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Teams Take A See-Saw Ride To Auckland
The final 1,000 nautical mile stretch of Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race to Auckland is proving to be a see-saw ride with small gains and miserable losses spreading right across the five boats chasing clear leaders Groupama. Although the runway to the Auckland finish is becoming shorter by the minute and while there seems to be no stopping the French at present, Groupama 4's skipper Franck Cammas is cautious.

"It's far from being a highway until the finish line," he remarked. "In two days' time we will have to deal with a transition to light airs and we will be upwind for 400 miles until the north of New Zealand."

At 1600 UTC today, Groupama 4 were over 130 nm ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) who had suffered in a light wind patch and lost 23 miles. With uncertain forecasts ahead, the race is now to North Cape at the northern tip of New Zealand's North Island and it is hard for the crews to think beyond that, such is the intensity in the fleet.

Groupama's substantial lead places the French team in a different weather pattern from the chasing five teams, which could have its disadvantages. "Being in front, we might enter a light wind area while the boats behind would come back," said Cammas. "We will have to make the most out of our 100-mile lead."

Leaderboard Wed, 07 Mar 2012, 4:03:10 UTC

1. Groupama, 828 nm to leg finish
2. Puma, 122.40 nm to leader
3. Telefonica, 151.80
4. Camper, 205
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 313.20
6. Sanya, 389.90

www.volvooceanrace.com

Brit, Yank Team Up Again to Defend Congressional Cup
Break out the Union Jack. The world's No. 1 match racer, Ian Williams of the UK, will return to defend his crown in the Long Beach Yacht Club's 48th Congressional Cup March 27-31, but he won't be the only sailing celebrity on the boat.

San Diego's Bill Hardesty, America's newly honored Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, will be at Williams' shoulder again calling tactics off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, as he did all last season when their Team GAR Pindar won three of seven events on the World Match Racing Tour to earn Williams his third title in five years.

His year started with the Congressional Cup, but now his status will be challenged by a fleet of nine rivals, including 2009 Congressional Cup winner Johnie Berntsson of Sweden, currently ranked No. 7, and veteran Gavin Brady of New Zealand, four-time winner of Congressional Cup, most recently in 2008.

Others, in order of world rank, are Laurie Jury, New Zealand (11); Staffan Lindberg, Finland (14); Eric Monnin, Switzerland, (15); Simon Ferrarese, Italy (17); William Tiller, New Zealand (19), and Taylor Canfield, U.S. Virgin Islands (27).

All of the above are ranked by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) based on their best four results in each of the last two years. Brady is barely ranked at 324th because he competed in only three events during that period, but his collection of four Crimson Blazers---the traditional take-home prize---are equaled only by Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg.

Williams, Berntsson, Jury and Ferrarese are among only nine WMRT card holders with automatic entry to the series' 2012 events. Lindberg, Monnin and Canfield have also competed in WRMT events.

This will be the first Congressional Cup for three skippers. Tiller won the 2011 Butler Cup but was runner up to Ferrarese in last year's Ficker Cup, the Congressional Cup qualifier event.  Jury was awarded a Congressional Cup berth by virtue of winning the 2011 Grand Slam, a series of four Grade 2 events held last summer on the East Coast. The winner of this year's Ficker Cup invitational event March 22-24 will earn the 10th berth, following the Butler Cup finale of the California Dreamin' Series for match racing aspirants March 17-18---altogether, a "March Madness of Match Racing" in Long Beach. -- Rich Roberts

www.concup.com

Walk-Ins Welcome at CCA's Safety At Sea Seminar
Newport, Rhode Island, USA: The Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar on March 17-18 introduces a new approach to safety education. The seminar serves sailors in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race as well as delivery and crews returning from Bermuda and other offshore sailors. It is also perfect for skippers and crews on coastal racers plus ocean and coastal cruisers, too. This Cruising Club of America seminar is at the Newport (RI) Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island.

