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Leaders Press On
Leg 5 leaders Groupama and PUMA extended their advantage over the fleet in strong winds and huge seas on Sunday, as Telefonica made cautious progress and CAMPER accepted they would have to make a brief pit-stop in Chile for repairs.

At 1300 UTC, Groupama sailing team were 48 nautical miles ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, with Team Telefonica 120 nm off the pace.

Telefonica skipper Iker Martínez confirmed the Spanish crew were concentrating on protecting their boat and themselves against the harsh conditions in order to complete the leg safely. "Everyone's security comes first," Martínez said. "We had a problem in the bow that we don't want to escalate. It's a shame having to go slowly, we don't like it at all, especially when you're fighting. 

"The boat is going well now, but there is a danger that it could be damaged, so that is why we have decreased our speed."

Groupama skipper Franck Cammas said the French crew were taking every precaution necessary after sailing in 30 to 40 knots of breeze for more than 24 hours.

"It is true we have more a foot on the brake than on the accelerator," Cammas said. "We know we are on the limit and the boat's structure is bearing a lot of load. We don't really know where the limit is and that is why it is a bit stressful for the helmsman and the crew to sail as smoothly as they can."

Meanwhile, over 900 nm behind the leaders fifth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were still languishing in light winds having passed the eastern end of the ice exclusion zone.

Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker said the Roaring Forties had so far been more of a whimper. "We have finally reached the Western ice gate waypoint and must now try and head due east," Walker said.

"Unfortunately as we expected we are now totally becalmed as the centre of the high pressure passes over the top of us but in 24 hours we should be clear and can start making proper progress towards Cape Horn.

"We cannot help but look at the position and wind reports of the boats ahead to even wonder if we aren't in the best place," Walker said.

Camper to Stop at Chile for Repairs
After conducting a full assessment of the bow damage suffered 24 hours ago CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has decided that the damage is too significant to repair at sea and therefore will need to make a brief stop at the Chilean port of Puerto Montt to carry out a permanent repair.

Exact details are still being worked through but the current intention is to suspend racing when close to Puerto Montt.

CAMPER is not withdrawing from Leg Five and after completing repairs will resume racing from where it was suspended.

Spirits remain high aboard and all crew are focused on getting back into racing as soon as possible.  Skipper Chris Nicolson said from the yacht: "This is the only option that is satisfactory to us from a safety perspective, but also keeps us in the race. It's a hard decision to make but we are all in good spirits. As we have said in the past the Southern Ocean throws up the best and worst days of your life - recent days certainly haven't been the best days but we will get through this uninjured and ready to continue in the race."

A recording of Nicholson speaking of the damage and state of affairs:

Ioannis Mitakis Wins European Finn Title
Photo of Ioannis Mitakis by Robert Deaves. Click on image for photo gallery.

European Finn Championship Scarlino, Italy: The Finn European titles were decided in the Gulf of Follonica after a week of tough, tricky racing in unusually light and shifty winds. Overall leader Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) took the senior title in style after leading the medal race from start to finish. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) took silver with Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) taking bronze. In the juniors Michal Jodlowski (POL) who has led all week, took the title from Dimitar Vangelov (BUL) and Andrey Yanitsky (RUS)

After leading the medal race from start to finish, Ioannis Mitakis has won the Finn European title for the first time, just two years after he won the Junior Finn European title for the second time. For the 23 year old it is a dream come true, and also perhaps a bit unexpected, but all week, the light winds have favoured him and he has demonstrated a level headedness and clear strategic thinking that has left many more experienced rivals in his wake.

It has been a strange week here in Scarlino. The wind really hasn't played along and has been completely unseasonable. The racing has been up and down a lot, but what is in no doubt that Ioannis Mitakis was the best sailor here this week and his cool headedness and clear thinking will be a great benefit as he approaches the biggest regatta of his life this coming summer.

Relive the racing and the championship on the live blog at which has all the links, photos and videos from the week.

The sailors are now heading to Palma for the 43 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia – MAPFRE regatta, the second event of the very busy European season this year as they prepare for the Olympic Games in August.

Results after medal race (medal race position in brackets)
1. Ioannis Mitakis, GRE, 32 (1)
2. Vasilij Zbogar, SLO, 43 (3)
3. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 48 (6)
4. Filippo Baldassarri, ITA, 51 (5)
5. Giorgio Poggi, ITA, 54 (8)
6. Deniss Karpak, EST, 57 (2)
7. Pieter-Jan Postma, NED, 59 (4)
8. Akif Muslubas, TUR, 71 (7)
9. Matthias Miller, GER, 74 (9)
10. Rafael Trujillo, ESP, 75 (10)

Juniors (Top 6)
1, Michal Jodlowski, POL, 112
2. Dimitar Vangelov, BUL, 137
3. Andrey Yanitsky, RUS, 179
4. Hrncal Tomas, CZE, 190
5. Arkadiy Kistanov, RUS, 201
6. Viacheslav Sivenkov, RUS, 218

Full results:

Event site:

Trends In Offshore Racing
Torsten Conradi of Judel/Vrojlik (left) and John Corby. Click on image to enlarge.

