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Gale Force Winds Test The Clipper Fleet
The extreme wind speeds, which were predicted to return and once again test the skills and endurance of the crew taking part in Clipper 11-12 Race, made a grand entrance yesterday with a variety of welcomes.

"I don't think any of the fleet will come through racing in the North Pacific Ocean in March without any damage and we are no exception!" laments Mark Light, skipper of Derry-Londonderry.

"We were charging along downwind with superb conditions, running before 25 knots of westerly wind with full main and Yankee 2 headsail driving us forward at about 11 knots. At about 0130 local time (these things always happen at night) we were hit by a 35 knot gust, there was a loud crack and the boat spun out of control," explains Mark.

"We instantly knew that the steering cable had parted and the boat had rounded up into wind flogging the mainsail and headsail wildly. The boom was thrashing about madly, both preventer lines, were trailing and the boat was heeled over at such an angle that the boom itself was banging into the water as we travelled forwards out of control with pace.

"We managed to regain full control of the boat, returned to our former heading and hoisted our Yankee again. The whole episode took about two hours in which we lost an estimated 16 miles.

Currently one place behind the Northern Ireland entry is Welcome to Yorkshire, whose crew are hoping their tactical gamble will pay off at the end of the race across the Pacific Ocean.

"Welcome to Yorkshire has returned out of Stealth Mode and her position is open for all to see. For those of you back at home, loyally following our progress, the past 24 hours leading to our current location must have seemed a mystery," says skipper, Rupert Dean.

"A day ago, we were at a major crossroads in this race to Oakland, San Francisco Bay. We had played the first northern loop of the Kuroshio Current well, gaining some valuable miles on our competitors, resulting in us being the most northern boat in the fleet.

"However, a couple of mishaps on deck during the first depression off Japan caused us to miss the current's southern oscillation, with the short cut taken across the bight resulting in negative current, which cost us some ground to the boats further south. The result of this was at lunchtime yesterday, we found ourselves in seventh position and an uphill struggle to get back into the top half of the fleet," reveals Rupert.

The fleet is expected to arrive in Oakland, California between 1-7 April, where it will be hosted by the 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show in Jack London Square. Oakland is located on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

Positions at 1200 UTC, Monday 12 March 2012

1. Gold Coast Australia, 4111nm to leg finish
2. Singapore, 23nm to leader
3. New York, 37nm
4. Derry-Londonderry, 79nm
5. Welcome to Yorkshire, 84nm
6. Qingdao, 112nm
7. Geraldton Western Australia, 118nm
8. Visit Finland, 129nm
9. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 160nm
10. De Lage Landen, 186nm

Wall To Wall Talent at the RS:X Worlds
Photo by Vincenzo Baglione / Click on image to enlarge.

RS:X Worlds Entries are closed. The fleets are full. 120 men and 80 women have been accepted to race at the 2012 RS:X World Windsurfing Championships scheduled to start racing on March 21st. There are more sailors from more countries here than raced in the RS:X fleets at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships last December in Perth.

Here in Cadiz, there are competitors from 47 countries and 5 continents registered to race in the RS:X men's fleet with 19 of them chasing 9 national qualification places for the London Olympic Regatta. Over in the RS:X women's fleet, there are racers from 36 countries, 16 chasing only 7 remaining places. More than 50 countries have taken part in the Olympic Qualification process defined by ISAF. 49 of them will assemble for the Opening Ceremony in Puerto Sherry, Cadiz on March 20th.

In the women's fleet, Lee Korzits [ISR] who won the 2011 Worlds in spectacular style in Fremantle, Australia just 2 short months ago is going to have her work cut out if she wants to retain her title. Zofia Klepacka [POL] and Marina Alabau [ESP] who took the minor places in WA are back and determined to go better.

Alessandra Sensini [ITA] who made a quick exit from the board park after failing to qualify for the medal race last time will certainly be more determined than ever to prove that she is not to be discounted when it comes to the battle for top honors. With her and eager to press her claims will be Bryony Shaw [GBR] who made a blistering start in Oz only to fade towards the end.

