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Australians Take The Day
Usually known for their strong wind skills, the Australians are performing well in the light conditions and are leading three classes. While Tom Burton is keeping a narrow lead in the strong Laser fleet from British Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson, the Australians have also claimed top positions in both 470 classes.
Friday will see the last chances for sailors to select for the Medal race and the semi finals in the Women Match-Racing.
Top three by class
* The fourth day of racing on the women's match racing course at the 43rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia MAPFRE began with a 2 hour wait for the sea breeze to fill in before completing the last two flights of the Gold Round Robin to seed the Quarter Finals.
The first two Quarter Finals were finished quickly as Claire Leroy (FRA) swept Lucy Macgregor (GBR) 3 -0 and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) did the same to Ekaterina Skudina (RUS). Olivia Price (AUS) and Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) had to battle a little longer to beat their opponents, Mandy Mulder (NED) and Sally Barkow (USA), respectively.
The Semi Finals are now set: Leroy (FRA) will face Echegoyen (ESP) and Tunnicliffe (USA) will meet Price (AUS). The other four Quarter Finalists will sail off for 5th through 8th places.
Gold Round Robin:
The Semi Finals are scheduled to begin at 1000 tomorrow.
The results are being updated live on www.matchracingresults.com
Closing In On PUMA
For most of the morning, PUMA had the edge in boat speed and were able to keep the Spanish team at bay. However, since 1700 GMT Iker Martínez and his men, who have maintained their course just shy of 100 nm off the coast, have had better breeze with a faster angle and impressive boats speeds of around 23.3 knots have seen the miles clicking down fast as the team draws closer to PUMA.
At 1900 GMT, PUMA was 320 nm from the final waypoint on this leg at Florianopolis, some 30 miles south of Itajaí and 41.10 nm ahead of Telefonica. The leg winner is expected to cross the finish at 1600 GMT tomorrow.
Meanwhile, there are still 20 points on offer for third place and both Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) would like to claim them.
In a race against time, it looks likely that Groupama, who dismasted on Wednesday and limped to Punta del Este, Uruguay, to fashion a jury rig, will be the first of the two teams to resume racing. While Groupama are hampered by a much smaller sail area, they will have only 580 nm nautical miles to sail to the finish.
CAMPER however, face a much harsher passage from Chile, south around the fearsome Cape Horn and will have 2,800 nautical miles of sailing before they reach Itajaí
* From Amory Ross aboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG:
I'd like to be able to say we're the last boat standing, because as the only boat yet to suspend racing this leg that's the way it feels, but in actual fact Telefonica is very much a threat to our first leg win as they make their charge well to the east. It is going to be very close…and it's a strange feeling onboard, as there is very little we can do to protect ourselves. There's just no way to cover a boat that five days ago was 400 miles behind and at a dock.
Everyone was sad to hear of Groupama's dismasting. It's a problem we're all too familiar with. Hats off to them, they have sailed another fantastic leg and we're sorry to see it end that way. Though it had been a tough morning for us - we were out of phase and falling behind - everyone was having fun in the competitive sense. We were looking forward to the challenge of grinding them down again, and to making the most of the last few days in what has been a thrilling week.
But our attention now turns some 150 miles east towards Telefonica, who as of writing time was no further south than us. Incredible, really. Frustrating, absolutely. They've simply had better weather, weather we haven't. And that's continued all through today, too. Hopefully the front they've carried north since Cape Horn will reach us with enough time to hold on to the lead, but we just don't know; they are untouchable and unreachable so far offshore. One routing model has us finishing within five minutes of each other.
RORC Easter Challenge 6th-8th April 2012
62 boats are entered with the fleet split into IRC classes 1-4 with a separate class for the J/80s. The forecast shows the wind mostly to be under 10 knots for duration of the event, but gusty and with significant shifts occurring over the three days: the wind easterly, but backing into the NNW tomorrow, returning to the east on Saturday before backing into the northwest again and dropping on Sunday.
This being the RORC's UK season opener, so all eyes will be on the new boats out on the race course. Among these is a boat expected to deliver a significant punch in IRC Three: David Franks' latest Strait Dealer. Based in Malta and for many years a regular in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Franks moved back to the UK last year, selling his J/125. Over the winter he acquired a JPK 1010. This French 33 footer is the first of its kind in the UK, but left a lasting impression when sisterships Foggy Dew and Wasabi demolished the opposition in IRC Three of the Rolex Fastnet Race last year. The new Strait Dealer's first outing was two weeks ago when they won their class in the Warsash Spring Series.
