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Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

Aboard Wild Oats The McConaghy built Wild Oats XI flew out through Sydney heads and turned left. Sliding upwind into a strong nor-easter, the 30 metre super-maxi accelerated into the offshore part of the Sydney-Hobart training session. With Mike "Moose" Sanderson at the helm, the boat eased past Sydney's Northern Beaches into a building sea breeze. Twenty minutes into the upwind work, two waves combined and the boat slammed into a hole behind them, then kicked up its heels and surged on. It was the start of a fantastic days offshore sailing.

With the breeze gusting to thirty knots, the crew worked through the upwind sails and all the reefing options on the mainsail, checking trim and loads as it pounded north. Closing in on Macmasters beach on the Central Coast, "Moose" tacked, then bore away, giving us chance to drag the downwind sails onto the foredeck - and splash some fresh water over our sunnies to clear the salt. Then, we took off.

With just fifteen crew on board training for the "crew-lite" Hobart race start on Boxing day - where the crew numbers will be reduced to 18 from last years 24, everyone was wide awake and everything was checked and re-checked as we shook out the reefs in the main, and watched the boat-speed climb past twenty seven knots. With the boat lined up on the northeast swells, the bow wave reared up as we roared downhill. We were simply flying. On deck, the sounds were of precise calls between the crew and a hundred feet of yacht sliding over the swells. Down below was different. Winch and trimming noises rebounded throughout the hull, competing with engine revs that drive the massive canting keel and the sounds of the bow powering over another set of waves. The loads on the hull were enormous, but the boat handled it with ease - and with Skipper Mark "Ricco" Richards now on the helm, he flicked the bow from side to side, lifting the boat over another wave as we surged off again on the punishing run back to Sydney

From Macmasters beach to blasting back through Sydney heads took us an hour and a half, and with North Head flashing past us - you realize just how blisteringly fast this boat is. Roaring down the harbour we gybed three times, to the open-mouthed amazement of the commuter filled evening ferries. Another pre-Hobart training session ticked off on this astonishing boat. -- Blue Robinson in Sydney

2010 ORC Calendar of Events Now Available
The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) is pleased to announce the dates and venues for its 2010 schedule of Championship events, to be found on the ORC website In all, the current list of championships includes 9 National Championships (so far, more are expected), 2 Continental Championships, and the World Championship, which is to be held in Flensburg, Germany over 6-12 September.

Hosted by the Flensburger Segel-Club, the 2010 World Championship promises to offer a week of highly-competitive inshore and offshore racing in the Baltic waters on the border of Germany and Denmark. As such, this should prove to be a popular event for the Scandinavian as well as Baltic and German fleets interested in competing for the sole ISAF-sanctioned World Championship title in offshore racing.

But prior to this over 5-11 July the ORCi European Championship will be held in Cagliari, Sardinia. This will likely draw on entries from the Adriatic, Greek, as well as Tyrrhenian fleets.

Also listed in the ORC calendar are nearly 80 other high-profile events held in over a dozen countries around the world that use ORC International, ORC Club, or the ORC's GP42 Class in the Audi MedCup. Within the next month or two this list will expand as more information comes to ORC from the various rating authorities located in 34 countries around the world where ORC is used.

The ORC calendar even lists three events beyond 2010: the 2011 World Championship to be held in June in Cres, Croatia; the 2011 European Championship to be held in Hanko, Norway; and the 2012 World Championship to be held in Finland.

Among the 2010 ORC Championship events is a country venue never used before: Russia, where the ORC Sportboat European Championship will be held in St. Petersburg over 3-10 July.

For more information on ORC events, ORC Rating Systems, and ORC items such as the Stability Datasheet and Speed Guide, visit the ORC website at:

There's Still Time To Get This Sailing Gift!
Speed and Smarts Are you looking for a Christmas gift for your friend, family or crew member? It's not too late to order an online subscription to Speed & Smarts, the bi-monthly newsletter with 16 colorful pages full of practical tips on tactics, strategy, rules, boatspeed and much more! Speed & Smarts is written by David Dellenbaugh, winning America's Cup tactician, and now comes straight to your inbox!

A gift subscription to Speed & Smarts is a valuable and practical gift that keeps coming all year long! All gift recipients will receive all of the following by email:

- A gift card (with a personal note if you want)
- A welcome letter; and
- A free bonus issue with Dave's Top 100 Racing Tips (shown here)!

