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Record Tipped To Fall In Perfect Conditions
The fastest yachts in this year's Sydney-Hobart race should shatter the race record and be sailing up the Derwent River just one day and 14 hours after the Boxing Day start.

The senior forecaster for the Bureau of Meteorology, Barry Hanstrum, said yesterday the 100-strong fleet should experience strong northeasterly winds down the NSW coast after the start and westerly winds across Bass Strait, giving them almost perfect conditions.

The commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Matt Allen, said computer modelling of those conditions showed Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI could finish more than four hours under the record she set in the 2005 race -- the first of four consecutive line-honours wins.

Allen said modifications to Wild Oats XI had made her significantly faster than she was in 2005.

"We are leaning toward northeasterly winds for the start, building up to 20 to 30 knots on Sunday afternoon," Mr Hanstrum said during a weather briefing at the CYCA. -- D.D. McNicoll in The Australian,

* The vastly experienced navigator of Sydney to Hobart stalwart Love & War is confident the 36-year-old yacht can win a record fourth overall title despite being one of the oldest boats in a stellar fleet.

The 47-foot timber boat took handicap honours in 1974 and 1978 and again 28-years later in 2006.

Only Freya (1963, 64, 65) has taken handicap honours on three occasions.

Love & War navigator Lindsay May, who will be contesting his 37th Hobart, was adamant his boat, which will be carrying new sails, could trump the multitude of newer boats in the fleet.

"The boat has been out of the water and she's had quite a bit of work done, so she's really up to spec," May told AAP on Tuesday.

"I really believe this boat can knock if off a fourth time, I'm not doing this race just to knock another Hobart off onto the handle.

"I really believe we've got a good chance of winning and we will just wait for the conditions and then you sail in what you've got."

The crew contains sailors at vastly different ends of the experience spectrum.

May apart, the crew also includes John Harris, who will be contesting his 27th Hobart and who along Michael Hess was part of her 1974 and 1978 triumphs.

At the other end, 18-year-old Phillip Kurts will be making his Hobart debut and continuing a strong family tradition.

The boat was built for his late grandfather Peter, while his father Simon has tallied 16 Hobarts. -- Adrian Warren in the Sydney Morning Herald,

* There was plenty of unscheduled activity at Woolwich Dock, on Sydney Harbour, around midnight last night when Bob Oatley's Rolex Sydney-Hobart race record holder, Wild Oats XI, was lifted from the water so repairs could be made to the yacht's keel.

An underwater inspection of the 30.48 metre long supermaxi's hull yesterday revealed that the streamlined steel fin keel had been damaged when it hooked onto a buoy and line attached to a fish trap off Sydney Heads the previous day.

Wild Oats XI was doing around 20 knots at the time of the incident. When the line attached to the trap ripped across the surface of the keel it serrated some of the fine leading edge. While the damage was not structural it was considered to be serious enough to cause speed-sapping turbulence in the water flowing over the keel when the yacht was racing.

"We had to lift the yacht out of the water at midnight because that was when the tide was most favourable," said Wild Oats XI skipper, Mark Richards. "The damage is only superficial, but we need absolutely everything going for us in this year's Hobart race, so it was imperative that we fixed it."

The yacht was due to be relaunched at 11am today.

Wild Oats XI, which is the course record holder for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, will be going for an unprecedented fifth consecutive line honours in the classic this year.

Round 18 and No Knockout Yet....
Statement from Tom Ehman, Golden Gate Yacht Club Spokesperson:

Valencia, Spain: America's Cup defender Societe Nautique de Geneve has been asked if Alinghi 5 will meet the event's nationality rules. In a letter today to SNG, GGYC Commodore Marcus Young wrote, "We find the Deed to be clear and unambiguous. It requires that the yacht, including its hull, appendages, mast and sails, be constructed in the country of the club it represents. We have gone to great lengths to comply with the Deed in all respects, including 'constructed-in-country,' and expect that your Club will do so as well."

Alinghi 5 has been sailing continually with sails made at Minden, Nevada in the USA.

Absent agreement on the constructed-in-country interpretation, the five-member International Jury recently appointed by the International Sailing Federation would be asked to rule on the matter.

