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Survival Mode In Hyeres
With another day of extreme conditions in the Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres, the sailors and racing committees have used this week lots of time and energy on the water. While some classes and especially the Women Match racing are behind schedule, other classes could enjoy a full programme dominated by breezy races. The famous Easterly wind has transformed overnight from calm sea into a carpet of rolling waves.

The 2012 SOF is a done deal for Dutch team of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout. The double 470 world champions have already won the event today with an impressive 26 points lead over Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA).

The extreme conditions kept the 49ers ashore today, however the leaders had changed this morning. Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis won their protest overnight against the New Zealand team of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in race seven and take the lead from World champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) placed a point behind in second. Only the top four can get to the podium after tomorrow's medal race.

The tough conditions prevented the Match racing to conclude the round robins and with seven flights remaining, the finals seem to be an unlikely option. The leading teams are Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) who remains undefeated, followed by Skudina (RUS) and Barkow (USA) with 79% victories. The round robins will resume Friday at 8.30am.

The forecast for the last day of racing in Hyeres is for very strong winds that could compromise racing.

Top three by class:

RS:X Men after 10 races, 1 discard
1. Piotr Myszka, POL, 19 points
2. Julien Bontemps, FRA, 26
3. Przemek Miarczynski, POL, 26

RS:X Women after 10 races, 1 discard
1. Maja Dziarnowska, POL, 39
2. Moana Delle, GER, 41
3. Charline Picon, FRA, 43

Laser after 9 races, 1 discard
1. Tom Slingsby, AUS, 13
2. Philipp Buhl, GER, 16
2. Andrew Murcdoch, NZL, 20

Laser Radial after 9 races, 1 discard
1. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 23
2. Lijla Xu, CHN, 24
3. Alison Young, GBR, 26

Finn after 7 races, 1 discard
1. Rafael Trujillo, ESP, 15
2. Deniss Karpak, EST, 17
3. Brendan Casey, AUS, 26.60

49er after 9 races, 1 discard
1. Manu Dyen / Stephane Christidis, FRA, 27
2. Nathan Outteridge / Iain Jensen, AUS, 28
3. Peter Kruger Andersen / Nicolai Thorsell, DEN, 35

470 Men after 10 races, 1 discard
1. Mathew Belcher / Malcolm Page, AUS, 26
2. Fantela Sime / Marenic Igor, CRO, 44
3. Sven Coster / Kalle Coster, NED, 44

470 Women after 10 races, 1 discard
1. Lisa Westerhof / Lobke Berkhout, NED, 24
2. Camille Lecointre / Mathilde Geron, FRA, 50
2. Ai Kondo / Wakako Tabata, JPN, 52

Star after 8 races, 1 discard
1. Iain Percy / Andrew Simpson, GBR, 19
2. Fredrik Loof / Max Salminen, SWE, 24
3. Richard Clarke / Tyler Bjorn, CAN, 24

Women's Match Racing: See
Anna Tunnicliffe, USA, 14 wins
Sally Barkow, USA, 11 wins
Ekaterina Skudina, RUS, 11 wins
Silvia Roca Mata, 9 wins

2.4 Metre after 4 races, no discard
1. Damien Seguin, FRA, 10
2. Helena Lucas, GBR, 21
3. Thierry Schmitter, NED, 21

Sonar after 4 races, no discard
1. John Robertson / Hannah Stodel / Steve Thomas, GBR, 17
2. Bruno Jourdren / Nicolas Vimont Vicary / Eric Flageul, FRA, 20
3. Aleksander Wang-Hansen / Per Eugen Kristiansen / Marie Solberg, NOR, 31

Skud after 4 races, no discard
1. Daniel Fitzgibbon / Liesl Tesch, AUS, 6
2. Alexandra Rickham / Niki Birrell, GBR, 8
3. Jennifer French / Jean-Paul Creignou, USA 16

South Towards Canary Islands
Day 5 of La Transat AG2R La Mondiale: Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry continue to hold 8th position. At 0900 Artemis were 18nm behind race leader Nacarat who overnight have taken their lead back from Sepalumic who dropped to 3rd place. Artemis co-skipper Nick Cherry also reports on the joys of fast offshore racing plus beard growing and onboard chores...

The cold front that the fleet have been sailing underneath for the last 24 hours has caused the break up of the leading pack as the fleet fan out, each boat looking for a tactical break before the pack closes up once more to round the virtual mark north of La Palma - the western-most island of the Canary Islands in two days time. The racing is close at the front, as is expected in this highly competitive Figaro class, with just 6nm separating the top 3 boats.

As the fleet push south to La Palma conditions improve daily as Goodchild reports: "Relieved its calmed down a lot now, no more water on deck and able to let the boat dry out a bit!" The past few days have been very wet for the co-skippers with wind speeds varying from 19 to 46 knots, whilst sea conditions off the coast of Portugal have been confused with big waves combining with a swell from a different direction. The race is followed by a media boat which has managed in these difficult conditions to capture some rough sailing footage normally only seen by the competitors.

The leaderboard over night has been shaken up, with prologue winners Nacarat back in the lead followed by Cercle Vert, Sepalumic and Banque Populaire.

