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Light Conditions for Opening Day
MAPFRE Palma de Mallorca, Spain: Sunshine and light breeze provided for gentle but technical sailing for all classes engaged in the 43 Trofeo Princesa Sofa MAPFRE, third event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Sailing from the Club Real de Palma, the Stars with all favourites on the starting line had a high level of competition. Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA) took the first race and placed seventh in the last to take the lead on equal points with Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner (NZL). Mateusz Kuznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) took the last race to place third overall.

The Australians had a great start in the 470 Men with World #1 Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, and Sam Kivell with Will Ryan; both teams winning their group first race. However, it is the French pair of Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos, second last year in Palma who take the lead with a 5th place and a victory.

After a third place in the Rolex Miami OCR earlier this year, the young British team of Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth is leading the talented women 470 fleet with a third and a second place.

The light conditions in the first race in the Laser has provided good opportunities for class outsiders to take a good start in the event. Andrew Lewis from Trinidad and Tobago won the first race. David Alfonso from Puerto Rico placed second and Dennis van den Berg (AHO) 3rd, in their respective groups. At the end of the day, consistent results placed Jonasz Stelmaszyk (POL) in top place followed by British Nick Thompson and Paul Goodison (GBR).

In the Radial, Krystal Weir (AUS) is leading after winning the first race and placing 4th in the second. Results for the top 5 are tight. The Australian is only a point ahead of Alicia Cebrian (ESP), best Spanish sailor on the water today. Third place goes to Cecilia Sarol from Argentina on equal points with Finnish Tuula Tenkanen.

Two Danish teams are leading the 49ers, with Peter Kruger Andersen and Nicola Thorsell one point ahead of team mates Jonas Warrer and Soren Hansen. They both won the last race in their group.

The 2.4 Paralympic event, sailing out of Calanova, sailed two races. British Helena Lucas showed good form with a win and a second place to take an early lead.

Racing will resume on Tuesday for all classes.

* After a wait in the morning on shore for the wind to develop, a nice steady 8-12 knot sea breeze filled in for most of the day on the Women's Match Racing course at the 43rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca, Spain for the first European stop of the 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup.

The initial round robin stage of the event is split into two groups of nine teams each. As all of the Olympic hopefuls are here to compete, each group is brimming with talent and all of the matches, as expected, are very hard fought.

Results after Day One:

Stage 1 - Group A:
Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, Debbie Capozzi - USA : 3 wins - 1 loss
Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham , Alana O'Reilly - USA : 3 - 1
Mandy Mulder, Annemiek Bekkering , Merel Witteveen - NED : 2 - 1
Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Siuzeva, Elena Oblova - RUS : 3 - 2
Silvia Roca, Eva Gonzalez, Lara Cacabelos - ESP : 3 - 2
Lotte Meldgaard, Susanne Boidin, Tina Gramkov - DEN : 2 - 2
Renee Groeneveld, Annemiek Bes , Marcelien de Koning - NED : 2 - 2
Anna Kjellberg, Malin Källström , Lotta Harrysson - SWE : 1 - 3
Rita Gonçalves, Mariana Lobato, Diana Neves - POR : 0 - 5

Stage 1 - Group B:
Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush , Kate Macgregor - GBR : 2 -0
Tamara Echegoyen, Angela Pumariega , Sofía Toro - ESP : 2 - 0
Olivia Price, Nina Curtis , Lucinda Whitty - AUS : 2 -0
Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand , Marie Riou - FRA : 1 - 0
Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea , Darby Smith - USA : 1 - 1
Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen, Susannah Pyatt - NZL : 0 -1
Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva , Mikaela Wulff - FIN : 0 - 2
Genny Tulloch, Jennifer Chamberlin , Alice Manard Leonard - USA : 0 -2
Silke Hahlbrock, Vera Dubina, Irina Lotsmanova - GER : 0 - 2

The results are being updated live on

Two Crew in Medevac from Clipper Race Yacht in Pacific Ocean
Two crew members from the Clipper Race yacht Geraldton Western Australia who were injured when the boat was hit by a large wave in heavy seas on Saturday have been transferred successfully onto a US Coast Guard cutter.

