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Etchells Worlds 2012: Local Hero Leads on First Day
Etchells The Australian team of Graeme Taylor, Grant Simmer and Steve Jarvin (Magpie) were back on form today in the first day of racing of the Etchells World Championship 2012.

Taylor finished fourth in race one and then a firm first in race two of the day to place first overall with five points. Into second place overall with eight points came the Iron Lotus team led by Olympic gold medalist Tom King ably assisted by two other Olympians, David Edwards and Owen McMahon, and fourth man Ivan Wheen.

In third place overall on nine points was USA skipper and former Etchells World Champion, Vince Brun with his Australian Menace team of Michael Coxon, Harry Smith and Paul Westlake.

Taylor had his work cut out for him today. He was challenged by some brilliant sailing in the 74-boat international fleet.

After a poor showing in the recent Australian Championships, Taylor had his starts and time on distance beautifully controlled. It was then a case of reading the wind shifts, the strong set and the tactics of his closest competitors.

There are six protests to be heard tonight including one lodged by the British skipper, James Howells, seeking redress for his OCS in race two.

The line-up of the top ten placegetters makes for interesting reading. Four Etchells World Champions, an Olympic gold medalist, a winning maxi boat skipper and a couple of quiet achievers including skipper Matthew Chew who raced with Jason Muir and won the 2009 Etchells World Championship.

The provisional top 10 places after two races

Place, Country, Sail, Skipper, Total
1. Graeme Taylor, AUS, 5
2. Tom King, AUS, 8
3. Vincent Brun, USA, 9
4. Murray Gordon, AUS, 16
5. Michael Manford, AUS, 19
6. Cameron Miles, AUS, 20
7. Jud Smith, AUS, 22
8. John Bertrand, AUS, 26
9. Mark Richards, AUS, 30
10. Matthew Chew, AUS, 32

www.etchellsworlds2012.org

* Late update at press time:

On day two of the Etchells World Championship 2012 being held offshore of Sydney Heads, racing has been abandoned for the 74-boat fleet due to large seas and heavy wind conditions.

PRO Ross Wilson said, "the conditions when we first went out were reading about 23 knots with a big set which was whipping up the seas to about a four metre swell; certainly unsafe for the Etchells sailors.

It is intended that there will two races tomorrow. Then two races on Thursday, two on Friday and one on Saturday.

"The forecast for tomorrow looks absolutely perfect and improving as the week goes on. We are confident we can get back on track," Wilson said.

RORC Caribbean 600
The shifty squally conditions at the start were the beginning of a few surprises on Day One of the RORC Caribbean 600. George David's Rambler leads the entire fleet on the water but Amanda Hartley's Swan 56, Clem was the overall handicap leader at 1630 ECT. The lighter than usual conditions provided a tranquil reach to the North Sails Mark at Barbuda. The mark rounding was a calm wind affair for many but as the wind shifted from north to south on approach to Barbuda it became fraught with difficulties. The larger yachts can take several minutes to gybe and the 180' twin masted schooner Adela needs an army of 12 just to work the four runners.

In the Superyacht class, Peter Harrison's Farr 115, Sojana passed Gerhard Andlinger's P2 shortly after rounding Green Island. Sojana's ketch rig has been further enhanced by a brand new retractable bowsprit built into a now redundant anchor locker. The additional sail area looks to have improved reaching speeds. Hetairos leads the class on the water by some distance, but Sojana lead on corrected time just ahead of P2.

In IRC Zero, George David's RP90 Rambler has put in a class performance and leads the entire fleet on the water. The 90ft maxi passed Paradox with a stunning rounding of the North Sails Mark off Barbuda. Rambler judged the approach to perfection, getting the layline bang-on in the shifting breeze to take up pole position. However, Niklas Zennstrom's JV72, Ran are the current IRC leaders on the water. The Mini Maxi is just two miles behind Rambler but Ran is an astonishing two hours ahead on handicap.

The Class40s are enjoying some close racing. Hannah Jenner, co-skipper of 40 Degrees and Tim Fetch's Icarus Racing have taken up the early running. 40 Degrees is leading but the difference in VMG between all four yachts is less than half a knot. The downwind leg to Nevis could see some interesting tactics come into play, especially if tonight's predicted rain squalls come into play.

In IRC One, Amanda Hartley's Spanish Swan 56, Clem has started extremely well, taking a half-mile lead against Colin Buffin's Swan 62, Uxorious IV. Clem has an interesting blend of crew, including round the world yachtman Guillermo Altadill and TP52 MedCup's Nacho Postigo.

The clear leader in IRC Two is Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster chartered by race coach specialist, Sailing Logic. It is early in the race but Scarlet Oyster could be a real dark horse for the overall handicap win, especially if the breeze picks up on Wednesday, as predicted.

caribbean600.rorc.org

The usual superb tracking from YellowBrick at caribbean600.rorc.org/2012-fleet-tracking.html

* For iPhones (the above link uses Flash, hence will not render on most mobile devices), there is an app: itunes.apple.com/gb/app/yellowbrick/id452193682?mt=8

Note: the app is free, but then one has to pay a small fee per race. 1.99 USD for your humble narrator, and it's an extremely well done piece of code.

