from the sailors who are wearing our gear 24/7 to protect them from what the Ocean has to throw at them. Here's what CAMPER's Chris Nicholson had to say before the start of leg 3:

"Reliability is a big factor in winning this race and that goes for our clothing too. The kit needs to keep us in a state where we can perform to the best of our ability at all times.

Leg 3 is likely to be warm and wet so we need the technical gear to keep us dry on the inside."

The CAMPER Team with Emirates Team New Zealand team is wearing HPX Pro, which is NEW for 2012.

www.musto.com

Sydney Sailors Lead After Day 1
Click on image to enlarge.

Warren Jones International Regatta Perth, Western Australia: Sydney sailors head the leaderboard at the end of the first day of the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta, with Jordan Reece and David Chapman both undefeated after a tough day on the water.

Jordan Reece, who came into the event as the top ranked skipper, has six wins on the scoreboard, while David Chapman scored five.

Holding third place at this stage is local skipper David Gilmour chalking up four wins against one loss, his only defeat came at the hands of his younger brother Sam in his first encounter of the day.

For the first half of the day the crews battled a blustery easterly breeze, that required the mainsails to be reefed, but the wind faded through the afternoon turning the battle of brawn into a battle of brains and stealth.

Both Reece and Chapman are products of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's youth training scheme, which is led by round the world sailor David Adams, and in recent years has started to eclipse their rival Cruising Yacht Club of Australia from the opposite side of the famous harbour.

Filling the middle order on the leaderboard are three more local skippers Peter Nicholas, Tristan Brown and Sam Gilmour, all of the host club.

The Warren Jones International Youth Regatta is managed by Swan River Sailing, and hosted this year by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, racing started Tuesday 31st January, with the final on Friday 3rd February. -- John Roberson

Skipper - Country - Score
1. Jordan Reece, AUS, 6 - 0
2. David Chapman, AUS, 5 - 0
3. David Gilmour, AUS, 4 - 1
4. Peter Nicholas, AUS, 3 - 2
5. Tristan Brown, AUS , 3 - 3
6. Sam Gilmour, AUS, 3 - 4
7= Josh Junior , NZL, 2 - 3
7= Jay Griffin, AUS, 2 - 3
9= Tim Coltman, NZL, 0 - 5
9= Naoki Ichino, JPN, 0 - 7

www.warrenjonesregatta.org.au

Extended Play
Photo by Chris Cameron, www.chriscameron.co.nz. Click on image to enlarge.

AC45 Wing At a nondescript warehouse on Auckland's North Shore, the latest AC45 development is taking shape - a 4 meter tall extension to the wingsail that will add over 8 square meters of surface area to the wing.

Adding more power to a boat that already challenges the best sailors in the world may seem like overkill, but Regatta Director Iain Murray says the bigger wing will promote more exciting racing in light conditions.

"The extensions aren't fixed permanently," Murray explains. "We can put them on or take them off, so they'll be used at our discretion for light wind venues to add more power to the boats when we're racing in lower wind ranges."

Murray says he expects the wing extensions could be used in up to 15 knots of wind.

The first extensions will be tested on the waters off Auckland by Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa early next month.

Among the challenges has been accommodating the media transmission equipment that is located in the top of the main element of the existing wing. The on-the-water tests will be critical to ensure the media equipment still works under the extension.

Any modifications that become necessary as a result of the tests will be quickly incorporated into the production. Then a small team of Davies' boatbuilders will shift to Valencia, Spain to prepare the wings that are in storage there ahead of the Naples event.

"The plan is to have the lion's share of the work done before we get to Naples so everyone is able to get sailing using these extensions as quickly as possible," Davies says.

www.americascup.com

IWDG Secures 75% Funding For Celtic Mist Refit
Click on image to enlarge.

Celtic Mist The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has secured three-quarters of the funding it required to refit its research vessel Celtic Mist.

According to The Irish Times, the Clare Local Development Company has approved the allocation of a €48,000 grant towards the refurbishment of the ketch.

The work will be carried out by Cathal Blunnie and several sub-contractors, and involves stripping down the main cabin and removing the bath and shower to increase space for crew berths.

While the ship's clock will be retained, the ship's wheel in the main cabin will be removed and presented to the Haughey family as a gesture of appreciation.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 52-foot yacht - which was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work - entered dry dock last November in preparation for the refit work, after relocating to its new berth at Kilrush, Co Clare in July.

The cost of refurbishing the yacht for research and training purposes is expected to top €60,000, with an annual running cost of some €20,000, for which the IWDG is seeking ongoing financial assistance.

The group aims to get the Celtic Mist back at sea before the summer.

www.afloat.ie

See www.rvcelticmist.ie

Be Prepared for Man Overboard
Click on image to enlarge.

