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A Roaring Forties Hammering On The Way
As the double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) Class40s dropped deeper south through the Pacific's Roaring Forties led by Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron with Campagne de France, the distance between the leading trio of boats compressed rapidly from 30 miles on Tuesday evening GMT, to just six miles on Wednesday morning.

By 11:00 GMT on Wednesday, Ross and Campbell Field - guarding their habitual position furthest south - took Buckley Systems into the lead at 48S with Mabire and Merron dropping back to third, 20 miles directly astern of the Fields with Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel holding second place to leeward on Cessna Citation.

Meanwhile, Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon on Financial Crisis had re-joined the main pack, but kept north with the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire working south with Phesheya-Racing and recovering from sail damage: "Our high speed run yesterday came to an abrupt end soon after dark when the boat spun out of control at speed," reports Nick Leggatt. "The bluQube A6 got wrapped around the forestay, causing a tear just above the tack. In the darkness we were lucky to retrieve the sail on the foredeck without too much fuss and then bundled it down below to start repairs immediately." With the wind gusting at the top end of the 20-knot range, Leggatt and Hutton-Squire were on high alert: "We decided to remain cautious until daybreak even though it meant losing a lot of miles to Financial Crisis," he explains.

GOR leaderboard at 21:00GMT 01/02/2012:
1. Buckley Systems, DTF, 5212 11.9kts
2. Cessna Citation, DTL, 05 12.1kts
3. Campagne de France, DTL, 22 10.3kts
4. Financial Crisis, DTL, 48 9.6kts
5. Phesheya-Racing, DTL, 129 8.kts

Gilmour Grabs Top Spot
Click on image to enlarge.

David Gilmour Perth, Western Australia: Local skipper David Gilmour and his crew have taken sole possession of the top spot on the leaderboard in the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta, winning all but one of their races on the second day of the series.

Leader at the end of the first day, Jordan Reece from Sydney, has slipped to second place on the leaderboard, with New Zealand skipper Josh Junior climbing from seventh after the first day, to third.

With conditions on Perth's Swan River being influenced by cyclone Iggy, it was a tough day for both the sailors and the race organisers, with shifty, fickle winds and heavy humidity.

Gilmour's team of Ted Hackney, Jasper Warren, Adam Negri and Luke Payne have put in a big effort this year, having finished second in 2011, "last year we were second and pretty disappointed with that, so we've worked quite hard at it, I think our fitness is pretty good."

The only race that Gilmour lost was one of the most dramatic of the day, with his team losing the spinnaker halyard up the mast, then getting a penalty, before managing to absolve themselves, then re-taking the lead, only to lose it again within yards of the finish.

1. David Gilmour, AUS, 12 - 2
2. Jordan Reece, AUS , 11 - 4
3. Josh Junior, NZL, 10 - 4
4. David Chapman, AUS, 10 - 4
5. Peter Nicholas, AUS, 9 - 5
6. Tristan Brown, AUS, 7 - 8
7. Sam Gilmour, AUS, 6 - 10
8. Jay Griffin, AUS, 5 - 9
9. Tim Coltman, NZL, 3 - 11
10. Naoki Ichino, JPN, 0 - 16

From Aboard Puma
I bet you're wondering what we're up to? I bet you're asking yourself, "Why are they doing what they're doing? Why are they going where they're going?" The short answer is we're doing what we seem to do best so far this race: provide a constant supply of thrills and spills.

We're taking a chance. A big chance. We're splitting from the leaders - only 10 miles ahead at the time - and sailing east in an entirely different direction. The important thing to stress is that this decision was made because we think it's doing what is right based on the weather information we have, not because we're getting desperate or trying to get away from the fleet. In simple terms, if we were out here sailing by ourselves we would go the way we now are. What we risk of course is losing touch, and that's a worrying prospect. We don't sleep much as it is, but you can be sure that decent dozes will be hard to find over the next few days while we all scrutinize the scheds.

Like any decision of this magnitude, there are going to be pros and cons. Other than turning our back to the fleet, the biggest argument against our new course is that we'll likely sail quite a few more miles. But in the eyes of the leadership, the fair current, better winds and far fewer tacks we'll need to get around Vietnam more than pay for those extra miles. Jono was saying that in the stretch of water we now avoid, he did 38 tacks in one night during the last race. That isn't fast.

So we'll all watch with wonder. You, us, the five other boats out here, everyone will be waiting. -- Amory Ross, MCM, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG

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Entrants Named for 2016 Equipment Evaluation
The Viper. Click on image to enlarge.

