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Rolex Trophy Rating Series
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Trophy Rating Series Two of the major players did not make the start line and two other highly fancied entries did enough damage to warrant pulling out of Race 2 of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series which started today on the Manly Circle just north of Sydney Heads.

A touch of start day nerves, some crew changes and lumpy seas all added to an interesting day of windward/leeward racing in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised series.

Listed as starters, Alfa Romeo and RAN did not turn up at the race course area. Neville Crichton, the owner of the New Zealand line honours challenger, instead decided to undertake crew training. The 100ft maxi was seen sharing Sydney Harbour with her main adversary for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI, prior to racing this morning

RAN's late Sydney arrival in the early hours of this morning after being off-loaded at Port Kembla following transportation from the UK by ship, meant there was too little time to prepare the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race overall winner for racing today. The good news is, fellow competitors and spectators can expect to see Niklas Zennstrom's JV 72 in action for the remaining three days of racing.

Meanwhile, out on the course area, the 12 remaining yachts sailed in two divisions on a lumpy sea that got rougher throughout the day in a 10-20 knot north to nor-easterly wind that gusted to 25 knots at times with the odd shift thrown in.

Rolex Sydney Hobart pre-race favourites Stephen Ainsworth's RP 63 Loki (CYCA) and Michael Hiatt's Farr 55 Living Doll from Victoria, were casualties of Race 2.

Loki, which finished Race 1 in second, was looking well placed when disaster struck. According to crew member Adam Barnes, they were at the top mark when they heard a loud bang. "We went below to check and found the shaft drive system had dropped - we don't know how it happened yet."

The yacht was taken immediately to Sydney City Marine where it will be hauled out of the water to reveal just how much damage has been done to the engine, propeller, gear box and bearings in the hull of the yacht. At this stage it is not known if the yacht will be race-ready for tomorrow's two windward/leewards.

The 1999 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Knee Deep (formerly Yendys), owned by West Australian winery operator Phillip Childs and Frank Van Ruth, left the course during Race 1 after jamming a spinnaker halyard. A crew member sent up the mast so the spinnaker could be dropped. It took some time, so boat and owners elected to pull out of racing today. -- Di Pearson

For Rolex Trophy Rating Series list of entries log on to:

Seriously Connected
Ludde Ingvall has been absent from the Rolex Sydney Hobart ever since he snuck his 90 foot maxi Nicorette first across the line amid the mayhem of the 2004 race.

Now he's back, the boat with a bigger rig and a new name - YuuZoo - and Ingvall has a bold new idea for dramatically increasing the exposure of ocean racing around the world.

"This Rolex Sydney Hobart is going to be one of the biggest events ever in sailing," he declares. "There have never been so many large supermaxis on the same start line and I didn't think it fair that all the other guys should have the fun without me.

"But mostly, this project is about all the youngsters who do this race, who are getting a chance to live this dream."

YuuZoo will be bulging with electronic gear of every sort, connected to the internet 24/7. Ingvall wants his young crew twittering and YouTubing and blogging until their typing fingers are worn out.

"One of the areas I believe sailing has gone wrong is we have 20 odd youngsters racing one of these fantastic boats to Hobart, one of the big adventures of the world, and we have one spokesman, a skipper who answers all the questions.

"It's time we allowed the youngsters to tell how they are experiencing being on a big boat, being part of a professional racing team, on this amazing adventure.

YuuZoo will be connected to the internet throughout the race, with 10 onboard cameras streaming constant vision of what is going on above deck, and plenty of especially robust computers below so the crew will be able to relay their personal experiences and achievements. -- Jim Gale/Rolex Sydney Hobart media team

Follow the team on

More Than 40 Years Of Quality Sails & Service
Ullman Sails The Ullman Sails group is proudly unique, bringing together individual sail lofts from all over the world that specialize in serving their local markets. With a rich combination of skilled designers and master sailmakers, we work together to ensure every Ullman Sails customer benefits from our international collaboration. We're ready to answer your questions and customize a plan to fit your budget. So whether you're contemplating an addition to your racing wardrobe or the best furling mainsail for your cruising boat, make an investment in your performance.