Dorian van Rijsselberge [NED], men's World Champion, seemed to be able to make mistakes with impunity in Perth and bounce back without apparently feeling the pressure. It was a supreme performance. Piotr Myszka [POL] could not find the answer to his dominance. Nor could Nimrod Mashiah [ISR] who had made a brilliant start to his 2011 World Championship campaign.

Meanwhile JP Tobin has been picked for the New Zealand team over his arch rival Tom Ashley, the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist. JP has had an operation on his foot to solve the problems left by standing on a nasty little spiny fish hidden in the weed on the shoreline in Freo. -- Rory Ramsden

Coutts & Peyron on Selling Sailing as a Sport
The wider world of sport, gathered in Barcelona for the Global Sports Forum on Friday, heard from Russell Coutts, Loick Peyron and Anna Corbella about how sailing plans to be relevant in the future.

Coutts should employ Peyron's wit and thoughtfulness more often, because the French sailing superstar makes some of the most compelling arguments yet, for the direction that America's Cup organisers have taken, while Coutts himself hasn't changed his script in two years.

Coutts and Peyron agree that the future of sailing will not be an old man's game. The new format of the America's Cup will suit a more athletic sailor, which is something that will help to differentiate it from - sailing.

Loick Peyron has often spoken of the lack of differentiation between the pastime of sailing and the sport. It is one time when the F1 analogy works. Just because someone can drive a car, does not mean that can drive an F1 car and just because they can drive, does not mean they can be fast and beat the best drivers in the world.

Old America's Cup boats look quite similar to a boat that someone might go for a Sunday cruise upon, but a wingsailed catamaran is sufficiently different, that it might be easier to showcase competitive sailors' skills. A sailor who races around the cans in a local regatta will look at the screen and say - you have to be one of the best to do that.

Asked if more mainstream brands would be attracted to the new format, Coutts said that announcements would be made shortly to join brands like Puma.

However, the reality is that teams are finding it difficult to attract corporate sponsorship. Loick Peyron says that it is not easy to be part of the pinnacle event. He believes that the gaps between the budgets of different teams are too high and that selling the product is problematic.

Peyron believes that part of the difficultly of selling the America's Cup is that it is not established in the commercial market.

Perhaps the television deal announced last week will give teams some more ammunition to go to brands with. -- David Fuller's full editorial at

To Get a Man Overboard Back Sometimes You've Got to Find Him First
Ocean Safety Using the new generation Mk V Jonbuoy, a high visibility and high stability inflatable support ring, can make recovering a person who has fallen overboard a simple operation. But if the weather is extreme and there's no visibility, a bit of backup in the form of an AIS Survivor Recovery System can be very welcome. That's why Ocean Safety, after trialling the new Mk V Jonbouy MOB module and the Kannad Safelink R10 AIS SRS, believe it has come up with the best and most effective MOB identity and tracking recovery system to date.

Combining the two innovative products is a massive step towards improving survival prospects. The Jonbuoy does its job by supporting the MOB in a cradle like position in its inflatable support structure, while the R10, the first personal AIS transmitter of its kind, provides high precision GPS information, bearing and range, relayed to the vessel's AIS system updated every 60 seconds.

The R10 SRS is professionally fitted to the Jonbuoy so that when the Jonbuoy is deployed from its container - an easy operation since it inflates automatically - the system is ready for use and the R10 automatically starts transmitting. The Ocean Safety Mk V Jonbouy R10 system really does give the best chance of recovery in a man overboard situation.

The Sofia Mapfre will have a Free Access Village
Sofia Mapfre Majorca, Spain: The new village, in Playa de Palma, is the great novelty this year at the Sofía Mapfre, the first European event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic sailing circuit formed by the top seven regattas in the world.

This Village will offer the citizens of Mallorca the opportunity to get to know the Sofía Mapfre and the top world sailors that race year after year in the bay of Palma, such as four times Olympic medallist, British Finn sailor Ben Ainslie, the absolute winner of last year's edition.

