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Groupama Plug Leak On Way to Auckland Triumph
Groupama sailing team survived a late scare to secure a dramatic victory on Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday, crossing the finish line shortly before midnight in Auckland to end Team Telefonica's winning streak and give New Zealander Brad Marsh a homecoming of a lifetime.
The French team, appearing in the race for the first time, had to isolate a leak and furiously pump out around a ton of water after suffering damage to the bow within hours of the finish line, following repeated upwind pounding in eight-metre waves over recent days.
Quick work from the crew averted a potential disaster, ensuring bowman Marsh would be the first New Zealander into Auckland, with PUMA still more than 100 nm behind them and locked in a tense battle with Telefonica -- winners of the first three offshore legs -- and CAMPER for the remaining podium places.
There was no one more delighted on board Groupama 4 than Marsh, the Auckland native who won the informal race to be the first of the 20 Kiwi sailors in the race into New Zealand.
"It feels amazing," Marsh said. "It's a childhood dream for me. I didn't allow myself to think about winning up until today. But the excitement set in as we came down the coast and I realised it was all going to happen."
It was also a fantastic moment for Cammas as Groupama became the first French boat to take line honours coming into Auckland in a Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race, though 33 Export, skippered by Alain Gabbay, did win here on handicap back in 1977-78.
Groupama's victory marks the Volvo Ocean Race's eighth visit to Auckland and the first since the 2001-02 edition stopover in the city.
* Groupama's shore crew are in a race against the clock to fix a crack in the bow of their boat that briefly threatened their hopes of victory in Leg 4.
"Our composite team will be at work 24 hours a day. We will do everything we can so that the boat takes part in the Pro-Am in good condition" - Pierre Tissier, Groupama
The French team have just four days to fix the damage, caused by constant slamming through eight metre waves which skipper Franck Cammas described as the worst conditions of the race so far.
Groupama build manager Pierre Tissier said his team must now work 24 hours a day to complete the repair in time for Friday's Pro Am race.
No sooner had Groupama's triumphant sailors stepped off the boat than the shore crew leapt into action, hauling Groupama 4 out of the water and immediately starting work on the damaged bow.
Tissier said the damage had been caused by two days of crashing through huge seas to the north of New Zealand - but also suspected something had hit the bow.
A one-metre section of the bow was cut out to allow closer inspection of the damage.
"We have a zone under the collision bulkhead which has delaminated, and we are now in the process of repairing it," Tissier said.
Enfant Terrible: 2012 Farr 40 USA Circuit Event # 2 Champions
Race 9 proved to be just as shifty, but this time the left was favored, and Jim Richardson and his team Barking Mad sailed a near perfect race, finishing first and closing the gap on Enfant Terrible. Struntje Light sailed another impressive race and demonstrated their light air skills by landing themselves another second place finish, just ahead of father and son team Helmut and Evan Jahn on Flash Gordon and Nico Poons' Charisma.
Race 10 belonged to Enfant Terrible who made sailing look easy and winning look good here in sunny South Beach. The race committee wasted no time resetting the weather mark and getting in the final race of the event, with the unpredictability of the standings at hand, the last race could stand to benefit more than one team and alter their standings. With a mere 20 points total and 6 first place finishes, Enfant Terrible is the winner of the Farr 40 USA Circuit Championship Event #2 turning the tables on Barking Mad's Event # 1 win in Key West.
Full Cumulative Results
Bacardi Miami Sailing Week
The leaders today became winners as the 2012 edition of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank came to a close as the final races of the series were held for the Star, Audi Melges 20, Melges 24, Viper 640 and J/80 classes. Over 150 boats with competitors from 16 countries and across the U.S.A. have enjoyed elite competition on Biscayne Bay.
With five races already on the scoreboard, the Star fleet today completed the sixth race for the 85th BACARDI Cup, being held for the 50th year in Miami.
Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (France) were across fourth, followed by 2008 Olympian Peter O'Leary and David Burrows (Ireland). By finishing ahead of the Irish team, Rohart and Ponsot, who had started the day with a three-point lead on O'Leary and Burrows, maintained the point spread to win the championship title with 13 points. O'Leary and Burrows, with 16 points, and Kusznierewicz and Zycki, with 18 points, filled out the remaining podium spots. Diaz and Prada, with finishes of 11-4-7-5-8-2; 26, moved up to fourth overall, with day one leaders, Austria's five-time Olympian Hans Spitzauer and Gerd Habermueller, finishing fifth overall with 29 points.
With a win of today's single race for the Audi Melges 20 fleet, Michael Kiss (Holland, Mich.) clinched the championship with 20 points and a nine-point lead Paul Reilly (Chicago, Ill.) who placed sixth in that race to take second in the overall standings.