If you place a gift order by Wednesday, December 23, we will email all the above items to your gift recipient before Christmas! (Or we will follow other instructions you provide).

To find out more or place your gift order, go to:

The Next Four Louis Vuitton Trophy Regattas Announced
The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and Louis Vuitton have announced more Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas for 2010 and early 2011. These new international events follow the successful regatta held in Nice, France, last month.

Each Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta is a stand-alone regatta sailed in event-supplied 85-foot long AC Class yachts that require a crew of 17 top sailors to sail.

The schedule for the next events covers four distinctly different parts of the world:

Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland: 9 - 21 March 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena, Sardinia: 22 May - 6 June 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Middle East: 13 - 28 November 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Hong Kong: 9 - 24 January 2011 (To be confirmed)

* The venue in The Middle East is embargoed until January 15th 2010

Apart from being a cost-effective way for teams to match race impressively large yachts close to crowds, the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas also represent one of the most interesting media/marketing opportunities in yacht racing today.

The innovative low-cost solution to live TV and tracking coupled with live expert commentary from on board the yachts pioneered in Nice last November, allows spectators, hospitality guests and sailing fans around the world to watch live races in a hybrid virtual and real video show on the internet.

The use of AC Class yachts from the last two America's Cups now scattered about the world allows the existing boats to be shared regionally without the necessity to constantly ship equipment back and forth; only the crews travel, making for cost- effective and easily organised events.

* BMW Oracle have withdrawn from the Auckland regatta of the Louis Vuitton Trophy in March.

The news will come as a blow, as BMW Oracle are one of the founding forces behind the Louis Vuitton regatta that so successfully launched in Auckland last summer and which spawned a world series.

That opened in Nice in November and will be followed by Auckland in March, La Maddelena in Sardinia in May and then a Middle Eastern venue in November 2010 (to be named next month). Hong Kong has been mooted as the next Louis Vuitton venue, in January 2011.

BMW Oracle say they are too busy with their impending big-boat America's Cup challenge against Alinghi, now confirmed in Valencia for February 12. -- Valencia Sailing, citing the New Zealand Herald,

Search for UK Venues to Host a Louis Vuitton Trophy Event
TeamOrigin, the British America's Cup team headed by Sir Keith Mills, today announced their intention of securing a venue in the UK to host a Louis Vuitton Trophy event - as early as August/September 2010 or during the 2011 season - and possibly repeating annually thereafter. The overall objective is to bring America's Cup type racing to British shores as soon as possible.

During 2009 TeamOrigin competed in two really successful Louis Vuitton Trophy events - the first being the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series that was held in Auckland in February 2009 and, more recently, the first 'Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta', in Nice in November 2009.

During 2010 the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) will organise a further four or five Louis Vuitton Trophy events in venues such as New Zealand, Italy, the Middle East and Hong Kong. TeamOrigin's Principal Sir Keith Mills strongly believes that one of these events should and could be hosted in the UK during either 2010 or 2011.

TeamOrigin and the WTSA have already compiled a detailed event venue specification document for any venue that might be interested in exploring this opportunity. Serious expressions of interest should be sent to Marcus Hutchinson, , TeamOrigin/UK Venues, 78 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ES, UK by the end of January 2010, following which the event venue specification will be transferred and a detailed proposal can be prepared.

Last Chance to Capture Some of the J Class Magic in the 2010 Desktop Calendar
Click on image to enlarge.

JClass Calendar Each of the twelve pages features one of the yachts, offering a comprehensive view of the J Class fleet and the rebirth of the Class. The three original yachts, Shamrock V, Velsheda and Endeavour are all featured, along with the replica new builds currently on the water, Ranger and Hanuman. There are further photographs and information on J Class yachts currently in build, as well as Svea, who has already had her lines plans approved by the J Class Association.

The calendar costs 10.99 GBP excluding postage, or it can be obtained at an introductory offer for those who wish to join the J Class Supporters' Club. The last remaining calendars are now available.

For more information see:

Rolex Trophy Rating Series: Limit Wins The Series - Living Doll The Race
Alan Brierty's RP63 Limit, winner IRC 0/1 Division of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series. Photo by Daniel Forster, Click on image to enlarge.

Rolex Trophy Series They judged the Shark Island start perfectly, were the third yacht heading out of Sydney Harbour and then Alan Brierty and his Limit crew mowed down the JV 72 RÁN, gybing inside her under spinnaker, with the finish line in sight, catching a nice puff to beat RÁN, and more importantly, Loki, their main adversary for the series.

