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Leaders On Last Stretch Towards Cape Horn
Team Sanya in Tauranaga. Photo by Gareth Cooke / Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image for photo gallery.

Sanya Groupama sailing team extended their advantage at the head of the fleet, moving 46 nautical miles clear of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG at 1900 UTC on Tuesday as race leaders Team Telefonica, 335 nm off the lead in third, revealed a plan to make a pit stop for repairs.

Now free of the restrictions of the ice exclusion zone the leading pair have continued to power south east in winds gusting over 45 knots at average speeds over 20 knots.

Fourth placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand who themselves committed to a repair stop in Chile two days previously continue slow but steady progress towards Puerto Montt now less than 2,000 nm away.

Meanwhile fifth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are fast approaching the eastern end of the ice exclusion zone with their sights set on a possible podium result in Leg 5. At 1900 UTC Abu Dhabi were 1,426 nm off the lead travelling at an average speed of 20 knots.

Team Sanya, who were forced back to New Zealand by a broken rudder, today arrived in Tauranga. The team announced yesterday that the boat will be shipped to Savannah in the United States and then sailed to Miami ahead of the start of Leg 7.

Overall race leaders Team Telefonica will make a stop at the Argentine port of Ushuaia to repair bow damage and give themselves the best chance of holding on to a podium position in Leg 5.

Telefonica announced several days ago that they were slowing down to prevent further damage and skipper Iker Martínez confirmed today that delamination to the bow, sustained when a huge wave crashed down on them last week, would make a stop necessary before the finish line in Itajaí in Brazil.

"As you can see, we've got no problems in terms of continuing to sail, but if we continue to violently crash against the waves like this the damage could worsen and we want to rule out the possibility of that happening," said Martínez, who is determined to go on and complete the leg.

* CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson and his crew were in a positive frame of mind on Tuesday as the boat pushes on towards Puerto Montt to repair bow damage sustained in the Southern Ocean.

Temporary repairs have stabilised the bow section and the boat is less than 2000 nautical miles from the Chilean port and sailing in moderate weather. The calmer conditions have enabled the exhausted crew to catch up on some much-needed sleep while a replacement bulkhead and replacement longitudinals (hull supports) are due to be flown to Chile from Auckland on Friday.

Meanwhile shoreside CAMPER Shore Manager Neil 'Coxy' Cox is aiming for a quick pit-stop in Chile so the team can resume racing and claim some valuable points by finishing Leg Five in Itajai.

Nicholson stressed that they were still mindful of the volatile Southern Ocean conditions and would not be throwing caution to the wind.

"Puerto Montt from here is a bit over seven or eight days away.  It is hostile part of the world weather-wise and we have to keep that in mind," he said  "It is still a big expanse of water but the routing looks pretty good at the moment, so hopefully everything goes to plan."

San Francisco Approves America's Cup Race for September 2013
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today approved the agreement to host the America's Cup in San Francisco September 7 to 22, 2013.  

The 2013 race will be the first time the competition for the "Auld Mug" will be held in San Francisco, a perfect natural sailing arena where more than one million spectators will see the 34th edition of the America's Cup.

The San Francisco agreement calls for teams to be based at Piers 30/32 and for the America's Cup Village - the public Race Headquarters - at Piers 27/29.  The pier improvements will be funded by the Port.

"We have worked very hard to bring this historic race to San Francisco and we're very happy to have finally reached an agreement," said Stephen Barclay, interim CEO of the America's Cup. "Now we are focused on making this the most spectacular race in America's Cup history."

The inclusion of Piers 30/32 as the "pit row" for the teams in close proximity to the America's Cup Village at Piers 27/29 will make the event's footprint more compact and will benefit the teams as well as the general public.  Racing will be visible from the shoreline - only minutes from downtown shopping and hotels, making this the most spectator-friendly event in the Cup's 162-year history.