Equipment Evaluation Following the request for proposals, ISAF are pleased to announce that they have received entrants for, six Women's Skiff and seven Mixed Mutlihulls and wish to invite them all to the evaluation event in Santander, Spain in March.

The six skiff entries:

- 29erXX / Ovington Boats
- ARUP Skiff - ARUP
- AURA / Ovington Boats
- Hartley Rebel / Hartley Boats
- Mackay FX / Mackay Boats
- RS900 / RS Sailing

The seven multihull entrants:

- Hobie 16 / Hobie Cat
- Hobie Tiger / Hobie Cat
- Nacra 17 / Nacra Sailing International
- Nacra F16 / Nacra Sailing International
- Spitfire S / Sirena Voile
- Tornado / International Tornado Class Association
- Viper / Australian High Performance Catamarans (AHPC)

Throughout the nine day evaluation, sailors nominated by their Member National Authorities will sail the boats and provide feedback. A report will then be produced at the 2012 ISAF Mid-year meeting in Stresa, Italy where ISAF Council will make the final selection.

The centre that's hosting the evaluation event, will also host the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships, where the selected boats will be put on the ISAF Worlds stage for the first time before their Olympic debut in Rio, Brazil 2016. The boats will also be a part of the ISAF Sailing World Cup from 2013.

The Race Is On In Santander
We know our Challengers for the ISAF Equipment Evaluations Trials in Santander/Spain 17.-25th March 2012. Some boats from F16 class. Hobie 16 and Tiger and one real new 17.6 Foot design from Nacra. And the Tornado Class made by Marstrom (Sweden) and Exploder (Poland).

The Tornado is the only boat above 18 feet in length. Sailors must decide now, if they want to sail smaller boats in the future Olympics or continue the flights with the Tornado.

It's a real surprise to see all modern F18 designs and the AC Olympic Cat Campaign gave up on entering their boats in the ISAF Evaluation. They had real nice designs, with ultra-light boats, wavepiercer hulls, curved boards and carbon masts. Especially the HiTech F18 Phantom Project was looking real good. But all of them gave up, because they are not happy with the evaluation rules and some other points you may ask them directly.

It looks as though we end up in a race between mostly smaller cats and the Tornado at the top of the list by length. The sailors who come to Santander will decide what boats they want to sail in the Rio Olympics.

We see actually the AC45s are upgrading their Wings with more sail-area to deliver more performance in light winds for media, spectators and sponsors. The forecast for Rio de Janeiro and the summer Olympics are mostly light winds. So our question is: Do we want a smaller boat at the Olympics or take a real light wind Flyer like the proven One Design Tornado which has already a media award for the action the boats deliver.

We think a new boat will change nothing. We must change the racing system. To get more nations we need supplied boats for ISAF World Cup Events, World- and Continental Champs and Olympics. That's why the Laser Class is so successful.

Sailors can fly in with a small bag from any point of the World; pay the charter fee and race. This system can also work for Olympic Multihull Sailing. But….. to get the media, spectators and sponsors we need a real Flyer.

We can be the F1 of Summer Olympics. In Rio de Janeiro we need a boat which can fly from 3knots on. We are not sure a small cat can deliver this performance and the images in light-wind Rio. But let's see and check what the sailors want and how the boats perform in Santander. -- Roland Gaebler

Alarm and Anger Grow as Lightsquared Threatens USA GPS System
GPS-enabled devices could be compromised if a plan to expand the United States' broadband system goes forward, yet the company that proposes to build a broadband cell-phone communications network it calls LightSquared, 4G-LTE wireless broadband, is as yet completely undaunted by marine industry concern that the vital GPS system is under threat.

It confirmed that in late December, sending the FCC a petition asking for a declaratory ruling endorsing its right as a radio spectrum licensee to put its system in place. It is making no claim it won't interfere with GPS; in fact, it's saying the GPS industry has no right to ask the FCC for protection from LightSquared.

The firm needed a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission because its license was limited to low-power satellite communication and its plan calls for high-power land-based signals.

The FCC granted the waiver last January. That news was received with shock and horror by the makers and users of GPS devices and organizations that represent them, and for good reason. The LightSquared network has the potential to destroy GPS as we know it.

That could happen because the frequencies LightSquared would operate on are next to those used by GPS. Satellites in the GPS system send signals with minuscule amounts of power. LightSquared signals would be many multiple times stronger, and could effectively make the GPS system inoperable.