In IRC One, a full-on match race is expected between the two Ker 40s, Jonathan Goring's Keromino and Andrew Pearce's Magnum III, the latter brand new.
Jim Saltonstall, the regular coach at the RORC Easter Challenge, is away on holiday at present, so the coaching at the RORC Easter Challenge is being run by the highly experienced Barry Dunning.
Racing is due to get underway at 1300 Friday, but before this, from 1100, lines will be set allowing teams to try some practice starts.
ALEPH Drop Out Of America's Cup
So it is not really a surprise that ALEPH - Equipe de France has announced its withdrawal from the 34th America's Cup and from the America's Cup World Series 2011/2012 circuit.
It has also been revealed that GreenComm will not compete in the Naples round of the America's Cup World Series.
Rolex China Sea Race
Steve Ho's Surfdude retired at around 2000hrs on night one due to engine problems and although the race relies on wind power, this would have had a knock on effect on the ability to recharge batteries and maintain radio contact with the fleet. The remainder of the fleet continued along the rhumb line towards the Philippines, with Genuine Risk posting an average speed of 10kts, until the early hours of this morning, when the wind softened, and the fleet slowed considerably.
At that point several boats were sailing well south of the rhumb line, with Jelik V throwing in an early tack to get back above, while Hi Fi and Freefire both waited until around early afternoon and Genuine Risk a further hour before changing their direction in the search for boatspeed.
There was never really any doubt that, barring mechanical failure, Geoff Hill would be leading the pack, however his challenge on Karl Kwok's 12 year-old record of 47h 43m 7s must be considered 'dead in the water' given the gentle conditions.
A battle still rages for the IRC Overall crown, with Hi Fi and Jelik V swapping the leading role in Division 0 and EFG Bank Mandrake consolidating her lead in Division 1. Talking Head has stolen a march on Red Kite II in the slow conditions and Xena is currently charging ahead of the Premier Cruising fleet, with Redeye maintaining a strong performance in the Cruising Class.
Much can change overnight, however the 2012 Rolex China Sea Race will test the sailors' patience and endurance, and is destined to be a marathon and not a sprint.
New Skipper for Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
Flavio, a 38-year-old yachtsman, who was born in Venice and lives in Southampton, UK, has a competitive racing background. He won the first ever RORC Caribbean 600 Race in 2009, and has been notching up a number of 'first in class' results in a variety of regattas in Europe and the Caribbean. As an experienced skipper of large yachts he has numerous Atlantic crossings under his belt, and has also competed in the Tall Ships Race on a boat run by the Italian Navy.
Furthermore Flavio knows what is required of the world's longest yacht race, having worked for Clipper Training for the last two years, training crew members to prepare them for the rigours of ocean racing and has been working with Clipper Ventures in a freelance capacity since 2006.
Born in Venice, Flavio graduated from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia with a degree in Law before becoming a professional sailor.
Flavio joins Edinburgh Inspiring Capital in Oakland, California, ahead of the start of Race 10 of Clipper 11-12. He replaces Gordon Reid who has been skipper since race start in the UK and has stood down for personal reasons. Flavio will be interim skipper until a permanent replacement can be appointed.
The fleet will set sail for Panama, on Saturday 14 April.
Forecast In Place For Record Chase
Eight years ago racing in a similar trade wind forecast the 30 m Wild Thing expressed her remarkable boat speed to set the existing record of 20 hours 40 minutes 50 seconds.
However the Wild Thing crew will face a formidable opponent with the Peter Millard skippered Sydney super maxi Lahana also poised to defend the line honours trophy won a year ago.
The duel between the two high performance ocean racing combinations promises to turn into a 308n/ml match race when the start signal is fired at 11 am this morning.
Understandably both skippers and tacticians are keeping their race strategy a secret after they enter the important open ocean via the Caloundra Fairway Buoy later today.
As expected the leader out of Moreton Bay will have the upper hand and the Wild Thing crew could be hard pressed to lead Lahana as their deeper draft will restrict their tactical options during the initial 42 nautical miles of racing though the shallow waters.
But it will be game on when the match racing maxi's sail into the fresher winds presently blowing offshore.
A spinnaker sailing trade wind which gusted to 22 knots at Double Island Point earlier this morning is expected to continue to blow up to 25 knots later today.