The decision has been taken to transport them to San Francisco Bay on the ship rather than transfer them to helicopter. They are being treated by medical specialists aboard the US Coast Guard vessel which is due to arrive at the USCG Alameda facility on Coast Guard Island in San Francisco Bay on Monday 2 April. The casualties will be transferred by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital. The vessel is expected to arrive alongside between 0700 and 0800 local time today (1400-1500 UTC/1500-1600 BST).

The two crew who have been transferred are:

Jane Hitchens, 50, a doctor, has suspected broken ribs and is being treated with oxygen.

Nik Brbora, 29, a software engineer who lives in London who has a suspected pelvic strain.

The other two crew involved in the incident will remain on board Geraldton Western Australia and are expected to arrive in Jack London Square, Oakland, San Francisco Bay on Monday afternoon 2 April local time (UTC-7/BST -8). They are:

Max Wilson, 62, a farmer from Queensland, Australia, who also has suspected broken ribs, but in a more stable condition.

Mark Burkes, 47, who was on the helm at the time of the incident, sustained a back injury but is not as badly hurt as originally believed and has been taken off the casualty list.

Into the South Atlantic for the Gor Class40s
At 15:00 local (19:00 GMT) on Monday, the four Class40s in the double-handed Global Ocean Race (GOR) crossed the Leg 4 start line in Punta del Este and are now heading for Charleston, South Carolina.

Throughout a windless and cloudless morning, the GOR teams continued to load their Class40s with the final necessities of fresh vegetables and bread on the shadeless pontoons in the blistering sun. At 13:00 local, the teams motored out of the marina to the Leg 4 start managed by Pablo Elola and Alvaro Robaina and their team from the Yacht Club Punta del Este with the line positioned between the Puerto Punta del Este harbour breakwater and the small, uninhabited island, Isla Gorriti, just minutes from the pre-race pontoons.

In around nine to 12 knots of south-easterly breeze, the majority of the Class40s chose to hit the line on starboard.

While Leg 4 is shorter than the previous three legs through the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, the 5,700-mile course to Charleston should take around 30 days and is a complex route with multiple challenges facing the teams with natural and manmade obstacles.

Within the first ten days of the leg, the four Class40s could potentially sail through a chain of Brazil's offshore gas fields starting south of Rio de Janeiro with the huge Santos Basin field leading to the neighbouring Campos and Espiritu Santo fields to the north. Although the drilling platforms are brightly lit and the loom at night can be spotted from an enormous distance, the associated commercial traffic around the rigs ferrying supplies and manpower are often hard to spot in an area that is infamous for unlit fishing boats and where the use of AIS is rare.

The boats opting for an early inshore route northwards will also encounter the southerly-flowing Brazil Current running along the continental shelf and forking east and south as the shelf widens at around 22S.

Having negotiated the Doldrums, the fleet will find the Trade Winds and, leaving the Caribbean's Windward and Leeward Islands to port, the boats will encounter the Gulf Stream as they approach the US coast where the five mph, northerly surface current can be a huge benefit but northerly breeze can whip the 100km-wide band of warm water into maelstrom of steep and irregular waves.

Groupama Lead Puma by Slimmest of Margins
It's all change again tonight as the nip and tuck battle between first and second place on Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland to Itajaí plays out. Telefonica (Iker Martínez/ESP) in third continues to make steady gains, while CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) close on the coast of Chile.

At 1300, GMT PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read/USA) had the whip hand, leading Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas/FRA) by 6.5 nautical miles. Three hours later, the lead had whittled away to 1.5 nm as the French team applied the pressure and PUMA led by a short head.

At 1900 GMT tonight Groupama stuck their necks out to lead PUMA by just 0.4 nm. The leading pair are 322 nm south east of Mar Del Plata, an Argentine city 400 km south of Buenos Aires, where the race had a leg finish in 1981-82 Whitbread, and continuing to sail downwind in an easing south-southwesterly breeze of 10 knots.

Meanwhile, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, Telefonica are sailing closer to the shore and are 158 nm offshore and 185 nm south-east of Puerto Madryn in Argentine Patagonia. They are still making an average speed of 15.8 knots and have taken another 23 nm out of lead by sailing on a faster angle, two knots faster than those sailing further up the track. However, an area of high pressure is forming ahead, which may hinder progress later tonight.

