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RYA Tribunal Proceedings Relating to Ben Ainslie Concluded
The RYA Tribunal met on 9 February 2012 to consider a report dated 14 December 2011 received pursuant to the Racing Rules of Sailing Rule 69.1(c) from the International Jury at the ISAF Sailing World Championships held in Perth in December 2011.

The Tribunal agreed with the decision of the International Jury that the behaviour of Mr Ben Ainslie amounted to a gross breach of good manners and conduct that brought the sport into disrepute.

Having considered all the evidence put before it, the Tribunal was satisfied that it would not be appropriate for the Tribunal to impose a penalty over and above that imposed by the International Jury at the event.

In reaching its decision the Tribunal acknowledged that the effect of the penalty imposed by the International Jury was to deny Mr Ainslie the possibility of taking part in the medal race for the event.

The Tribunal also recognised that there was an apparent lack of active management of media boats at this and previous events leading to repeated infringements of the provisions of the event media boat guidelines. In addition, formal rights of redress against official boats were not available to competitors.

The Tribunal noted that it had had an opportunity to view evidence that was not available to the International Jury during the hearing at the event.

The RYA, as the ISAF Member National Authority for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has jurisdiction under Rule 69.2 to take action in response to reports made to it under Rule 69.1 relating to British sailors and the Council of the RYA has delegated its authority in such matters to the RYA Tribunal.

* Reactions to the decision from Ben Ainslie and Stephen Park, RYA Olympic Manager, are as follows:

Ben Ainslie:
"I welcome the RYA Tribunal's decision and am looking forward to fully focussing on my Olympic preparations. I deeply regret the incident, but would like to thank all the governing bodies involved for their thorough investigation."

Stephen Park:
"The Tribunal report will now go to ISAF as is standard practice, but from a Skandia Team GBR perspective we're all keen to take on board lessons learned and put the matter to bed.  As we have said from the outset, it's regrettable that the incident occurred in the first place, but we're grateful that the Tribunal recognised the mitigating factors and are relieved to be able to now move on and focus on the task of preparing for Ben's bid for a fourth Olympic gold this summer.

"We're grateful for the support and openness of all parties involved as we all try and take the opportunity to learn from the incident and improve future interactions as sailing looks to enhance its media exposure and accessibility."

Aqua Take the First Event of the RC44 Season
Photo by Carlo Borlenghi, Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 Calero A three hour wait for the breeze to fill in delayed proceedings on the final day of the RC44 Puerto Calero Cup, AEZ took their second race win in Lanzarote, but Team Aqua were not far behind giving them their first event win of the 2012 season.

Chris Bake and the crew of Team Aqua (GBR) started the week slowly with a 10th and 13th, but quickly got in the groove slotting in four wins, a second, third and fourth to give them victory by 11 points over second placed Aleph Sailing Team (FRA).

For the young French team missing an eighth place in the final race secured them second overall, exceeding their own targets for the event as the team's tactician, Mathieu explained. "It's a fantastic result for us second place, we couldn't expect such a good result so it's great. The team is improving at every event. We had a good first year and I think this year the team is pretty strong."

Artemis made up the podium, just two points adrift of the French, Torbjorn Tornqvist teaming up with Artemis Racing's CEO, Paul Cayard for Lanzarote.

AEZ seemed to excel in the lighter shifty conditions, the team from Austria clinching the final race of the series, adding to their win from the previous day and taking them up to fifth overall. Rene Mangold's team have been a regular on the Tour since 2009, over the winter they bought in new tactician, Markus Weiser (GER) who has high expectations for the season.

After a challenging week in Lanzarote the fleet will now head to Cascais in Portugal the second round of the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour, with the racing being hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais from 28th March - 1st April.

RC44 Puerto Calero Cup - Fleet Race Results (After nine races)
1. Team Aqua, 36 points
2. Aleph Sailing Team, 46
3. Artemis Racing, 49
4. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 54
5. AEZ RC44 Team, 58
6. RC44 Team CEEREF, 65
7. Team Nika, 68
8. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, 69
9. No Way Back, 75
10. Katusha, 76
11. AFX Capital Racing, 78
12. Ironbound, 83
13. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 91
14. RUS-7 Sail Racing Team, 100

Crazy Priced Whole Boat Race Charter Package for Antigua's RORC Caribbean 600! - 18th-25th February
Click on image to enlarge.