The new social venue of the Sofía Mapfre, with free access and located on the Playa de Palma seafront, is open to anyone interested in following the regatta during the week of competition. The chill-out terraces and rooms of Pabisa Beach Club offer excellent views of the racing courses, especially for the Medal Races to be held on Saturday 7 April with the top ten sailors of each class battling for a place on the podium of the 43 Trofeo Sofía Mapfre.

Furthermore, updated information on the racing as well as the most spectacular images and exciting videos will be available on the several large screens located at the facilities.

The village will also be the venue of the regatta's social events. The closing party on Friday 6 April is the main event scheduled besides some other small celebrations.

Pabisa Beach Club will offer special menus for all sailors, free Wi-Fi access after the races as well as meeting rooms at the disposal of Olympic teams to hold their meetings or working sessions.

Big Events Get More on the Water
Enda O'Coineen, Chairman of the group bringing the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) to Galway this summer, attended last Saturday's Irish Sailing Association AGM - and believes we need to radically rethink how we spend our resources to develop the sport of sailing in Ireland.

One strong point made at the meeting by Martin Byrne, Commodore of the Royal St George Yacht Club, is that great events being hosted in Ireland show our sport at its best. These platforms should be used to get newcomers into the sport.

And that's the dilemma. For instance, Cork Week and the ISAF Youth Worlds are perfect platforms, but the high participation level and high activity from the respective organisations means that those running them are simply too busy to do it.

Meanwhile, the Volvo Ocean Race and Global Village 2012 are the complete opposite - a mass consumer gala public event with a massive media imprint.

There are claims that money extracted from Government and used to pay hosting fees for the likes of the VOR would be better spent at other events. It's a valid point, but it's wrong. What happens is misunderstood - these are extra funds won based on the proven financial return, which has been well established. It's an extra allocation, based on hard facts, that would not normally have come into our sport.

Personally I would prefer Cork Week or the ISAF Worlds for pure sport. For the VOR, it's the reverse - pure spectacle.

Full article in Afloat magazine:

Warsash Spring Series
Warsash Sailing Club's race management team for the 2012 Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship. Photo by Eddie Mays, Click on image to enlarge.

Warsash Spring Series Spring was certainly in the air on 11th March for the 50-strong race management team for the Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship 2012, when a full dress rehearsal was held for the Solent's premier early season event for keelboats. All systems afloat and ashore were checked, ready for the first day's racing next Sunday 18th March.

As well as the six Spring Series Sundays, the Spring Championship is being held on the final two weekends with multiple races for IRC1, IRC2, Farr 45, J/109, Laser SB3, J/80 and Quarter Tonners. There is also a separate class for triallists for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, currently with 10 entries, including David Aisher (Yeoman of Wight), Peter Morton (Salvo), Jim Macgregor (Premier Flair) and Andrew McIrvine (La Reponse).

Warsash Sailing Club extends a warm welcome to all competitors at Shore house in the entrance to the Hamble River and a free water taxi service is in operation on Sundays before and after racing to and from berths up river as far as Port Hamble.

Provisional results are emailed to each entry as soon as they are available and displayed on the website

Further entries are welcome for the Spring Series, Spring Championship or individual days.

High Standard Fleet for Gladstone Classic
Queensland's premier blue water classic the 308 nautical mile QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race has attracted a high standard fleet including record holder Grant Wharington's super maxi Wild Thing.

Both skipper Grant Wharington and his Wild Thing crew who will race under the Southport Yacht Club burgee will be hoping for a similar forecast to the strong spinnaker sailing breeze that prevailed in 2004.

That race was highlighted by an intense match race for line honours between Wild Thing and the smaller super fast Sydney pocket-maxi AAPT skippered by Sean Langman.

Their tactical dog-fight resolved by a narrow 11 minutes 58 seconds paved the way for Wild Thing to claim the race record with a course time of 20 hours 24 minutes 50 seconds and average speed of 15.08 knots.

This performance by the speed sailing Wild Thing which has stood the test since 2004 stands to be challenged by previous line honours winners Black Jack (2009 -2010) and the Peter Millard skippered Sydney maxi Lahana 2011.