Ocean Safety Two major MOB incidents during yacht races and in two very different scenarios. The first, one of only two crew alone in the middle of the ocean, a day away from crossing the Auckland finish line of the second leg of the Global Ocean Race in first place. The second, amongst the throng of the racing fleet at Quantum Key West Race Week last week. In the latter, Farr 40 Barking Mad recovered the crew member and went on to win the regatta.

"Man overboard situations during the heat of competition happen all too easily as crews push themselves and their yachts to the limit," comments Mark Hart of Ocean Safety. "These two high profile recent incidents are a stark reminder of the importance of being equipped with the best that technology allows."

Ocean Safety has a full range of man overboard recovery products including some only recently available on the market. Every crew member could carry the Ocean Safety Kannad R10 AIS Survivor Recovery System (SRS), for example, whose AIS signal can show the position both on board their own vessel, and on others in a four mile radius. Ocean Safety also recently introduced the new Mk V Jonbuoy man overboard recovery system, which speeds up getting the crew member safely on board and over the finish line.

www.oceansafety.com

Spinnaker Tales
Glenn Bourke the former Olympian and Laser class World champion has successfully made the transition to the strict art form of SB3 Dart one design racing by winning the Victorian championship on Geelong's Corio Bay last weekend.

The master tactician took a break from his busy day time job as CEO of the Bob Oatley owned Hamilton Island Resort to team up with his Sunshine Coast crewmates Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith in the high performance sports boat Club Marine Blue.

They were in similar dominating form last August winning the Queensland championship on the more familiar courses set for the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

However the Club Marine Blue crew who are currently ranked fourth in the World following the 2011 World championship in England were forced to be selective in their race strategy in the tricky conditions that were presented on Corio Bay.

Their eventual 12 point championship winning margin from the best 10 races to count included 8 wins clearly showed that the Club Marine Blue crew again set another high standard in this demanding class where a minor blemish in the important human related skills of tactics and technique mean the difference between winning and finishing back in the pack.

During a post regatta interview Glenn Bourke said, "It comes down to tactics. This was an odd regatta in that quite often the corners paid, and I'm not a corner type of guy. But eventually the conservative option, taking the shifts in the middle and chipping away, won out".

"You have to be in phase (with the wind) when it's shifting that much we were in phase more often". "Thousands of races over the course of a career bashes what's right and wrong into you. Then if you have a little bit of natural ability coupled with that it helps". He said.

This win was an impressive result achieved by the exceptionally talented Club Marine Blue crew but that regatta is now history as they prepare to contest the open Australian championship on the equally tricky River Derwent on the 18th to the 20th of February.

The trio of Club Marine Blue sailors who all play an important individual role in the results will be forced into employing a different set of tactics to master the skill and local knowledge possessed by Hobart idol and former World Dragon class champion Nick Rogers.

Rogers like Glenn Bourke is a talented tactician and has the logged the 'hard miles' in a career spanning a number of strict one design classes which allows his Tasmanian crew to share the top of the pre-championship betting order with the Queensland and Victorian champions in Club Marine Blue. Interest will also focus on the performance of class 'rookies' including former Sydney Hobart Race winning skipper Roger Hickman.

Hickman from Tasmania and Chris Dare from Victoria are the latest high profile sailors who have career plans in place to be on the pace when the battle lines are drawn for 2012 SB3 World Championship at Hamilton Island from December 18-20. -- Ian Grant

Southampton University Team Racing Reunion Event
Click on image to enlarge.

Southampton University Team Racing Reunion Event A 'who's who' of British sailing descended on Southampton this weekend to compete in the Southampton University Team Racing Reunion Event, held at Spinnaker Sailing Club. A total of 84 sailors in 14 teams, including all six helms to have ever won the ISAF Team Racing World Championships for GBR were competing. Raced in light winds, the reunion was won by the 'Wessex Hawks' consisting of Andy Cornah/Kate Fairclough, Ben Field/Tom Foster and Matt Findlay/Sophie Harrison (between them 1999-2005), triumphing in all 13 races they raced in the two day round robin competition.

The Alumni sailors, whose joint University careers date back to circa 1986, were joined by the current University of Southampton Second Team to race for the 'Great White Telephone Trophy', held for only the second time. Sailors competing included countless National, European and World champions in all manner of classes and disciplines. Those sending their apologies for missing the event include notable America's Cup and Olympic sailors such as Adrian Stead, Paul Campbell-James and Saskia Clark.