What's On at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show 2012?
RYA Volvo Dinghy Show 2012 The RYA Volvo Dinghy Show, in association with Suzuki and Yachts & Yachting, will be showcasing all the very best that the dinghy sailing world has to offer, over the weekend of 3-4 March at Alexandra Palace, London.

From kit, boats and gear to expert analysis and insight on the Volvo Main Stage and top tips from some of dinghy sailing's leading experts and coaches in the Coaching Area. With over 200 sailing clubs, classes and associations, chandlers and boat builders and a whole host of exhibitors, all under one roof, the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show is a must for all dinghy sailors.

What to expect for 2012
As has come to be expected from the show there is great line up of informative talks and coaching sessions taking place throughout the weekend from some of the sports leading experts, coaches and sailors. From towing, tactics and technology to racing rules, trapezing and wetsuit repairs.

We'll be celebrating our Olympic and Paralympic sailing heritage with the RYA's 'Our Sporting Life – Sail for Gold' exhibition. On display will be photos and memorabilia through the ages, with items kindly shared with us by past Olympic and Paralympic sailors.

In the West corridor there will be a fantastic centenary celebration display of Jack Holt designed dinghies, kids can enjoy the ever popular treasure hunt or they can relax and surf the net in the Volvo Chill-Out Bubble.

There will also be special visit from Team Volvo's and Skandia Team GBR's 470 pairing Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills. The top sailors will take time out of their busy training schedules to head to the show for the whole weekend to inspire and motivate the next generation of sailors.

"The show has a really unique atmosphere and with the Games on the horizon and guest appearances from Team GBR and Team Volvo sailors, it will have an added buzz about it this year. So as well as being a great place to get up close to your sailing heroes, you can check out all the latest equipment, boats and kits; meet up with friends, win great prizes and chat with class associations, have fun and much more", commented Helen Waterhouse, RYA Volvo Dinghy Show Manager.

So, whatever your age and sailing ability there really is something for everyone.

Book your ticket now.

For more information, full show schedule and to book your tickets visit www.dinghyshow.org.uk or call the ticket hotline on 0844 811 0409.

Cape Horn Approaches
At 18:00 GMT on Sunday, Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel re-took the lead in Leg 3 of the Global Ocean Race (GOR) with Cessna Citation as Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon climbed north with Financial Crisis, dropping back to second place as the new leaders built on their lead overnight. In third place with Phesheya-Racing, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire have reached 56S - the same latitude as Cape Horn 1,200 miles to the east - and have passed the area of iceberg sightings reported by Cessna Citation last Wednesday.

In the 15:00 GMT position poll on Monday, Colman and Kuttel had increased their lead by 35 miles since overtaking Nannini and Ramon with Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis averaging between seven and nine knots as the extremely shifty wind clocks round to the west.

The leading pair of boats has submitted their Cape Horn ETAs with Colman and Kuttel on Cessna Citation betting on 05:00 GMT on Wednesday and Nannini and Ramon on Financial Crisis predicting 21:00 GMT on Wednesday. Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire have a further 200 miles remaining before they must submit the ETA for Phesheya-Racing.

GOR leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 20/2/12:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 1827 8.6kts
2. Financial Crisis DTL 35 7.7kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 772 8kts

globaloceanrace.com

* Our moment of glory as leaders of the Global Ocean Race was short-lived, as predicted the reaching conditions favoured the newer more powerful Cessna who simply pulled away averaging 1-2 knots faster despite our every effort to bear away and sail as fast as possible. Now finally the wind has turned round and we are sailing downwind but unfortunately we are paying the price of our torn masthead spinnaker so again we are losing ground, we'll need a bit of luck after the horn for a chance to catch up again.

Today however my thoughts are far more preoccupied with something else, there's a storm brewing due to be sweep across Cape Horn exactly at the same time as we expect to go round. The centre of a deep depression would be centred in the middle of Drake Passage with very strong south-south-esterly winds blowing at the horn. The weather files show sustained winds of around 40 knots due in 48 hours but the reality is that we should expect far more than this, after the cold front the unstable air mass could mean winds gusting 60-70 knots or more.

We would need to stay off the continental shelf to avoid the worst of the steep waves that form where the sea bed rises sharply, much the same way as in the Bay of Biscay, unsurprisingly another nasty place in bad weather. Given the wind direction it would be easy to be pushed over the shelf and find ourselves struggling to keep away from land and unable to ride the storm with no space to run downwind.

Serious weather would be certainly frightening, possibly not life threatening but undoubtedly the risk of damage would be high. An option would be to slow down or even stop for a while to ensure the low pressure system displaces to the east of us so that once we resume our course we will know the weather is on it's way to improve rather than taking the risk of being cornered and trapped with no easy way out.

We have to make a decision within the next 12 hours otherwise we will have gone to far to avoid the worst that is forecast to come. -- Marco Nannini

marconannini.com

Sickness and Slamming
Sea sickness and waves as high as five metres are making life difficult for all six teams on the first day of the second stage of Leg 4 from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand.

