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Groupama Home In Third
Photo by Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image for photo gallery.

Groupama Home In Third Groupama completed a heroic recovery to claim third place in Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Tuesday, limping across the finish line in Itajaí with a jury-rigged mast for 20 points that revive their hopes of overall victory.

Cammas' crew opted to put into Punta del Este in Uruguay where they strung together a makeshift rig which they nursed all the way to the finish.

Victory in the 6,700 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí would have seen the French team move within touching distance of overall leaders Team Telefonica.

As it is, third place -- behind winners PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and second-placed Telefonica -- was enough to take them back up to second overall, within 20 points of the lead.

They suspended racing at 1542 UTC on April 4 after their mast snapped in two, just level with the first set of spreaders, around 10 metres above the deck.

The sailors were able to recover most of the rig and made for the Uruguayan city of Punta del Este, around 60 miles from where the incident happened.

A round-the-clock repair effort saw a makeshift rig fashioned from the bigger of the two broken parts of the mast in just three days.

The team resumed racing at 0500 UTC on April 7 with seven crew on board including bowman Brad Marsh, who had five staples put into his wrist after accidentally plunging a knife into it while cutting away the mainsail from the broken mast.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand are on course to finish Leg 5 in fourth place and should climb back up to third with 119 points.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who like CAMPER were forced to stop at Puerto Montt in Chile after suffering structural damage, were unable to complete the leg. They left the port by ship on Tuesday and should arrive in Itajaí in time for the in-port race on April 21.

Team Sanya were also forced to retire from the leg and will rejoin the leg in Miami.

AC World Series - Naples, April 11-15
Racing in the America's Cup World Series - Naples gets underway on Wednesday afternoon, with Dean Barker's Emirates Team New Zealand crew clinging to a one point lead on the overall series leaderboard over ORACLE Racing Spithill.

Two new Luna Rossa crews, sailing on home waters, are expected to be near the front of the fleet this week, while Artemis Racing, currently third, will be keen to improve on its podium position, with ORACLE Racing Bundock trying to knock them off. Team Korea, skippered by multiple world champion Nathan Outteridge will be pushing hard, as will Energy Team, looking to consolidate on gains made in the last regatta in San Diego. China Team, with new skipper Fred Le Peutrec, is coming fresh off a training camp in Sanya, China, and could surprise here in Italy.

Local support in Naples for the event has been incredible, with Paolo Graziano, the President of the local organizing committee, estimating the crowd along the waterfront over the course of a sunny holiday Monday at nearly 250,000.

Over the Easter weekend, Yves Carcelle, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, a 30-year partner of the America's Cup, had the opportunity to sail as a guest racer on board the AC45 wing-sailed catamarans.

"It's much more sport now on the AC45s than it was on the monohulls," he said, after getting a close up view of the action. "Today it is a young man's game to sail these boats. On board, the five crew have to be very, very fit. The movement and speed just never stops. It's permanent action. At the end of the day, the sailors must be totally exhausted."

Championship Racing at the AC World Series in Naples runs from April 11-15. Live streaming coverage (subject to territorial broadcast agreements) is available at .

Energy Team Buy AC72 Designs from Oracle Racing
Sometimes it seems that people at the top of sailing are bullied into making statements about cost control because it isn't fashionable to talk about very expensive campaigns.

The America's Cup has never been cheap. However the rules governing the next edition do allow for some costs to be controlled through sharing between teams. It's a model that other parts of sailing should have a look at more closely.

Rather than look at an Open versus One-design model - why not have a hybrid where costs are reduced by spreading some development across all competitors and then allowing for customization on top of a base-line package.

It's something that F1 have done with tyres. Having multiple tyre manufacturers means that each brand has to spend money on R&D, production, transportation etc. Having a single tyre manufacturer reduces competition amongst brands (one of the reasons why Michelin no longer compete), but does nothing to harm the sporting contest.

One of the ways in which teams challenging for the 34th America's Cup can lower their costs is to buy a 'stock' or 'one design' AC72 design package from ORACLE Racing. Which is what the remaining French challenger - ENERGY TEAM has done.

Bruno Peyron, who is heading up the commercial side of the Energy Team campaign has announced that the team will enter into a license agreement for a base-line design package which should lead to significant time and budget savings. Peyron thinks that the team can be competitive for a fraction of the budget that other teams are looking for. He said:

"Our strategy is realistic. With the best design at our disposal, we really think we can surprise everyone in the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup with a budget of around 15-16 million Euros for the 2012-2013."


