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Full On Start to the RC44 Season
Photo by Guido Trombetta, carloborlenghi.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 The 2012 RC44 Championship Tour kicked off in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote with a full day of match racing. A familiar team was at the top of the leader-board after nine flights and six matches a piece, and some new faces showed they will be real contenders this season.

Ask Team Aqua (GBR) what makes them so good and they will always answer 'consistency', and the key to that consistency has to be their team. Cameron Appleton (NZL) was at the helm today and had a familiar team around him, names like Matt Cassidy (USA) and Andrew Estcourt (NZL). With six wins and no defeats their season started as it ended in 2011.

Former World Match Race Champion Ed Baird (USA) is new to the class; today he took the helm of Synergy Russian Sailing Team and they nearly finished the day with a clean sheet, had it not been for a ripped spinnaker in their race against Katusha, who also finished the day with a 5-1 score-line with new helmsman in the form of four-time America's Cup winner Brad Butterworth (NZL).

Pieter Heerema was the top rated owner driver on the water with No Way Back (NED) winning four, and losing two, defeats coming from Team Aqua and the French Aleph Sailing Team steered by Mathieu Richard.

With six matches completed by each of the teams in Lanzarote, the continuous round robin will carry on throughout the season at every RC44 event until the end of the season in Croatia where the 2012 RC44 Match Racing Champion will be crowned.

The fleet racing which counts for the RC44 Championship starts on Thursday 9th February at 12.00 GMT. Racing continues through to Sunday 12th February.

RC44 Puerto Calero Cup - Match Race Results
(After six races)
1. Team Aqua (GBR2041) 6-0
2. Katusha (RUS007) 5-1
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS13) 5-1
4. Aleph Sailing Team (FRA17) 4-2
5. No Way Back (NED18) 4-2
6. RC44 Team CEEREF (SLO11) 3-3
7. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR1) 3-3
8. AEZ RC44 Sailing Team (AUT44) 3-3
9. RUS7 Sail Racing Team (RUS7) 2-4
10. Artemis Racing (SWE44) 2-4
11. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP1) 2-4
12. Team Nika (RUS10) 3-3 (-2 penalty points)
13. Ironbound (USA1) 0-6
14. AFX Capital Racing (ITA7) 0-6 (-1 penalty points)

rc44.com

ISAF World Match Race Rankings
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Ian Williams (GBR) have retained their place at the top of the Women's and Open Match Racing Rankings.

Open Rankings

The top 25 rankings places remain unchanged since the last release with World Match Racing Tour Champion Ian Williams remaining well in front ahead of Francesco Bruni (ITA) and Jesper Radich (DEN).

But down the rankings there has been some movement with December Match Race winner Daniel Maestre (ESP) moving from World #205 to a personal best of World #120. The Spaniard overcame Arpad Litkey (HUN) in the final to claim his first ISAF Grade 3 Match Racing title. Despite the loss the Hungarian has moved to #87, his best ranking position to date.

Josh Junior (NZL) won the ISAF Grade 3 Warren Jones International Youth Regatta. The former World #40 has currently been campaigning in the Laser and finished 37th at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships and missed out on a London 2012 spot with Andrew Murdoch (NZL) taking the Kiwi spot. Nonetheless Junior is back on the match racing scene and his victory in Perth, Australia has moved him from World #252 to #141.

Second to Junior in Perth was David Gilmour who has fallen from #49 to #57

Top Ten, Open Rankings:

1. Ian Williams, GBR
2. Francesco Bruni, ITA
3. Jesper Radich, DEN
4. Torvar Mirsky, AUS
5. Pierre-antoine Morvan, FRA
6. Bjorn Hansen, SWE
7. Johnie Berntsson, SWE
8. Mathieu Richard, FRA
9. Philip Robertson, NZL
10. Peter Gilmour, AUS

Full open rankings

Women's Rankings

It was do a die for nine teams at the Grade 1 Women's Match Racing International Country Olympic Qualifying Regatta in Miami, USA.

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen (DEN), Silja Lehtinen (FIN) and Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) did what they needed to do to qualify their country, but at the same time all three improved their ranking position.