Although Limit (CYCA) finished Race 6 second overall behind Michael Hiatt's Living Doll, it was enough to give Brierty's yacht the Series by one point from near-sistership and major rival, Loki, Stephen Ainsworth's RP 63, which finished today's 19 nautical mile Passage Race third overall after the two went into the decider on equal points.

Brierty was once again wearing the trademark grin, which was not in evidence yesterday after Limit's fourth place finish which briefly cost them the lead of the four-day Rolex Trophy Rating Series.

Limit's helmsman, Ian 'Barney' Walker, said a rope twisted on their furler while rolling up their Code Zero and cost them the race and the series lead yesterday.

It was a difficult day, with light 5-8 knot east-south-easterly breezes that were patchy at best. The race started at Shark Island and took the fleet to an offshore mark 9.5 nautical miles seaward from North Head and return under spinnaker to the finish in Watsons Bay.

In the light airs of today's race, former Farr 30 world champion Guy Stening and his Farr 30 Optimum revelled in the light breezes to steal the Division 2 win from Paul Clitheroe's Balance, with Chris Dare's Audi Centre Melbourne third. "A fantastic regatta, really well organised," enthused Stening. "It's terrific to come away with the win after a great tussle with Balance and The Philosopher's Club.

In the two race Passage Series, Investec LOYAL, Sean Langman's 100 footer took line honours in 3 hours 3min 45sec, but it was Geoff Ross' RP 55 Yendys (CYCA) that scored the race win and took the series from RÁN and Syd Fischer's TP 52 Ragamuffin, with Ray Roberts' Evolution Racing fourth. All are Rolex Sydney Hobart overall honours contenders for the Tattersall's Cup. -- Di Pearson

Only A Spectacle In The Courtrooms...
In the 'He ran, She ran' crazy world of the America's Cup, it seems that the deal to change the dates on the 33rd Match and run with an extended regatta are no more, and that Societe Nautique de Geneve have backed away from undertakings given earlier today.

Sources in Valencia advised Sail-World that the arrangement made by SNG representatives in Valencia had not been confirmed by their Swiss masters.

It would seem therefore that the regatta which was to be a best of seven series, spanning two weekends, will now revert to the Court sanctioned best of three regatta starting on 8 February 2010.

The Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberá, who had been broking a deal between the warring parties to turn the 33rd America's Cup into a sailing spectacle, is said to be rather unimpressed with the latest developments.

Organisation of the shore side of the regatta had been arranged to be undertaken by the city/consorcio, but that is now believed to be overturned, as well. Such an arrangement would have left the Swiss to run the on-the-water side of the regatta, while the City undertook the cost, organisation and promotion of the event as well as arranging the media centre and other social events.

If the reports are correct of the backtrack on the arrangements negotiated over the past few days, including a one day meeting in Sydney between the parties and the Expert Panel/Int Jury, then it is possible that a bare bones Match will be staged - almost a private race, with media and spectators left to their own devices.

Certainly the timing has become very difficult, and arranging television coverage will not be easy, let alone finding slots in long booked TV and satellite schedules, meaning that most of the coverage is likely to be handled via the Internet. There would be no media rights, as such and the event would become a media free for all.

Sources also advised Sail-World that Michel Hodara, who headed up the America's Cup Management organisation for the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia had been hired by City to undertake a similar role with the shore facilities and organisation of the 33rd America's Cup.

However that arrangement would now appear to be in limbo as a result of the latest developments. -- Richard Gladwell's latest editorial in,

Partners In Tradition - Classic And Modern Yachts In Saint-Tropez
Partners In Tradition - Classic And Modern Yachts In Saint-Tropez Yachting photographers, Juerg Kaufmann and Daniel Forster, and sailing writer, Lynn Fitzpatrick, have teamed up to produce a coffee table book of Les de Saint-Tropez entitled "Partners In Tradition - Classic And Modern Yachts In Saint-Tropez". The book will be packed will stunning images and highlights of the yachts, people and atmosphere the event.

The 10th anniversary of the event was exceptional. This year, Les Voiles celebrated the 100th year anniversary of Tuiga and her sistership, Mariska. Many of the world’s most beautiful traditional yachts such as Elenora, Cambria, Shamrock and Moonbeam plied the same waters as the stylish Wallys. Additionally, all five of Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duick yachts were assembled in the marina and raced during the day.