International Yacht Forum Organized by the German Offshore Owner's Association under the patronage of the German Sailing Federation (DSV), the International Yacht Forum in Hamburg has once again provided an opportunity for Baltic-based owners and sailors to hear experts in various fields discuss the latest trends in offshore racing. The event was expanded to two days this year to include more presentations as well as a practical electronic navigation seminar using Expedition in the 'Go For Speed' series.

Moderated by Dobbs Davis of Seahorse Magazine, this year's theme of The Future of Yacht Racing focused on the following topics: recent advances in navigation software (Nick White, NZL) and use of GRB files in weather forecasting strategies (Meeno Schrader, GER); yacht design in relation to rating rules (Jason Ker and John Corby, GBR, and Torsten Conradi, GER); current trends in one design, box rule and handicap sailing (Dobbs Davis, USA); optimized sail design for rating systems (Greg Marie, USA); accidents and risk assessment on offshore yachts (Stefano Beltrando, ITA); hydro and aero flow analysis in modern design (Kai Graf, GER); technical advances in video depiction of offshore sailing (Robert Sleep, GBR); advances in regatta management software (Stefan Kunstmann, GBR, Volker Andreae, GER, and Dobbs Davis); and the development of the HPR concept for high performance racing yachts (Jason Ker, Dobbs Davis, and James Dadd, GBR).

An underlying theme throughout the presentations was to help explain the steady and ongoing trend towards faster, lighter, and stronger offshore sailing yachts in all areas of the game.

While all topics were touching on the cutting edge of the sport, the discussion on lighter offshore racing yacht design was of special note not just for the discussions of optimizations of existing boats, but of the new designs revealed to the attendees and media. Torsten Conradi of Judel/Vrojlik showed a new 37-footer under build at Speedwave for ORCi racing in the Bodensee, as well as two 72-foot mini-Maxi's: Hap Fauth's Bella Mente due out soon at New England Boatworks in Rhode Island and another new 72-footer being built in Finland at Baltic Yachts. Jason Ker discussed his ideas on the 'lighter side of IRC,' and then spoke of a new 46-footer of his design being series-built at McConaghy.

The speaker list and program information is available at the event website at, and organizers have promised to make the presentations by each of the speakers available soon on the website.

Sponsors of the 3rd edition of the IYF include: Alexseal Yacht Coatings, Boot Dusseldorf, Doyle Sailmakers, Ernst Kabel Druck, and Farmer's Outdoor Fast Natural Food.

Seahorse May 2012
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

James Dadd looks at popular performance assumptions... with the benefit of recent analysis

A rare glimpse
Mike Birch is one of the sailing greats, though he can be harder to track down away from the water... as Jocelyn Bleriot discovered

Andrew Hurst

A long road travelled
The sails on Banque Populaire V performed faultlessly around the world... but that had very little to do with luck. Jean Baptiste Le Vaillant and Cesar Dohy

Dustin Durant Takes The Ficker Cup
Nothing washes down the sniffles like a bottle of champagne, and Dustin Durant gurgled that prescription Saturday by winning his way into next week's 48th Congressional Cup with a victory in Long Beach Yacht Club's Ficker Cup.

"It wasn't a piece of cake," Durant said, unwinding on the dock. "We crashed pretty hard and had some tough races, especially since I've been sick with the flu or a cold all week."

But the 24-year-old LBYC member perked up just in time to dispatch his nearest rival, Nevin Snow, 18, of San Diego by sweeping the day 3-0 and finishing with 12 wins and 2 losses in the three-day, double round robin. Snow ended 11-3.

Durant's crew included tactician Scott Dickson, a match racing veteran who has won several Ficker Cups as a skipper and competed in a dozen Congressional Cups.

The rest of the team:  Brandon Folkman, trimmer; Shane Young, main trimmer and pit; Max Moosman, downwind trimmer; Ben Wheatley, bow. Andy Witham subbed Saturday for Young, who was unavailable.

"This was my 12th Ficker Cup," Dickson said, "but my first as a tactician, and it was wonderfully rewarding."

The Ficker Cup is named for Bill Ficker of nearby Newport Beach, who presented the trophy to the winners. He was skipper of the 12-Meter Intrepid that successfully defended the America's Cup against Australia's Gretel II in 1970 and later won the Congressional Cup in 1974.

