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Groupama Lead The Way As Leg 4 End Nears
Groupama sailing team's 84.7-nautical mile lead could be unassailable, given that strong wind is forecast from Cape Reinga right through to the finish in Auckland, but the race for podium places remains a tight one among the careworn fleet after 19 days at sea.

The pack is chasing hard, but concentrating on beating each other rather than mounting an assault on Groupama, who have just over 400 nm to go in Leg 4. This would only be possible should the French team sail into a windless hole after rounding the Cape, and while leg wins have been lost before in the final miles of the course, it looks unlikely this time.

There will be some very tired crews celebrating in Auckland this weekend. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) are particularly exhausted after three consecutive days and two consecutive nights of squalls, which resulted in some very stressful sailing.

At 1900 UTC, both second-placed Telefonica (Iker Martínez/ESP) and third-placed PUMA, separated by just nine nm, had closed to within 95 nm of the leg leader, as the entire fleet made gains. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) are anxious to recoup miles whenever they can and PUMA is potentially their victim. With only 25 nm between them, Nicholson aimed straight at the Cape with his foot hard down, hoping to make a gain.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) have a contest with Team Sanya, who have Mike Sanderson as the only skipper from New Zealand in the race. With Sanya sailing faster and closing to within 21 nm, Ian Walker will have his team fully focused on the job in hand.

www.volvooceanrace.com

24-Hour Record Attempt Aborted
Click on image to enlarge.

Maserati Charleston, South Carolina: Last night, sailing toward Cape Hatteras, Maserati's windward rudder was seriously damaged after hitting a chunk of wood in the Atlantic. The crew has returned to Charleston where Maserati's rudder will be immediately replaced with a spare.

The boat set off yesterday at 1:30 a.m. local time for a 24-hour monohull record attempt. They were sailing offshore to place themselves in the perfect conditions of a cold front, which looked to be an excellent chance for high speeds. The record attempt has been postponed due to the rudder damage and missed opportunity to reach the best weather.

Giovanni Soldini, reached on the phone, explained: "It was night, we couldn't see anything. We hit a chunk of wood with the windward rudder. Air bubbles formed along the side of the rudder: it doesn't work any longer and suffers from cavitation. We are forced to return to Charleston as we have no possibility of attempting the record in this condition."

The crew returned to the Seabreeze Marina in Charleston early this morning. A diver will inspect the hull and ensure there is no additional damage from the incident. The Maserati crew will analyze the weather once again to investigate another possible weather window for taking on this challenging record.

maserati.soldini.it

Finding Your Local IRC Rule Authority Online
The IRC rating system is administered around the world through Rule Authorities, although all certificates are processed either by the RORC Rating Office or the UNCL Centre de Calcul.

The Rule Authority is in effect the local IRC agent. They are able to help regarding applications, measurements, any local policies regarding weighing and measurement, or any IRC queries that owners or race organisers have (if they don't know the answer, they will pass on the query to RORC or UNCL).

If in doubt as to which Rule Authority is the appropriate one for a boat, it is based on where the boat predominantlly races (as opposed to where she may be registered).

Owners can now see all the Rule Authorities and find the contact details of their local office via an interactive map on the IRC website: www.ircrating.org/en/contact/rule-authorities-map

A New York Surprise?
The America's Cup will grace San Francisco not once, not twice, but thrice, citizens were promised: before catamarans race for the main Cup currently held by Larry Ellison's Oracle team in 2013, there will be smaller World Series races in October and in August, according to plans the race event authority floated before city leaders.

That may change, event organizers quietly mentioned in a release this week: the boats may in fact race here only twice. The August race could be in New York City, the Event Authority said in a March 5 release, issued to announce that NBC secured television broadcast rights.

This came as a surprise to San Francisco officials and New Yorkers alike, but is likely nothing more than a "head-fake" from an event authority angry over a scaled-down deal.

