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RS:X Worlds
The Gold Fleets completed three races today. The Silver did not race. Wind speeds were solidly in the mid 20s and topping out over 30. This world championship is turning into a war of attrition. Attrition on the sailors. And attrition on the equipment.

Yesterday Toni Wilhelm went to flight school yesterday with the result that his sail cartwheeled across the bay and smacked another racer on the back. Alex Jones [BER] was taken off the water and to hospital with broken bones in a foot. Today sailors who would not normally be taking rides over the handle bars were doing so.

They were certainly tired when they came ashore tonight and keen to rest because tomorrow it will be windy. That is certain. How windy remains to be seen. The forecast is for it to pick up.

Men Top 5
1. Julien Bontemps, FRA, 24.0
2. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 26.0
3. JP Tobin, NZL, 31.0
4. Dorian van Rijsselberge, NED, 31.6
5. Byron Kokalanis, GRE, 32.0

Women Top 5
1. Lee Korzits, ISR, 17.0
2. Zofia Klepacka, POL, 21.0
3. Alessandra Sensini, ITA, 27.0
4. Brony Shaw, GBR, 48.0
5. Maja Dziarnowska, POL, 55.0

RS:X Worlds Microsite

Nice And Close
Highland Fling loses her rig. Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

International Rolex Regatta St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands: It came down to the wire on the last day for winners in three of six classes at the International Rolex Regatta, which began Friday and hosted 68 boats and over 500 sailors representing the U.S., Great Britain, Puerto Rico, Canada, The Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Sweden, Monaco and multiple Caribbean islands.

The tactically demanding Pillsbury Sound races, with courses that wound through the cays of St. Thomas and St. John, decided winners in one IRC and three CSA classes as well as a Beach Cat class, while one-design IC 24s completed six short-course races in Jersey Bay to determine that class's victor. The races were sailed in picture-perfect conditions, which included plenty of sunshine and 15-knot breezes, which made the overcast skies and intermittent rain showers that prevailed over the last two days but a distant memory.

Peter Cunningham's (George Town, CAY) 52-foot PowerPlay took overall victory in IRC, where nine boats were competing, and won a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Chronometer as a prize for its excellent performance. The team's main competition was Willem Wester's (Breskens, Zeeland, NED) Grand Soleil 46 Antilope (steered by Belgian Olympian Philippe Bergmans) and Ashley Wolfe's (Alberta, Canada) IRC 52 Mayhem, which finished second and third, respectively.

Top three by class:

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IC 24 (One Design - 14 Boats)
1. Orion, IC 24, Fraito Lugo, Ponce, PR, USA, 48
2. Cachondo, IC 24, Marco Teixidor, San Juan, PR, 70
3. Team Coors Light, IC 24, Frits Bus/ Chuck Pessler, St. Thomas, USVI, USA, 75

CSA 1 (CSA - 9 Boats)
1. Budget Marine/GILL, Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli, Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO, 14.5
2. Magnitude 400, Farr 400, Doug Baker, Long Beach, CA, USA, 15
3. Fire Water, Melges 24, Henry Leonnig, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI, 22

CSA 2 (CSA - 13 Boats)
1. Dark Star, J 105, Jonathan Lipuscek, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, 14
2. Smile and Wave, Beneteau First 40, Jaime Torres, San Juan, PR, USA, 14.5
3. Lazy Dog, J 122, Sergio Sagramoso, San Juan, PR, USA, 15

CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA - 7 Boats)
1. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere, Christiansted, VI, USA, 7
2. Affinity, Swan 48, Jack Desmond, Marion, MA, USA, 12
3. Shamrock VII, J 95, Thomas Mullen, Campton, NH, USA, 15

IRC 1 (IRC - 9 Boats)
1. PowerPlay, TP 52, Peter Cunningham, George Town, CAY, 11
2. Antilope, Grand Soleil 46, Willem Wester, Breskens, Zeeland, NED, 16.5
3. Mayhem, TP 52, Ashley Wolfe, Calgary, AB, CAN, 20.5

Beach Cats (Portsmouth - 10 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge Ramos, San Juan, PR, USA, 19
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg, St. Thomas, VI, USA, 21
3. Island Sol, Hobie 16, Paul Stoken, St Thomas, VI, USA, 25

Soldini and His Team Aboard Maserati Arrive New York
New York City, NY: This morning at 11:50 am GMT (7:50 am local time) the Maserati racing yacht reached the Ambrose light station in New York, destination point of the Miami-New York record attempt. Soldini and his team decided not to ratify the Miami - New York record with the World Sailing Speed Record Council. There is not a recorded time reference for monohulls from Miami to New York, and the team felt the adverse weather conditions (tropical storms, sudden blasts, windless zones) that Maserati encountered during the route did not warrant an official record.