Both yachts should come to the start "street-legal." The sailing world expects this, and wants to know before the Match is sailed, not after. Having the Jury in place allows sailing matters to be dealt with by sailing experts.

GGYC's objective is that the on-the-water result of the 33rd Match be conclusive. Any remaining contentious issues should be dealt with properly before the Match is sailed. No one wants the outcome of the Match to have a question mark hanging over it.

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Class Bands Change for Rolex Commodores' Cup
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) today announced a change to the class rating bands for the 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup. The lower limit of Class 1 has been lowered by 10 points from 1.120 to 1.110. The rating bands for classes 2 and 3 remain unchanged.

Eddie Warden Owen, RORC CEO explained the thinking behind the change: "We have become aware that many countries have struggled to find competitive Class 1 boats and by lowering the bottom rating limit of Class 1 and creating an overlap between Classes 1 and 2, I am sure it will help countries select competitive teams."

"Interest in the event continues to grow from all over the world: America, Scandinavia, the Baltic, Germany and South Africa are all assembling competitive teams as IRC continues to grow worldwide," explained Warden Owen.

The Pre-Notice of Race has been altered as follows:

Boat/Team Eligibility: A team shall consist of three boats, one from each of the following rating bands:

Class 1 / 1.110 - 1.230 / DLR not exceeding 200
Class 2 / 1.075 - 1.119 / DLR not exceeding 200
Class 3 / 1.025 - 1.074 / DLR not exceeding 215
DLR = Displacement Length Ratio

Challenges: (which need not identify the boats) shall be lodged by a Member National Authority. RORC shall have the discretion to accept a Challenge or Challenges from two or three Member National Authorities in combination, with the intention that any such team is representative of an identifiable region (e.g. Scandinavia).

Nationality: At least 50% (rounded up e.g. a crew of 9 = 5) of the crew of each boat on board in any race shall comprise individuals who are Nationals of the country of the relevant team or individuals who have since1 August 2009 had their principal residence in that country or individuals who were born in that country.

Sailor Classification Code: ISAF Regulation 22, Sailor Classification Code, shall apply
(a) Crew Limitations
The crew of each boat shall include no more than:

For Class 1: two Group 3 sailors
For Class 2: one Group 3 sailor
For Class 3: one Group 3 sailor

The full Notice of Race will be published in January 2010 on

ORC Makes 2010 Designer VPP Available for Download
The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has announced its Designer version of its 2010 VPP is available for download from the ORC website. This first available version will be the beta version which may be later updated at no extra cost to subscribers.

The Designer VPP contains the complete formulations to generate speed predictions and ratings for a wide variety of inshore and offshore sailing yachts. This VPP is annually reviewed and updated by the aero- and hydro-dynamic experts on the International Technical Committee (ITC) to improve its accuracy and applicability for use in ORC rating systems, ORC Club and ORC International.

Use of the Designer VPP is not limited to yacht designers only, however handling of offset files and other inputs to the program are usually proprietary information for each design firm. Nonetheless, this VPP is at the core of the only international rating system that is completely transparent and objective, with no secret elements controlled by the rating office alone. As such, use of the Designer VPP can therefore accurately predict ratings within measurement tolerances in all ORC rating systems.

Upon receipt of payment, new subscribers will receive credentials to log on to the DVP Subscribers web page, while credentials of existing subscribers will be renewed. From this DVP page the installation software package will become available for download. As announcements are made of updates, these can be accessed for one year for both the VPP core and the editing and management interfaces.

The annual subscription is 500 EUR, with a special discounted price of 300 EUR for orders made before 15 January 2010. Payment can be made by credit card or PayPal account with the link off the ORC website.

For more information, visit the ORC homepage at

UK-Halsey Rules Quiz
The UK-Halsey Rules Quiz animations have been called the best way to learn the rules, and the videos of the rules being explained make the learning process that much easier. We have already posted seven videos which cover: the importance of the definitions, the definition of when you are racing and when the rules and penalties apply, definition of being on a tack, definition of proper course, the definition of finishing and much more. The videos are only available as part of the Rules Quiz program and we will continue to post videos throughout the year.