Kaufmann, Forster and Fitzpatrick have eyes unlike others in the business. When joined, their talents and professionalism produce an outcome that is the perfect souvenir or gift for sailors and all who have ever dreamed about sailing along the French Riviera.

A superb gift for any sailor, purchase at

RORC Opt Out Of Lifeline Change
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has made a decision to ban Dyneema® lifelines for the 2010 RORC race programme. At the ISAF annual conference in Busan Korea in November Dyneema® fibre was approved as a material for use in lifelines for offshore race boats. The material has been used for a number of years in Melges 24 and Melges 32 and on IMOCA 60's in the Vendee Globe.

The RORC committee, made up of very experienced offshore racers, expressed collective concern about the suitability of the material for offshore boats where the crew are constantly hiking, especially in rough conditions and unanimously decided to ban its use for RORC races in 2010.

"We voiced our concern about the materials suitability for offshore race boats when the submission first came to our attention," said Ed Broadway the chairman of the RORC Special Regulations Committee: "Whilst we know it is a very strong material and has been tested on IMOCA 60 in the Vendee Globe it has not been subjected to a season of offshore racing and we would rather take a wait and see attitude and let our constituents know our intentions as early as possible."

Ian Loffhagen, the RORC Racing Manager feels that RORC's conservative approach is in the best interest of the sport: "While we always try and embrace new technology, safety at sea is our principal concern. With over 400 boats racing with us each season we want to act in the best interest of the majority. The RORC Committee were unanimously opposed to a move away from stainless steel lifelines and we will monitor the use of Dyneema® in other races."

The ban will apply to all RORC races in 2010 including the RORC Caribbean 600 which starts on February 22nd in Antigua.

Poonpat Dominates Optimist Asians
Noppakao Poonpat of Thailand registered a comprehensive victory at the IODA Asian Championship which finished today in Langkawi, Malaysia. While she was perhaps fortunate that conclusion of the 12 race series enabled her to discard her OCS in Race 10 she finished 18 points clear of her closest rival Carlos Robles (ESP). Muhammad Farhan of the host country was third.

Noppakao, who narrowly missed bronze at last summer's Worlds, is the first Thai sailor to win the event and the first girl since 2004 Olympian Shen Xiaoying (CHN) in 1998. On Wednesay she had also helped Thailand to retain the Asian Team Racing Championship with a narrow 2-1 victory over Malaysia.

The 121 sailor, 25 nation event concludes a great year of IODA events in which no less than 80 countries and around 900 sailors have participated in the six continental and world championships

Details at:

Best Sailors' Bar In The World
Wight Vodka Your humble narrator is a bit surprised at the number of votes cast just in the past few days... over 30,000. And pleased at the hundreds of new subscribers to his little broadsheet, welcome newcomers!

We're down to the wire now... voting ends at midnight GMT Tuesday (between Tuesday and Wednesday), with the winner to be announced on Wednesday December 23rd.

At press time, The Candy Store is running away with this...

The Candy Store - Newport, RI, USA, 11379 votes
IYAC - Newport RI, USA, 6261
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club - Hong Kong, 4785
Le Select - St. Barts, 4692
Cafe Sport - Horta, Azores, 2733
Maddie's Sail Loft - Marblehead, MA USA, 1038
Bitter End Yacht Club - British Virgin Islands, 369
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Hamilton Bermuda, 160
Willy T - Norman Island, British Virgin Islands, 90
Foxy's Tamarind Bar and Grill - Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, 77

The Best Sailor's Bar in the World contest is sponsored by Wight Vodka,

Cast your vote at

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2006 X-Yachts X-55, EUR 799,000. Located in the Netherlands.

RoXanne is a 55 foot performance cruiser sailing yacht of Danish quality, built by X-Yachts in Haderslev, delivered in July 2006. She is ready for ocean cruising or circumnavigation. The X-55 was voted European Yacht of the Year 2007. She has had very positive reviews in leading yacht magazines and scores top rank in the American analist Ted Brewer's comfort formula. The reason for this is the combination of her slim line, long waterline and smart weight placement below the waterline, that makes her very comfortable and seaworthy eventhough she is light weight. Sail critic Henk Bezemer wrote in the Dutch magazine Zeilen "The X-55 is a beautiful ship that promises to solve the classic dilemma between comfort, safety and speed."

Brokerage through X-Yachts Holland BV:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
A peaceful man does more good than a learned one. -- Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli

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