The top three boats in this leg are all from the board of Argentinean designer Juan Kouyoumdjian and are very similar in speed. In order to make further inroads into their deficit of 220.7 nm, Telefonica will be reliant on sailing in different weather systems and being able to look ahead to avoid any snares the leaders may fall into.

First Day of Practice Sailing in Italy
Team Korea became the first of the America's Cup teams to sail in Naples on Monday, training for 90 minutes on the Bay in front of the city. Other teams will follow suit over the course of this week, ahead of the America's Cup World Series April 11-15.

For new Team Korea skipper Nathan Outteridge (AUS), today was his first chance to get on an AC45 catamaran as the team went out for short shakedown sail.

"It's a very impressive boat," Outteridge said after his first touch on the AC45. "We had about 10 knots of seabreeze today and hit 20 knots of boatspeed. It was a nice, easy day for our first sail... Today was a good start, and tomorrow we'll be out for a longer session."

* Italy's leading commercial television network has a signed a contract to broadcast up to 10 hours of live television coverage throughout Italy of the highly anticipated America's Cup World Series races from April 11 to 15 in Naples.

Mediaset SpA., known as Gruppo Mediaset in Italy, through its Italia 1 and Italia 2 channels, will showcase the international Naples races with live, free-to-air coverage.

The new look America's Cup broadcasts put the spotlight on the sailors, with on-board cameras and microphones, and Liveline technology that overlays virtual graphics on the live television pictures, giving viewers more information than ever before.

Mediaset joins a group of leading broadcasters that already includes NBC in the United States, TVNZ in New Zealand, Sky Sports in the UK, Canal+ in France and Viasat in Scandinavia, among others. Similar to Mediaset, Sky Sports in the UK has scheduled up to 10 hours of live coverage from the AC World Series Naples.

The Naples event features 11 boats with 9 different teams from 8 countries, including: Luna Rossa Challenge, Italy (Skipper Max Sirena), Two Boats - (two helmsmen TBA on April 4); Aleph, France (Skipper TBA); Artemis Racing, Sweden (Skipper Terry Hutchinson); China Team, China (Skipper TBA in China March 30); Emirates Team New Zealand, New Zealand (Skipper Dean Barker); Energy Team, France (Helmsmen Loick Peyron/Yann Guichard); Green Comm Racing, Spain (Skipper Vasilij Zbogar); ORACLE Racing, USA - Two Boats -- Skippers Jimmy Spithill and Darren Bundock; and, Team Korea, Korea (Skipper Nathan Outteridge).

Gladstone Race Skipper Hopes to Turn the Tide
Jeffrey Paul skipper of Gladstone's Port Curtis Sailing Club Farr 30 Immigrant has the recent form guide to warrant recognition among the favourites to win the 64th QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Race over the Easter Weekend.

The Immigrant crew who suffer with sharing limited crew quarters on board the baby 9.24 m sloop have shown the only way to limit the suffering is to sail fast.

They set a career best course time of 32 hours 21 minutes 19 seconds in 2010 to finish third overall behind the larger yachts Wedgetail and Black Jack and were narrowly beaten by 2 minutes 51 seconds by the 20.3m Black Jack for third place last year.

This form of a 3-4 suggests the aggressive Immigrant crew remain rated among the top contenders to contest for the honour of becoming the 64th winner of the prestigious Courier Mail Cup.

Jeff Paul has proved to be the class master in this physically demanding coastal passage race and is determined to again dominate the 308n/ml match race over his Brisbane rival Lewis Perrin's Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron sloop Italian Job.

But while the previous race results and boat speed favour Immigrant rival skipper Lewis Perrin has left nothing to chance this year.

The underwater surface of Italian Job has been scrubbed squeaky clean and skipper Perrin has nominated a quality crew including the talented Josh Walker which presents a warning that the baby speed sailing Gladstone Farr 30 Immigrant will be hard pressed to win the honour of being the class fastest into her home port.

However Jeff Paul who has been known to race his yacht on the fine edge between distinction and disaster personally believes they are up for the challenge.

"We have proved our ability to master the tactical and physical demands of ocean racing having sailed consistently in moderate to fresh winds". He said.

