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Groupama Snatch First In-Port Win as Telefonica Stumble
Photo by Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image for photo gallery.

VOR Groupama scored their first inshore win of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday after an uncharacteristic error from overall race leaders Team Telefonica handed them their chance in the DHL In-Port Race Itajaí.

In one of the most highly charged battles of the inshore series so far, Telefonica made a mistake while leading the fleet when they sailed the wrong way round the course.

Their slip-up, which came halfway through the race, relegated Iker Martínez's crew to the back of the pack and ended their hopes of a third in-port win.

Meanwhile, closest rivals Groupama sailing team were given a free pass to jump into the lead, chased closely by CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.

"After we rounded the windward mark it was very confusing," explained Telefonica skipper Martínez. "There were two marks and I chose the wrong one.

"It's the first time in my life I've ever made a mistake like that so I feel terrible for the shore crew who had worked so hard but the good news is that we had made many improvements since the last inshore race."

DHL In-Port Race Itajaí results:

1st - Groupama Sailing Team 6 points - 46min 27 sec
2nd - CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ 5 points - + 0.48 sec
3rd - PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG 4 points - +1.05
4th - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 3 points - + 1.33
5th - Team Telefonica 2 points - + 5.40
Did not start Team Sanya 0 points

volvooceanrace.com

Puma Lead Fleet on Leg 6 to Miami
The battle for overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 intensified on Sunday with the teams resuming their bids for supremacy as the sixth of nine legs got underway from Itajaí, Brazil, with PUMA at the front of the pack.

Just 32 points separate the top four teams as the fleet set sail for Miami -- and with 30 points up for grabs for a leg win, the race is still wide open.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG enjoyed the psychological advantage of leading the fleet around the short inshore course and out into the Atlantic but with 4,800 miles to sail, any of the five teams racing in Leg 6 could see victory come their way.

Riding on the high of winning Leg 5, PUMA skipper Ken Read said his crew were ready to get back to the race course. "I don't want to jinx the fleet but it looks like we could have some really nice sailing," Read said. "It's potentially the first leg of this race that we can say that. "It looks like we might get some downwind sailing out of Itajaí, we might get some nice trade wind sailing, and maybe some consistent wave patterns. "Everyone's really psyched to go do some nice sailing."

Leg 6 is littered with challenges including tropical weather systems, strong currents, sweltering heat and the dreaded Doldrums.

The first few days of the race could be crucial as the crews negotiate a potentially violent low pressure system lying in wait in the South Brazil Bight.

From there on in the sailing should mostly be downwind in moderate conditions -- although the teams will always be at risk from South Atlantic squalls.

The boats are expected to arrive in Miami around May 6.

Team Sanya, who pulled out of Leg 5 with boat damage, will rejoin the fleet in Miami after carrying out repairs in Savannah.

volvooceanrace.com

Semaine Olympique Francaise
Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Semaine Olympique Francaise The first day of the Semaine Olympique Francaise, fourth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, started in high gear with a strong South-Westerly and athletic racing conditions. A typical Hyères weather!

Today was a "winners take all" with breeze lovers making the most of the conditions by winning all races.

Julien Bontemps (FRA) excelled again in the breeze winning the day's two races after claiming the World title in the same windy conditions.

Li Ling (CHN) claimed the day with two victories in the women RS:X fleet. The SOF is the first SWC event this year for the Chinese. Moana Delle (GER) and Chaline Picon (FRA) takes second and third.

Sailors from Down Under enjoyed the conditions in the Lasers. World #1 and World Champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) made the most of the day taking the bullets in his group's two races while Andy Maloney (NZL) dominates his group with two wins. Andrew Murdoch (NZL) takes third position.

Croatian Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic raced to perfection winning two races and the lead in the 470 men.

In the women's division, Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) and Japanese Ai Kondo with Wakako Tabata (JAP) are sharing the lead with a win and a second place.

In the Laser radial, the day belonged to Alison Young, the athletic British sailor gave it all winning both races in her group.

In the Finn, young Estonian Deniss Karpak (EST) showed his form in the breeze taking both races and the lead over Athens Silver medallist Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Laser Olympic medallist Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).

Only one race was sailed for the Yellow group in the 49er. Starting the race with 18 knots, the 49ers saw problems to finish the race when the wind increased to 28 knots and the water transformed to a steep chop. Only 11 boats finished the race with young French team of Julien D'Ortoli, Noe Delpech (FRA) ahead.