RORC Caribbean 600 Lancelot II, the immaculate 2011 'tooled up' Beneteau First 40 is available for whole boat charter for the RORC Caribbean 600 starting on 20th February. A cancellation means that Ondeck can provide this package at over 40% off the charter price at just GBP£4995 / US$7995 (including race entry, fuel, owner's rep/skipper, provisioning for the race, full shore support and event management).

You just need to get 6-10 people together and turn up to race... we take care of the rest! Taking interest for small groups of 2 or more individuals also on a per head cost basis.

Contact Simon urgently on +44(0)1983 284300 or

Zhik International Etchells 2012 Australian Championship
Julian Plante’s Two Speed, overall leader in the Zhik Etchells National Championship. Photo by Damian Devine. Click on image to enlarge.

International Etchells 2012 Australian Championship It was mixed fortunes for several highly-rated title contenders who were expected to lead the fleet through much of the Zhik Etchells National Championship.

Errors on the start line, shifty breezes and erroneous tactical calls cost some skippers any chance of a top ten finish while for others they are likely to miss out on a podium place.

No doubt the PRO and father of line honours winner, Merrington, was smiling as he sounded the hooter for the finish. He was probably glad the hooter meant the end of a frustrating day of constant course changes.

Racing continues tomorrow with two races scheduled. -- Tracey Johnstone

Top 10 overall after three races:
1. Julian Plante/Hannah Nattrass/Michael Dunstan/Nick Garland, Two Speed, RPAYC, AUS, 26 points
2. David Clark/Alan Smith/Andrew Smith, Fifteen, CYCA, AUS, 27
3. John Savage/Ben Morrison-Jack/Richard Allanson, Southern Light, RBYC, AUS, 29
4. Jud Smith/Mark Johnson/Nikolas Burfoot, Roulette, RSYS, AUS, 31
5. Matthew Chew/Adrian Finglas/Darren Jones/Paul Wyatt, Gen XY, RQYS, AUS, 37
6. Thomas Braidwood/Ben Lamb/Matthew Rhys-Jones/Ty Marshall, Bad Doll, LMYC, AUS, 37
7. Ante Razmilovic/Chris Larson/Stuart Flinn, Swedish Blue, RHKYC, HKG, 39
8. Gordon Hinds/Adrian Dunphy/Stephen Ingate, Grand V, RPAYC, AUS, 47
9. James  McHugh/Andy Beadsworth/Pete McCormick, Anamchara, S NG, SUI, 51
10. Ross Lloyd/Matthew Turner/Peter Dowdney, The Doctor, SYC/RBYC, AUS, 52

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

Regatta results can be found on

* The Etchells Worlds starts February 20 at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, see

Finally, Downwind Racing
The second week at sea for the three Global Ocean Race (GOR) Class40s still racing east began with continued strong headwinds for the trio in the Roaring Forties. Sunday 5th February marked the fifth consecutive day of headwinds and furthest north, Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire in third with Phesheya-Racing hove-to in short steep seas as the leaders, Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel on Cessna Citation dropped south to 48S chased hard by Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon with Financial Crisis.

On Tuesday, Phesheya-Racing hove-to a second time to fix problems with their primary and secondary autopilots and while conditions moderated slightly for the two boats further south, more strong headwinds were forecast as the fleet approached the mid-Pacific, bluQube Scoring Gate. Having monitored the weather forecasts closely, the GOR Race Committee made the decision to extend the southern limit of the scoring gate by 180 miles early on Thursday morning, shifting the waypoint from 47S to 50S having evaluated that the boats were passed an area of ice south-west of the gate and the threat of beating into a gale in the most remote section of Leg 3 represented an unacceptable risk to the teams.

With the freedom of movement increased and the first taste of off-wind sailing for ten days, Cessna Citation pushed hard, recording averages of over 14 knots and rocketed through the bluQube Scoring Gate taking the maximum six points on Friday, followed through the virtual door by Nannini and Ramon on Saturday with Financial Crisis, handicapped by the destruction of their A2 spinnaker in a pilot error-enforced knockdown.

As Nannini and Ramon reached the gate, an area of high pressure put the brakes on hard with Cessna Citation pulling away through the Furious Fifties. As the leading duo dropped south-east towards Cape Horn, the South Africans on Phesheya-Racing finally escaped the clutches of headwinds and steep seas and picked up the pace towards the scoring gate.