Register at www.bermudarace.com/EntryProcess/ in advance. Or for those who choose to register at the door in Newport, walk-ins are welcome

On Saturday, March 17, the seminar offers two tracks. The morning 'refresher course' is for anybody who has attended two or more US SAILING certified safety seminars since 2002. Participants may then do hands-on, in-water survival training in the afternoon. They will earn an ISAF Approved Certificate in one day. The other track is the All-day Safety at Sea seminar for people who have not attended a safety seminar recently.

On Sunday, there are two all-day courses - the Practical, Hands on Training Safety Seminar that combines with Saturday's all day Safety at Sea Seminar to award the ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR training course. In addition, a Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar aimed specifically at Bermuda Race sailors will be held in the morning.

More information about the CCA Safety at Sea Seminar and a link to direct registration and details about the Newport Bermuda Race are at www.BermudaRace.com

Beneteau First 40 Available to Charter (and Individual Places) for British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta and Les Voiles de St Barth
Click on image to enlarge.

OnDeck Ondeck are able to offer Lancelot II, the 2011 model First 40 for whole boat charter for these two great regattas fully event managed with skipper/owner's rep and a wardrobe of great racing sails and all the gizmos to help grab the silverware! The First 40 is fast becoming a real favourite on the circuit with great handling and exhilarating speeds both up and downwind.

BVI's - Monday 26th March - Sunday 1st April (Starting Tortola)

Les Voiles de St Barth - Monday 2nd - Sunday 8th April (St Barts)

Last few individual berths also available on Farr 65 for both regattas as well as Antigua Sailing Week (27th April - 5th May)

Call or email now for a great last minute whole boat deals. +44 (0)1983 284300

www.ondecksailing.com/caribbean

Day Two Racing Blown Out On Biscayne Bay
Miami, Florida, USA: At 0900 EST, with an east-northeast 29-knot breeze gusting to 35 knots and a prediction for more of the same over the course of the afternoon, organizers of the 85th BACARDI Cup cancelled the day's scheduled race for the 67 registered Star teams. 

Headlining BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank, the Stars will race alone through Thursday, March 8, after which they will be joined by the Viper 640, Audi Melges 20, Melges 24 and J/80 classes.  Racing will conclude for all classes on Saturday, March 10.

Today's unplanned respite from racing allowed competitors to enjoy the hospitality lounge and BACARDI Rum tastings, along with the exhibitions of Rhode Island-based award-winning nautical photographer Onne van der Wal and "150 Years of BACARDI," a collection of information, photos and artifacts from the BACARDI museum.

Full results, photos and additional information on the 85th BACARDI Cup and BACARDI Miami Sailing Week are available at www.MiamiSailingWeek.com and www.BacardiCup.com

Champions Return to Tarbert
No sooner had Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series winner Jim Dick received the Scottish Series Trophy, the prestigious top award, than the Humberside owner-skipper pledged to return to Tarbert, Loch Fyne in 2012 to try and defend the title again.

Dick, a retired business executive, is set to honour that promise and is presently putting together his campaign which he hopes will see Jackaroo retain the major trophy.

The 2012 Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series will be the first of a series of events in the UK for Jackaroo which is likely to include the J/Cup on the Solent in July, the J/97 National Championships and the JP Morgan Round the Island Race.

His passion for sailing took Jim Dick to compete as a crew member on 'Hull and Humber' in the 2007-8 Clipper Round the World Race.

Completely inspired by the transformation that participation in the race made to the lives of some of the Hull and Humber's young crew, who were part of a social inclusion programme, helping them develop skills and self confidence which subsequently helped them find employment or advance into education or further training, Dick became co-founder of CatZero, an organisation which has subsequently helped hundreds of young people find a purpose in their lives.

"When I saw the transformation in the ten young people on board, much higher self esteem, very enthusiastic about what they were doing and how they became valued members of the crew, that progressed to setting up CatZero."

Funding from the NHS enabled the purchase for CatZero of a 72 foot Challenge yacht which is used to take youngsters on 10-day passages from Hull to the Orkney Islands.

In order to help raise funds towards the annual budget of £250,000 which it costs to keep the programme rolling, CatZero sells berths aboard the 72 footer for major races such as the ARC Race in which they won their class and the Fastnet Race.