Conditions on board have been brutal as the crews struggle to rein in their Volvo Open 70s to avoid teeth-rattling crash landings off the backs of the monster waves left over from several days of gale force winds.

A drifting start in the wind shadow of Sanya's towering mountains belied the testing weather the crews found themselves in just hours later, after the wind and sea state quickly ramped powering them towards the Strait of Luzon at speeds up to 20 knots.

Race organisers split Leg 4 into two stages in order to prevent the fleet encountering conditions considered un-sailable in the South China Sea.

Conditions were light and fickle for the second stage start at 2300 UTC on Sunday (0700 today in Sanya), all but wiping out the effects of the staggered start sequence from the Stage 1 coastal race less than 24 hours previously.

After tacking north around midday today, at 2200 UTC tonight Chris Nicholson/AUS and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand were the leaders of the pack as Volvo fleet bashes upwind across the South China Sea towards the ominous Luzon Strait, 446 nautical miles (nm) ahead.

The crew of CAMPER has always felt confident about the conditions faced on this leg, having trained in the rugged waters off Auckland, however there is no room for complacency in this fleet and Nicholson has to protect his position from a challenging Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) who is just 0.7 nm astern and averaging one knot faster.

In third place, Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is seven nm back and has overall race leader Telefónica nipping at his heels just .30 nm behind. PUMA in sixth has yet to make up their earlier deficit and is 22 nm adrift.

The six-boat fleet will take around three days to cross the South China Sea to the Strait of Luzon and are expected to complete the 5,220 nm second stage of Leg 4 to Auckland around March 8.

volvooceanrace.com

Sales Professional - Luxury Sailing Yachts
Oyster Award winning, UK yacht builder, Oyster Marine, has an exciting opportunity for an experienced sales professional to join our international sales team.

The successful candidate will have to demonstrate an ability to earn the respect and confidence of Oyster's discerning customers, with a proven track record of building strong customer relationships and selling a premium product. Whilst marine industry knowledge would be useful, e.g brokerage sales, the successful candidate must be an experienced yachtsman. Fluency in at least one other European language, in addition to English, would be an advantage but is not essential.

Full training will be given whilst initially based at our UK head office. By mutual agreement the applicant could be located at our head office in Ipswich or at our new office in Palma, Mallorca.

Applications will be treated in the strictest confidence and should be sent for the attention of Murray Aitken to

No agencies thank you.

www.oystermarine.com

Saving GPS
A proposed wireless broadband network that would provide voice and Internet service using airwaves once reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions should be shelved because it interferes with GPS technology, the Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday.

The F.C.C. statement revokes the conditional approval for the network given last year. It comes after an opinion by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which said that "there is no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time" with GPS devices. The telecommunications and information agency oversees telecommunications policy at the Commerce Department.

The news appears to squash the near-term hopes for the network pushed by LightSquared, a Virginia company that is majority-owned by Philip Falcone, a New York hedge fund manager.

LightSquared said on Tuesday that the testing of the network was "severely flawed." It "remains committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns," the company said in a statement.

The network has been opposed by organizations and industries that make heavy use of GPS systems, including the military, aviation, construction and agriculture.

Full article by Edward Wyatt in the NY Times:

www.nytimes.com

RS:X Fin and Sail Equipment Evaluation
The RS:X Class is pleased to announce their test event to evaluate possible changes to the current RS:X equipment for the next quadrennial. After consulting ISAF and Neil Pryde and taking due account of the world economic situation, the class has decided to withdraw the lightweight hull from the process and focus on granular testing fins and sails only.

The goal is to boost current performance whilst keeping the cost of any changes to a minimum and allowing those changes to be dealt with by amending the class rules.

Our idea would be to phase in any agreed changes so that used equipment from the Olympic fleet could continue to be used by the youth fleets for international youth championships for an agreed number of years.

The RS:X class will be running this test event in Cadiz from March 9th to 14th. Testers will range in weight, height, experience and age so that results give a good cross section of opinion. We would like to invite any top level sailors who will be training on the same waters at the same time to take part for an agreed number of hours/days.

The RS:X Class Annual General Meeting which will take place on March 24th will vote on submissions concerning future equipment so that the class can make a full report to ISAF before the 2012 ISAF Mid Year Meeting.

Featured Brokerage
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With a comprehensive inventory and faultless development program, this literally is a step-aboard program. Also included are her own shipping container, shipping cradle and spares for nearly every system onboard.

Available for someone who wants the one of the fastest, strongest, safest, proven 40ft racing yachts at a fraction of the cost of replacement. An inspection is worthy of your time and will not disappoint.

Brokerage through Ensign Ship Brokers: www.yachtworld.com/ensignbrokers/

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

The Last Word
Here's a movie we should watch.
Who's in it?
It says 'Japanese Cast'...two big rubbery monsters slug it out over major metropolitan centres in a battle for world supremacy...doesn't that sound great?
And people say that foreign film is inaccessible. -- Calvin & Hobbes

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