Bill Dalessi, a Congressional Cup founder, also presented the Jonah Jones trophy---a bronzed captain's hat---to Durant as an LBYC member competing in the Congressional Cup. -- RIch Roberts

Final standings (14 flights)

1. Dustin Durant, Long Beach YC, 12-2.
2. Nevin Snow, San Diego YC, 11-3.
3. Mike Quaglio, Oakcliff Sailing Center, N.Y., 9-5.
4. Peter Wickwire, Royal Canadian YC, 8-6.
5. Brad Funk, Lauderdale YC, Fla., 4-10.
6. Nicholas Dugdale, San Francisco YC, 4-9 (point deducted).
7. Mike Komar, Oakcliff Sailing Center, N.Y., 4-10.
8. Nicole Breault, St. Francis YC, 3-11.

Final results (PDF):

Zeroing In On The Congressional Cup
If you're an ambitious sailor who wants to make it big in match racing, you couldn't find a better place to start than Long Beach.

It's worked for several of the competitors in the Long Beach Yacht Club's 48th Congressional Cup running Tuesday through Saturday, including past winners Ian Williams of the UK (now ranked No. 1 in the world), Johnie Berntsson of Sweden and four-time winner Gavin Brady of New Zealand and Annapolis, Md. All built successful professional careers on the foundation of the game's granddaddy event.

Simone Ferrarese plans to follow that path. The young Italian was a 23-year-old unknown until he wangled an invitation to last year's Ficker Cup qualifying event and won his way into the Congressional Cup, where he finished an impressive sixth in the 10-team field.

From there he jumped onto the World Match Racing Tour, where he has raised his world ranking to 17 with a steady stream of successes in Grade 1 and 2 events---good enough to secure a Tour Card for automatic entry on this season's Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Ferrarese, Williams, Berntsson (No. 7) and Laurie Jury of New Zealand (No. 11) are among only nine WMRT card holders with automatic entry to the series' 2012 events.

Others competing here are Staffan Lindberg, Finland (14); Eric Monnin, Switzerland, (15); Will Tiller, New Zealand (19), and Taylor Canfield, U.S. Virgin Islands (27).

Congressional Cup teams will sail the Catalina 37s with standard crews of six, including the skipper, rotating boats daily. The boats, designed and built by Catalina Yachts primarily for match racing, are owned and maintained by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation. -- RIch Roberts

Racing begins Tuesday March 27 with finals on Saturday March 31.

4 Dykstra Naval Architects J's Kicked Off The J Class Racing Season
St. Barths Bucket Regatta's was the venue and host of the first J Class gathering and racing event of this year. It has been the first time that this many J's raced together since 75 years.

Dykstra Naval Architects is proud to be the designer and re-designer of all 4 J's that raced the J Class Exhibition Race. Endeavour, Velsheda, Hanuman and Ranger competed and showed their beauty and performance to all yacht and J Class lovers. Endeavour crossed the line first and won the race, followed by Velsheda 2nd, Ranger 3rd and Hanuman 4th.

Endeavour recently completed an intensive refit; Dykstra Naval Architects have been instrumental in the design of the new sail plan, deck layout and structural engineering. In total 7 yachts designed by Dykstra Naval Architects are racing the St. Barths Bucket 2012: Adela, Hetairos, Meteor, Endeavour, Velsheda, Hanuman and Ranger.

Some of Dykstra crew will be joining the yachts as well, Thys Nikkels (Managing Director) will race on Meteor, Jeroen de Vos (Naval Architect) on Endeavour and Erik Wassen (Naval Architect) on Hetairos.

Saint Barths Bucket
Race Day Two provided another day of superlatives at the Saint Barths Bucket. In a sharp contrast to yesterdays' wash out, Saturday dawned hot and sunny, with but a few dark clouds to remind us all what we weren't missing. "Today might be one of the epic Bucket Races of all time" exclaimed Bucket Founder and Antara guest helmsman Capt. Ian "Crash" Craddock.

Besides the sunshine, a steadily freshening breeze brought this massive fleet just what it needed to move around the "Not So Wiggly" course at a quick and exciting clip. Capt. Timmy Laughridge, another Bucket Founder, and for this race driving Perini Navi Parsifal III, commented on the spectacular start. "A downwind start, with a good breeze is a great way to start a race, we don't see that much! In Les Grandes Dames, Parsifal III again brought in a solid first in class, and is in now in fourth overall. Pantalassa edged into 2nd place, while Axia, showing their usual indomidable spirit, hung in there at 3rd place.