Megan Pascoe (GBR) and Helena Lucas (GBR) got the top two places in the only race completed in the 2.4mR. Damien Seguin (FRA) placed third while Thierry Schmitter (NED) lost an early lead when his boat filled with water on the last downwind leg. He is among eight boats not to finish the race.

In the Skudd, Australians Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch won the day's race.

Only three flights were completed in the Women Match-Racing with the Americans Tunnicliffe and Barkow winning all their games. The lost matches will be added to tomorrow's programme starting at 9.30am.

Three races will be scheduled for all classes on Monday with four for the 49er Blue group who will start at 10am.

sof.ffvoile.fr

Victory For The Wave, Muscat In China
Photo by Mark Lloyd, www.lloydimages.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Extreme Sailing Series An ecstatic Leigh McMillan and his crew on board The Wave, Muscat won Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series with a race to spare, a feat rarely achieved on the circuit, and move into the lead for the overall Series. But, after 29 races watched by over 55,000 spectators, it came down to the final double points decider to determine who would stand next to the Omani team on the podium. After a fairly disastrous start to the day, Hagara's hopes of challenging for first place were gone but Red Bull Sailing Team got their act together in the last three races to clinch 2nd place, in what is there first event podium position since Muscat 2011. After starting the day in fifth place, the all-French Groupe Edmond de Rothschild were the comeback kings today, steadily toppling their opponents to claim the final spot on podium.

It wasn't all celebrations today and a frustrated Ian Williams on board GAC Pindar was narrowly denied a podium finish, which has so far eluded the British sailor: "It was a shame for us... The last race really didn't go our way - it was tough with Mark Ivey's sickness and the change of crew halfway through today so we lost our rhythm a little bit. But on the positive side to be doing the last race in with a shot of second overall so we're pleased with the week overall, just a little bit disappointed at the end."

Next step of the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series, Act 3 Istanbul 7th-10th June.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 2, Qingdao, China overall standings after Day 4, 29 races

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan / Ed Smyth / Pete Greenhalgh / Hashim Al Rashdi / Rachel Williamson, 189 points
2. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matthew Adams / Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche, 174
3. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Herve Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Romain Petit, 171
4. GAC Pindar (GBR) Ian Williams / Mark Ivey / Mark Bulkeley / Adam Piggot / Andrew Walsh, 164
5. Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree / Nasser Al Mashari / Max Bulger, 162
6. ZouLou (FRA) Loick Peyron / Philippe Mourniac / Jean-Sebastien Ponce / Bruno Jeanjean / Patrick Aucour, 158
7. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen / Rasmus Kostner / Pete Cumming / Christian Kamp / Jonas Hviid, 130
8. Alinghi (SUI), Pierre-Yves Jorand / Tanguy Cariou / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey / Charles Favre, 129
9. China Team (CHN) Phil Robertson / Garth Ellingham / Kit Cheng / Nick Catley / Xiaqun Song, 74

Extreme Sailing Series 2012, Series standings after 2 Acts

1. The Wave, Muscat, OMA, 19 points
2. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, FRA, 16
3. Red Bull Sailing Team, AUT, 16
4. Oman Air, OMA, 16
5. GAC Pindar, GBR, 13
6. ZouLou, FRA, 10
7. SAP Extreme Sailing Team, DEN, 7
8. Alinghi, SUI, 7

extremesailingseries.com

Ainslie Doubts If His Body Can Take Four More More Years
Having returned victorious from the last three Olympics, Ben Ainslie has twice swapped the solo challenge of first Laser then Finn-class dinghies for the grander boats and deeper waters of America's Cup racing.

He will do so again after the summer, but this time the move from small to larger boat will be different.

When he steps out of a dinghy after the Olympics, competitively at least, he may never step back.

'It's hard to say exactly what I'll do,' said Ainslie. 'The focus will certainly move over to the America's Cup, as it has for the last couple of Olympic cycles. Whether it will be my last Olympics, I'm not sure.

'Having had a serious back injury over the winter, it's been a real battle this time around. Getting the physical side right has become the biggest part of my preparation. I don't know whether my body can take another four years of battering.'

Should 35-year-old Ainslie conclude that his dinghy days are over, he will bow out with a career as symmetrical as it was golden, racing his last race on the same expanse of water that hosted his first.

