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Maserati Challenge
Giovanni Soldini and his team establish an excellent time reference for the Cadiz-San Salvador record.

Maserati crossed the finish line at San Salvador this morning at h 10 59' 10'' GMT.

Giovanni Soldini and his crew took 10 days, 23 hours, 9 minutes and 2 seconds to travel the 3884 miles of the orthodromic route which links Cadiz to San Salvador, thus establishing an excellent time reference - the first - for the monohull category.

Having set sail from Cadiz on 2 February at h 11 50' 08'' GMT, they travelled 4632 real miles at an average speed of 17.6 knots.

"I'm extremely pleased," declared Soldini immediately after crossing the finish line. "We've established an excellent time reference, which will be very difficult to beat. The only fly in the ointment was the last night, which was really rough. We had a technical problem with the hydraulic system for the keel, which doesn't move any more. We were all awake, and sailed with a fixed, central keel, but obviously it slowed us down. In any case, we couldn't have hoped for a better result. We were spot on with all our choices regarding the weather, and I'm really pleased with how the boat and the crew performed."

The VOR 70 Maserati will carry on, without stopping, to Charleston, South Carolina, where it will be completely overhauled.

After the work, Giovanni Soldini and his team will attempt to beat the 24-hour speed record.

Lalli Wins 2012 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta
Photo by Joy Dunigan, International Audi Melges 20 Class Association. Click on image for photo gallery.

Miami, Florida: By a substantial margin, Italy's Luca Lalli aboard, alongside of super tactician Lorenzo Bressani and crew Federico Michetti, won the 2012 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta, graciously hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Celebrating in second overall is Grant Hood on Bohica, tied in points with third place finisher Michael Kiss on Bacio. Proudly rounding out the top five, Paul Reilly on Red Sky and Brian Kamilar on Funner.

A Top Corinthian team was recognized for the first time at the Miami Winter Regatta. Congratulations to Marcus Eagan on Cajun Underwriting, as he and his family based crew Marc and Andrew Eagan are 2012 Corinthian Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta Champions.

With the commencement of the last and final race of the event, Lalli had all but officially won the event. However, the real battle for the remaining top five was yet to be settled. Hood, Kiss, Reilly and Tabb were only separated by a two point margin. Jason Carroll's Argo led the charge at the first mark with Lalli right behind. Downwind, Lalli turned up the speed unsurprisingly taking over the lead, with Russ Lucas' Shimmer moving up for second, Hood holding firm in third. Lalli took the win just ahead of Kiss' Bacio who beat out Lucas to the line by a hair.

Top Ten Results (Final, After Six Races)
1. Luca Lalli,, 6 points
2. Grant Hood, Bohica, 22
3. Michael Kiss, Bacio, 22
4. Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing Team, 27
5. Brian Kamilar, Funner, 28
6. Tony Tabb, Elevation Racing, 31
7. Marcus Eagan, Cajun Underwriting, 33
8. Russell Lucas, Shimmer, 40
9. Marc Hollerbach, Fu, 46
10. Mary Anne Ward, M&M Sailing Team, 47

Jean Le Cam Announces His Participation in the Vendee Globe
On 10th February Jean Le Cam announced his participation in the legendary round the world race. The three times winner of the Solitaire du Figaro (1999 - 1996 - 1994) will be helming the 60 foot boat launched in 2007, Loïck Peyron's former Gitana Eighty (Vendee Globe 2008), the Farr design that finished third in the last Barcelona World Race skippered by Pachi Rivero and Antonio Piris.

This time round the Skipper from Finistere has joined ranks with Jean-Pierre Dick, "I decided to join the Absolute Dreamer offshore racing team for my project. Instead of unnecessarily complicating things by going it alone. When you manage to do things intelligently as a team you are much stronger and this is a great opportunity to be part of a good solid and well-functioning system. It's the beginning of a beautiful story. And that's what life is about, stories ".

Having finished second in the Vendee Globe in 2005, and had misfortune capsizing in 2008, this new edition of the race sees 'King' Jean on the start line with the colours of Synerciel, the top French network of artisans and small businesses for the building industry (1800 members).