Macquarie 2012 Access World Championships
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

2012 Access World Championships Conditions tested all at the Macquarie 2012 Access World Championships being hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Sydney Harbour this afternoon, when all the single-person classes hit the water for the 2.00pm session and only the fittest survived strong winds to finish two races.

Rodney Viney from Tasmania, who won Race 4 in the 303 single-person, commented after racing: "It was extreme conditions, so the attrition rate was high. A lot of boats filled with water, so there was a lot of bailing going on."

Viney, an able-bodied sailor and member of Sailability Tasmania, admitted though, "Being from Tasmania we're probably a bit more used to this sort of wind, which gave us an advantage."

Only Stephen Churm (NSW), who is on the verge of being chosen to represent Australia at the London Paralympics in the Sonar three-person keelboat, is ahead of Viney on the podium, after he too clocked up a win in Race 3, with a second place in Race 4.

In the Access 2.3 class, young Angus MacGregor has moved to the top of the standings. The 2010 Australian Sailor of the Year with a Disability and reigning champion in the class, did not let a boat full of water stop him from performing.

With a number of protests in the pipeline, requests for redress and some discrepancies in finishing places, some results may change by late tonight and early tomorrow morning.

Racing continues from 11.00am off Middle Harbour Yacht Club tomorrow. -- Di Pearson

For full results, photos and more, go to the official website:

Ancient Mariner Returns to Raft An-Tiki for Wateraid
Photo by Petra Gilder. Click on image to enlarge.

An-Tiki An 86-year-old grandfather and a plucky crew of over-50s today set sail from the Caribbean, bound for the Bahamas, on a raft made from water pipes. They hope to raise £50,000 for the international charity WaterAid.

Writer and explorer Anthony Smith last year made history by crossing the Atlantic Ocean, on the raft 'An-Tiki', travelling 2,600 miles in 66 days. Smith and his three-man crew of 'mature and intrepid gentlemen' arrived safely at the Caribbean island of St Maarten on 6 April 2011, proving you're never too old to have an adventure. They had been blown off course from their destination, the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.

One year on and the former BBC Tomorrow's World presenter and science correspondent, together with a band of new senior sailors, is attempting to complete the expedition. The crew consists of two men and two women aged from 50 to 62: Husband and wife Leigh and Nigel Gallager, from Boston; Ali Porteous from Uganda and Bruno Sellmer from Brazil. The voyage is expected to take around four to five weeks and a further 700 miles.

An-Tiki takes its name from the famous Kon-Tiki, the raft used by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl to cross the Pacific Ocean in 1947.

To make a donation visit: (UK) (US)

Running the Rhumblines
Whitsunday Sailing Club will dust off the welcome mat and invite a high number of new sailors to enjoy the weather and facilities when they host the 2012 international Airlie Beach Race Week later this year.

The happy group of club volunteers are continuing to talk about witnessing the record breaking New Zealand trimaran Team Vodafone in full flight.

There is a strong chance that Sean Langman's Team Australia which shattered the Multihull Brisbane to Gladstone race before dawn on Easter Saturday morning will add to the excitement at Race Week 2012.

Team Australia a similar ORMA 60 to the exciting speed sailing Team Vodafone expressed her spectacular speed potential when Sean Langman winner of two of three fastest times in the mono hull classic with AAPT Grundig established the fastest ever time for all classes of ocean racer when they completed the race at 3-28-21 on Easter Saturday.

They recorded a top speed of 32.8knots and a super fast average of 18.70 knots on the way to take 2hours 26 minutes 48 seconds of the previous record set by the Melbourne Martyn Riley skippered catamaran Raw Nerve in 2004.

Naturally this result and the possibility of the two fastest yachts Team Australia and Team Vodafone going head to head to head off Airlie Beach to resolve which ocean racing team will have the right to claim the fastest ocean racer in The Southern Hemisphere stands alone as a major drawcard.

The usual Trans Tasman rivalry will be the key subject to change however the high powered Team Australia has already proved that her boat speed while being tested by Team Vodafone is capable of answering the challenge.

These two exciting triple hull sprint machines raced by talented thrill seeking sailors promise to become the major attraction at Airlie Beach Race Week when their sails are tensioned for what promises to be the most interesting match race ever staged in the Whitsundays. -- Ian Grant

America's Cup Game APP
An exciting new game with exceptional virtual-reality graphics is now available, free, as an app for the iPhone and iPad. Gamers and America's Cup fans, even those with no sailing experience, can test themselves against the best sailors and the fastest boats in the world.

The game is now live in the Apple App Store and is available free for downloading to iPhones and iPads. An Android version for phones and tablets will be released in the coming weeks.