But while there is clearly a home advantage, he is quick to sound a note of caution about its extent.

'Different stretches of water are absolutely distinct,' said Ainslie. 'Having trained here a lot the last couple of years and for 20-odd years on and off, it's a very hard venue to predict, because the wind and conditions are always slightly different. There are no set rules.

'I'd never make the mistake of thinking that I know this place perfectly. You can't bank on local knowledge as a given. You still have to use your strategic skills.' -- Mick Collins in The Daily Mail

Full article at
www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/olympics/

Running The Rhumblines
Whitsunday Sailing Club President Jeff Brown has a confident smile whenever a moderate trade wind blows at a steady velocity over the Whitsunday Passage.

He instinctively accepts the stronger winds are more suitable to his personal style when he skippers the ageing 007 in the mid-week club sprint race point score series on Pioneer Bay. Both skipper and crew mastered their favourite moderate strength trade wind and slightly sloppy seaway to score an important win in the 16th race of the series on April 18th.

It was a victory which the crew enjoyed after they used the elements to the fullest advantage eventually recording a 1 minute 10 second win over the Kevin Fogarty skippered Twister while Ross Winterbourn helmed Bobby D into third another 1 minute 3 seconds off the pace.

The win while showing that 007 had a dominating edge in handicap rated boat speed their overall 16 race progressive score places them in 10th and unlikely to threaten the leaders Craig Piccinelli's Wobbly Boot on 65 points, John Galloway's Queensland Marine Services 81 points and the improving Twister (Kevin Fogarty) on 91points.

Club Commodore Rob Davis holds a strong grip on the Division 3 point score after steering Breakaway into third place behind the match racing Hooter (Terry Kelly) and Serendipity (Roger Boast).

The Breakaway combination presently holds a 24 point lead over the lower handicapped Hooter while the John Hudson helmed Riff Raff retains a chance to reduce their nine point deficit when the sails are tensioned for the remaining trophy races on the tricky waters of Pioneer Bay.

Rob Davis has won a share of the major trophies however he continues to respect the quality of his rivals by making sure Breakaway holds the important consistent boat speed to finish ahead of Hooter and Riff Raff when they continue their duel for the points.

Meanwhile Damien Suckling steered Another Fiasco to another line honours win over arch rival Terry Archer's Questionable Logic.

The margin of 44 seconds at the finish allowed Damien Suckling steering the slightly larger Scott Jutson designed 43 Another Fiasco to breathe a sigh of relief after his crew repelled the tactical challenge from the smaller Admirals Cup 40 Questionable Logic and overall class handicap winner 007. -- Ian Grant

Charleston Race Week Hopes to Impress America's Cup Officials
The [America's] Cup will be in the Lowcountry this weekend as part of Charleston Race Week, under the protective custody of Tom Ehman, vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco, which will host the America's Cup finals next year.

But if Charleston Race Week organizers have their way, more than just the America's Cup trophy will come to Charleston. They are hoping to use the presence of America's Cup officials to audition for a spot in the America's Cup World Series races.

"They are here, so let's show them what we have to offer," said Randy Draftz, race director of Charleston Race Week, the largest regatta of its kind in North America. "While they are here, we have to get their attention about it."

With some 2,000 sailors and 269 boats registered for Charleston Race Week, which is headquartered at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina in Mount Pleasant, Draftz said the timing is perfect.

"What we have to offer is the harbor and the ocean," Draftz said. "It's a tremendous venue. We have the port and the terminal, just like they did in San Diego (which hosted an America's Cup World Series event last year). The America's Cup people just took over one of the terminals for their venue."

Draftz said landing an America's Cup World Series race would be a "big, big, big deal." -- Jeff Hartsell in the Post & Courier

Full article at
www.postandcourier.com

Transat AG2R
At 13.00 CET on Saturday 21st April, Artemis Offshore Academy sailors Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry set off on the 3890nm race across the Atlantic in the 11th edition of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale; from Concarneau to Saint Barthelemy. Flying the flag for Great Britain and the youngest crew in the fleet, Sam and Nick are taking on the some of the finest competitors in the Beneteau Figaro 2 class.