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.

www.brewindolphinscottishseries.com

J/120 El Ocaso Earns "Most Worthy Performance Overall"
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten: The final day of the 32nd annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta closed in outstanding fashion last evening at the traditional Prize-Giving ceremony.

The evening's top prize-the St. Maarten Cup-for the regatta's Most Worthy Performance Overall went to Richard Wesslund's J/120, El Ocaso, the winner of the event's most competitive class, CSA 4.

The Caribserve-NTG Cup for Most Worthy Performance on Friday went to Frits Bus and Peter Houtzager aboard the Melges 24, Coors Light. The Heineken Cup for Most Worthy Performance on Saturday was presented to Jordan Mindich's Sun Odyssey 44, Aunt Jessie, in the CSA 4 class. Tom Goebel and Neil Harvey's Dufour 425, Chillin' The Most, took the Sint Maarten Yacht Club Cup for Sunday's Most Worthy Performance.The Overall Bareboat winner was the all women crew aboard Something Hot, Marieke Poulie's Sun Odyssey 44i, which also received the Goldendog Cup for the team's contribution to charity, a goal for many individual yachts that compete in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

The Panama Jack Cup for Fastest Multihull Around the Island on Friday's opening race was the impressive Irens 63 trimaran, Peter Aschenbrenner's Paradox. The Fastest Monohull (Spinnaker classes) was Ernesto Cortina's Volvo 70, Gran Jotiti, which earned the Windward Islands Bank Cup in honor of the feat.

Frederick Walters' Team Kincsem-Zourite, a 50-foot Beneteau, was presented the Bliss Cup awarded to the Fastest Bareboat Around the Island. Virago, the Swan 100 sailed by Bill and Carolyn Titus and their crew, received the Sol Cup for the Fastest Non-Spinnaker Yacht to circle St. Maarten.

Finally, the Xerox Obersi Cup, also known as the Spirit & Style Award, went to Michael Emmert and Richard Emmert's lovely Rhodes design, Golden-Eye, a competitor in the Lottery Class.

The 33rd annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will take place from February 28-March 3, 2013.

heinekenregatta.com

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

Update
Mike Sanderson is not having the easiest of Volvo Ocean Races, Terry Hutchinson  celebrates the success that is Key West Race Week, Paul ‘The Other Pope’ Henderson is backing Rodney all the way, Wouter  Verbraak analyses tactical performances on VOR Leg 3 and Sir Russell Coutts is tired of the negativity around the 34th America’s Cup

Olympic and small boat news - Serious times
Lijia ‘Lily’ Xu talks to Blue Robinson about human optimisation. Plus, will they be ‘Doing a Bradbury’ in 2013?

RORC news
Eddie Warden Owen

Design - Attention to the detail
Axel De Beaufort and an honest look at the performance gulf between raceboats and cruisers

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...

www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs

Spinnaker Tales
Caloundra 'Old Salt' Bob Robertson would dearly love to win another Brisbane to Gladstone race before he dries out his sea salt encrusted sea boots.

During his three decades of ocean racing the well known Sunshine Coast owner/skipper has flown his 'battle flag' in numerous coastal classics including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Sydney to Mooloolaba, Sydney to Gold Coast and the Brisbane to Gladstone classic.

He first burst onto the scene finishing third overall in the 1982 and 1983 Brisbane to Gladstone races with Hot Prospect ll before helming the chartered New South Wales Farr 40 Sellers Witchcraft ll to a close win over the Ian Kenny skippered The Gambler and the Arthur Bloore helmed Surefoot in 1987.

That win so long ago represents a career highlight for the veteran skipper who has owned many potential winners including Hot August Night, Queensland Maid, and Cracklin Rosie. His personal trophy cabinet also includes a Sydney to Hobart third place trophy with only one cup symbolising supremacy as the best overall corrected time performer in Queensland's premier ocean race.

However he has not given up the chase launching his latest challenger Lunchtime Legend last July to proudly represent Queensland in the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart eventually finishing 12th overall and 3rd in Division 4 after a little over four tactically tantalising days at sea.

