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ISAF Equipment Evaluations
Two reports from the Tornado and RS900 classes (click on images to enlarge):

RS900

* Three days into the trials and we are very happy with the feedback on the RS900 so far. Teams from nine nations have now sailed the boat, and another four teams should sail today.

The trials began with a sudden increase in wind on Saturday which tested many teams and their familiarity with the skiffs, but the RS900s flew down the course and many people commented that they looked great.

Strong winds on Sunday with gusts over 30 knots at times meant the ISAF evaluation panel had little option but to postpone several times before finally cancelling sailing for the day.

Monday's condition were close to perfect for this still early stage in the week - mainly 10 - 15 knots, which allowed sailors to properly begin to understand each skiff. There are good boats here in Santander, so of course the sailors find some strong points in most of them - overall though, the feedback on the RS900, given to us anyway, has been consistently extremely positive and we could not hope for any more at this stage in the Trials. -- Martin Wadhams, www.RSsailing.com

Tornado

* We had two fantastic days of sailing in Santander. We sailed inshore on flat waters in between 6 and 22 knots of wind.

So far we can say: The Tornado is the fastest boat in all winds and courses. Possible we have also the lowest price for a boat with 15.900 € for the Exploder Tornado. Same way we let sail the "Blue Metallica" Marstrom Tornado which is 11 years old to show how good the quality is. These boats get never soft. Hagara used the same boat for 3 Olympics! -- Roland Gaeblee

www.teamgaebler.de

The ISAF has two videos, "Introducing the Multihulls":
www.sailing.org/matchdaytv/index/index/id/11244

and

"Introducing the Skiffs":
www.sailing.org/matchdaytv/index/index/id/11239

Injuries Aboard Puma
Jono Swain confers with the team doctor after setting Thomas Johanson's dislocated shoulder. Photo by Amory Ross / PUMA Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image to enlarge.

VOR Auckland, New Zealand: On Monday, March 19, the PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crew suffered two injuries during Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Bowman Casey Smith (Brisbane, Australia) injured his lower back and helmsman Thomas Johanson (Espoo, Finland) dislocated his right shoulder. Both crewmembers are safe and recovering onboard as the team continues to sail from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil.

"Casey and Thomas are both improving," said skipper Ken Read. "We've been communicating with our team doctors and Volvo medical staff to work through both injuries onboard, and this is why we have crew who go through intense medical training - they were able to pop Thomas' shoulder back into place. These are rough conditions we've been sailing in. We're hoping it eases soon so we can get these guys back healthy and up to full speed for the rest of the leg."

"Casey has been battling back issues for a couple of legs now and his injury happened hours after the start, doing something he has done a million times and that is simply moving a sail," Read described. "Thomas was hit by a large, unexpected wave when going on watch and slid through the cockpit, hitting his shoulder and upper lip on the leeward side of the cockpit. He had a helmet on at the time, which was lucky. Jono Swain did a great job getting advice then popping Thomas' shoulder back in. Immediately he was in no pain and is recovering quickly."

Johanson joined the PUMA crew for this leg, sailing in place of helmsman Kelvin Harrap (Napier, New Zealand) who is taking a break due to carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms as well as bursitis in his elbow. Johanson sailed as a member of the Ericsson 3 crew during the 2008-09 edition of the race and won the leg through the Southern Ocean.

* Ken Read said Smith's back injury was a trickier scenario which they were treating with pain medication and could still require him to be taken off the boat at Cape Horn.

"At one point we were heading to the Chatham Islands to get rid of both of them,'' Read confirmed. "But then Thomas' shoulder got popped back in and we had a long talk to Casey.

"He's a tough guy, he's a team guy, so essentially we said let's at least get to Cape Horn and if there's no improvement by then, we'll figure out a way to get rid of him. But up until then there's not a whole lot of options."

"Hopefully the medication will start to work a bit better and we'll see a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now he's still in pain,'' Read said.

* After two days of relentless punishment from high winds and huge waves on Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí the top five boats are set for some relief over the next 24 hours as two high pressure systems bring lighter conditions.

According to race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante the merging systems will envelop the main pack in light unstable breezes and could push the boats hard south in search of stronger westerly winds.