The possibility of losing a race to New York is a "surprise" to Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, involved in negotiations to scale back the waterfront land giveaway promised to race organizers in return for gracing San Francisco Bay with their boats. "This was not something I've been told by the AC Event Authority," Chiu told The Snitch via text message late Wednesday.

Reached via telephone in Newport on Wednesday, Michael Levitt, communications director for the New York Yacht Club, of which Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a member, said he had yet to hear of any plans to race sailboats in New York.

Under the original agreement, Ellison's race team was to spend $55 million to rebuild Piers 30 and 32 in exchange for rent-free use of them for 66 years and title to Seawall Lot 330 -- all prime, undeveloped waterfront property -- nearby.

Those plans -- which likely could have left the city in debt until the year 2100 -- were scuttled last week, after the Event Authority failed to secure sponsorship rights.

blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/

Clipper Race 9: Qingdao to San Francisco Bay, California
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital's crew have been racing to close the gap on the rest of the fleet since suspending racing yesterday to medevac an injured crew member.

Alan Stewart is recovering after receiving hospital treatment for a fractured leg while the crew gets back to the business of racing across the Pacific Ocean.

"Once Alan had been safety hoisted on board the Coast Guard ship and onwards to hospital in Kagoshima city, it was time for Edinburgh Inspiring Capital to return to where we had first engaged our engine and from there we killed the donkey and resumed racing," explains skipper, Gordon Reid.

"On restarting the race the lead boat was almost 60 miles ahead but after some solid focus and hard work overnight we have reduced that gap to 40 miles and continue to ride the Purple Beastie hard as we chase down and continue to catch the fleet.

"From my initial contact with the Falmouth MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to evacuation took only four hours. The crew all pulled together and did what was required to ensure the safe transfer of Alan to the Japanese Coast Guard. A huge thank you goes to the Falmouth MRCC and the Japanese Coast Guard for their friendly and efficient approach."

As they rounded the southern tip of Japan at the first waypoint the team representing Scotland's capital city may well have been able to take advantage of the lessons learned by the teams ahead of them, some of whom had found themselves becalmed and drifting backwards in a back eddy from the powerful Kuroshio current which flows north past Japan.

Positions at 0900 UTC, Thursday 8 March 2012

1. Gold Coast Australia - 4,914nm to leg finish
2. Singapore, 9nm to leader
3. Geraldton Western Australia, 9nm
4. De Lage Landen, 13nm
5. New York, 13nm
6. Derry-Londonderry, 15nm
7. Qingdao, 17nm
8. Visit Finland, 18nm
9. Welcome to Yorkshire, 19nm
10. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 44nm

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Volvo Ocean Race: Big Ecomomic Benefit and Visitors Confirmed for NZ
'The benefits of the Volvo Ocean Race stopover to Auckland were spelled out by Rachael Dacy of Auckland Tourism and Economic Events. 'This event does means a lot to Auckland, injecting $30.3million into the Auckland economy'.

'We also have the Marine Showcase Expo happening in the Viaduct Event Centre', she added.

Then CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race Knut Frostad took up the running, 'I'm really happy to be back in New Zealand', he said recalling the two previous visits he made - first as a sailor and then as a skipper in the Race.

Tom Mayo Port Director for the stopover continued:' Volvo Group are bringing in about 1,000 people for the stopover from as far away as the Czech Republic, Asia Pacific and Australia. They are here for 4-5 days and will be attending the Volvo Awards which will be staged at the Hilton Hotel. There's a large footprint that comes with the race in terms of visitors and international media,' he added.

The Volvo Village officially opens on Thursday at 8.00pm

sail-world.com

2012 Farr 40 USA Circuit Championship Event # 2
Click on image to enlarge.

Farr 40 Farr 40 teams battled it out in big breeze and even bigger waves off the coast of Miami Beach over the course of three races on Thursday, March 8th, the second day of the 2012 Farr 40 USA Circuit Championship Event #2. A beautiful and sunny beach backdrop set the landscape for the race course with winds from the East at 20 to 25 mph.