"We have decided not to ask for a ratification of the Miami-New York record attempt, even though a time reference for monohulls doesn't exist," said Soldini. "Our achievement turned out to be below our expectations, and it does not reflect the performance of a boat as fast as Maserati. When we set sail for the record attempt we knew that the weather conditions were not ideal, but we didn't expect them to be so adverse. We can do much better than this aboard Maserati. In the coming days we will wait for the right moment to attempt the New York - Cape Lizard (UK) speed record and, weather permitting, we will again try the 24 hour speed record. It is going to be hard but we can make it."

Giovanni and his team aboard of Maserati set sail from Miami on March 22 at 06:28:16 GMT (02:28:16 local time).

This ambitious race against time is one of several records that Giovanni Soldini and his international crew aboard Maserati will attempt in the months ahead.

Ocean Safety's Kru Sport Pro is the Choice of Professionals
Ocean Safety Ocean Safety's Kru Sport Pro is the ultimate lifejacket choice of professional sailors. All but one of the yachts in the Volvo race are equipped with the Sport Pro, whose compact waistcoat design makes it very comfortable and barely noticeable to wear. Plus there's even more to the Kru Sport Pro than just keeping you afloat. The Sport Pro can be fitted with the innovative and compact personal R10 AIS transmitter to make a completely integrated personal safety system.

The R10's size means it can be also carried in a pocket. The R10 alerts AIS receivers on vessels within a four mile radius with precision position information, so if a crew member falls overboard, the alert will transmit both onboard the yacht, and also on other vessels in the area.

The Kru Sport pro offers a superior 180N buoyancy and is designed for the testing conditions of many thousands of miles at sea. A well as all the superior features that would be expected, the Kru has double soft eye harness points and a uniquely stowed sprayhood that sits flat across the crewmember's back, allowing complete freedom of movement.

The combination of Kru Sports Pro and R10 is a winning one for providing the best possible safety back up to the Volvo crews.

Mike Urwin on IRC
Louay Habib interviews Mike Urwin, joint Chairman of the IRC Technical Committee, on some detail technical aspects of IRC.

LH: One objective of IRC is to provide a rating that will allow the existing fleet to be competitive while not being a disincentive to development - a delicate balancing act and one that is more important than ever in the current environment. Would you like to comment on the 2012 rating changes designed to change the balance between boats with non overlapping headsails and designs with overlapping headsails?

MU: Recent years have seen a steady trend towards new designs having non-overlapping headsails. This, and the trend among some boats originally designed with overlapping headsails to convert to a non-overlapping configuration, has prompted sail designers to develop improved designs for these sails in lighter airs. Allied with the fact that modern sailcloth is better able to deal with the higher loads in tall, high aspect ratio sails, this has changed the balance slightly in favour of the non overlappers.

The changes this year are twofold. We have firstly taken a fresh look at the efficiency of different styles of headsail going back to fundamental physics and recognising also the sail design and cloth improvements. As a result, we have made some detail changes in this area. Secondly, historically, IRC has taken no account of leech hollow meaning that any boat with a hollow leech headsail (sailmakers want to build hollow in to improve sail longevity and to minimise leech curl and 'motoring') was paying a small amount for area that they did not have. Reviewing this, we could see no reason not to properly account for leech hollow.

Note: IRC is jointly owned by RORC and UNCL. Mike Urwin (RORC) and Jean Sans (UNCL) are joint Chairmen of the IRC Technical Committee.

To read the whole interview:

New Irish Sea Tall Ships Race: Dublin to Liverpool
A new Tall Ships race across the Irish Sea from Dublin to Liverpool will start in August immediately after the Tall Ships Race finishes on on Dublin Bay.

The City of Liverpool, Sail Training International and Dublin are set to join forces to host the inaugural Irish Sea Tall Ships Regatta which will see a fleet of majestic Tall Ships race from Dublin to Liverpool from Sunday 26th August 2012.

A fleet of Tall Ships including the magnificent Russian Class A square rigger Mir, will make a spectacular return as they race to the city for the first time since The Tall Ships Races 2008, which attracted around 450,000 visitors.