An ice exclusion zone now set around 47 degrees south may further complicate the teams' strategies but Infante says the fleet could reach steadier westerly winds around midday on Wednesday.

www.volvooceanrace.com

Champion Under No Illusion
Dual Audi Australian Ocean yacht racing champion Rod Jones is under no illusions about his prospects of recording a top result in the 308 n/ml QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone race over the Easter Weekend.

"Hugh Welbourn has designed a sweet hull; she is great fun to sail in pressure, however being a 2000 design we are a bit heavier than the new TP 52's".

"Fortunately we will have a lower rating to help compensate for the age of the boat and the weight".

"We are working towards a new 'learning curve' and hopefully we will be competitive". Rod Jones said.

Most of his experienced team who were on deck when skipper Rod Jones surprised his more fancied interstate rivals to win the prestigious national championships with the smaller European Archambault built yachts Alegria lll and Alegria IV have the proven potential to record another surprise result with the Audi Centre Sunshine Coast sponsored Alegria V.

The tactically demanding Brisbane to Gladstone Race forms an important re-introduction to offshore yacht racing with the Sunshine Coast crew starting an impressive campaign to eventually represent the Maroochy River Sailing Club in the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart with the now modernised and former yesteryear champion Heaven Can Wait.

This impressively fast 15.4 m sloop designed by Hugh Welbourn already has beaten the best winning the Hamilton Island Race Week and line honours in the Brisbane to Gladstone under previous owner/skippers Warren Johns and Peter Hollis.

As expected the former champion has taken on a radically different profile to shape of the hull and rig but the crew who have proven their class in racing smaller yachts have fallen short of the important pre-race training sessions off Mooloolaba.

They were put to the test in a gusty 30 knot breeze last weekend but unfortunately an expensive blow-out that left the mainsail in tatters forced a dramatic end to what was planned to be an extensive sail evaluation trial.

"Fortunately we have a new mainsail and asymmetric spinnaker on order with local sail makers Bucky and Yancy Smith of Doyle Sails".

"Our goal is to get to Gladstone safely while having some fun as we learn and improve with the understanding of racing on a larger and more demanding yacht". Rod Jones said.

They have a well documented history of producing an aggressive racing style and while the crew are short of 'match practice' the new look older generation champion promises to finish in the top five behind the match racing maxi's including the 2004 race record breaker Wild Thing (Grant Wharington) and the 2011 line honours champion Lahana (Peter Millard). -- Ian Grant

Indio Wins Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Virgin Gorda. Photo by Jeff Brown / Superyacht Media. Click on image to enlarge.

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands: The last day of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands ended with lighter winds but decisive racing. Thirteen sailing yachts, 96' - 179' in length, competed in the races March 15-17 collaboratively organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media. The Wally 101, Indio, took the title from Hanuman after winning the final race on corrected time. Hanuman, a stunning J Class 138' Royal Huisman, and winner of last year's inaugural event, was second overall, and event newcomer, the Perini Navi built Philippe Briand designed 125' sloop, P2 was third.

Indio beat Hanuman by one point, having racked up two wins and a second place, while Hanuman had one win and two second places in three race days. Two points separated P2, Sojana 115' Farr Yacht Design and 115' Firefly Claasen Shipyards, who finished third, fourth and fifth with 11, 12 and 13 points respectively.

The race committee threw a custom course into the mix on the final day which saw the fleet starting off Necker Island, and then heading upwind in a short but tactical beat to a mark north of Necker. After rounding this windward mark there was a long spinnaker reach west to a spreader mark, and then another reach to the Dog islands before a final beat to the finish south-east of Seal Dogs.

The racing conditions throughout the event were mainly perfect with clear blue skies, moderate seas and winds 10-15 knots. With safety a priority, the YCCS Race Committee was able to set courses that allowed all boats to sail points that were most advantageous to their design.