The dates for this year's (2012) racing for the America's Cup World Series, the global circuit of events leading up to the 2013 America's Cup regatta in San Francisco, were also confirmed today:

- AC World Series Naples, Italy - April 11-15, 2012
- AC World Series Venice, Italy - May 15-20, 2012
- AC World Series Newport, USA - June 26 - July 1, 2012
- AC World Series San Francisco, USA - August 21-26, 2012
- AC World Series San Francisco, USA - October 4-7, 2012

Each event will be a combination of practice and championship racing, with additional practice sailing on-site ahead of each event.

Racing for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series, will take place in July and August, 2013. The America's Cup Match (finals), pitting the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup against defending champion ORACLE Racing - Team USA, commences Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 and is a first to win five-race series.

RS: X Worlds: Speed Session as Wind Gusts to 50 Knots
It didn't take long for the Race Committee to pull the plug on racing today. The committee boat anchored and with a few minutes their bow roller was bent out of shape as the first 40 knot gust came through. White caps transformed into vapor as the sea became streaked with white lines. The AP over A went up and racing was cancelled for the day. The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. The medal races are scheduled for 1200hrs as usual. We'll keep our fingers crossed on that.

In the meantime, a $1000 Winner Takes All Speed Session was organized inside the sea wall. 18 guys and 6 women went out to see what they could lay down over the 100 meter course. The strongest gust registered on the race committee boat was 50 knots plus as the sailors showed some impressive board handling skills.

The rules are simple. Sailors had to use RS:X Class legal equipment to make 2 runs. The fastest run scoops the prize money. Men $1000. Women $1000

Peak speed for the guys was 31.86 knots and the girls was 25.92 knots

And the winners are...

RS:X Men Speed Session
1. Dorian van Rijsselberge, NED, 31.86 knots
2. Dmitrii Polishchuk, RUS, 29.97 knots
3. Sebastian Wang-Hansen, NOR, 29.70 knots

RS:X Women Speed Session
1. Hanna Zembrzuska, POL, 25.92 knots
2. Agnieszka Bilska, POL, 25.38 knots
3. Zofia Klepacka, POL, 24.30 knots

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

Commodore’s letter
Mike Greville

World news
Return of the king, Transquadra pressure, Grant Dalton ‘won’t’ keep the big cats, the quietly superb Jordi Calafat, the Caribbean takes its place at the top table, the Marco Nannini fan club... and America’s Cup-winner Skip Lissiman talks media intrusion. Patrice Carpentier, Ivor Wilkins, Carlos Pich, Dobbs Davis, Blue Robinson, Giuliano  Luzzatto, Pete Holmberg

Paul Cayard
And there’s more than one way to solve the new America’s Cup puzzle

Sailor of the Month
Two of the very best (but of course...)

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...

Brady's Back To Congressional Cup ... And How at 5-0
Long Beach, California, USA: Jet-lagged, ranked 451st (!) in the world after being away from the match racing game for two long years ... no big deal. Gavin Brady quickly found his Long Beach touch to sweep his five races on Day 1 of the Long Beach Yacht Club's 48th Congressional Cup Tuesday.

That launches him to a two-win lead in his bid to collect an unprecedented fifth Crimson Blazer, the iconic winner's prize in the event. Only a day earlier, when nine upcoming rivals were already out practicing in the Catalina 37s, Brady arrived at noon after 18 hours in the air from Down Under, where he sailed to second place in the New Zealand IRC Nationals, which is what world-class professional sailors do.

A few of his crew also arrived late from another event in the Caribbean, but none appeared to miss a beat as they defeated Italy's Simone Ferrarese, Finland's Staffan Lindberg, New Zealand's Laurie Jury, Switzerland's Eric Monnin ... and, oh year, the UK's Ian Williams, the defending champion and No. 1 ranked match racer in the world.

Winds for the racing before spectators on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier were a moderately chilly and brisk 10 to 14 knots from the normal southwest, leaving boat handling paramount and the rest of the fleet tightly bunched at 3-2 or 2-3, except for local hope Dustin Durant, who pulled off the upset of the day by beating Williams in the second flight---his only win of the day after going 12-2 in last week's Ficker Cup to qualify for the event.