This is a perfect velocity to propel the big boats at the required record challenging speed to reach the finish off Gladstone's Auckland Creek before the record time expires 7-40-50 am tomorrow.
While this forecast will allow Wild Thing and Lahana to set a crackling pace they are not expected to sail above the required handicap rating to beat the impressive group of smaller yachts including the Royal Geelong Yacht Club TP52 Shogun V (Robert Hanna) the Roland Dane skippered Jessandra 11 and the 8 time race winner Saltash ll jointly skippered by father and son Peter and Sandy Cavill. -- Ian Grant
Race website: www.brisbanetogladstone.com.au
Match Race Thailand Championship
Ideal Match Race conditions greeted the sailors on the first day of the Match Race Thailand Championship - sun and a moderate breeze; not to mention full use of the 4 Platu 25 racing yachts with identical rigging and sails which were laying at anchor 50 m from the beach.
The final day dawned with ominous cloud gathering. The first flight was completed, and the second started when the storm hit. One boat managed to run down to the leeward mark, gybe round with spinnaker set and run back down to the original windward mark! The wind had suddenly built to 30 knots plus with heavy rain. The race officer hoisted AP over H to postpone further races, while the crews managed to fight their way around to complete the races underway! Highlight of the times was the excellent boat handling shown by the Thai all girls team of Sinsupa Wanasuth who were caught in the middle of the storm.
Unfortunately the wind died after the storm and no further races could be completed. This unfortunately meant that the highly anticipated Father/Son battle between Kevin Whitcraft (former Asian Games silver medalist), and Don Whitcraft (2010 Optimist team world champion) would have to be postponed for a later occasion.
1. Mati Sepp, EST
From the ISAF, sailing.org
Royal Varuna Yacht Club: www.varuna.org
Not Sailing... But Mind Blowingly Cool... Meet Me On The Holodeck!
Confused? You're not alone. The holographic universe hypothesis is steeped in complex mathematics and descriptions that belong in hard science fiction novels.
Fermilab particle physicist Craig Hogan renewed interest in the holographic universe concept after investigating the noise measured by a gravitational wave detector called GEO600 in Germany.
Hogan's team has devised a holographic interferometer that is currently being built to probe even smaller scales than GEO600.
It is doubtful that the human brain could ever fully imagine how a universe is actually a 3-dimensional representation of a 2-dimensional universal event horizon, and it doesn't physically change how we experience our world. Even if this space-time noise is found to persist at smaller and smaller scales, it's not necessarily evidence that the holographic concept is real. Perhaps it's a phenomenon that mathematics or the most advanced physics theory cannot explain (yet).
But it's one hell of a mind-bending idea that will no doubt boost our understanding about how our Universe works on the tiniest of scales.
Full article at news.discovery.com/space
* From Butch Dalrymple-Smith: Whenever there is carnage in a racing fleet there is pressure to create scantling rules to ensure the boats get built stronger. This knee-jerk reaction is inappropriate, particularly in the case of the Volvo Race.
Every designer knows the old adage: "To finish first, first you have to finish", and the next generation of Volvo 70's will undoubtedly be better engineered than this one. Engineers learn much more from failures than from successes. Remember all those keels that gave trouble last time? This time the keels seem to be working okay. Next time at least the hulls will be strong enough, maybe the rigs too.
There are bound to be occasional failures in grand prix racing boats. There are bound to be failures in any sport where the competitors sometimes have to slow down to avoid breakage and they occasionally get it wrong. But structural failure in racing boats seldom causes injury except to performance.
The worst outcome would be a set of scantling rules which encourage designers to design to the rule instead of designing to the loads. Innovation would be killed. Scantling standards developed by a committee would probably make the boats so bulletproof that they would never have to slow down, but then they would not be going that fast anyway.
Scantling rules for raceboats are only appropriate where there's a second use for the boats after racing or where the races are short and a fragile boat can gamble on getting calm conditions. When sailing round the world you KNOW you'll get horrendous weather somewhere along the track. Every year we hear the usual hyperboles "mountainous waves", "boat breaking conditions", as if they are exceptional. But they are not, and they concentrate the designer's minds much more effectively than any set of construction rules.
This must be the highest specification Dehler 39 SQ ever built. She is here with us in tip top condition. She cost in excess of Euros 360,000. She can be be purchased for £ 169,000 Excluding VAT which is extremely good value.
Brokerage through Key Yachting Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/keyyachting/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at
The Last Word
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