All three yachts crewed by a number of Australia's experienced ocean racing sailors are capable of sailing on the fine line which separates distinction from disaster when the breeze gusts above 25 knots.

However while Grant Wharington remains confident of answering the challenge he will need a strong wind warning forecast to propel Wild Thing on a spray drenching ride to cross the finish line before 7-24 on Easter Saturday morning to post a new record.

The competition from Lahana and the Mark Bradford skippered Black Jack promises to set the stage for the most interesting line honours duel since 1967 when the famed Brisbane ketch Laurabada beat the Peter Docker skippered Syonara by 41 seconds.

Similar interest surrounds an expected tactical dog fight to decide the 64th overall handicap winner of the prestigious Courier Mail Cup.

As expected there are some interesting entries including the Royal Geelong Yacht Club's Robert Hanna skippered TP52 Shogun V and the baby Brisbane sloop Saltash 11 which holds the distinction of winning 8 races since 1986. -- Ian Grant

Kiteboarding Course Racing Worlds
Regrettably, the 2012 Course Racing World Championship will not take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, due to problems to get the necessary permissions for an event at that time of the year and thus a delay in event funding.

The 2012 course racing world championship will be held instead at:
Venue: Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
Dates: October 2 - October 7, 2012
Organizer: Yacht Club Cagliari
Prizemoney: 15000 Euro

More details on the event itself, Notice of Race, travel and accomodation information will be published shortly.

The new dates and venue for the European Championship which was originally planned to be held in Cagliari will be also published shortly.

We are looking forward to host a great event in Italy, and thank the Yacht Club Cagliari, Federazione Italiana Vela and the Italian Kite Association for their support and the willingness to pull of this great event on short notice. -- Markus Schwendtner, IKA Executive Secretary

Oman Sail Launches Mussanah Race Week 2012
Click on image to enlarge.

Oman Sail Mussanah Race Week Just two weeks after the resounding successes of the Muscat leg of the Extreme Sailing Series and Sailing Arabia-the Tour, Oman Sail is all set for another international sailing event; Mussanah Race Week 2012.

Inaugurated in 2011 by Oman Sail, Mussanah Race Week is Oman's first international dinghy regatta and combines two days of world-class coaching alongside three days of international-standard racing.

165 sailors will compete from the 14-16 March across the eight classes in 145 boats, who amongst them represent nine nations - a significant increase on the events first year, which saw 78 sailors competing from four countries.

One of Oman Sail's key aims of the regatta is to gain ISAF accreditation, to further enhance Oman's positioning as a unique sporting venue - The Extreme Sailing Series is becoming a regular visitor to Muscat and home-grown events such as Sailing Arabia - the Tour and Mussanah Race Week are growing year on year, attracting international sporting talent. Issa Ismaili, Oman Sail's Events Director explained: "Our aim is to seek ISAF accreditation for the Mussanah Race Week as a Grade A event. Hopefully the event will be on the international sailing calendar in the coming years. We will also organise the ISAF Congress and the GCC Sailing Championships at the same venue."

Mussanah, located on the Gulf of Oman and just 84 kilometres from the countries capital, Muscat, is also the venue for the 2013 Laser World Championships, and Mussanah Race Week will act as a significant test for the venue ahead of the worlds.

Long time partners of Oman Sail and supporters of the Omani national sailing team, Thales, will extend their support to Mussanah Race Week.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2006 Wally Yachts 80. EUR 3,900,000. Located In La Spezia, Italy.

Tango is the first Wally 80 to feature the flush deck and fixed keel combination.

She is very bit as black and distinctive as the late Gianni Agnelli's maxi-racer Stealth; a colour that extends to Tango's carbon fibre winch package, sails and crew gear.

Tango shares a unique Wally styling feature in having teak decking that extend over the curved contour of her coachroof. With three fore and aft tinted window strips - instead of one - her coachroof is unique among all the Wally 80s. This additional feature allows more natural light to flood into the saloon below than you would normally expect on a flush deck sailing yacht.

Brokerage through Nauta Yachts:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity. -- Thomas Jefferson

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