The Hobart Race result was an encouraging performance which has listed Bob Robertson and the Lunchtime Legend crew among the major contenders to win the 64 year old The Courier Mail Cup over the Easter weekend.

Another win will be a fitting reward for the veteran campaigner who has the hard core experience of testing his tactical skill on what is described to be among Australia's most challenging coastal passage races.

However Bob Robertson's career results are respected both he and the Lunchtime Legend crew are faced with a supreme test of their experience to log the required boat speed to finish ahead of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club's high performance TP52 Shogun V (Robert Hanna) the Maroochy Sailing Club's Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria V (Rod Jones) and eight time race winner Saltash ll (Sandy Cavill).

All three radically different designed and handicapped yachts have the potential to spoil the party for the Lunchtime Legend crew however Bob Robertson remains confident. "It will be a case of being on the pace and making the tactical options work in your favour, I personally feel we are in with a chance". He Said.

As the past 63 races from the first won by the John Bourne skippered Sea Prince in 1949 to when Marcus Blackmore steered Hooligan to her win on Easter Saturday in 2011 have proved to be a supreme test which suggests the battle to win the 2012 QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone title over the tactically demanding 308 n/ml course will despite the pre-race banter eventually decide the best from the rest. -- Ian Grant

Final Call for Selection for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 2012
Sailors still to enter the selection process for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 2012 have up until Monday 26 March to get their entries in for a chance to represent RYA Team GBR.

The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 2012, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and run in association with the Royal Yacht Squadron, will take place in Cowes, Isle of Wight between 21 - 28 July 2012.

The RYA is urging parties interested in representing RYA Team GBR at the 2012 regatta to complete the entry form available online by Monday 26 March as there will be a maximum of four teams being entered; Team GBR Red, Blue, White and Black. The Offshore Group of the RYA has determined that three teams will be selected by a Selection Committee and one by RYA Scotland (conditions apply, see Notice of Selection).

In 2008 RYA Team GBR won the Commodores' Cup and narrowly missed out to Ireland in 2010. This year, the aim will be to pick four teams who have the potential to win this Summer as well as in future years.

RORC has introduced a change to the IRC rating band to encourage more entries. The smallest boats will have a minimum rating of 1.020 and the fastest boats a maximum rating of 1.230. Three boats can be chosen from this rating band with the proviso that only one boat in the team may rate 1.150 or above.

The Selection Trial events have been confirmed for RYA Team GBR:

- Offshore: the RORC Morgan Cup starting on 5th May 2012.  A 24-36 hour race round buoys in the Channel, starting and finishing in the Solent.
- Inshore: a Commodores' Cup rating band class in the Vice Admirals Cup on 18th -20th May 2012 organised by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes.

For more information on RYA Team GBR selections to the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 2012 visit the RYA website, or for more information regarding the Notice of Selection please contact or call 02380 604167.

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 Len Davies: The unsportsmanlike behaviour of Sam Mettam & Richard Anderton in the Draycote Dash brings to mind of a quote accredited to Paul Elvstrom who famously said: "You haven't won the race if, in winning, you have lost the respect of your competitors".

May these young men take note of these words and reflect for some time to come on just what they achieved by their actions!

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1994 Macgregor Challenge 24. EUR 375,000. Located in France.

This remarkable ketch has been successfully racing and cruising, accommodating a small crew and guests in luxury. Equipped with a extensive set of sails and deck equipment she is a lightning fast vessel, also in light winds due to her displacement of only 13.500kg. She is equipped with a wing keel designed by Ben Lexcen, famous for the America Cup winner Australia II. The large saloon is air conditioned and offers plenty of room for guest and crew. Navigation is done with a perfect view from the deckhouse.

In 2006 and 2007 she underwent a complete refit, including replacement of her engine. The electrical system has been replaced in 2009. Now seriously for sale is a sail-away state.

Brokerage through Tulip Yachts: www.yachtworld.com/tulipyachts/

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

The Last Word
There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. -- Richard Feynmann

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