Le Cam is now the 18th competitor to be officially participating in the next edition of the Vendee Globe 2012-2013 after Jeremie Beyou (Maître CoQ) and Liz Wardley. An absolutely wonderful piece of news for the organizers of the event, reminiscent of the words of SAEM Vendee's President Bruno Retailleau to see between 15 and 20 skippers on the start line.

IRC Survey and Happy Owners
This is the time of year that yacht owners are checking their IRC certificates, sponsored by Ocean Safety, making sure they are up to date for the coming racing season. Two owners are particularly happy. They took part in the RORC Rating Office's recent survey of IRC users and their names were drawn from over 500 who returned the survey, to each win an Ocean Safety Kru Sport Pro lifejacket.

The Kru Sport Pro is the professionals' choice and Volvo Ocean Race choice, because of its advanced features, light weight and low profile, so you hardly know you are wearing it and it doesn't get in the way. One lucky winner was Mark Hammond of Cowes who commented "What a great email to get at the beginning of the year. Thank you!" Mark is just getting his boat measured up for IRC so the survey was timely for him. The other, Peter Broughton of Grimsby, was "delighted to win the lifejacket as this was one (of many!) items that I was planning to replace this year!"

The aim of the IRC survey was to find out why racing boats using other handicap systems are not using IRC and what help they would need to progress to IRC, which is internationally recognised, and used for many of the world's top regattas.

Running The Rhumblines
Sailing has become unique sport building strong team spirit with equal opportunities for male and female, young and old, to test their individual endurance and technique in a healthy environment.

This accepted change to the once male dominated sport has been intensely promoted by Flag Officers of the Whitsunday Sailing Club who have a high percentage of female crews manning the decks during their club races around the cans on Pioneer Bay and in the major passage events around the Whitsunday Islands.

One well known Whitsunday skipper who prefers to remain anonymous has openly said "All the girls are happy to listen and learn with a smile on their face which builds a healthy team spirit". "I have raced with a crew of male 'rock stars' who are physically stronger but generally 'grumble in their beards' which unfortunately contributes to an unhappy crew."

"We have the opportunity to go sailing in one of the most picturesque environments on Planet Earth and there is certainly no place for personal problems to be discussed on the weather rail of my yacht". He said.

The promotion of a happy family spirit is not written into the Whitsunday Sailing Club constitution there is a strong bond of family unity to promote the sport in the Airlie Beach community.

Recent election of the enthusiastic Ali Swain the proud mother of Australian Optimist under 10 class champion Hamish to the busy role of Off-Beach Commodore has seen an important change of the guard.

Ali Swain like several other proud mothers who roll up their sleeves to support their children continues to promote both the club facilities and the sport as a happy and healthy recreation for all ages.

The scene when the Optimist fleet sailors gather on the rigging lawn to when the older sailors walk the dock at the Abel Point Marina reflects a strong female influence of female sailors. Some are seasoned veterans with the Rolex Sydney Hobart race already recorded in the log books while others like the smiling Eva Lorenz progresses to establish her career to be recognised as one of the best females in the Australian Optimist fleet.

Eva already has the career distinction of representing Australia will again compete with the Australian team in the 2012 National championship in New Zealand later this year.

Meanwhile it is easy to understand why the suntanned face of veteran offshore skipper Ross Winterbourn remains creased with a smile.

The successful skipper who regularly sails with Sue Smith, Keely Mattox and Bindi Winterbourn and mate Mick O'Keefe have built a formidable reputation against their male rivals as the countdown continues in the contest to win the Rum Race series. -- Ian Grant

Intrigue Wins Ninth Bruny Island Yacht Race
Photo by PhotoFluid Marine Photography, Click on image to enlarge.

Hobart yachtsman Don Calvert sailed in his first Bruny Island Yacht Race 55 years ago, aboard his father Charles' famous yacht Caprice, later to be known as Caprice of Huon.

They won that Bruny Island race in 1957, and thus began a remarkable history of family success in what is now Australia's oldest ocean yacht race.

In the early hours of this morning, Don personally won the 89 nautical mile circumnavigation of the island to the south of Hobart overall for a record ninth time when he steered his Castro 40, Intrigue, across the finish line in seventh place in the 25 boat fleet.