After a short postponement before Race 1 the fleet was split on the starting line, half the fleet choosing the committee boat end, including including Alberto Rossi's Enfant Terrible, who rounded third at the top mark behind Helmut & Evan Jahn's Flash Gordon and Jim Richardson's Barking Mad. Enfant Terrible managed to fly downwind past Flash Gordon, rounding the left gate and gaining a strong lead on the rest of the fleet, taking a first place in Race 1 followed by Wolfgang Schaefer's Struntje Light and Jim Richardson's Barking Mad.

Storm Trysail Club Race Committee officials wasted no time moving into the second race of the day, which started shortly after noon, with boats crowding the starting line near the committee boat, racing upwind for a tight top mark rounding. Enfant Terrible sailed a flawless race with Francesco Bruni calling tactics, with impressive first place finish in Race 2, crossing the line moments before Nico Poons' Charisma and John Demourkas' Groovederci.

The Italian team of Enfant Terrible was once again victorious in Race 3, flying past the competition and proving that the large swells and big breeze were no match for them. Hasip Gencer's Asterisk UNO led the fleet on the first upwind leg, but were soon passed by the Italians, who finished the day with only 3 points. Great boat handling and tactics make for tight mark roundings, but close ended up being too close, when Struntje Light and Charisma collided near the offset mark of the 1st downwind leg. Both boats sustained damage, but luckily none of the crews were injured and both teams plan on racing tomorrow. 

Twitter: Farr40Class
Facebook: Farr 40 Class
Youtube: Farr Forty

farr40.org

Full results: www.yachtscoring.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

A contradiction in terms?
Nic Compton takes us through the evolution and mysteries of the CIM Rule - now the de facto ­system of choice for ‘modern’ classic yacht racing

The (new) benchmark
Jason Carrington argues that the CNC milled tooling process will soon be an essential component in the build of a contemporary grand prix racing yacht

ORC Column - Easy access
Dobbs Davis

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

Father and Son Chase Gladstone Race History
Peter Cavill and son Alexander have chartered the champion ocean racing sloop Saltash ll to contest the 2012 308 n/ml QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone race over the Easter weekend. Saltash ll a modified yachting world Diamond class day sailor successfully co-skippered by the Wright brothers Ian and Bill to win The Courier Mail Cup on a record eight occasions is listed among the top chances to win the prestigious 64 year old trophy again.

The rather cramped crew accommodation below deck will be unfamiliar to Alexander Cavill but not for Peter who has been the navigator when the baby ocean racer has proven her unmatched spinnaker sailing speed to claim a special place in Gladstone Race history.

There is no doubt that Peter Cavill will refer to his previous navigation notes while sharing the helming with the capable young skipper and former Australian Sabot champion Alexander. The experienced navigator has previously explained that the winning formula is based around the boat speed reading from a portable GPS stowed in his pocket and the ability of the on watch steerer to shoot the prevailing ocean swells.

This new generation challenge also shares a strong family bond with Alexander following the career of his grandfather Greg who steered Nocturne into second place behind the legendary Solo in 1958.

Besides winning many races on Saltash ll Peter Cavill holds the distinction of steering Silver Shamrock to narrowest loss in race history when Ross Perrins skippered Scampi A to her tense 26 second win 1984.

All of this respected family history will enter an interesting new phase when Saltash ll starts her chase to possibly record a 9th win when the start signal is fired at 11am on Good Friday morning.

Meanwhile interest also focuses on the expected challengers including the impressively fast Royal Geelong Yacht Club sloop Shogun V skippered by Robert Hanna and the Rod Jones owned and skippered Audi Sunshine Coast Alegria V

Shogun V has the proven potential to set the pace to win on handicap while her crew will be intent on improving on the 27 hour 37 minute 35 second elapsed time they set with the previous Mick Cookson designed Shogun in 2009. -- Ian Grant

Entries Now Open for the 2012 RYA Eric Twiname Championships
Click on image to enlarge.