Immigrant convincingly answered the challenge last year finishing the boat on boat match race with a faster 7.88 seconds per nautical mile advantage.

While Jeff Paul and the Immigrant crew are expecting to race under pressure they remain confident of holding onto the honour of winning the battle between the 'baby boats'.

Similar interest will focus on the match race for the first to finish trophy when race record holder the Grant Wharington skippered Wild Thing enters into a match race against the 2011 line honours champion Lahana (Peter Millard) and the 2009-2010 trophy winner Black Jack (Mark Bradford).

Message in a Bottle
Reader Barry Sadler has written to say he thinks he might be able to claim a record-breaking Atlantic crossing.

He and his wife were on passage between St Maarten and the Azores in April 2010, but because of poor weather they decided to go direct to Lisbon. Some 90 miles south-west of Lisbon they threw overboard a bottle with a message inside.

Amazingly, the bottle and contents were found on a beach in Texas in March by oceanographer Tony Amos, who emailed this fascinating observation to Barry:

'I found your message in a bottle on San Jose Island Gulf beach, Texas, USA, on Wednesday 14 March, 2012. I am an oceanographer at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas and in the course of surveying local beaches for decades I have found several messages in bottles. Yours has probably traveled farther than any of the others.

'I am working out a probable route it took to go from near Lisbon to Port Aransas that will involve the North Atlantic Gyre, the Anegada Passage, Caribbean, Yucatan Strait and the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico. It traveled at least 6,500 miles and took nearly two years to do so.'

Barry reckons that the bottle traveled nine miles a day. 'Not bad,' he comments. 'Guinness Book of Records perhaps?' -- Elaine Bunting in blog:

Etchells Spring Cup in Cowes
The Etchells fleet in Cowes were roused from their winter hibernation over the weekend of March 31st / April 1st for the Spring Cup, and in return they were treated to a fabulous weekends racing with 8 races being held, 5 on Saturday in 9-11 knots of NE breeze and 3 on Sunday in bright sunshine and a more fitful 4-7 knots from the SE. Sailed out of Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club the fleet enjoyed cracking racing with 4 boats finishing one race within 2 seconds of each other.

Winner of the weekend was Laurence Mead / Andrew Cooper, Mead steering on Saturday and Cooper on Sunday with Brian Wilkinson in the middle and Phil Lawrence / Laurence Mead doing the bow on Saturday and Sunday respectively. They took the first bullet after a race long battle with Farr 45 helmsman Mark Richmond who was getting his first taste of Etchells sailing with a long term view towards a campaign aimed at the 2016 Worlds in Weymouth. Richmond, sailing a boat kindly loaned to the fleet by long time Etchells sailor and Fleet Admiral, Ted Fort to help bring young sailors into the class was fast downhill but claimed to lack an edge of speed upwind. It didn't seem to hurt him as he harried Mead all the way but the fact that he was OCS did ruin his race at the finish! That left David Franks in second with another ex Farr 45 sailor, this time Exabyte's Shaun Frohlich in 3rd.

So with the wind lighter, and after a short wait for wind, what turned out to be the last race was run in a 4 knot southerly. This one again hinged on the run with the same light air near the bottom being an issue. Sailing being the sport it is however, this time the light patch was the opposite place to where it has been the race before and Cooper and Mead sailed straight into while Richmond rounded off his weekend in style by taking the opposite corner to literally sail up to and round the early leader, James Howells. Hugh Evans and Roger Reynolds on Shamal got this right as well and were rewarded with a spot on the podium for this race taking a good third.

Overall Mead / Cooper won the Spring Cup with 12 points, Franks was second on 17 and Howells 3rd on 20.

The Solent fleet are back out for their second weekend of action on April 21st and 22nd before which they will be holding the RYA Youth selection weekend for the 22 sailors selected to trial from a very strong a application list of 37 applicants over the weekend of April 14th and 15th.

Featured Brokerage
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World champion, European champion in 1997 as Mean Machine
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Equipped for ISAF offshore regulations 2 and ready to race.zz

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The Last Word
If at first you don't succeed... try, try again. Then give up. No sense being a damn fool about it. -- W. C. Fields

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