GOR leaderboard 15:00 GMT 12/2/12:

1. Cessna Citation, DTF 2976, 5.4kts
2. Financial Crisis, 258nm to leader, 8.2kts
3. Phesheya-Racing, 1225nm to leader, 6.9kts

18ft Skiffs Commodore Cup
18ft Skiffs Commodore Cup Sydney Harbour: The 18ft Skiffs Commodore Cup was sailed as a twilight race in a 20-knot North East wind, with threatening skies, over a 3-buoys course on Sydney Harbour this evening and resulted in a win for the Rag & Famish Hotel team of Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy and Peter Harris by 1m18s.

Yandoo, with John Winning, Andrew Hay and Jim Beck on board, finished second.

Australian champions Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas) were a further 10s back in third place.

The strong wind took a toll on the fleet with appliancesonline and Kenwood-Rabbitohs both capsizing on the run into the wing mark off Shark Island.

One major non starter was Gotta Love It 7.

The team went out early for some practice and broke a wing wire, which also left skipper Seve Jarvin with a badly cut arm.  They were "forced" to spend an enjoyable day on the spectator ferry as they watched their main rivals for the Giltinan Championship battle it out in the strong breeze.

The JJ Giltinan Championship, the world's premier 18ft Skiff regatta, will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from 17-26 February.  Approximately 30 teams from USA, New Zealand and UK as well as Australian teams representing NSW, Queensland and Western Australia will contest the 63rd JJ. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

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

Right place right time
Sixty years young the RYA Dinghy Show still stands unique in the world of small boat racing

My time
Ben Ainslie and Blue Robinson discuss keeping non-participants off the field of play...

Design for manufacture - Part II
SP-High Modulus chief engineer Rod Fogg responds to some of the points raised in last month’s opening feature

Oak trees
We knew that we should soon expect to see more offshore scows, but not that the next one would be a Maxi. Jim Pugh and Michael Roberts

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...

Fat Face Foundation Sponsors New Sails for Tall Ships for the Disabled
Click on image to enlarge.

Jubilee Sailing Trust The Fat Face Foundation, the charitable arm of the clothing company Fat Face, has sponsored a new sail each for Lord Nelson and Tenacious which are the only tall ships in the world designed to be sailed by mixed crews of able-bodied and disabled people including wheelchair users.

The two ships are operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a charity whose mission is to enable people to take part in tall ship sailing whatever their level of physical ability. Disabled and able-bodied sailors alike work the ship side by side and handle the sails together. Lord Nelson has 18 sails and Tenacious has 21, all of which get considerable wear and tear since the ships are operated all year round. To maintain high standards of safety, the sails are replaced regularly through donations and sponsorship.

The Fat Face Foundation seeks to work with organisations that enable people to actively enjoy the outdoors and respect the environment. Rachel Follett, Director and Trustee of the Foundation said "We actively aim to make the outdoors more accessible for all, so sponsoring these sails fits perfectly with our ethos. It'll be fantastic to think that the sails will be out there crossing oceans and helping to change the lives of people with a variety of disabilities".

Lord Nelson is currently in the Canaries and Tenacious is in the Caribbean. Both will return to Southampton in May when the new sails will be set ready for summer voyages in UK and European waters. -- Emma Laird

Johnie Berntsson Swedish Sailor of the Year
Skipper Johnie Berntsson and his crew were crowned Swedish Sailors of the Year by the Swedish Sailing Federation today in a prize ceremony at the Gothenburg Boat Show. With fierce competition from the rest of the Swedish sailing elite, Berntsson is well worthy of the award after placing third in the World Match Racing Tour 2011.

With the goal of taking a top three overall position in the World Match Racing Tour within three years, Berntsson made his debut as a tour card holder in last year's season. After a slow start of the tour, he was able to reach that goal sooner than expected as his form developed during the summer. He finished the season by sailing his way into the finals of the Monsoon Cup where he lost to tour champion Ian Williams. Nevertheless, the overall bronze medal was his and now he looks forward to his second season as a tour card holder.

"It feels great preparing for the coming tour with some evidence of what we can accomplish. We know it's going to be difficult but now it's realistic to start aiming for the top of the scoreboard.    

Like many other Swedes, Johnie Berntsson ranks Stena Match Cup Sweden as a highpoint of the coming year.

"It's the event that we are looking forward to the most because all our friends and sponsors will get to see us sail. A win at Marstrand is certainly something we would like to place among our merits. -- Fabian Bengtsson

Scotiabank Work Boat Regatta
Click on image for photo gallery.

