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Luna Rossa Wins Grand Finale Fleet Racing Championship
Photo by Guilain Grenier / ORACLE Team USA. Click on image for photo gallery.

America's Cup Chris Draper led his Luna Rossa crew to a thrilling win in the final fleet race in Naples, Italy, collecting 50 points for his efforts to vault up the leaderboard and win the AC World Series Naples Fleet Racing Championship.

Conditions were light, tricky and testing on Sunday, but Draper and his crew were up to the challenge. As was James Spithill and his ORACLE Racing crew, who appeared to be dead and buried in last place early in the race, only to recover and claim an impressive second place.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Match Racing Championship was decided when Terry Hutchinson and his Artemis Racing team took advantage of a pre-start mistake by Chris Draper's team to sail away with a win in the sudden-death Final. The victory was a vindication of sorts for Artemis, who had capsized in the first race of the regatta, damaging their wing and being shut out of the points on Wednesday.

"I can't say enough about the effort from the guys on the boat and on the shore," Hutchinson said. "After Wednesday, we'd have taken today's result, that's for sure. Our team trainer says it's not how you fall down, but how you get up. Now we have to come back in a few weeks in Venice and work on our consistency."

No records were set in this edition of the AC500 Speed Trials, as the light winds meant the fastest runs came at the end, during a brief period of stronger conditions. ORACLE Racing Bundock was able to fend off Artemis Racing by a microscopic .02 seconds to post the fastest time.

A major story in Naples has been the enthusiasm of the city as shown by the size of the crowds in the event village. Sunday was no exception, with the crowds lined deep along the waterfront to watch the action. Much of the support, unsurprisingly, was for Luna Rossa.

The America's Cup World Series now packs up and moves north to Venice, for the fifth stop on the circuit in May.

The results from Naples mean there is a new leader on the overall AC World Series Championship leaderboard. ORACLE Racing Spithill has overhauled Emirates Team New Zealand to lead by a slender one point after four events. The 2011-2012 AC World Series concludes in Newport, Rhode Island on July 1.

Fleet Racing Championship - Standings (seven races):
1. Luna Rossa - Piranha (Helmsman: Chris Draper); 92 points
2. ORACLE Racing - Spithill (Skipper: James Spithill); 77
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker); 60
4. Energy Team (Skipper: Yann Guichard); 54
5. Team Korea (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge); 49
6. Luna Rossa - Swordfish (Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James); 41
7. Artemis Racing (Skipper: Terry Hutchinson); 40
8. ORACLE Racing - Bundock (Skipper: Darren Bundock); 37
9. China Team (Skipper: Fred Le Peutrec); 15

Match Racing Championship - Sunday's races

Final - Artemis Racing beat Luna Rossa Piranha
SF1 - Artemis Racing beat Luna Rossa Swordfish
SF2 - Luna Rossa Piranha beat ORACLE Racing Bundock

2011-12 America's Cup World Series Provisional leaderboard

Place - Team - Match Points - Fleet Points - Total Points

1. ORACLE Racing - Spithill, 30, 37, 67
2. Emirates Team New Zealand, 30, 36, 66
3. Artemis Racing, 33, 21, 54
4. Energy Team, 25, 23, 48
5T. ORACLE Racing - Bundock, 26, 21, 47
5T. Team Korea, 25, 22, 47
7. China Team, 12, 14, 26
8. Green Comm Racing, 11, 12, 23
9. Luna Rossa - Piranha, 9, 10, 19
10. Luna Rossa - Swordfish, 7, 5, 12

Clipper 11-12 Race 10: Oakland, San Francisco Bay to Panama
Photo by Abner Kingman / onEdition. Click on image for photo gallery.

Clipper departs Oakland The ten strong fleet competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race left Jack London Square in Oakland Saturday 14 April with hundreds of fans cheering them on in the warm spring sunshine, before heading out to San Francisco Bay for the start line escorted by US Coast Guard cutter Sockeye.

This stage is the tenth of 15 races. Ahead lies a 5,500 mile leg from California on the US West Coast to New York on the East Coast via the Panama Canal.