The answers to all the quizzes were re-written for the rules changes by Rob Overton, who has been a member of the US Sailing Racing Rules Committee since 1993. Rob was one of five international rule writers who drafted the new Section C rules that took effect on January 1, 2009.

See the Rules Quiz page at

You can buy the Quiz program for $55 or $100 for the program plus two of the best books written on the 2009-2012 Racing Rules - Understanding the Rules by Dave Perry and The Rules in Practice by Bryan Willis. Both are reviewed in our Rules Blog.

Television Rights? Internet Broadcast???
The assigned owner of the [America's Cup] media rights is Societe Nautique de Geneve, the Organising Authority for this regatta. While it is clear that a competitor cannot undertake their own coverage of the event, without the approval of SNG, it is not clear how in practical terms SNG or ISAF would be able to enforce this right against an individual or organisation without the regulatory co-operation of the relevant territorial authorities.

From a perusal of the racing documents issued to date, there does not seem to be a requirement for any form of tracking device to be carried aboard the two competing yachts, which would upset any moves to have the regatta covered using real time computer generated graphics, without the approval of SNG.

It is believed that the agreement between the International Sailing Federation and SNG is being re-written, however it is not clear what the amendments will be, and those are not expected to be finally known until the Sailing Instructions are published on 8 January 2010, one month before the start of the event.

However it almost certain that the situation now, is not the situation as it will be on 8 February 2010, and Sail-World will carry further updates as they come to hand. -- Richard Gladwell

Solo & Double Handed Sailing Forum Meeting
With over 85 expressions of interest and some 35 sailors of all ages gathering in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin on Wednesday the 16th December to meet, discuss and commit to short handed yacht racing in Ireland. It looks like this type of sailing is going to become a prominent feature on the Irish sailing scene.

There was huge enthusiasm from the meetings participants to see initiatives put in place to develop a circuit in Irish waters in 2010 and beyond. There was general agreement to develop things gradually and keep in line with developments internationally. It was agreed to develop a series which would cater for the existing fleet of boats which normally sail under IRC handicapping and to see if a series can be facilitated within existing events like for example ISORA (Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association). It was also agreed that it would be desirable to look at developing a one-design or box rule class long term. To kick this off the 10 SailFleet J80's owned by the Irish Sailing Association have been booked for 10/11 July 2010 for a series of double handed coastal races out of the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire.

A primary objective for next season will be the establishment of a series & ultimately the crowning of an Irish Short Handed Yacht Racing Champion next Autumn.

A committee was formed of which Olivier Prouveur was voted as President, Mick Liddy Vice President, Cian Mc Carthy South Coast Contact, Barry Hurley UK Liaison and Paul O Riain Public Relations.

Thanks to Markham Nolan who took minutes of the meeting, which are available to anyone interested. These can be requested from Olivier Prouveur at

Mariquita 1911
"Mariquita 1911" by Yachting Heritage presents the architects, the builders, the owners, the skippers and the crews of the incredible 19 metre class.

The book is illustrated with unpublished photographs as well as works by some of the greatest maritime painters (Martin Mackrill, Guy l'Hostie, Brian J Jones, Louis Paul, Montaigue Dawson, Jamie Medlin). For the very first time the calculation book and plans by William Fife III, Alfred Mylne, Charles Nicholson, Max Oertz complete the technical descriptions. Only 400 copies have been published for this reserved, limited and numbered edition.

A superb gift for the discerning sailor.

* Editor: Read our review

Liz Wardley Makes It To Lisbon Under Jury Rig
On this Tuesday 22 December at 01.30pm (1230 UT), Liz Wardley moored her SolOceans One-design (16 metres - 52.5 feet) alongside the pontoons of the Marina de Cascais, Lisbon (Portugal). She is there for an emergency stopover after dismasting last Thursday at dawn off Madeira - 620 nautical miles from the Portuguese Capital. She finished her voyage at more than 10 knots on average in a force 8 wind and a 5 to 6 metre swell with breaking waves. This failure, certainly due to the accumulation of crash gybes and wipes out because of failures of the autopilot, prematurely ends the Around-the-world Reference Tour of the SolOceans - OceanoScientific Campaign 2009-2010.