There was no change in the top-five positions in the 21-boat Melges 24 class on the final day of racing for BACARDI Miami Sailing Week. Franco Rossini (Switzerland) won the final race of the series to cement his position as fleet leader with 11 points, while increasing his lead from three to seven points over Riccardo Simoneschi (Milan, Italy) who finished 11th in the final race. Conor Clarke (Ireland), with 24 points, Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.), with 33, and Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.), with 37, complete the final top-five.
Seahorse April 2012
Seahorse build table - Sizing things up
Rod Davis - Clear the bench
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Extreme Sailing Series Updates
From the Welsh capital to China's city of sailing, Qingdao... At an official signing ceremony last week hosted by Ms Zang Aimin, Vice President of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events Organizing Committee & Executive Vice President of Olympic Sailing City Development Association, Qingdao signed a new host venue agreement for a further 3 years from 2012-2014. Qingdao played host to Act 2 last year for the first time, declaring the event an outstanding media and spectator driven event. In 2012, China's fourth largest manufacturing port and the sailing venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, will again host Act 2 between the 17th to 20th April.
Extreme Sailing Series video podcasts are now being featured on the home page of iTunes Podcasts and app for the first time prompting 100s of downloads! The Extreme 40 video podcasts are featured alongside the latest from the world of entertainment, sport and culture. Go to iTunes Store > Podcasts.
'World on Water' weekly news programme includes a report from Act 1, Muscat. Available on 176 boating websites in 26 countries from Friday, 9th March 1000GMT. www.boatson.tv
Running The Rhumblines
The former Sabot and Optimist dinghy skippers have entered their first full season of racing in the Olympic trainer class and are naturally ecstatic with this impressive performance achieved by recording consistent results on the unfamiliar Georges River Sailing Club course.
Their remarkable performance resulted from the dedication to apply numerous hours on the training track in a mixed range of wind and sea conditions played the major role in the improvement of their sailing technique.
They were naturally excited when they sailed their 420 dinghy for the first time on Pioneer Bay and as expected were a little 'rusty' with learning the ropes to create the fast sail shapes in the jib, mainsail and spinnaker.
However with the dedication and the belief that the only way to iron out the bumps in their crew technique was to commit the hours to intensive training sessions on Pioneer Bay.
This included mid-week after school sessions and racing alone as the sole 420 crew in the mixed fleet club point score races on the weekend.
The analytical skills of Klaus Lorenz who expressed a similar personal program to win the Australian Optimist championship Bronze Medal on the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club courses at Pittwater, Sydney a little over a year ago has provided a progressive 'worksheet' for what is promising to become another impressive campaign.
While this result is an accepted reward for Klaus Lorenz and his crew mate Ollie Annear it has not slowed down their training to further refine their technique to eventually become a challenger at the Australian championships and selection to contest the World Youth regatta. Meanwhile they will continue to train and race alone with the understanding that all the time spent in the 420 dinghy is another important step toward achieving their deserved career goals to being recognised among Australia's best in the class. -- Ian Grant
Clubswan Caribbean Rendezvous
Nautor's Swan is heralding the coming of Spring this year with the 9th annual edition of the popular cruising calendar event, 'the ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous'. Over 50 participants from the Swan cruising fraternity will be congregating in the British Virgin Islands from March 12 - 17.
Nearly 20 Swans are heading to the Caribbean to enjoy a week long structured cruise between some of the world's most idyllic islands. The Bitter End Yacht Club will be their first port of call for registration and receipt of gifts from sponsors like Gaastra and Salvatore Ferragamo before embarking on a number of passages.
Day one starts at the Bitter End Yacht Club with registration followed by a Laser Regatta for the participants.
Tuesday morning will see the fleet decamp with a fun race to Cooper Island. Wednesday's activity will take the form of a pursuit race to Sandy Cay off Jost van Dyke. On Thursday the Swans move on to Marina Cay with a shorter fun race.
The fleet return to the Bitter End Yacht Club on Friday where the Hobie Regatta will be staged in North Sound and the ClubSwan Open Day will take place on the docks at the BEYC
Saturday sees the competitive race of the week, round Virgin Gorda for the Dockwise Yacht Transport Trophy before the final Cocktail Reception and Dinner at Almond Walk where the weeks prizes will be presented by the Nautor's Swan team
Laser World Masters Championships
After a pre-race thunderstorm anything could have happened on Waterloo Bay, Brisbane, Queensland,Australia but the wind gods had read the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron's brochure and they dialled in perfect Laser breezes for the 233 sailors from 19 countries sailing in the first two races of the 2012 Laser World Masters Championships.