The race down to Panama is quite a contrast to the challenges faced in the North Pacific. Race Director, Joff Bailey explains, "The Californian current flows south but the helping hand this gives the fleet can be counteracted by heating effects from the North American land mass which might change the winds unfavourably. This race down to Panama starts of fast and furious but as the temperature rises the wind start to drop as changeable conditions along the coast of Central America and as the fleet near the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or Doldrums) take effect. The last thousand miles will be sailed in light and fickle winds potentially requiring a shortened course as the Clipper Race fleet head towards a date with the Panama Canal."

The first boats are expected to arrive in Panama around 7 May after which they will transit the Panama Canal before commencing Race 11, for the final 2,100 miles to New York.

Fully-Crewed Division Announced for the GOR 2013-14
With some skippers racing in the current edition of the GOR already expressing interest in the GOR 2013-14 and with seven serious entries already lining up for the next edition, the GOR Race Organisation is in the process of formalising the next round-the-world challenge. The GOR 2013-14 format was constructed to include a single-handed division and a double-handed division with the same Team Entry option for the duos that is in place for the current race, permitting the opportunity to swap one co-skipper at each of the stopovers - an innovation that has proven appeal in cost-sharing for the circumnavigation.

Following consultation with a selection of round-the-world sailors and international sailing organisations and clubs, the decision has been made to include a third, fully-crewed (four crew) Class40 division for the GOR 2013-14, with up to three crew allowed to be changed in each stopover. There are three fundamental reasons behind this choice. GOR Race Director, Josh Hall, explains: "It is clear that we and the skippers would like more boats out on the water, regardless of the crew format," confirms Hall.

There is also the beneficial cost implication of racing four-up with the option of swapping-out crew. "While we already have confirmed entries in the solo and double-handed divisions for the GOR 2013-14, we were stunned when our list of entries for the current race plummeted from 19 boats to six within two months of the start in Palma," admits Hall. "For a class of racing yacht that is predominantly owner-driver, the current economic climate forced many of our potential entries to pull-out and weather the ongoing financial storm onshore, which is disappointing, but totally understandable," he continues. "Sharing the campaign costs over a fully-crewed team of up to 15 sailors is a further incentive for professional and amateur sailors to fulfil their dreams and the take on the challenge of racing round the world."

The GOR's fully-crewed option also plugs a gap in the round-the-world racing circuit. "With the existing format, our first and second races supplied offshore sailors with the opportunity of an affordable, challenging, safe and rewarding circumnavigation along a classic route including the Southern Ocean," Hall believes. "The GOR's new, fully-crewed option now provides international yacht clubs, racing organisations, sailing associations and even individual countries to enter a competitive round-the-world race in a manner that hasn't been witnessed since the days of the Whitbread Race," he explains.

Cirillo Wins First Leg of 2012 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series
Photo by Studio Borlenghi / S.Gattini. Click on image for photo gallery.

Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series Marina di Loano, Italy: The end was spectacular thanks to great weather conditions throughout the first leg of the 2012 Audi Sailing Series organized by BPSE - B-Plan Sports & Events, in collaboration with Melges Europe, Club Nautico Loano and Yacht Club Marina di Loano.

On the last day, finally the sun and an easterly wind of nearly 20 knots and waves created the perfect setting for the 17-strong Melges 32 fleet to take on three more races.

Winner of the first stage of the season is the defending champion Lanfranco Cirillo with Michele Paoletti as tactician aboard Fantastica. Today, thanks to a first, third and sixth, Cirillo's Fantastica made certain to keep a safe distance from Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino with Olympic medallist Nathan Wilmot as tactician. Onorato had some satisfaction of victory by winning the last race of the event ensuring second place overall.

With Marina di Loano now complete, the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series will continue onward to Portoferraio (24-27 May), then the European Championship in Porto Cervo (28 June-1 July), Malcesine (19-22 July) and lastly, Naples (18-21 October), where the season will find its conclusion.

Next weekend (20-22 April), again in the luxurious location of Marina di Loano, the Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series will commence!