Contact a local Ullman Sails loft and visit us at

Can Sheriff ISAF Bring Order to the Wild West of Commercial Sailing?
There's a sense that if you are a promoter with enough money, you can do whatever you like in sailing. While ISAF are focused almost entirely on the Olympic classes, the rest of the sport is a free-for-all, or as Scott McLeod, formally of the World Match Racing Tour, now Vice-President for the WTA says - "it's like the Wild West".

One of the more controversial panels at the World Yacht Racing Forum was devoted to the governance of the sport. Scott McLeod was joined by Brawn F1 boss Nick Fry and ISAF Secretary General Jerome Pels to discuss some big issues. It provided some of the best quotes and misquotes of the two day conference.

According to Pels, ISAF has all the procedures that it needs to control the commercial side of the sport, but the structure of the world body is highly democratic and he admits that democracy and strategy don't always work together. Pels goes on to say, that ISAF has been too friendly to promoters and that in a desire to grow the sport, have not worried too much that some rights might infringe on others or clash with existing events.

Pels went on to say that if the sport is the wild west, then he is the new sheriff in town, to which McLeod retorted:

"If you are the new sheriff in town, then I hope you brought some guns."

McLeod's frustration refers to the recent situation where the newly formed World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and Louis Vuitton announced the Louis Vuitton World Series and promoted it as the premier match racing series in the sport. This contravened an agreement that the World Match Racing Tour has with ISAF that includes special event rights. Pels cites the event as an example of where ISAF has used its power to enforce the rules and require Louis Vuitton and the WSTA to remove the world 'World' from the event name.

The situation highlights the view by most promoters that they are not compelled to seek approval from ISAF and even if they did, the governing body is a pushover who will rubber-stamp any new event irrespective of calendar clashes, class wishes or the infringement of other rights.

To an outsider like Nick Fry, the whole discussion sounds adversarial and insular, and seems to suggest that the sport is lacking in stated objectives. If the sport truly wants to compete with other globally recognised sports then strong leadership needs to replace democracy in order to move forwards. Fry makes the point that tough decisions need to come from the top down - the FIA is not popular, but they are strong.

The full article in one of our favourites,

New Normandy Sailing Week
As is the case every year the Paris Boatshow, which closed its doors on Sunday, saw the main competitive yachting classes make their 2010 programme official.

Whether it be for classic one designs, sportsboats or racer-cruisers, the new Normandy Sailing Week, which will take place in Le Havre from 3rd/4th to 6th June 2010, is already set to rank among the events not to be missed.

Amongst the one designs, the J 80 class (8 m yacht from the J Boats yard) is the most popular and one of the most dynamic in France, a fact highlighted at the boatshow by Jean-Pierre Champion, President of the FFVoile, during the prize-giving for the French J 80 Cup. The latter organisation has registered Normandy Sailing Week in its 2010 programme.

The Farr 30 (9.3 m in length) groups together the cream of French crewed sailing in a circuit entitled French Crewed Championship, which comprises the Tour de France à la Voile and a Grand Prix style event spanning the 3 'basins': the Atlantic, the English Channel and the Mediterranean. Normandy Sailing Week will be the Channel rendez-vous for the Farr 30s, as well as the last big event prior to the start of the Tour de France à la Voile three weeks later. As is the case in other Grands Prix, the event will comprise a long race stretching over 100 miles, across the sublime waters of the Baie de Seine. 2010 is also the last year that the Farr 30 will be the designated craft for the summer circuit around the coast of France. Indeed 2011 is scheduled to see the arrival of the M 34 from the Archambault yard.

The Beneteau 7.5 will be using the event in Le Havre to run the Channel selection process for the French Junior Championship, which will also be taking place in Le Havre at the end of August.

In the sportsboats category the second edition of the Class 6.5 Championship (for 6.50 m) will be hosting its third stage at Normandy Sailing Week.

Normandy Sailing Week is also a candidate for playing host to a very fine fleet of Longtze, within the framework of its Longtze European Tour.