Lehtinen took the regatta convincingly defeating Echegoyen 3-0 in the final; the win moved the Finnish sailor up to #6 jumping ahead of Echegoyen who is now one place behind her. Former World #1 Pedersen defeated Martina Silva (ARG) 3-2 in the Petit Final to seal Denmark's spot at London 2012. The narrow victory was sealed in the final flight after Silva fought back from 2-0 down. Pedersen's third place has moved her up to World #23.

Before the qualifying regatta teams had a chance to hone in their skills and gain ISAF Sailing World Cup points at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven World Cup Regattas.

Lucy Macgregor (GBR) took the regatta win to close the gap on Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) at the top of the Rankings to just 27 points. Runner up Olivia Price (AUS) continues her steady climb up the rankings and is now World #13 and closing in on a top ten spot.

Top Ten, Women's Rankings:

1. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA
2. Lucy Macgregor, GBR
3. Claire Leroy, FRA
4. Sally Barkow, USA
5. Ekaterina Skudina, RUS
6. Silja Lehtinen, FIN
7. Tamara Echegoyen, ESP
8. Renee Groeneveld, NED
9. Nicky Souter, AUS
10. Anne-claire Le Berre, FRA

Full women's rankings

The Fulcrum Files by Mark Chisnell
Fulcrum Files by Mark Chisnell The young Ben Clayton was one of Britain's brightest boxing prospects, until the day he slammed a left hook into a fragile chin. Sickened by the consequences he turned away from the ring, found solace in the arms of the beautiful Lucy Kirk and looked to a new challenge - winning the America's Cup in the great J Class Yachts.

On the 7th March 1936, after almost two decades of peace in Europe, Hitler ordered the German Army back into the Rhineland. It was a direct challenge to Britain and France. Still unnerved by the toll of the Great War, the politicians dithered and history teetered on a knife edge. But the spymasters were busy - just one man could make the difference between war and peace, victory or defeat. And that man was Ben Clayton.

Mark Chisnell's brand new spy thriller returns to an epic period of history, and an epic period of sailing. Now available at Amazon:

www.amazon.co.uk/The-Fulcrum-Files

Top Four Teams Decided for Hardy Cup Finals
Click on image for photo gallery.

Hardy Cup New Zealander Josh Junior and Australians David Gilmour, Jordan Reece and Jay Griffin and their crews today emphatically won their way through to the finals of the Hardy Cup under 25 ISAF grade 3 match-racing regatta on Sydney Harbour.

They will pair off tomorrow morning for two best-of-three match semi-finals with the winners lining up in the afternoon for a boat-for-boat, best-of-five match duel for this prestigious trophy donated by eminent Australian yachtsman Sir James Hardy.

This year marks the 10th Hardy Cup conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Australia's senior yacht club that this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The seven teams enjoyed steady a steady south-easterly sea breeze of 10-12 knots right from the start of competition today, with the final flights of the second round-robin and a third round-robin finished on schedule.

The second round-robin ended with three teams equal first in standings with nine wins and a fourth team with eight wins from the two round-robins.

Gilmour excelled with five wins in the second round-robin to share top place on the leader board with Reece and first day leader Junior.

Gilmour began the day with important wins over Junior and Jay Griffin from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, who finished the first two round robins with eights wins.

However, Junior and Gilmour dominated the third round-robin, Junior unbeaten with six wins, Gilmour scoring five wins. -- Peter Campbell

At the end of the three round-robins the score was:

1. Josh Junior (RPNYC, NZL) 15 wins
2. David Gilmour (RFBYC, AUS) 14 wins
3. Jordan Reece (RSYS, AUS) 10 wins
4. Jay Griffin (CYCA, AUS) 9 wins
5. David Chapman (RSYS, AUS) 6 wins
6. Tim Coltman (RPNYC, NZL) 5 wins
7. Ashlen Rooklyn (CYCA, AUS) 4 wins

Hardy Cup Homepage
www.rsys.com.au/sailing/hardycuphomepage.php

Crunch Time for America's Cup Waterfront Deals
San Francisco is now in the decisive phase on hosting the America's Cup, a move that comes amid concern over the pace of fundraising to defray city costs and a fight over whether to include in the deal rights to a pier in the shadow of Coit Tower.