Top Ten Results (Final, After 8 Races)

1. Lanfranco Cirillo/Michelle Paoletti, Fantastica, 19 points
2. Vincenzo Onorato/Nathan Wilmot, Mascalzone Latino, 29
3. Mauro Mocchegiani/Matteo Ivaldi, Rush Diletta, 30
4. Edoardo Lupi/Branko Brcin, Torpyone, 35
5. Marc de Antonio/Hugo Rocha, Bribon-Movistar, 39
6. Filippo Pacinotti/Ross MacDonald, Brontolo HH, 45
7. Carlo Alberini/Enrico Fonda, Calvi Network, 46
8. Edoardo Pavesio/Gabriele Benussi, Audi F.lli Giacomel | FRA MARTINA, 53
9. Wolfgang Stolz/Jesper Radich, Opus One, 55
10. Diasuke Kimura/Ka Yamada, Quetefeek, 63

No Jackets Required On Camper
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand were enjoying fast sailing and rising temperatures today as they prepared to take on the final 500 nautical miles (nm) of Leg 5.

The Kiwi/Spanish team are within around 48 hours of finishing the 6,700-mile leg from Auckland in New Zealand, one of their home ports, to Itajaí in Brazil.

CAMPER were forced to suspend racing on April 3 and divert to Puerto Montt in Chile to repair structural damage, resuming the leg on April 8.

As temperatures rise with every mile the team make north, co-skipper Stu Bannatyne was relishing taking his foul-weather jacket off for the first time since the leg start on March 18.

"You can't imagine how nice it is to not have a tight rubber seal around my neck," he said. "To top it off, we had a flying fish incident, so we must be getting into warmer water."

By the time they complete the leg it will have been an entire month since they set sail from Auckland.

At 1300 UTC on Sunday CAMPER had 509 miles left to sail, and were averaging over 16 knots of boat speed.

CAMPER are expected to finish around 1200 UTC on April 17 after which they face a four-day turnaround to prepare for the DHL In-Port Race Itajaí on April 21, and the start of Leg 6 to Miami the following day.

African Queen Launched
One of the world's most famous boats has re-entered service in time to celebrate its 100th anniversary. African Queen, which took the title role in the Oscar-winning 1951 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, was on the point of being broken up after 10 years of neglect, but is back earning its keep in Florida.

The 30ft open launch, originally named Livingstone, was built by Abdela & Mitchell at Brimscombe in Gloucestershire in 1912 for the British East Africa Railway. It was shipped to Africa where it was used to carry passengers and cargo on Lake Albert between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

African Queen dropped from view following its starring role in the film until it was found in Egypt in the 1970s and shipped to Florida where it was placed on display ashore, first in Marathon and later in Key Largo. However Jim Hendricks, who inherited the boat from his father, has leased it to Lance and Suzanne Holmqvist who have spent a reported £37,500 in fully restoring African Queen and have put it into service as a river cruise boat.

Running The Rhumblines
Based on consistent results in point score racing over the Whitsunday Sailing Club courses Craig Piccinelli has continued to helm Wobbly Boot into contention to score a major result in the International Airlie Beach Race Week series later this year.

The Wobbly Boot crew are no strangers to scoring major results on the testing waters of Pioneer Bay winning the yacht of the regatta and the prestigious Boss Hog trophy as the star performer at Airlie Beach Race Week.

That result achieved when Hog's Breath Cafe were the naming rights sponsor remains as the career best result for skipper Piccinelli and his crew of long term sailing mates.

They have made no secret about their intention to again become a Boss Hog trophy challenger and their recent results achieved in a wide range of sailing conditions from light to wet and very windy suggests Wobbly Boot has the all angle sailing speed to again warrant consideration.

Consistent results of recording ten top four places in fifteen races have allowed Wobbly Boot to hold a commanding lead over the John Galloway skippered Queensland Marine Services and the Kevin Fogarty helmed Twister in the Sprint Race championship.

However Craig Piccinelli while being presently confident with their results remains tactically respectful of his rival skippers John Galloway and Kevin Fogarty who still remain in contention to challenge Wobbly Boot's stranglehold as the best performing short course racing team on Pioneer Bay.

Similar interest embraces the close struggle for championship honours in the fast lane sailing multihull class where the Peter Millar owned and Dave Chittleborough helmed catamaran Cynaphobe holds a narrow 2 point lead over Wild Thing (Keith Roberts) with a further 6 points to the former Australian offshore champion Rum Raider (Scott Millar).

Peter Berry who steered his low handicap rated catamaran J'Ouvert to a creditable win in the 2011 Airlie Beach Race Week Multihull championship has kept his Sprint Race championship alive by progressively holding fourth place another five points off the pace.