Scotiabank Work Boat Regatta A record fleet of 39 work boats; three newly built boats from Woburn joined by two new designs from Petite Martinique; three visiting boats all the way from Mayreau, and for the first time ever, the sought after US$1,000.00 cash prize for the final GSF16 'Champion of Champions' Match Race was shared by Joel Lewis of Sauteurs and Samuel Forde of Mayreau, who jointly brought home 'Tomorrow's Worry' with a mixed crew from both communities. Add to this a new location of the Regatta Village on the beachfront and inside Camerhogne Park and one of the biggest crowds on Grand Anse Beach for the first of the Independence Celebrations and you get a record list of high points marking the first Scotiabank Work Boat Regatta as one of the most exciting and best quality sailing events in its long history.

This year the traditional sailing communities of Carriacou, Gouyave, Grand Mal, Petite Martinique, Sauteurs and Woburn were joined by three boats from Mayreau and the competition in the Community Class Racing Series was high octane from the start.

After the Community Class Series of seven races was finished on Sunday, the excitement moved up to another level as the teams were picked for the United Insurance National Team Sailing Match Races in the fleet of 16' work boats owned by the Grenada Sailing Festival. The racing was as tough as ever and it was Gouyave that stole the day with a win in both races.

Then it was time for the final high spot of the day when Community Class winners raced off for the 'Champion of Champions' Prize. This proved to be one of the most competitive and exciting finals for many years. Positions and fortunes changed again and again as the marks were rounded over the course, but it was the joint skippers and crew from Sauteurs and Mayreau that finally crossed the line first to take the title, the trophy and the US$1,000.00 prize. Petite Martinique came through with a strong charge to the line to take second and the US$500.00 prize, with the third place prize of US$250.00 going to a combined Gouyave Sloop/Gouyave Canoe crew.

Bid Process Launches for the 12th & 13th Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race S.L.U. has launched the bid process to identify the host cities for the 12th and 13th editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (2014-15 and 2017-18). 

The bid process, to be managed by London-based sports agency, The Sports Consultancy, commences with requests for Expression of Interest to prospective host cities around the globe by March 14, 2012. Interested parties will receive a formal Bid Application that must be submitted by May 11, 2012.

The successful host cities will be announced at the end of 2012 and the race route for the 12th and 13th editions of the 39-year-old race confirmed.

Knut Frostad, Chief Executive of Volvo Ocean Race, added: "The Volvo Ocean Race continues to show strong growth across all media platforms and race village footfall that delivers significant benefit to the ports we visit. We are delighted to be working again with The Sports Consultancy in managing this process to secure prospective host cities from which the board of Volvo Ocean Race will select a route."

Parties interested in submitting an Expression of Interest should contact The Sports Consultancy by email at .

AC Jury Decision Posted
The [America's Cup] Jury has released a decision in Case AC10, regarding a question from China Team, who had asked whether competing in Extreme Sailing Series regattas would constitute obtaining a surrogate yacht under the Protocol.


The China Team Questions

12. Question 1: Would China Team be allowed to use/rent an Extreme 40 that does not belong to China Team, during an official Extreme 40 regatta in 2012? And would this Extreme 40 be considered as a surrogate yacht?

Answer: Yes, it would be a Surrogate Yacht, but, provided the conditions specified in Article 29.4(a) are met, China Team would not be deemed to acquire an AC72 Yacht.

13. Question 2: If, in 2012, a China Team sailor, sails on an Extreme 40 for a team that does not compete in the ACWS, would this boat be considered as a surrogate yacht?

Answer: As stated in para. 9 above, an Extreme 40 is a Surrogate Yacht by definition.

However, provided the conditions specified in Article 29.4(a) are met, China Team would not be deemed to have acquired an AC72 Yacht in the Question 2 scenario.

No approval from the Regatta Director is required. Article 29.4(a) addresses 'Competitors', which is a defined term, and not individuals.

14. Question 3: Can China Team employ a sailor that has been sailing on the Extreme 40 circuit in 2012 without affecting surrogacy?

Answer: Yes. There is no restriction in the Protocol regarding the hiring of crew except as restricted by Article 34.

The entire decision can be found on the Official Noticeboard under Jury Notice 31 (JN031).

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The Last Word
The stupider it looks, the more important it probably is. -- J. R. "Bob" Dobbs

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