The Irish Sea Tall Ships Regatta is an additional event to complement Sail Training International's flagship summer race series The Tall Ships Races, presented by Szczecin, which will visit the host ports of St. Malo, Lisbon, Cadiz and La Coruna before concluding in the final race port of Dublin. A selection of the international fleet will then sail on to Liverpool.

Sail Training International is also offering the chance for young people to take part in the Irish Sea Tall Ships Regatta via its Sultanate of Oman Bursary Scheme, established to help fund up to 100 people (16-24 year olds) to take part in events organised by the charity each year.

From Afloat Magazine:

Roland Dane Revs Up For Gladstone Race
Team Vodafone V8 super car principal Roland Dane has focused his attention towards sailing fast on the open ocean over the Easter weekend.

He recently purchased the impressive Corby 36 class sloop and christened her Jessandra ll in a professionally managed attempt to win the 2012 QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Race starting on Good Friday April 6th.

His impressive ocean racing debut embraces the former Rolex Sydney-Hobart race record holder and overall winner Michael Spies a veteran Gladstone Race sailor winning the line honours as the sailing master with the Matt Allen owned and skippered Ichi Ban in 2007, 2008.

As expected the highly experienced Michael Spies started the campaign impressively with Jessandra ll emerging as the star performer winning the Grand Prix IRC class during the Southport Yacht Club Sail Paradise series last week.

They finished the seven race regatta with a remarkable 5 wins and 2 seconds for a four point maiden championship victory over the Peter Harburg owned and Mark Bradford helmed Black Jack Too while local Gold Coast skipper Matt Percy steered Alacrity into third another nine points off the pace.

The result was an encouraging performance for the Jessandra ll crew who like all of their 47 rivals have commenced monitoring the coastal weather and the wind recordings registered at vital waypoints along the course to Gladstone.

A 29 knot gust recorded at Double Island Point earlier today (Monday) is an encouraging sign that all crews could experience another high powered spinnaker sailing adrenalin rush during the tactically demanding 308 n/ml race.

Long range forecasters are predicting 15-25 knot trade winds to prevail over the Easter weekend.

Any hint of fresh winds and rolling ocean swells in excess of 2 metres will be ideal conditions favouring the super fast Royal Geelong Yacht Club TP52 Shogun V ( Robert Hanna) to set the pace ahead of her Courier Mail Cup handicap challengers Jessandra ll and the golden oldies Saltash ll (Sandy and Peter Cavill) and Wistari (Scott Patrick). -- Ian Grant

ISAF Kiteboard Trials
Click on image to enlarge.

ISAF Kiteboard Trials The 2012 ISAF Kiteboarding format trials wrapped up yesterday with an extensive discussion about the future strategy to get kiteboarding into the Olympic Games. It became quite obvious during this week that the report of the ISAF evaluation panel will be a very positive one and that everybody would love to see kiteboarding in the Olympics as soon as possible, but with currently only two medals available for windsurfing AND kiteboarding this still proves to be a difficult one. In the end it now comes down to politics, and surely the best way out of this for everybody is to get two more medals from the International Olympic Committee

Around 1500 everybody packed up the equipment then and started to head back home, where the discussions with the ISAF Member National Associations will begin, now that Kiteboarding has proven that there are no race management nor event organization implications and that kiteboarding offers new and exciting racing formats. It also became clear that kiteboards are by far the most performant sailing vessel on the water which adds a lot to the excitement for spectators and media.

The event format that came out of this will be a combination of two different fleet racing formats based on a windward/leeward course but with an added slalom part that tests not only the tactical skills of the sailors but also the equipment handling skills. The big new thing then is the medal race series which will be a straight knock out format on the new short track course with a reaching start, which is comparable to the Americas Cup Series format and by far the most exciting thing that we all here in Santander have seen for a long long time: fast and furious reaching starts, incredible tactical opportunities on the upwind and downwind legs with gates, that allow for a variety of passing opportunities and position changes, and a reaching finish that nicely lines up the fleet before the finish and gives the spectators and the media the opportunity for the money shot.

ISAF will now prepare a report to the mid year meeting when we will find out how the issue about the windsurfing and/or kiteboarding can be solved. -- International Kiteboarding Class Association

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

Design for manufacture - Part IV
Structural engineer Will Brooks distills the various points raised in this series so far and suggests some practical and affordable steps

Size matters
Nick Partington demonstrates how out of all the froth the area of nano-technology now offers genuine opportunities for advancement

Ross Field is not happy at all, Terry Hutchinson’s science project, Volvo Leg 4 routing with Wouter Verbraak, Roy Dunster on Olympic ‘comparables’ and Blue Robinson watches the air turn blue off Sydney

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

Fresh Co-Skipper for Dutch GOR Entry Sec. Hayai
Click on image to enlarge.