After a framework agreement was unanimously approved more than a year ago, Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday submitted to the city's Board of Supervisors a 263-page binding agreement that, if approved, would bring sailing's premier regatta to San Francisco Bay in 2013.

The centerpiece of the deal between the city and race organizers, led by billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, has been that Ellison's group would pay at least $55 million to repair aging piers the city can't afford to fix to house team bases in exchange for long-term development rights to waterfront properties to recoup their investment.

Port officials say the regatta provides a unique chance to transform aging swaths of the city's waterfront, but the latest iteration of the deal has major sticking points.

Among them is the inclusion of Pier 29. That could cede for long-term development a crucial portion of the waterfront at the base of Telegraph Hill where the city has just broken ground on a cruise ship terminal and plans a 2 1/2-acre public open space.

Full story by John Cote at in the San Francisco Chronicle:
www.sfgate.com

Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series 2012
Entry form and Notice of Race now available online.

Clyde Cruising Club, organisers of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series, is encouraging sailing enthusiasts to sign up online for this year's event.

The event Notice of Race and Entry form is now available at the dedicated Scottish Series website - www.brewindolphinscottishseries.com

The Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series 2012 will take place over the Queen's Jubilee weekend from Friday 1 June to Monday 4 June in Tarbert, Loch Fyne, on Scotland's stunning West Coast, a week later than usual.

Johnnie Readman, event organiser, said "We are very excited about this year's event. Competitors should expect to see a number of changes on and off the water at this year's event, creating a festival of sailing for competitors and spectators alike.

"We would encourage all sailors interested in participating to sail to sign up as soon as possible."

www.brewindolphinscottishseries.com

Christopher Pratt Wins the 21st Mer Montagne Trophy
Photo by Christophe Launay, www.sealaunay.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Mer Montagne Trophy What happens when 16 sailors meet 16 mountaineers? They talk about adventures, sailing, mountains, girls, weather, the Earth, elements, technology.

That's what happenend last week in St Gervais, France during the 21st Mer Montagne Trophy, a traditional meeting between sailors and mountaineers. This amical event was created 20 years ago by former maxi-multihull and Whitbread skipper, Eric Loizeau. After three round the world races and numerous transats culminating in his skippers the maxi-cat Roger & Gallet, Loizeau turned his back on the sea and became a mountain man. He went to the top of the world, scaling Mount Everest. Then he wanted these worlds of water, ice and salt, to share their passions and hence the Trophy Mer Montagne was born.

Over four days the competitors enjoy several sporting challenges; ski touring (where you have to get to the top of the mountain using only your muscles and your sweat), biathlon (shooting & skiing), slalom, transtation and a ski race (ski touring by night). A torchlight ski session also happened, but for the rest, what happens in St. Gervais stays in St Gervais!

Some of the best sailors were there, including ORMA skipper Yvan Bourgnon recently returned from rounding Cap Horn in a beach multihull, Fred Le Peutrec who just finished completed the Jules Verne Trophy on Banque Populaire, MACIF IMOCA 60 skipper Francois Gabart the young gun competing in the next Vendee Globe and Steve Ravussin who is preparing for a big season on his MOD 70 Race For Water.

If some sailors are good skiers, other are rookies. But the goal is not solely to win this amical event but also to make friends with the mountain men and women, to discover and share their passion as often mountaineers invite sailors to discover their world and vice et versa. Like Aurelien Ducros (2 times FreeRide World Champion) who competed in the last Mini-Transat, or some Mountain Guides who invited sailors to share a ride to the top of the Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in Europe.

All of these stars also enjoyed a conference from Race for Water, a foundation who are trying to explain to the human race the fragility of our water resources and how to preserve them. Salt water and ice, everybody is concerned. -- Gilles Morelle

470 Open European Championship 2012
470 European The world's top Olympic sailors are heading to Scotland for one of the final showdowns prior to the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The 470 European Championship 2012 is set to be hosted in Largs, Scotland from 25 June - 4 July 2012. Host venue, Largs Sailing Club in Ayrshire is one of Scotland's premier dinghy and keel boat racing clubs, and boasts a state of the art clubhouse, with immediate access to some of the best and most scenic racing water in Europe.