Players test their skills by steering a wing-sailed AC45, attempting to set the fastest time across an AC500 Speed Trial course. Optimal steering through the wind on the race course leads to a top placing, while mistakes are punished by loss of time, with big errors resulting in a capsize. The game was created with developer Many Players of France, and is based on the sophisticated performance prediction program used by the current America's Cup champions ORACLE Racing (USA).

The fastest time set so far at an America's Cup World Series regatta over the AC500 Speed Trial course is 36.17 seconds by ORACLE Racing Bundock, an average speed of 26.87 knots (30mph/49kph).

After downloading the game, virtual skippers choose their favorite team from the America's Cup World Series competitors - Artemis Racing (Sweden); China Team (China); Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand); Energy Team (France); Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy); ORACLE Racing (USA); and Team Korea (Korea) - and then compete for the fastest time posted by the best virtual sailors in the world.

Fans can download the game here:

* has a review:

Released into the iTunes store over the Easter Weekend, the America's Cup Speed Trial game focuses on the 'drag race' element of the America's Cup World Series - a 500 meter time trial against the clock.

The gameplay is so simplistic that the creators don't even see the need to add instructions on how to play. All the player has to do is steer the boat down the course for 30 seconds or so and it becomes very boring very quickly.

The equivalent would be an F1 game that simulated only the 'straight' part of the race-course, where the gear changes were automatic and all you had to do was steer.

The problem with the game is the problem that the AC Marketing people have struggled with from day 1. They don't really know who their audience is and they don't really know how to create a product to satisfy the multiple demands of different audiences.

The contradictions do nothing to help the sport. This game trivializes the athletic abilities of the sailors competing for the cup by reducing it to a 30 second game of chance. In the real-world, Darren Bundock - a multiple world champion has only managed 36.17 seconds for the speed-run, while we set a virtual time of 33.06 on our first run through sheer dumb luck.

Akena Verandas Gets Her Keel
Arnaud Boissieres' monohull, AKENA Verandas, received her keel on Friday morning in Les Sables d'Olonne. The boat - formerly known as PRB, on which Vincent Riou finished 3rd in the last Vendee Globe - is now almost complete as her mast will be mounted on April 11, also in Les Sables d'Olonne, the host city of the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe start. That operation requires the transportation of the mast by road from the CDK shipyard in Port-la-Foret (Brittany) to Vendee

Just like his boat, Arnaud has had a very busy schedule these days. He was in Brittany on Thursday at the Cafe de la Marine - a major event for sailing enthusiasts - where he was the main guest. And he then had to rush to Les Sables d'Olonne to supervise AKENA Verandas's keel mounting the next morning before hitting the road again after only a few hours, to go to Nantes and attend the taping of the television show "La Voix est libre" about the Vendee Globe.

Baltic Sprint Cup
The first boats are afloat and the first races done. Ice is gone and a Spring breeze is abroad. "We are happy that after 5 successful events (2005 - 2009) and a three year break the sailors are more than ever keen to follow the 'Baltic Trade Tradition', said NRV Commodore Andreas Christiansen. In the inaugural event of 2005 the former executive vice president of NORD/LB Hanover, Sven Herlyn, had said, "We are building the regatta series on traditional business relations with the Baltic rim" - the spirit continued in all the following events.

General Race Director Henning Rocholl pointed out, "the Baltic Sprint Cup has developed to a significant international offshore regatta created to promote friendly links between sailing people in the Baltic rim countries. By now five race series have taken place, visiting 21 ports in 9 European countries with 197 starters and 1.501 crew members racing over a total of 4,076 miles. Yachts of 14 different nations have taken part. The farthest away came from the British Virgin Islands and won the event in the racer division in 2008. Principal language for race organization is English and an ISAF international jury is appointed".

"17 yachts at this time is great" said Race Director Alan Green, "..and now we look forward to more! As I know from several friends that there are more owners ready to send off their online entry application form, it would be very helpful for our organisation if they will kindly register without further delay. Everyone should be aware that hotel rooms for crews and/or guests will soon be in very short supply - it's holiday season in all ports."

The web pages for all five stopover ports are now open. It is strongly recommended that competitors book necessary hotel rooms as soon as possible. Please ask at the NRV office (Deike Flemming) for special registration codes. Most of the hotels are holding limited rooms for crews at special Baltic Sprint Cup rates. Special conditions are only valid until April 30th 2012.

Featured Brokerage
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The Last Word
There is a maxim about the universe which I always tell my students: That which is not explicitly forbidden is guaranteed to occur. -- Lawrence M. Krauss

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