The FCC acknowledged that possibility in January 2011 when it issued the waiver with a condition-it would only take effect if the LightSquared network did not interfere with GPS. However, in the latest demand for a ruling, LightSquared is apparently making no claim that their system won't interfere with the current GPS network. -- Nancy Knudsen

Full article at

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

Design - Changing the game(sa) - Part III
Merfyn Owen and Phil Annis wrap up with the rig options for an Imoca 60 in 2012

No rest for the wicked
Delayne Salthouse will in future think twice before answering his phone after midnight

Strategic review
Wouter Verbraak looks at the lessons to be taken from racing between Monsoon seasons

The top of the jigsaw
A new breed of Maxi looks set to tip the balance in the class back to boats that go... fast. Luca Bassani, Rolf Vrolijk, James Austin, Jim Pugh, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones

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...

ISAF Launch London 2012 Olympic Games Website
With 177 days until the London 2012 Olympic Games, the International Sailing Federation has launched their Olympic website.

The website will be the home of Olympic Sailing during London 2012 with all the information, stories, results and multimedia that teams and spectators will need.

As Member National Authorities start to name their sailors for London 2012, the ISAF Olympic Games website will be the one stop shop to find out who has been selected to sail for their nation at Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain.

Alongside the multimedia and qualification material all the relevant documents, equipment information, general information, historical data and more are available.

New site:

2012 London Olympic Games Website -

Zhik Etchells Nationals: Entry Deadline Extended
The deadline for entries to the Zhik International Etchells 2012 Australian Championship has been extended to 5pm on Saturday 4th February 2012.

The traditional late entry fee has been waived until Saturday giving Etchells sailors the chance to get their entry in before late penalties apply.

Entries received to date have come from Italy, USA, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Britain and Australia. With 58 boats registered and at least another 10 last minute entries expected, the Zhik Etchells national championship will deliver an excellent spectacle of top class one-design racing.

Entry to the national championship can be done online. Go to:

The International Etchells 2012 Australian Championship is sponsored by Zhik, North Sails, Pacesetter Yachts, Protector Yachts and Wetton Signage Group.

Endeavour Dropping Anchor for Pt Lincoln Stay
Photo by Australian National Maritime Museum. Click on image to enlarge.

Endeavour A replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour is visiting Port Lincoln in South Australia as part of a 13-month circumnavigation of Australia.

The three-masted tall ship is owned and operated by the National Maritime Museum.

Captain Ross Mattson says gale-force winds in the Great Australian Bight gave the crew some testing moments.

"The wind was howling, you could hear it vibrate the rigging, it's a very distinctive sound once you've hear it it stays in your mind," he said.

"Endeavour it sort of loves to roll but she takes off and with her heeling over and having a few waves break over a six-metre-high deck it was very exhilarating stuff.

"A lovely quotation from Cook's journal was basically 'No sea can harm her' and that visualisation of the water breaking over the deck and the gale that we experienced - she is a fairly safe vessel at sea but definitely dependent on the crew that we have and they were just buzzing - it was quite an adrenaline ride."


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 Hayes: I agree with Rich Roberts about the 'power boat problem' but the Rules under which the sailors were sailing - their contract if you like - made it clear that the ISAF press boat could do what it damn well liked. The same applies to the contract being forced on the competitors for the Olympics this year. Ashore we have legislation like the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 to restrict parties in a position of power from imposing their will on the little guy who has no negotiating leverage.

Any reasonable person with a working brain cell could see that these contracts are unreasonable and biased.  Ashore, the lawyer's advice to his client would be "you can't accept this". Well, the competitors don't have to accept it either. If, worldwide, they refused to sail, the ISAF, RYA and IOC would have a problem and, in spite of the opinion of Rod Carr as reported in yesterday's edition (2518), if there are no competitors, there is no competition. The problem is for the sailors to organise themselves with one voice.

* From Euan Ross: The latest Volvo Ocean Race is proving hard to love. The classic competitions of our sport will be lucky to survive increasing commercialism unscathed, but nowhere is the drift from sport to tabloid entertainment running stronger than the current Volvo. A legion of knowledgeable enthusiasts who once kept a permanent link on their desktops have switched off. And no wonder; the purple-prose passage through the Malacca and Singapore Straits represents a new nadir in the history of the Race. As a former long-term resident of South East Asia now back in the Elephant's Graveyard of rural Hampshire, I still receive my daily 'Asian Yachting News' through the e-mail. The contrast between the various hysterical accounts of the Volvo fleet's tortuous, nightmare voyage and the blasé race reports of the local offshore fleet, enjoying their sport routinely and without hyperbole in the same waters, couldn't be greater. 

Featured Brokerage
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New sails (2006). Ready to race !

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The Last Word
Civilization is unbearable, but it is less unbearable at the top. -- Timothy Leary

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