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

www.superyachtregattaandrendezvous.com
www.yccs.it

RNLI Plays Key Role In Olympic Torch Relay
The RNLI will play a key role during the Olympic Torch Relay, helping the torch cross waters to reach the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It was first revealed that the Olympic Torch would visit Anglesey during the relay, reaching the island on board a RNLI lifeboat. The torch will be taken along the Menai Strait on board the RNLI's Annette Mary Liddington when it leaves mainland Wales on May 29th.

This won't be the only journey the torch makes by lifeboat, as previously reported. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced today that volunteers from Dover RNLI would take the torch from a tall ship at sea within the harbour and bring it to shore on July 18th on board all weather lifeboat City of London II.

Roy Couzens, lifeboat operations manager at Dover RNLI, said it was a fantastic way to recognise the contribution RNLI volunteers make to the community. He added: "We are very much looking forward to being involved on the day - and believe me, when that torch is at sea in our lifeboat, it couldn't be in safer hands!"

The Olympic Torch Relay will start in Plymouth on May 19th and finish at the Olympic Stadium on July 27th. You can find a map of the exact route of the Olympic Torch Relay 2012 on the official website.

www.ybw.com/expert-advice/

Raphael Dinelli Still Looking For Sponsors
Raphael Dinelli, who hasn't missed a single Vendee Globe since 1996, does hope to start the 2012 race on November 10 in Les Sables d'Olonne, which happens to be his home port. That is why Dinelli, who finished 10th of the previous edition, is still looking for partners who could sponsor a 100% environment-friendly boat. The project should cost 1.5 million euros in 2012 and 1.4 million euros in 2013 and includes the purchase of the boat that finished second of last Vendee Globe (Editor's note : Armel le Cleac'h's Brit Air). Ocean Vital Foundation will then equip the boat with an 80% solar sustainable energy system.

Dinelli is the co-founder and the R&D director of the foundation, whose goal is to develop technologies, materials and products that would be more efficient, economical and sustainable in the fields of solar and wind energy, oceanography and clean and bioclimatic habitat. In order to raise funds for the project, the skipper/researcher is looking for a coupel of companies who would be willing to invest at least 500,000 euros/year in 2012 and 2013. To close the budget, Dinelli is also opening an investors' club, creating the opportunity for sponsors to give between ten thousand and several hundred thousands of euros over the next two years.

www.vendeeglobe.org

Sergio Frattaruolo Joins Nannini for Final Legs of Global Ocean Race
With two weeks to the start of the fourth leg of the Global Ocean Race there's a crew change on Financial Crisis. The Italian former Mini 650 sailor Sergio Frattaruolo will replace Hugo Ramon to sail the final 2 stages of the race with Marco Nannini, from Punta del Este to Chaleston and from there to Les Sables d'Olonne.

Sergio, following his participation in the solo Transat 650 last November will step to the larger Class40s with the goal of gaining experience ahead of the launch of his own solo attempt of the 2013/2014 Global Ocean Race.

Sergio has declared: "It's an honour for me to sail with Marco, in just a few years he has sailed many prestigious races and has had the opportunity to gain lots of experience that will help me in putting together my own project. We get along very well and I'm positive that this will have a good time for the remainder of the race".

"I'm half Italian and half Slovak, I grew up in Italy and this is the first time I'll sail with someone from my home country after so many years spent abroad, it's really nice to suddenly be "back home" with Sergio.

www.marconannini.com
globaloceanrace.com

One New Team and a Former RC44 Champion Join the Tour for Portugal
Patrick de Barros, one of Portugal's most celebrated entrepreneurs and sportsmen, is hoping for a jubilant return to the RC44 class on his home waters of Cascais for round two of the 2012 RC44 Championship Tour.

In what is the Tour's first ever visit to the famous Portuguese sailing city; de Barros will be helming Aleph Sailing Team. He is taking over from Hugues Lepic for the event and renaming the boat Team Cascais for this one-off occasion. Aleph's regular young French crew, with Mathieu Richard as tactician, will race with de Barros.

de Barros last competed in the RC44 Championship in the 2008 season when his Team Banco Espirito Santo crew clinched the Tour title. An accomplished sailor he was twice chosen as Portugal's Olympic flag bearer for both the '84 and '88 Games and is looking forward to his return to the class in the Bay of Cascais, de Barros said: "I'm lucky to substitute on an excellent boat, with a great crew, which finished second in the first event of the 2012 Tour in Lanzarote this February. I am looking to have a good race.