First Round
Staffan Lindberg, Finland, def. Dustin Durant, USA, 12 seconds.
Johnie Berntsson, Sweden, d. Taylor Canfield, U.S. Virgin Islands, 0:13.
Eric Monnin, Switzerland, d. Laurie Jury, New Zealand, 0:06.
Ian Williams, UK, d. William Tiller, New Zealand, 0:08.
Gavin Brady, New Zealand-Annapolis, Md., d. Simone Ferrarese, Italy, 0:27.

Second Round
Monnin d. Berntsson, 0:05; Jury d. Tiller, 0:35; Durant d. Williams, 0:10; Brady d. Lindberg, 0:16; Ferrarese d. Canfield, 0:50.

Third Round
Jury d. Durant, 0:15; Brady d. Williams, 0:06; Canfield d. Lindberg, 0:24; Berntsson d. Ferrarese, 0:14; Tiller d. Monnin, 0:24.

Fourth Round
Canfield d. Williams, 0:01; Ferrarese d. Lindberg, 0:15; Berntsson d. Tiller, 0:07; Monnin d. Durant, 0:10; Brady d. Jury. 0:21.

Fifth Round
Lindberg d. Berntsson, 0:26; Tiller d. Durant, 0:26; Brady d. Monnin, 0:32; Jury d. Canfield, 0:11; Williams d. Ferrarese, 0:22.

Standings (after 5 of 18 rounds)
Brady, 5-0; Berntsson, Monnin and Jury, 3-2; Lindberg, Tiller, Canfield, Ferrarese and Williams, 2-3; Durant, 1-4.

ARC 2012 Now Full
Swan 80 Berenice (ITA) finishing ARC 2010. Photo by World Cruising Club. Click on image to enlarge.

ARC 2012 Cowes UK: The 27th Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is now fully subscribed, and the wait list is open. More boats have been offered places this year, and there will be around 230 at start the rally on 25 November in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Spaces in the ARC booked up faster than ever, surpassing the 2011 entry level by early February.

So far the smallest boat is Wolfgang Vandrey's Contest 28 Quetzal (GER) and the largest is Swan 80 Berenice (ITA). ARC 2012 will be a truly international affair, with boats sailing under the flags of 33 nations. British boats make up just under one third of the fleet, with Germany being the second-largest national grouping. It is great to see large numbers of boats from Norway, Italy, USA, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden and France.

The prize for the oldest ARC boat of 2012 looks like being between two boats built in 1926 - Peter von Seestermühe (GER) owned by long-term ARC supporter Christoph von Reibnitz, and Peter Brownsell's Peregrin (GBR).

There are 23 catamarans ranging from Lagoon 400 Naos 400 (USA) to Lagoon 620 Anakin (AUT). Not quite last year's record-breaking 29 cats, but still the second-largest ARC multihull fleet to date.

The RORC racing divisions have a healthy 42 entries, with good competition and fast crossing times promised from Swan 80 Berenice (ITA) and Swan 82S Nikata (GBR) at the larger end of the fleet, and some speedy Judel/Vrolijk designs in the sub 60 foot division.

Start: ARC 2012 departs from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Sunday 25 November.

Finish: The finish destination is Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia, a distance of 2,700 nautical miles from Las Palmas and it is a passage that will take most of the yachts between 18 and 21 days.

Applications For Entry For Newport Bermuda Due By April 15
The J130 Christopher Dragon, seen here at the start of the centiennial, 2006 Newport Bermuda Race, will sail in 2012 as Dragonfly with first-time skipper Colin McGranaham of Larchmont NY. Click on image to enlarge.

Newport Bermuda Race Newport, Rhode Island: As of Sunday March 25th, 172 boats have been entered in the registration system at Of these, 161 have filed their AFE's and 147 have been invited to race. According to information supplied on the applications, there are 48 boats that are new to the race. This does not mean that there will be 48 new skippers because some these are experienced owners with new boats.

Applications for entry in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race are due on April 15th. Colin McGranahan of Larchmont NY has already entered his J130 Dragonfly. McGranahan is a new skipper in the race, but the boat is a veteran.