Located on the west coast of Scotland, about 30 minutes' drive west of Glasgow, Largs is a well proven championship sailing venue. Events recently hosted include the 2009 RYA Volvo Youth National Championships, 2009 Optimist UK Nationals and the 2010 Laser Radial Worlds.

The 470 European Championship is set to attract in excess of 100 men/mixed and women's 470 teams, and is a key fixture on the international calendar. Many teams will go straight from Scotland to represent their nations on the start line at the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, just over a month later.

The Championship will be sailed over several race courses with the men/mixed and women fleets sailing separately. Racing gets underway on 28 June 2012 and boats will be seeded, based on their past performance, for the 6 race qualifying series into fleets of around 40 boats. Teams will then be allocated to the gold and silver fleets for the final series, and after a further six scheduled races the top 10 teams from the gold fleet will make the cut to the final medal race show down on Wednesday 4 July 2012.

Local sailing star Luke Patience grew up on the waters off Largs, and will be representing Great Britain with crew Stuart Bithell in the 470 men event at the 2012 Olympics.

Defending European Champions Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic of Croatia have already qualified to the Olympics Games, and are planning to be in Scotland to defend their title. The 2011 Open European Champions, Mat Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) are currently the world #1 ranked team and the reigning World Champions and are also planning to be in Largs.

Tara Pacheco/Berta Betanzos from Spain won the 2011 470 Women's European Championship in July last year, and then wrapped up their season by winning the 470 Women's World Championship title in December 2011. They have also confirmed they will be on the start line in Largs, before heading back to Weymouth for the Olympic Sailing Competition.

www.470.org/events

Akena Veranda's Refit
After losing her mast in the Transat Jacques Vabre, a new one is being made for Akena Verandas at the JMV yard in Cherbourg. The monohull currently in for her refit in Les Sables d'Olonne is due to be relaunched with her new mast in early April. Arnaud gives us more details about what is happening in the refit that is currently underway and tells us about his programme for the 2012 season.

What has been happening since you were forced to return to les Sables d'Olonne, after dismasting in the Transat Jacques Vabre?

Arnaud Boissieres: "In late 2011, we stripped the boat down and started work on the design of the new mast. The tube is currently being manufactured at the JMV yard in Cherbourg. The fittings and details (channels for the halyards, mast head...) will be dealt with in Port-La-Foret at the CDK yard from 16th February onwards. As for the boat, we're busy getting her ready for the Vendee Globe. In particular, we looked at the energy system with the idea of installing permanent solar panels and we've made a few changes to the protection for the helmsman. The engine has been improved and the weight spread around, with the round the world voyage in mind. This is a major refit. The goal being to get the boat out of her winter refit as quickly as possible to get back out there sailing to enable us to test the new sails, rigging and mast."

"The boat is due to be put back in the water on 19th March. We will step the mast immediately after that in Port La Foret. Then, it's race time! We start off with some crewed racing with the early season events. We begin with the Round Belle Ile Race at the end of April, then the Guyader Grand Prix and the Armen Race in May. In early June, we shall be taking part in the SNSM Record and trying to defend the title we won last year. This year we are likely to see many more IMOCA boats taking part. That's a good thing, as it will make it that much more interesting and fascinating. Early in the summer, I plan to do some solo offshore training heading off to the Azores or some other destination, once again with the Vendee Globe in mind."

www.vendeeglobe.com

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2009 Archambault A40 RC. EUR 319,000. Located In Mediterranean, France.

Jou Jou Extra is for sale, and it won't be for a long time, this winning horse has everything to become the racing boat of your dreams. Epoxi built (SP GURIT) , carbon mast + mast-jack, carbon rudder + stock, B&G HERCULES 3000 electronics, ....

IRC optimized, "Jou Jou" has a superb palmares, and has been sailed very few, an Atlantic campaign in 2009 (Spi Ouest France, Obelix trophy, semaine de La Rochelle, Deauville-winner- , Cowes Dinard 2009, Second- Fastnet 2009) and a Mediterranean campaign in 2010 with only 4 weeks on the water (winner-SNIM 2010, Giraglia 2010, Copa del Rey 2010, Voiles de St Tropez 2010)

The boat is in MINT CONDITION.

Brokerage through Nautamarine: www.yachtworld.com/globalyachting/

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

The Last Word
Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods. -- Christopher Hitchens

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