Competitors enjoyed crisp but perfect team racing conditions on Saturday, with steady Force 2-3 conditions and the occasional burst of winter sun. At the end of day one, Wessex Hawks and Team Fun were each unbeaten, with Wessex Allstars and Wessex Pirates close behind. Following an epic social involving a "crawl" along Portswood High Street ending at Southampton's infamous student nightclub Jesters on Saturday night, the final 25 races of the round robin were completed in light conditions on Sunday morning. Early victories left Team Fun and the Wessex Hawks both unbeaten and therefore tied until they met. It was Wessex Hawks that triumphed, resulting in a well-deserved victory in a highly competitive event. Team Fun and Wessex AllStars ended the competition tied on number of wins, with Wessex AllStars ultimately taking second place overall after beating their compatriots.

Final Results

1. Wessex Hawks - 13 wins (Andy Cornah, Kate Fairclough, Ben Field, Tom Foster, Matt Findlay & Sophie Harrison)
2. Wessex AllStars - 11 wins (Steve Tylecote, James Williams, Rob Sherrington, Mel Sherrington, Ben Vines & Jenny Vines)
3. Team Fun - 11 wins (Andy Shaw, Holly Scott, Stevie Tiernan, Tim Goodhew, Ed Morris and Emily Giles)

New 177ft Barque Launched by India
The Indians are doing it in style - there's a new very glamorous tall ship just launched by the Indian Navy, and she's scheduled to carry out a 'Friendship Mission' by sailing through South East Asia later this year.

Eight years after Indian Navy's only tall ship INS Tarangini circumnavigated the globe to 'build bridges of friendship across oceans', a brand new barque - INS Sudarshini, a 177-feet long barque with 20 sails - is all set to embark on a similar voyage, but it won't be until September.

The destination this time is the familiar neighbourhood of South-East Asia, which has been, of late, at the centre of India's foreign and military policy.

Built at Goa Shipyard Limited, INS Sudarshini was commissioned on Friday at southern naval command in Kochi. It is only the second sail ship in the navy, the first being Tarangini, which was used to train naval officers in handling ship, navigation and seamanship.

Designed by British architect Colin Mudie, Sudarshini 7.5 km of rope to go with its 20 sails revives the old world charm of sail ships.

It will go on its first major assignment on September 15 when it will sail out of Kochin on a voyage to south east Asia covering eight countries and 18 foreign ports.

The sail ship, which can sustain for 20 days at one time, operates with a complement of five officers, 31 sailors with 30 cadets

After starting from Kochi, its first destination would be Banda Aceh from where it would reach Padang, Cilacap, Bali, Ambon, Manado, Brunei, Cebu and Manila. From the Philippine capital, she will cross the South China Sea to touch Danang, Sihanoukville and Nhatrang in Vietnam.

After going around the Malaysian peninsula, INS Sudarshini will visit Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh before returning to Puri and Chennai.

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 Rich Roberts: As the Ben Ainslie controversy carries on, has anyone considered that the race committee was initially at fault for turning a clueless media boat loose on the race course without cautionary instructions? Most sailors understand that power boaters seldom look back and the word "wake" is not in their vocabulary. I was once on a Congressional Cup press boat that laid its wake directly in the course of four-time winner Gavin Brady while the driver was talking on his cell phone and I was momentarily distracted taking notes. Brady protested, as he should have. He was right; we were wrong. He later withdrew the protest, but the point was made, and I thanked him for that. Later I wrote a "Guidelines for press/photo boats" (see link below) that none should leave the dock without. Blame the RC at Perth. Kiwis, especially, should know better.

Ainslie took it too far, but in doing so he only did what many of his peers have wanted to do and, most importantly, he presented his high profile to a problem that RCs everywhere need to address. DSQ Ainslie from the OIympics? Heck, for this service to sailing he should get another medal.

Download: scuttlebutteurope.com/pdf/pressboat.pdf

* From Bruce Hebbert: Great news of 2K

To add to the list of exciting 2K events there will also be two in Italy. First at Anzio near Rome on the 8-9-10 June and then in July at Ledro (near Garda) on the 6-7-8 July.

Anzio will be in Platu 25 and Ledro in J22.

Check out: www.avll.it for info on the Ledro event.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1978 Hydro 28 Special. 15,000 GBP. Located in Strangford Lough, United Kingdom.

An excellent cruiser/ racer with a great sail-wardrobe and a competitive IRC rating of 0.900. Substantial improvements were carried out in 2006/ 2007 and she is currently looking particularly smart. A recent survey is available to view on request.

Brokerage through Blue Flag Boats: www.yachtworld.com/blueflagboats/

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

The Last Word
If you sincerely desire a truly well-rounded education, you must study the extremists, the obscure and nutty. You need the balance! Your poor brain is already being impregnated with middle-of-the-road crap, twenty-four hours a day. -- Ivan Stang

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