Jimmy Sykes sailed his first of eight Bermuda Races to date on that same J130 then named Bombardino. She has passed through another owner and is now Dragonfly. Andrew Weiss raced her to Bermuda as Christopher Dragon. Sykes is competing this year with his current Bombardino, a Santa Cruz 52.

Entries continue to grow as deadlines approach. "With three weeks to go until the Application For Entry (AFE) deadline," said Brin Ford, Database Chairman for the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, "things are slowing down a bit. We are about 20 boats behind the 2010 pace." The 2010 race had 183 boats, the third largest fleet in the 106-year-old event.

Applications for Entry into this invitational adventure are being taken under "Entry Process" on the race website at . The classic 635-mile race offers racing in five divisions - The St. David's Lighthouse (amateur) Division, The Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill (professional) Division and the Open (professional) division. There is great competition for all levels of commitment and experience. -- Talbot Wilson

18ft Skiffs Club Championship, Race 11
18 Skiffs Sydney Harbour, Australia: The Australian 18 Footers League's 2011-2012 Season concluded today when the club staged Race 11 of the 18ft Skiff Club Championship on Sydney Harbour.

Although finishing only fourth today, Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas won the championship in Thurlow Fisher Lawyers with an overall score of 16 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) on 35, Smeg (Nick Press) 50, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) 55, Rag & Famish Hotel on 56 and (Marcus Ashley-Jones, sub today for Micah Lane) on 63.

It was also the last race together for the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team as Aaron and Trent are both retiring (hopefully only for one season) from the 18s.

The Yandoo team of John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson took out the Season Point Score trophy, which is based on the handicap performance of each boat for all club races staged throughout the season.

Today's winner was Rag & Famishj Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy), which took line honours by 19s from Gotta Love It 7, with Appliancesonline a further 2s back in third place.

While the wind today was light and variable (4-12 knots) from the South East, the race was one of the most exciting of the season due to the extremely close battle for the lead between Rag & Famish Hotel and

Racing will recommence on 14 October with Race 1 of the 2012 3-Buoys Challenge Series. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Keelboats Lead the Way in Entering the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series
Two of the UK's most vibrant, exciting one design keelboat classes are spearheading a spike in early entry numbers for the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series, the north of the UK's most prestigious annual sailing event.

The SB3 class and the RS Elite keelboats which appeal to different markets – the SB3 a fast, exciting planing sportsboat, and the RS Elite a refined, but simple to sail modern classic, are leading and encouraging an increase in activity for some of the more accessible, sporty classes for this year's Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series.

The SB3 class is building steadily again in Scotland and the North of Britain is promising the biggest turnout ever for the class on the waters of Loch Fyne with 12 owners already promising to compete, reflecting the renewed interest in the SB3 as an affordable, exciting three to four person strict one design, which has a global following.

And the RS Elite class is promising to draw around 10 boats, most making the enjoyable pilgrimage to Tarbert from Ireland.

For the SB3 class, racing at the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series will be for the Scottish Championship title.

The RS Elite class has become a regular feature of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series which features on the class Grand Slam Series for the first time since 2010.  Edinburgh's Shaun Maclean on Elixir has been the most consistent winner in the class at Tarbert and is looking to defend his Tarbert record in June.

Royal Southampton Corona Extra Solent Spring Double
The first race of the RSYC Double Handed Series, the Corona Extra Spring Solent Double got underway on Saturday in brilliant warm sunshine with a 4 class 70 boat entry. There was doubt initially whether there would be sufficient wind but after an hour's delay the wind filled from the South East to 6-8 knots and the Race Committee set a course from the start near Hillhead to Mackley Construction, cascading down the Hillhead plateau to Air Canada before reaching to the finish at Coronation.

The large Spring tides and initial light winds presented tactical challenges on downwind laylines with many boats overstanding the marks on the gybes but the weather was kind with flat seas and the wind increased to 10 to 12 knots for splendid sailing.