Les Elegantes had a hell of day. None of this thirteen-strong class, a beautiful mix of modern and older classics, which included Athos, Adela, Whisper, William Tai and Meteor, could have been more excited than the crew on This Is Us¸one of the many lovely Hoek designs here, built by Holland Yachtbouw. Highly experienced yacht regatta veteran and guest helmsman Patrick Wetter was visibly elated -as well he should be - sweeping to first place in both class and overall a full five minutes a full five minutes ahead of 34m Alloy Blue Too, a design by the always classic Ron Holland. In a surprising move, one of the smallest Bucket boats, sentimental favorite Olin Stephens design, Bequia brought in a solid third. -- Norma Trease

Complete results at

Running The Rhumblines
Eva Lorenz the exceptionally talented Whitsunday Sailing Club Optimist dinghy skipper will miss contesting the annual Easter regatta on warm tropical waters off Pioneer Bay.

She will pack warm clothes in her sail bag to continue with her personal ambition to be ranked among the best young female sailors in the class.

This weekend Eva will refine her tactical skills in the New South Wales championship on Sydney's Middle Harbour Yacht Club courses before heading to New Plymouth New Zealand as a member of the Australian team to compete in the New Zealand National Optimist championship over the Easter Weekend.

Both regattas have been entered in her racing diary for some time and while she is disappointed that her dinghy Missee Lee will have a dry bottom resting in the cradle under a warm cover at home the young skipper remains focused on gaining the valuable experience from racing on unfamiliar courses.

The clever young light bodyweight sailor who understands the physical torment associated with hanging by her ankles for long periods from the hiking straps is mentally and physically prepared to brave the colder sailing elements in the southern latitudes.

Her coach and older brother Klaus the 2011 Australian Championship Bronze medallist believes his kid sister has the determination to challenge his best placing of 7th when the sails are tensioned for title honours in the 2012 New Zealand championship.

Irrespective of the regatta results the happy young female skipper who has never been known to give up even when she is blown sideways in fresh winds is expecting to gain important big fleet racing experience in the New South Wales series before 'rugging up' to test her personal skill and endurance when the best young Optimist skippers from New Zealand and Australia go into battle on the windy waters at New Plymouth.

Meanwhile Eva and Klaus will have little time to discuss her results before Klaus heads to the Solomon Islands on April 8th to coach the Point Cruz Yacht Club Optimist squad in Honiara.

This special mission arranged by long term Whitsunday Sailing Club member Eddie Gray and supported by Solomon Airlines is expected to provide the 15 year old and former Australian championship Bronze medallist to further his experience at the international coaching level. -- Ian Grant.

2012 Vic-Maui Race
The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club are pleased to announce the 2012 Vic-Maui International Yacht Race. The 2012 Vic-Maui race, the twenty-third edition of this ocean racing classic, will start from Victoria, British Columbia. Class starts will be staggered, with starts commencing as early as June 28, 2012. The race will finish near Lahaina, Maui, a great circle route distance of 2308 nautical miles.

The Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race, first contested in 1968, is the pinnacle of Pacific Northwest ocean racing. Vic-Maui runs every second year, starting in June or July off Victoria, British Columbia and finishing near Lahaina, Maui, a distance of approximately 2308 nautical miles.

Vic-Maui challenges navigators to demonstrate their weather routing and navigational skills. Understanding the weather is critical when making decisions on navigating out of the Straits of Juan De Fuca and along the Washington, Oregon and Northern California coasts to get to the trade winds first. Success depends on the navigators skill in predicting where the Pacific High pressure zone will be.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Frank Pong: This is wrong

Anyone who had done even a little bit of offshore sailing would appreciate the way the V70s crew getting completely soaked and buffeted causes the crew to succumb to fatique much more so than the rough seas and strong winds.

Rather than passively building a pilothouse, it would be better to shape the boats to be less susceptible to get so wet, and we are not talking about the occasional waves splashing the people sitting on the windward rail, but huge amounts of 2 to 3 m3 burying the whole length of the boat.

It may appear to be good exciting stuff on videos, but it is wrong.

As a spectator, I feel it is irresponsible of people behind the scene and ashore to allow this to happen.

Boats meant to be raced hard in rough seas and cold weather should be made to protect the crew from this kind of constant torture.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2009 LeBreton Yachts SIG45. EUR 825,000. Located In Port Grimaund, France.

Exterior styling and Naval Architecture: Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost, Vannes/Paris, France Interior Design: Bjorn Johansson, Bembridge, UK

The SIG45 is flat out unique in its layout and deck design. The living arrangement are in the port and starboard hulls with full deck open. This area works great for outside entertaining.

Brokerage through Bruce Tait & Associates:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them. -- Nikola Tesla

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