RYA Eric Twiname Championships The RYA is pleased to announce that entries are now being accepted online for the 2012 RYA Eric Twiname Championships, which are set to descend on Rutland Sailing Club across the weekend of 12 - 13 May 2012.

This annual Junior event, one of the highlights of the RYA's Racing calendar, is now in its 26th year and will see young competitors in over 285 boats and windsurfers pit their sailing skills against the best young talents from each of the six English Zones, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in a bid to help their Zone or home country team clinch the coveted Eric Twiname Shield at the end of the weekend.

The highly charged weekend will offer the RYA Zone/Home Country Squads competitive racing in a fun and friendly environment. The weekend will welcome boats from across nine of the RYA Junior classes - Optimist, Topper, Feva, Mirror and Cadet dinghy classes with the windsurfers racing on Bic Techno boards with 4.5m, 5.8m, 6.8m and 7.8m rigs.

Thanks to the long-standing and on-going support of the Eric Twiname Memorial Trust, the event, for sailors aged between eight and 15, is very cheap to enter with almost all of the costs associated with the running of the regatta met by the RYA and the Trust.

For more information about the event and to enter online via the event website visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous
View over North Sound from the YCCS, Virgin Gorda terrace. Photo by Anya Brewley. Click on image to enlarge.

Loro Piana Regatta Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands: Loro Piana, the Italian luxury brand, has signed on for the second edition of the Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous. The four-day event, which is open to sailing yachts and motor yachts over 80 feet in length, will take place from March 14 through March 17, 2012 at the newly opened Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Virgin Gorda in the North Sound of the British Virgin Islands. Fourteen sailing yachts and nine motor yachts have registered to participate in the regatta which is collaboratively organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media.

The  Caribbean experience is a  natural extension of Loro Piana's relationship  with the organizers which for the last four years has seen the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta held  at the YCCS in Porto Cervo, Sardinia (June 5-9, 2012).

The 138-foot Hanuman, designed by Dykstra & Partner and built by Royal Huisman, returns to defend her title against Peter Harrison's Farr 115 Sojana, which placed third in the spinnaker class in the inaugural event last year. Both yachts can expect to be tested by others in class including Andrea Recordati's Wally 101 Indio, division winner in the 2011 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo, and Salvatore Trifirò's 163-foot Zefira, another veteran of the 2011 Caribbean event. The challenge for the cup in the non-spinnaker class will be tight as Lady B, designed by Dubois and built by Fitzroy Yachts, enters the race with plans to improve on last year's second place and take the winner's prize.

Racing will begin on March 15 and continue each day through March 17 ending with farewell cocktails and prize giving at YCCS, Virgin Gorda.

This will be the first international event to be hosted at the YCCS, Virgin Gorda Clubhouse which celebrated its official opening on January 3 this year.

www.yccs.com
www.caribbeansuperyachtregatta.com

ISAF Nations Cup 2012-2013 Bids Deadline Extended
The bid deadline for the organisers from around the world wanting to host ISAF Nations Cup Regional Finals during 2012-13 and the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in 2013 has been extended until 26 March 2012.

The ISAF Nations Cup, which was first introduced to the world in 1991, is based on a series of Regional Finals with the top crews meeting at a Grand Final. The aim of the event is to broaden the availability of match racing and provide international competition for national authorities and sailors at reasonable cost, whilst acting as an incentive for national match racing programmes.

Held six times previously, the ISAF Nations Cup triggers a pyramid of events, with nations holding club and then national championships to select their teams to attend the Regional Finals, which in turn lead to the Grand Final, where nations are pitted against each other, creating a sound, viable and appealing series of events. It is about Nations and not skippers to determine the Open and Women's World Champion Nation in match racing.

ISAF is now seeking bids from organisers around the world to host Regional Finals during 2012-13 and the Grand Final in 2013. The event organisers must have the full endorsement from their national federation (MNA).