GOR On Thursday 15 March, Dutch yachtsman and Global Ocean Race (GOR) entry, Nico Budel, sailed into Puerto Punta del Este with his first generation Akilaria Class40 Sec. Hayai following a single-handed, 29-day delivery from Cape Town, South Africa. The following weekend, Budel was joined in Uruguay by his wife, Myrna, and Erik van Vuuren, his co-skipper for 5,700-mile Leg 4 from Punta del Este to Charleston, USA.

Van Vuuren, one of the Netherland's most experienced big-boat professional inshore and offshore sailors, has - potentially - long term plans of Class40 sailing: "Four years ago I started a sailing consultancy," says the 42-year-old Dutchman. "I'd seen some Class40s in France and I thought it would be great to sail one and see what it's like and maybe try and organise bringing more Class40s to Holland," he explains.

Van Vuuren is a multiple Dutch sailing champion and won the X99 World Championships in the early 1990s; has been part of a winning Admiral's Cup team on two occasions and, more recently, won Les Voiles de St. Tropez and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2011.

Nico Budel completed GOR Leg 1 from Charleston to Cape Town with fellow Dutchman, Ruud van Rijsewijk, taking sixth place, then on Leg 2, the 72-year-old yachtsman dismasted on the first night at sea off the Cape of Good Hope racing with his son, Frans, when rigging component failure brought an abrupt halt to continuing the course to Wellington, New Zealand. Without seeking assistance, the Budels motored back to Cape Town and immediately began making plans to re-join the GOR.

On Friday, Budel and Van Vuuren sailed Sec. Hayai (formerly Beluga Racer of the 2008-09 GOR double-handed winners, Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme) 18 miles upstream along the River Plate to the modern and efficient marina at the Riviera-style resort town of Piriápolis for a haul-out: an operation co-ordinated by the Yacht Club Punta del Este and offered free of charge due to the GOR's status as an event of national importance granted by the Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism. Van Vuuren explains the work undertaken: "After the keel repair in Cape Town, Nico wanted to check that everything was OK and the keel is fine. We changed one rudder bearing that had some slight movement in it, but this wasn't really necessary. We just wanted to make sure everything was 100 per cent ready."

GOR crew list for Leg 4 from Punta del Este to Charleston:
Cessna Citation: Conrad Colman (NZL)/Scott Cavanough (AUS)
Financial Crisis: Marco Nannini (ITA) and Sergio Frattaruolo (ITA)
Phesheya-Racing: Nick Leggatt (RSA) and Phillippa Hutton-Squire (RSA)
Sec. Hayai: Nico Budel (NDL) and Erik van Vuuren (NDL)

Rolex China Sea Race - Channeling Darling
Darling on the start line at the 2010 Rolex China Sea Race, complete with Piper. Photo by Guy Nowell / RHKYC. Click on image to enlarge.

China Sea Race Darling, a Hanse 400, is named after Grace Darling, an English Victorian heroine who assisted her lighthouse-keeper father in saving 13 ship wrecked people in a rowing boat on the evening of 7 September 1838 off the Northumberland coast - when it was too rough for the local life boat to be launched.

Dean Chisholm, Darling's owner, is hoping to channel Grace's grit and determination when he and his crew set off on 4 April on the Golden Anniversary edition of the Rolex China Sea Race. Chisholm is no stranger to the Race having participated six times previously. By the end of the Race, he will have completed his tenth crossing of the South China Sea. 2012 marks Darling's second Rolex China Sea Race.

Darling's Hong Kong-based all-male crew are a mixed bag of nationalities - English, Scottish, Australian and Danish "with no professionals or boat boys, so we will have to pitch in on all tasks" offers the owner, adding, "there is a wide range of experience; with myself having the most experience to a couple of China Sea Race "virgins" - although one "virgin" has prior Cat 1 experience on the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race".

Chisholm is particularly looking forward to the 2012 Race. "For a race like this to have been raced over 50 years shows real enthusiasm and support of the members and staff who participate and organise. It's just something every big boat sailor wants to be part of. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and Rolex should feel a real sense of pride and honour."

With only 9 days to go until Race start, Dean is keen to thank the really important people however, namely "the wives and families for putting up with us spending time away from them before, during and after the race to make it all happen."

Rolex China Sea Race website at:

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The Last Word
No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power. -- P. J. O'Rourke

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