All four crews are capable of winning in their favoured conditions while the Cynaphobe combination which have registered their best results in winds over 15 knots will need a 'brute breeze' to propel the fast lane sailing catamaran to the required speed to outpace her high .924 rating and remain as the progressive leader when the sails are tensioned for the important 16 race this week. -- Ian Grant

Erwan Peron And Eric Tabarly Win the AG2R La Mondiale Prologue
Concarneau, France: Strong wind, rough sea, sun and spectators at the rendezvous, and a sprinkling of 16 multicolored monoprints, are the ingredients of a great day. After the opening of the village official in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale, the prologue was the second highlight of this week's festivities in Concarneau.

"The prologue is a good way for crews to check the last settings, calibrate and validate the boat but overall these are small details; these are all very experienced sailors, and after many weeks of training this course more than a test of pure competition. So the question of whether it is useful to win the prologue, opinions are divided. I think it is still important to release the horses from the outset! The conditions today were perfect with a north wind blowing northeast between 20 and 25 knots and the show delighted the spectators and also the photographers" said Gilles Chiorri, race director of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale.

The Transat AG2R La Mondiale course is a distance of 3890 miles nautical. The start will take place in Concarneau Saturday, April 21, and the arrival at St. Bartholomew, between 11 and 13 May.

This is a doublehanded race for Figaro Beneteau II.

Top ten final places, prologue:

1. Nacarat (Erwan Peron and Eric Tabarly)
2. Green Circle (Gildas Morvan and Charlie Dalin)
3. Brittany - Credit Mutuel Performance (Anthony Marchand and Romain Attanasio)
4. The Bretons Recyclers (Michel Simon and Bothuon Troel)
5. Gedimat (Thierry Chabagny and Christopher Pratt)
6. Artemis (Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry)
7. Macif (Fabien Delahaye and Paul Meilhat)
8. Gaes (Corbella and Gerard Marino)
9. Sepalumic (Duthil and Francois Lebourdais)
10. Banque Populaire (Jeanne Gregory and Gerald Veniard)

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

Access Worlds Three days before they are officially announced as the SKUD 18 crew to represent Australia at the London Paralympic Games, Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have put their prospective rivals on notice, winning 10 out of 10 races in the international fleet at the Macquarie 2012 Access World Championships, hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Sydney Harbour.

Although second placed Ame Barnbrook/Lindsay Mason (AUS) and third placed Tim Dempsey/Jan Apel (NZL) threw everything they could at Fitzgibbon/Tesch, it was to no avail.

On winning the SKUD International title today, Queenslander Fitzgibbon, the silver medallist skipper at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, said: "This has been great training for us. We're going to Hyeres in France for the SKUD Worlds on Monday and this regatta and our result here means we go in ready."

Barnbrook and Mason came into the final day of the regatta in third place overall, but got closer to their New Zealand competitors yesterday after scoring a pair of second places.

Today, Barnbrook, who is renowned for her starting skills, steered the pair to a further pair of second places to overtake the Kiwis, who are also likely to represent at the London Paralympics.

In the Access 303 two-person class, able-bodied sailors Patricia Ennis and Michael Leydon, a former Paralympic Games coach, were in the enviable position of being unbeatable yesterday and a further second and a win consolidated their new status as world champions.

Defending champions, Zoltan Pegan and his wife Eva MIrcsev (HUN) finished second overall. The harsh conditions of Tuesday were too much for them and many others, and they failed to finish Race 4, which pretty much sealed their fate. -- Di Pearson

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

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2009 J Boats J/97. 105,000 GBP. Located In Hamble, United Kingdom.

Launched in 2009, the J/97 is the first J in over two decades under 32' to combine full standing headroom and family cruising accommodation in a high performance, easily driven hull. With the handling ease of an asymmetric spinnaker and non-overlapping headsails, the J/97 promises to be J Boats' most versatile design yet under 35' to fit the needs of today's sailing families, both young and old alike.

The cockpit features full length seats with back rests, tiller steering, and a unique, partially open transom that incorporates life-raft storage. All sailing controls are within reach of the helmsperson to make the boat very easy to manage. A retractable bow sprit with masthead asymmetric spinnaker allows great all-around performance without the need for numerous skilled crew. The low VCG keel provides exceptional upwind stability while being cruising friendly with swept back leading edge and moderate draft.

Brokerage through Key Yachting Ltd.:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it. -- Danny Kaye

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