For the racer-cruisers (from 7 to 15 m, or over...), the UNCL trophies are the reference for the Atlantic, Channel and Mediterranean in terms of IRC class events and are jointly managed by the two big offshore racing clubs that are formed by the UNCL (National Offshore Racing Union) in France and the R.O.R.C (Royal Ocean Racing Club) in the UK. Normandy Sailing Week is registered in the Trophee Manche UNCL (Channel Trophy) as one of 9 events between Saint Malo and Calais.

Finally, the IRC fleets are the perfect craft to attract the numerous British and Northern European yachts to the Norman event and a whole series of new links were formed with the R.O.R.C during the boatshow. Furthermore, with 2010 being a Commodore's Cup year, an IRC event of global renown raced every two years in the Solent in August, Normandy Sailing Week will be the ideal event to open their season and see how they measure up. -- translated by Kate Jennings

Best Sailors' Bar In The World
Wight Vodka Thousands of votes cast, and some serious viral marketing going on from some clubs and patrons... it's all good. Your humble narrator even got a call today from a reporter in Marblehead Massachusetts asking about how Maddie's Sail Loft was doing in the vote count.

We've now got our top ten, and voting starts up again and continues through next Tuesday December 22nd. We'll announce the winner on the 23rd.

Our top ten...

The Candy Store - Newport, RI, USA, 1742 votes
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club - Hong Kong, 1182
Maddie's Sail Loft - Marblehead, MA USA, 639
IYAC - Newport RI, USA, 575
Cafe Sport - Horta, Azores, 397
Bitter End Yacht Club - British Virgin Islands, 337
Le Select - St. Barts, 267
Foxy's Tamarind Bar and Grill - Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, 202
Willy T - Norman Island, British Virgin Islands, 174
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Hamilton Bermuda, 161

Place your vote (for just one) at

While you're mulling over your choice... try one or more of these...

Wight Martini

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The Best Sailors' Bar in the World contest is brought to you by Wight Vodka... Tack and Gybe Responsibly!

Entry Deadline Closing In For The Shetland Round Britain & Ireland 2010
The closing date for entries for next year's Shetland Round Britain & Ireland race is just one month away (January 31st). With a maximum of 50 boats allowed and 44 competitors already booked in spaces are limited.

The Shetland Round Britain & Ireland race has the support of many sailing greats including: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston; Steve Fosset and Pete Goss MBE. It is a truly global event with competitors taking part in 2010 deriving from Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Belgium.

Many well known sailors have already signed up, including the winner of the OSTAR 2009 (Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race), Jankees Lampe. Jankees broke the record for a 40ft vessel when he completed the trans-Atlantic race earlier this year, finishing in just 17 days, 17 hours and 40 minutes. He will certainly be the one to watch in next year's race and will be competing in his boat Roaring Again. The forty footer is strong and fast and ideally suited to the rigorous conditions north of Scotland.

Race regulars, Jerry Freeman and Mary Falk will be joining forces to sail together in Mary's sloop Q11. Jerry has already sailed the Q11 to America in this summer's OSTAR.

Another sailor whose love for the race has bought him back to compete after nearly 30 years, is Finnish sailor David Von Flittner. This time David will be sailing with his son Nicholas in their 50ft trimaran, Rauma Repola.

Shetland Islands Council, who announced its sponsorship of the event in June, is now gearing up to promote the race and welcome the crews to Lerwick, one of the four compulsory stops during the race. Shetland is the ideal sponsor of the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland 2010 due to its maritime links and history, as well as its 35 marinas.

The race will depart from Plymouth on 6th June 2010 and see the competitors sail 2000 nautical miles around the UK coastline. The race has been hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club every four years since 1966.

Splash Worlds
On Saturday 2 January, nearly 80 young sailors from 11 countries will take over Takapuna Beach with multi-coloured sailing dinghies and seek to prove on the racecourse that they have what it takes to be the best in the world.

The sailors are competing in the week-long Splash World Sailing Championships - a prestigious international event for single handed (solo) dinghy youth sailors.

Amongst them will be reigning World Champion Declan Burn, and reigning Girls Champion, Nienke Reina Jorna of the Netherlands.