Another campaign is already planned for Spring 2010. This will allow Liz Wardley to qualify for the Route du Rhum 2010. Liz Wardley is going to rest for a few hours in Portugal, before heading north as soon as possible to reach Port-La-Foret (Brittany - France) - with probably a quick stop at Vigo (Spain) before crossing the Gulf of Biscay under jury rig.

View the dismasting filmed live by Liz Wardley

View the installation of the jury rig filmed by Liz Wardley

Seasailsurfer Of The Year
Christophe Guigeno's holds an annual vote for their SeaSailSurfer of the year. Previous winners are:

- 2008: Francisco Lobato
- 2007 : BenoƮt Lequin & Pierre-Yves Moreau
- 2006 : Jean-Pierre Nicol
- 2005 : Francis Joyon et Peter Laureyssens (ex-aequo)
- 2004 : Francis Joyon
- 2003 : Bernard Stamm
- 2002 : Bernard Stamm
- 2001 : Yannick Bestaven

The nominees for 2009 are:

- Pascal Bidegorry - North Altantic and 24 hours record holder
- De Lamotte & Hardy : winners of the Solidaire du Chocolat
- Antoine Delpero - longboard ISA world champ
- Michel Desjoyeaux - winner of the Vendee Globe
- Jeremie Flores - surf ISA winner
- Grael Torben - BRA - winner of the Volvo Ocean Race
- Guillemot & Caudrelier - winners of the Transat Jacques Vabre
- Patrick Hoyau - winner of the Bouvet Rame Guyane
- Francisco Lobato - POR - winner of the Transat 650 (serie)
- Nicolas Lunven - winner of the Solitaire du Figaro
- Lux, Geyer-Barneix & Manciet, North Atlantic crossers on a paddle board
- Moreau & Lequin - New York - Lorient aboard a 20' cat
- Gildas Morvan - winner of the Transat BPE
- Thomas Ruyant - winner of the Transat 650 (proto)
- Alain Thebault - absolute record over 500 m on the Hydroptere

Place your vote at:

And Speaking Of Voting...
The Best Sailor Bar voting will continue for one more day, the results to be announced on Thursday 24 December.

Cast your vote at

Thomas Gilmer
It's not a stretch to say Thomas Gillmer wrote the book on Naval architecture.

Naval architect Thomas Gillmer watches the launch of his 27-foot wooden sailboat, New Moon, in 1996. Gillmer, who designed both Pride of Baltimore boats and other vessels, died earlier thisweek at the age of 98.

After all, there are several volumes on ship design along with plenty of other texts he authored at his Annapolis home.

There also are lots of models of well-known vessels he designed, like Pride of Baltimore I and II, Lady Maryland and Seawind - the first fiberglass boat to circumnavigate the globe.

Gillmer died Wednesday at age 98 after a lengthy illness, but his influence lives on.

A memorial service is planned for Jan. 15 at St. Andrew's Chapel at the Naval Academy, where Thomas Gillmer graduated from in 1935 and taught for more than 20 years.

Gillmer remained active in the field until his late 80s, and lived for more than 60 years in the home he built near the water. New Moon, a 27-foot wooden sailboat he launched in 1996 that was based on his popular Blue Moon design of 1946, is still docked behind his home.

Charley Gillmer said of all the boats his father designed, Blue Moon was his favorite, because it reminded him of his time in the Mediterranean when he was first married and still in the Navy. Gillmer resigned his commission in 1946 to become a faculty member at the academy. -- Theresa Winslow

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2008 42' K D Composites Lutra, EUR 350,000. Located in Netherlands.

SEAWOLF is one of the new breed of 42 foot IRC designed racing rockets. New in 2008, all Quantum sails, B/G wind gear, full safety gear etc etc. Was top 10 at Cowes Week 2009 in IRC 0 3rd over all Around the Island race (Island Of White) In pristine condition, owner is open to offers

Brokerage through Thoroughbred Yacht Sales:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Beyond a certain point, the whole universe becomes a continuous process of initiation. - Robert Anton Wilson

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