The fleet crossed the start line at 13.00 CET, with Goodchild and Cherry setting off in great shape. Artemis 23 made a great start as Artemis Offshore Academy performance director, John Thorn details: "The race started with a chilly North Westerly wind of around 15 knots, (gusting up to 25 in the rain squalls) Conditions were sunny, with patches of heavy rain. The spectator boats have turned out in force off Concarneau churning up the sea, and cheering on the double handed sailors as they head out to open ocean. Sam and Nick set of in great spirits buoyed on by a good first leg and rounded the first windward mark in 4th position. Nearing the next mark, Artemis 23 is creeping into 3rd. As usual for a race start in France, there are masses of spectator boats, creating rough and confused waves making it a very difficult race start, especially for the boats towards the back of the fleet."

Weather conditions are set to take a turn for the worse with rain, big waves and winds of up to 50 knots setting in off Cape Finistere, a point on the course notoriously difficult at the best of times.

These conditions are expected to moderate somewhat by the time the fleet arrive there on Monday. After which the course turns South from Cape Finistere and heads off towards a virtual turning mark near the Canary Islands; the temperatures will increase and as the wind turns and comes from behind, the downwind spinnaker conditions should make for much more comfortable sailing.

La Transat AG2R La Mondiale is famous for it's varying and challenging weather conditions and the claustrophobic living conditions will only add to the pressure. After leaving Concarneau at 13.00 CET on Saturday 21st April, the fleet hope to cross the Atlantic in 23-25 days.

For daily updates on the race and Artemis 23's progress visit www.artemisoffshoreacademy.com

Event site: transat.ag2rlamondiale.fr

Patton Shows Best In Early Bermuda Race Week Action
Photo by Talbot Wilson. Click on image to enlarge.

Bermuda Race Week Hamilton Bermuda: Etchells sailor Tim Patton, with Peter Martin and Hal Kempe as crew, had a top-notch performance in the first day of racing in Bacardi's Bermuda International Invitational Race Week Sunday. Patton who has been representing Bermuda in international world-class competition took three firsts and a second (1-1-1-2).

Bermuda's Will Thompson, with Somers Kempe and Adam Barboza aboard, is right on Patton's transom. He had three seconds and a first (2-2-2-1) and lays only two points behind. Patton said the left side of the course in Bermuda's great sound was a "big tease."

"We had the wind figured out today," Patton said. "The pressure and direction on the left side seemed good, but we had to decide when to leave the left to hit the coming shift on the right. We were the first boat to bail out and take the new wind. There was also a tidal current coming out of the Granaway Deep and that was a factor to balance with the wind. With seven more races in the Etchells scheduled for Race Week a lot can happen."

On provisional results, two-time world champion John Burnham representing Fisher's Island New York won the A series for the International One Design Class (IOD). The committee got in four races in front of delaying the next racing until Tuesday because of expected wet and windy weather. Burnham had finishes of 1-2-1-2.

John has been racing aboard the wooden S&S classic Dorade in the Caribbean and said, of the IODs, "I never thought sailing in an IOD would be sailing in a light boat. We were fast today and were back and forth with Giles Peckam who has finishes of 3-1-2-1. We were happy to take the A Series. My co-skipper Peter Rugg will be up next."

Peckham, who represents the Daring Fleet from Cowes, England will be tough competition in the B series and overall for the Vrengen Gold Cup overall prize. Peckham won that trophy three years ago and is anxious to repeat.

Bacardi's Bermuda International Invitational Race Week action continues this Tuesday in the waters of Bermuda's Great Sound. The annual event organized by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will conclude Friday April 27. -- Talbot Wilson

See www.biirw.bm for details, stories and photos.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Bob Fisher: re: David Munge comments on the average age of the helmsmen at the Star European Championship being 48 and asks:

"What does that say about sailing, or Star sailing?"

It speaks volumes, but more importantly endorses the ISAF view that Sailing is a sport for life. Being slightly older than the Star sailors, I applaud their persistence in the class where sailing talent is measured in all-round ability, something that develops over the years. Of course, there is the tailing off (well after 48) in physical ability, but that does not stop the older sailors from competing and featuring in the prize lists from time to time. I have to ask if David Munge still enjoys his sailing after passing what he seems to think is too old to compete internationally?

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2007 Dehler 39 SQ, 169,000. GBP. Located in Hampshire, United Kingdom.

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
uk.yachtworld.com/core/listing/boatFullDetails.jsp?boat_id=2456230

The Last Word
I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to. -- J.R. Dobbs

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