2008 winner and NZL sailor Ben Lutze is another national favourite to watch, as are 2007 World Optimist Champion, Auckland sailor Chris Steele, and European Opti Champ Etienne Le Pen of New Caledonia, and 2008 World Girls Champ and 2009 Runner-Up, Philipine van Aanholt for The Dutch Antilles.

The Splash Dinghy is a fast, modern single handed dinghy designed for sailors under the age of 19. Favoured for its ability to build confidence in mostly teenage sailors, the boat is a step up from the Optimist, and a precursor and training vessel for the Laser class raced by both men and women at the Olympic Games.

In 2009 New Zealand won the Nations Cup at the Splash World Champs held in Europe, winning the team the right to host the Champs locally this year. Takapuna Boating Club, led by event director Grant Cunningham, are the event organisers.

Participating countries include New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Netherlands Antilles, Germany, France, Peoples Republic of China, The Czech Republic, American Samoa, Samoa and Switzerland.

Racing proper starts at 11am on Monday 4 January, and conditions permitting, 13 races will be held, finishing on Friday 8 January, and followed by a prizegiving on the Saturday.

Short Tacks Phoenicia
* After the longest leg of the expedition yet Phoenicia has successfully reached the Comoros Island Mayotte, East Africa. The passage from Salalah, Oman, took longer than originally planned with the vessel having to take a wide course to avoid a Somali piracy group operating to the north east of the Seychelles. As a result of the increase in piracy activity the Captain took the decision to re-route the expedition via Mayotte as opposed to Tanzania. This passage took a total of 47 days and covered over 3,000 miles. A wonderful achievement for Phoenicia and her crew who have proved she can succeed against the odds on this challenging route

Click on image to enlarge.

With the passage to East Africa complete Captain Philip Beale and his crew are now replenishing supplies and planning the onwards course of the circumnavigation. The ship will depart Mayotte within the next few days headed for Beira, Mozambique. From Mozambique Phoenicia will sail to South African ports Richard's Bay, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay before attempting to negotiate one of the most notorious stretches of coast - the Cape of Good Hope - and sailing into Cape Town. --

* This morning at dawn, in a Force 7 wind with gusts and a stormy sea, Liz Wardley aboard the SolOceans One-design suffered two knock downs due to successive failures of the NKE autopilot. The SolOceans One-design has dismasted 158 miles west of Madeira and 619 miles south west of Lisbon (Portugal). Liz Wardley is not hurt and there is no damage to the SolOceans One-design. Liz Wardley quickly cleared the deck of the mast pieces to avoid damaging the hull or the deck. She will set a jury rig and sail for Lisbon without assistance. --

* The Seascapes radio broadcast for December 18, 2009 at 10.30 p.m. on RTE Radio 1

- First Irish electric ship.
- Christmas on Cape.
- Sailing lessons and handling boats.
- Inland Waterways Report.
- Christmas on the offshore islands.
- How the lifeboats deal with Christmas.
- Review of the latest marine news and views.

All on Seascapes this Friday night, at 10.30 p.m. and on Monday mornings at 5 a.m.

Seascapes, presented by Tom MacSweeney and produced by Marcus Connaughton, is also available as a Podcast and is also broadcast twice a week on the Digital Station, RTE Choice, on Wednesday mornings at 7.30 a.m. and Saturday lunchtimes at 12.30 p.m. Listeners can also hear Seascapes as a download on Sky Digital 0160 - NTL Channel 901 and in Northern Ireland on Virgin Media - Channel 917.

Podcasts at

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1998 Carroll Marine Farr 40, US$90,000. Located in Newport, RI, USA.

PRETTY SKETCHY was bought by her present owner in 2005. He bought a new set of sails from Quantum in 2006, he modified her for the existing Farr 40 class mast head kites, and he has now lowered his asking price to $90,000 USD and is open to offers. Hull # 22, she needs some elbow grease, but nothing that a little time cannot take care of. He has not raced her since 2008. Very good for reginal low keyed Farr 40 racing or PHRF racing at the club level. Details available on request.

Brokerage through Thoroughbred Yacht Sales:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Because we live in an age of science, we have a preoccupation with corroborating our myths. -- Michael Shermer

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