On the northern course the Standard fleet faced the starter's gun half an hour before the Radial fleet, down on the southern course.
The Standard Apprentice division was gunned away in a five knot breeze and by the time the leaders reached the top mark the breeze had built to ten knots.
Chile's Matias Del Solar, who sailed at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics, had a perfect start to his regatta winning both races. Tony Baisden (AUS) sits in second on the leader board, with Brett Morris (AUS) and New Zealand sailor Rob Woodward equal third. Kent Copplestone (AUS) and Chris Caldecoat (AUS) from event sponsor Performance Sailcraft, are next and tied on 11 points.
In the Standard Masters Division Brad Taylor (AUS) was consistent today with a third and a first, ahead of Sean Atherton-Feeney with two seconds, but the eyes today were on third placed Brett Bayer. Bayer, who has served a successful seven world championship apprenticeship, had a mixed day with a win and a ninth place.
Andre Martinie from the Dominican Republic leads the Standard Grand Master Division with a 1-2 score line. Great Britain sailor Malcolm Courts is second, continuing the form that won him third place in this division in San Francisco (2011). Former Finn World champion and 2010 Laser World Masters Champion Wolfgang Gerz from Germany is third, with Tracy Usher from the USA one point back in fourth.
Australian Richard Bott heads the Radial Apprentice Division after scoring a bullet in race 1 and a second in race 2. Bott leads New Zealand sailor Scott Leith, who has won world championships in the last two events at Hayling Island in 2010 and in San Francisco in 2011, by two points. Danny Fuller (AUS) is one point further back in third.
The 2012 Laser World Masters Championships twelve race series continues until next Saturday, 17 March 2012. Wednesday, 14 March, is the designated lay day.
For full results of all Divisions please visit
America's Cup World Series In Naples
"We've made a few tweaks to the format since the AC World Series events last year," said Regatta Director Iain Murray. "We've consulted with the teams and been able to take the lessons learned from those first three events and apply them going forward. I think we have a strong program now; each race in the Championship events is meaningful for the title races, but every team will now be racing each day, which is also important."
The opening weekend is an opportunity for the teams to hone their skills ahead of the Championship racing later in the week. The program in Naples begins on Saturday, April 7, with a full afternoon of match racing. The pairings are determined from the finishing order in the previous AC World Series Fleet Race Championship. Then, on the first Sunday, the teams sail three, 15-minute fleet races.
Following two lay days, the Championship part of the regatta begins on Wednesday April 11, with seeding races for Saturday's Match Racing Championship. Between Wednesday and Saturday, the teams will compete in 11 fleet races, including one 40-minute contest, to determine the top four finishers, who will advance to the Match Racing semi finals and finals (first to win two points).
The ultimate day of the event, Sunday April 15, opens with the AC500 Speed Trial, where each team takes two timed runs down a 500-meter race track. (Speed Trials will also be held on Friday). The crew recording the best time is crowned the winner. Then, it's immediately on to the winner-takes-all Fleet Race Championship, a single 40-minute fleet race to determine the champion. Here, there is simply no margin for error.
All of the Championship racing, from Wednesday April 11 through Sunday April 15 will be broadcast live on www.youtube.com/americascup
Howth Yacht Club to Host First Family Cruising Week
The Festival - Family Cruising Week, for short - has been designed to encourage sailors from far and wide to sail to Howth, berth in the marina for the week (up to 100% discounts will apply depending on distance travelled to get to Howth) and engage in a varied programme of activities, tours, talks and entertainment in the Howth area as well as tourist attractions in Dublin city and surrounding counties.
Unlike other cruising weeks (which entail participants sailing from location to location), the objective of the FIFCF is to attract boat-owners to sail to Howth while non-sailing family members can join them (travelling by road, ferry or air) to stay on their boats or in local accommodation.
The programme for the week will include scenic and heritage tours of the area, golf/tennis/hillwalking, competitions, dinners and entertainment, and activities for children. The event, which has the support of Failte Ireland and Fingal Tourism, is expected to generate in the region of 4,000 bed nights as well as benefiting local businesses. Visitors will sample local restaurants and pubs and will also require groceries, general supplies, marine services, etc.
The unique event will conclude on Sunday 15th July when participants will be invited to take part in the second 'Boat of Hope Day' organised by Howth YC in conjunction with the Variety Club of Ireland. In 2010, boat-owners in Howth and neighbouring clubs took 100 disadvantaged children, their parents, siblings and carers on the water and then entertained them with onshore activities.
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