Also joining the fleet for the first time in Cascais is the Brian Benjamin-owned Team Aegir (GBR), better known in the world of Maxi racing. With Benjamin at the helm, Aegir first came to prominence in 2010, winning the Mini Maxi Cruiser Yacht World Championship. His latest yacht, the head-turning 82' Maxi built by Carbon Ocean Yachts took line honours in every race at the 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

Guy Barron (GBR), is the team manager for Team Aegir and former Platú 25 World Champion and multiple Spanish match racing champion, Manu Weiller will be on tactics.

www.rc44.com

Genuine Risk in a Race to the Start Line
China Sea Race Genuine Risk, a Dubois 90 maxi owned by Geoff Hill is expected to compete in the Rolex China Sea Race which starts on Wednesday 4 April - she arrived by container last week and went straight to a yard to be commissioned and is being put into the water today.

Proud new owner Geoff Hill admits that time is his biggest challenge for the Rolex China Sea Race:

"We will only have limited time to commission the boat and tune her up. The other challenge will of course be the putting together of an experienced crew and moulding them into a team. I'm fortunate in having a very good nucleus available from my Strewth team here in Hong Kong and I have been able to attract some very well credentialed Australian and American sailors with big boat experience." says Hill.

The boat is a step up for Hill as his new toy is nearly double the size of his TP52. With a canting keel, a 16 foot draft, huge sails and enormous power, Geoff and his crew will be dealing with a very different machine.

Sailing with Geoff across the China Sea will be one of Australia's most experienced and well-known yachtsmen, Syd Fischer - who will be leading Genuine Risk's Australian programme later in the year. David Witt, a world-class yachtsman who previously ran Grant Wharington's Skandia, will be leading a team of big boat sailors including Led Pritchard and two of Genuine Risk's recent crew, including Bill Jenkins. Old Strewth crew, Alan Tillyer, Olivier Decamps, Adam Mowser (who will run the boat's Hong Kong programme), Mark Fullerton, John Hall and Clyde Freeman are also expected to be on board.

"My major competition will be firstly, as they always are, the sea and the weather as they will determine who wins the race. Having said this, the Rolex China Sea Race can often be a small boat race and on handicap there are plenty of contenders, ranging of course from Neil Pryde who has had a lock on first place with HiFi to Anthony Root on Red Kite II who has also been very successful. On handicap, you can never leave out Nick Burns and Fred Kinmonth's EFG Bank Mandrake. As for first across the line... only Ludde Ingvall's old Nicorette (which last raced in Hong Kong under the Audi ultra banner in the China Coast Regatta) stands in the way if she comes back to Hong Kong from Singapore." says Hill.

www.rhkyc.org.hk/rolexchinasearace.aspx

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1995 Reichel-Pugh / McConaghy Maxi. EUR 1,900,000. Located In Lavagna, Italy.

In collaboration with Nauta Yachts Srl of Milano Italy, Reichel/Pugh Yachts are pleased to announce that the 79' Maxi Yacht Capricorno (formerly Morning Glory) is now for sale.

A yacht with an impeccable pedigree that includes in its list of noteable results:

- 1st Place and Breaking the Course Record in the 1996 Cape Town to Rio Race
- 1st to Finish and Breaking a 21 year old Course Record in the 1996 Sydney to Hobart Race
- 1st Overall (IMS) in the 1997 Fastnet Race
- Winner of the 1997 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
- Class & Fleet Winner of the 2001 Antigua Race Week with 4 first to finish races.
- 1st to Finish and Breaking the Course Record in the 2006 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

Capricorno was originally designed with a race oriented minimalist interior arrangement geared towards both inshore and offshore racing.

In 2004/05 her owner converted her interiors into a cruising configuration. The original race aesthetics were maintained through the prevalent use of composites which gives the interiors a modern, yet elegant, look and atmosphere.

Brokerage through Reichel/Pugh Yachts: www.yachtworld.com/reichelpugh/

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

The Last Word
You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

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