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's Bruny Island Race has three handicap divisions, AMS, IRC and PHS, with AMS results deciding the overall winner of the race.

On corrected time, Intrigue won the premier AMS division, placed a close second to line honours winner Cougar II in the IRC division, and placed fourth to Mr Kite, which won the PHS trophy.

In the AMS division Intrigue, which in 1985 represented Australia at the Admiral's Cup in England, won from David Taylor's Sydney 36, Pisces, and the MBD 36, Whistler, skippered by David Rees.

Cougar II, Tony Lyall's Transpac 52, took out a fine line/handicap double, winning the IRC division from Intrigue and Andrew Hunn's Cape/Barrett 40, Mr Kite.

It was Cougar II's third consecutive line win in southern Tasmanian waters for Tony Lyall who bought the boat just before the recent Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The Calvert family yachting legend continues on.

Another son, David, has been co-skipper with Don in several wins with Intrigue, but this year he sailed aboard Justin Barr's Ramrod. Sailing his first Bruny Island Race, aboard Richard Scarr and Philippa Calvert's Beneteau 44.7, Auch, was Don's 12-year-old grandson, Angus Calvert.

"So there was quite a bit of family rivalry out there...we changed fleet positions several times with the Auch," Don said. "The Auch sailed very well and I believe young Angus had a ball!"

Don, now in his 77th year, praised the steering of four younger members of the crew of Intrigue, Ross Mannering, Patrick Copeland, David Gourlay and Ben Latham. "Three of them sail SB3 sports boats and they sailed Intrigue hard all the way," he added. -- Peter Campbell

Cowes Yacht Haven Marketing Administrator
We are seeking an experienced Marketing Administrator with knowledge of the marine and event management industries to fill a new role within the Cowes Yacht Haven team.

The successful candidate will be an innovative individual with proven sales and marketing experience and a knowledge of social media, advertising, communications and event management. The role is focused on generating new business for our marina, boat yard and events centre facilities.

The post is part time with flexible hours based at our Cowes office.

Salary negotiable

Please submit your CV to or Alison Pocock, Cowes Yacht Haven Limited, Vectis Yard, High Street, Cowes, PO31 7BD by 24 February 2012

A Dissenting Voice
While quite a few of the commentators believe that the two race disqualification for gross misconduct that cost Ben Ainslie the World Championship is more than adequate punishment, Water Rat sees some similarities with soccer star Eric Cantona's transgression in 1994 that resulted in 120 hours community service and an 8 month ban from the sport.

To re-cap, Cantona was sent off in a Manchester United v Crystal Palace game for a kick on a Palace defender. As he reached the sideline Cantona launched himself into the stands and kicked a supporter in a kung-fu style following up with a series of punches. Cantona was arrested and convicted for assault, but the original two week sentence was overturned and replaced by 120 hours of community service. His team, Manchester United, suspended Cantona for the remaining four months of the season and he was fined £20,000. The Football Association increased the ban to eight months and fined him a further £10,000. Football's International body, FIFA confirmed the suspension as worldwide. Cantona also lost the captaincy of the French team.

The International Jury found as fact that Ainslie had committed an act of physical aggression, that was not only a gross breach of good manners but also brought the sport into disrepute.

It is worth noting that Ainslie also apologised, but his reaction to the Jury's decision was to criticise their reaction. RYA's Olympic Manager also denied that an assault occurred.

Respected sailor, sailing author, judge and America's Cup umpire Brad Dellenbaugh commented: "It's interesting to see the spin, particularly from the RYA. While not condoning Ainslie's actions, it seems they are trying to lay this at the feet of ISAF for inappropriately trialing new television initiatives at the Worlds, then at that feet of the Jury for not letting the Championship be determined by the sailors on the water. The chance to win his sixth Worlds was taken away from him.

What fails to get mentioned is that he WAS winning the Worlds despite getting screwed by the wake. Stay in his boat; win the Worlds. The reason he didn't win the Worlds is because he couldn't control his anger and he boarded another boat. Period! I wonder how Elvstrom would have reacted."