In IRC Class 1 a great scrap developed between the initial leader Rob Craigie/ Deb Fish's J122 Jbellino and the J111 Manic resolving on the water in favour of Andy Greenwood/ Ric Pavoncelli's Manic only to be reversed on handicap. In third spot were Mike Moxley/ Huw Phillips' HOD35 Malice.

Richard Sainsbury's J92S Bojangles clearly enjoyed the conditions in IRC Class2, finishing first on the water and on handicap from Mike Saqui and Alistair Chaplain's Elan 33 Edith and the Projection 920 Weebear of Dominic Horner and Bertrand Malass.

In RSYC Class 3 the scratch Arcona 400 of Bob and Jan Trimble led around the course but could not do enough to save their time and were beaten on handicap by Squander, Bruce Ramsay's Westerly Typhoon. Larissa, the Bavaria 36 of Adrian Parker and Andy White took third on handicap.

Bullit the Bull 7000 of Mark and Ira Morris took RSYC Class 4 both on the water and on handicap, the light and smooth conditions suiting her. Two Maxi 1050's battled it out for 2nd and 3rd, the honours eventually going to Jim Burns/ Carl Wilcock's Aloni from John Skipper and Tom Henderson's Magewind of Roke.

Spinnaker Tales
Sydney Ocean racing skipper Sean Langman has sailed a lot of fast miles in his career including winning the prestigious line honours trophies for the Sydney to Mooloolaba and Brisbane to Gladstone races.

He converted the open 60 Grundig Zena which raced under several names including AAPT and Grundig and applied his aggressive sailing style to claim the title as the fastest ocean racing yacht for her size in the Southern Hemisphere.

The super fast power sailing yacht was often referred to as 'A skiff on steroids' when she left larger yachts struggling to follow her white water wake.

Both skipper Sean Langman and crew claimed a special place in Brisbane to Gladstone race history when they set a remarkable race record in 2001.

They expressed their respect for the rugged ocean sailing conditions when Grundig wave rode the ocean swell before a sail and rig tormenting south east trade wind to eventually complete the 308 n/ml in 21 hours 44 minutes 39 seconds with a super fast course average of 14.16 knots.

At that time Sean Langman regarded the result as his most rewarding experience but many of his sailing friends believe he sailed his best race in the 2004 Brisbane Gladstone classic when he surrendered the record to the larger Victorian super maxi Skandia Wild Thing skippered by Grant Wharington.

Skandia Wild Thing due to the ideal fresh spinnaker sailing forecast started as the line honours favourite.

But the Skandia Wild Thing crew were held to nautical arm wrestle when the smaller sloop sailing under the AAPT Grundig battle flag expressed the never say die spirit for her crew to become tactically involved in a 308 n/ml match race between to radically different designed yachts.

The crews provided a brilliant spectacle for the spectators who lined the Sunshine Coast beaches when they speed sailed past Point Cartwright before weathering Noosa Heads as dusk shaded the loom of the Double Island Pt lighthouse on Good Friday.

They were well inside the time set by Sean Langman's Grundig Zena 3 years earlier as both crews tracked a fast course across Wide Bay Bar however Grant Wharington became concerned when he lost the sight of his rivals navigation lights.

As expected Sean Langman tracked a totally different course sailing on the faster angles to keep the Skandia Wild Thing crew under pressure to protect their size advantage in waterline length and sail power.

When dawn broke skipper Grant Wharington's fear was answered with AAPT Grundig looming as a threat to win the line honours and set a new record.

But as the race history reveals Skandia Wild Thing survived the challenge to set a new race record of 20 hours 24 minutes 50 seconds with her narrow 11 minute 56 second margin.

Wild Thing is again listed as the favourite to win the mono fleet line honours trophy on Easter Saturday while Sean Langman who now races the speed sailing ORMA 60 Trimaran Team Australia is poised to break the Multihull class record and win the deserved award as the fastest skipper in Gladstone Race history. -- Ian Grant

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The Last Word
There are no absolute rules of conduct, either in peace or war. Everything depends on circumstances. -- Leon Trotsky

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