Bid Document: www.sailing.org/37732.php

www.sailing.org/37976.php

BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival - 26 March To 1 April 2012
Willem Wester's Grand Soleil 43, Antilope return to defend their win in Racing A Division. Photo by Todd VanSickle/BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival. Click on image to enlarge.

BVI Spring Regatta With less than one month to go, to the 41st edition of the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, a truly international cast is making ready to take centre stage in the beautiful sailing grounds of the British Virgin Islands. Well over 500 competitors are expected to enjoy some hot racing and fabulous shoreside entertainment.

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival has always attracted sailors from all over the world and this year is no exception, participants from at least 12 different nations will compete at this year's event: Australia, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Sweden, United States and St.Martin.

Andy Middleton's First 44.7, EHO1 (GBR) is competing in the Racing Class, his Global Yacht Racing Team has been competing extensively on the Caribbean circuit for the last five years.

Dutch sailing legend, Bouwe Bekking will be racing at the event on Willem Wester's Grand Soleil 43, Antilope (NED), returning to defend their emphatic win in Racing A Divison last year.

The week long BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival takes the fleet through the beautiful British Virgin Islands. Starting at Nanny Cay, the Sailing Festival races up the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the Bitter End Yacht Club. After the warm up, the BVI Spring Regatta kicks off with three days of some of the best racing in the Caribbean.

www.bvispringregatta.org/bvi/

Island Clubs Unite to Host Queen's Diamond Jubilee Regatta
A special one-off sailing regatta is being organised by a number of Isle of Wight clubs in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year. The Regatta takes place between Saturday 2nd and Monday 4th June and will incorporate racing for IRC and ISCRS rated boats, including the Sail the Wight Race on Saturday 2nd June, as well as providing keelboat racing from the RYS platform, dinghy racing from Gurnard Sailing Club and invitational match racing and team racing.

The clubs participating in this unique sailing festival are the Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Thames YC, Royal London YC, Royal Victoria YC, Royal Corinthian YC, Island Sailing Club, East Cowes Sailing Club, Cowes Corinthian YC, Gurnard Sailing Club, Bembridge Sailing Club and Cowes Town Regatta Committee.

In addition to celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the focus of this event is on fundraising for three local charities. The Event Charities that are being supported are the Ocean Youth Trust IOW, Island Youth Water Activities Centre (IYWYC) and the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. Everyone signing up for the Regatta is being asked to give generously to these charities when entering and also when attending the fund raising social events taking place.

www.qdjregatta.co.uk

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2004 137' Danish Yacht. US$ 17,500,000. Located In Antigua & Barbuda.

Ranger, a replica of the "J-Class" yacht which won the Americas Cup in 1937, was a labor of love by the current owner. A stellar team contributed to the successful build of Ranger, finally launched by Danish Yacht in 2004. Naval architects Studio Scanu, Reichel-Pugh, and Fred Elliott worked with the original lines of Starling Burgess and Sparkman and Stephens to create a yacht that not only wins honors in regattas, but cruises in style as a proper luxury yacht. A departure from the original, she carries a central cockpit and doghouse as well as a splendid mahogany interior boasting 4 staterooms aft for owner and guests with 3 ensuite baths - all created by Glade Johnson Design. In addition, the interior is extremely quiet, as acoustical engineer Joe Smullin was in charge of isolating it from the hull, greatly reducing vibration and noise .

Whereas the hull is steel, true to the original, the new teak doghouse is carbon fiber underneath and the classic raised panel interior is actually Nida-cored to keep weight down. Countless hours were spent on fitting modern technologies and living concepts into the matrix of a vintage yacht that conformed to the J-Class Association?s rules and regulations.

Brokerage through Northrop and Johnson: www.yachtworld.com/northropandjohnsonfl/

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

The Last Word
As one grows older one becomes more critical of oneself and less of other people. -- Basil Rathbone

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