Full commentary by "The Rat" in Afloat magazine:

Clipper 11-12 Race 8: Singapore to Qingdao, China
The four-way dog fight continues at the head of the pack, with De Lage Landen, Geraldton Western Australia, Gold Coast Australia and Singapore all vying for supremacy. Just 17 miles separates them in terms of distance to finish, and Gold Coast Australia's skipper, Richard Hewson, surmises that they are all racing within a 25-mile box.

The lead has changed hands a number of times in the last 24 hours and is likely to continue to do so as the teams deal with local and changeable conditions.

Meteorologist Simon Rowell, who provides the teams with updated information each day, explains what is likely to happen in the next few days, and how the local geography affects the winds.

He says, "The wind will continue to be changeable, due mainly to the high pressure cell currently south east of Japan continuing to move to the east. The east north easterly winds generated by this are funnelled through the Luzon Straits, and the island of Luzon itself acts as a massive lee, making the winds in the last corner of the South China Sea very fluky. Over the next two to three days another cell of high pressure will come off the Asian continent and will gradually bring back the north east monsoon. This will get pushed around and funnelled by large islands, particularly along the east coast of Taiwan."

The teams are due to begin arriving in the Qingdao International Marina and Olympic Sailing Center between 22 and 25 February.

Positions at 1200 UTC, Monday 13 February

1. De Lage Landen, 1,239nm to leg finish
2. Gold Coast Australia, 1nm to leader
3. Geraldton Western Australia, 13
4. Singapore, 15
5. Derry-Londonderry, 59
6. New York, 69
7. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 80
8. Visit Finland, 92
9. Qingdao, 159
10. Welcome to Yorkshire, 180

18ft Skiffs Presidents's Trophy
Click on image for photo gallery.

Sydney Harbour: The Smeg 18ft Skiff team of Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings grabbed a dramatic 26s win in the President's Trophy race over a 3-buoys course on Sydney Harbour today.

After trailing De'Longhi-Rabbitohs (John Sweeny, Keagan York and Ross Finney) for the entire race, Smeg's crew won a tactical battle over the concluding downwind leg of the course to take their narrow victory.

Third place went to Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Keiran Cowan and Stewart Wells), which finished a further 1m5s behind De'Longhi-Rabbitohs.

Another unsettled day saw the starter set a three lap windward-return course in an East/ENE breeze.

Conditions made it difficult for the backmarkers Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) to get into the race and they all finished well back in the fleet.

US champion Howie Hamlin also contested the race in CST Composites as a warm up for the Giltinan Championship next week.

The JJ Giltinan Championship, the world's premier 18ft Skiff regatta, will begin on Sydney Harbour next Friday 17 February with the Invitation Race for all competitors.

The first race of the championship will be sailed on Saturday 18 February, commencing at 4pm.

30 teams from USA, New Zealand and UK as well as Australian teams representing NSW, Queensland and Western Australia will contest the 63rd JJ Giltinan Championship. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

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 Adrian Morgan: Plus ca change... a billionaire using the America's Cup to further his own business interests; sounds like Sir Thomas Lipton and Larry Ellison are cut from the same cloth. One wanted to flog tea; the other develop waterfront property and both used a yacht race to further their ends. But this edition seems to be breaking all records for ludicrous rules. You can't build your boat until a certain date; you can't use another type of boat to practice in (China Team); you can't collaborate with foreign teams (TNZ), you can't even critisize the organisers, and so on ad nauseam. All designed to keep the costs down. You have to be kidding! What would they have said back in the good old days of 12 Metres and before if they had been told they couldn't build as many trial horses as they wanted, or for that matter use foreigners to help them develop the best boat? Hang on; isn't that what the Australians did when Ben Lexcen went to the Dutch to help with their keel? No wonder the America's Cup is so fascinating. An Absorbing Passion no less and full of ironies, intrigue and extraordinary characters.

* From Jeremy Spencer-Cooper: Now can we expect ISAF to come up with an enforceable Code of Practice to allow competitors respite from over zealous media boats? There should be a sailing qualified ISAF official on each and every media boat with the authority to direct the media boat to give adequate clearance to competitors. The competition must have priority over TV or there will be no competition.

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The Last Word
When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

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