Race Director Gilles Chiorri gives his statement as to the race so far and what the 32 competitors can expect over the coming stretch: "For the first three days, the leading pack have applied the same strategy: go as fast as possible in the front. We are now seeing a big difference in the speed of the fleet, showing that the wind is dropping. Conditions are now much calmer and the boats are advancing at around 6 knots. However, the weather is still very changeable and the duos will need to make many sail changes in the coming hours- it will not be so easy."

Top ten at 05:00 27/04/2012

1. Nacarat - Erwan Tabarly / Eric Peron, 2811.4 nm to finish
2. Cercle Vertgildas Morvan / Charlie Dalin, 4.3 nm to leader
3. Skipper Macifpaul Meilhat / Fabien Delahaye, 8.9
4. Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performanceanthony Marchand / Romain Attanasio, 9.4
5. Gedimatthierry Chabagny / Christopher Pratt, 9.8
6. Banque Populairejeanne Gregoire / Gerald Veniard, 10.7
7. Sepalumicfrederic Duthil / François Lebourdais, 10.9
8. Artemissam Goodchild / Nick Cherry, 17.7
9. Les Recycleurs Bretonsmichel Bothuon / Simon Troel, 25.2
10. Cornouaille Port De Pechejean-Charles Monnet / Alexandre Toulorge, 26.3

Can Luna Rossa Challenge Win Two In A Row?
Photo by ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget. Click on image to enlarge.

Venice Fresh from record crowds and success in Naples, Italy, the America's Cup World Series heads to Venice, Italy, for the penultimate regatta in the inaugural AC World Series. Racing takes place from May 15 to 20 and is part of a festival of sailing over nine days from May 12 to 20. The race course is one of the narrowest and most challenging in competitive sailing.

Having just won their first regatta in front of home country fans, first-time competitor Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) anticipates tough competition in Venice. "Naples showed us that any of the teams can win on any given day," said Luna Rossa's skipper Max Sirena. "The racing is so close that you can't afford to be off the pace for even one race or you will fall down the leader-board. Venice will be exceptionally tight putting a premium on boat-handling."

Venice will produce the narrowest race course yet at any AC World Series venue, and the backdrop to the racing will be the entrance to the Grand Canal, the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Square.

"The magnificent waterways of Venice and its stunning Grand Canal will provide an exceptional arena for the AC45s," said Regatta Director Iain Murray. "The mix of courses and the tricky winds will provide more challenging racing than ever."

The racing area includes spectator access along numerous points on the waterfront, including the team bases in the Venetian Arsenal. Dating back to the 1100s, Arsenale di Venezia was originally a shipyard and naval depot, providing a uniquely historic home base for the world's top sailors throughout the event.

The regatta format includes a mix of speed trials, head-to-head match racing, and all-out fleet racing.

The ACWS Venice Race Village opens to the public on Saturday May 12. The City of Venice will host an invitational event "the City of Venice Regatta" over the opening weekend. America's Cup teams are invited to compete, but the results will not count toward the ACWS Venice scoring.

America's Cup World Series racing begins on Tuesday, May 15, and runs through Sunday, May 20.

Sperry Top-Sider Named Title Sponsor of United States Sailing Team
Sperry Top-Sider Sperry Top-Sider has announced its title sponsorship of the US Sailing Team, newly named US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. The title sponsorship is the brand's highest profile sailing sponsorship to date and is effective immediately through December 31, 2016.

A key part of the title sponsorship of the US Sailing Team -- comprised of the top-performing sailors in the 10 Olympic and three Paralympic boat classes - all boats and main sails on the National, Paralympic and Development teams will feature the Team's new emblem, which incorporates the Sperry Top-Sider logo. In June, the Team's new logo will be unveiled at the Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth, England. The Team's website, social media channels, monthly newsletter The Medalist and Olympic and Paralympic headquarters in Weymouth, England will be re-branded with the new Team logo as well.

Sperry will also continue its role as exclusive footwear sponsor for the Team, who wear-test products and provide Sperry's product designers with feedback for product enhancements. Effective January 2013, the sponsorship will also include performance apparel, eyewear, accessories (hats, bags and socks) and luggage so that all athletes sport the brand from head to toe.

In addition to the Olympic and Paralympic US Sailing teams, Sperry's sponsorship also includes the US Sailing Development Team, a group of approximately 50 promising younger sailors who are the future of the sport of sailing. Selected annually as the top-performing sailors in each of the classes included in the Olympic Games and the ISAF Youth World Championships, the athletes train alongside the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider at ISAF Sailing World Cup events and class World Championships.

PUMA Points North
After a tense night with plenty of cloud activity and a few gybes this morning to set up the angle for the turning point at Recife on the coast of Brazil, PUMA Ocean Racing Powered by BERG has continued to hang on to the lead she claimed a 0400 GMT this morning.

Although Ken Read and his men have been able to put some distance between CAMPER Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) in second place and themselves, it is far from secure and the margin at 10.9 nautical miles is only just into double figures. Telefonica (Iker Martínez/ESP) moving into third place at 1600 GMT is once again proving a threat to the American lead, although they have replaced CAMPER as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's sparring partner. The pair is neck and neck with Ian Walker and his crew on board Azzam as the windward boat.

CAMPER is 216 nm south east of Salvador De Bahia. While the CAMPER team is happy with how their boat is performing, matching the rest of the fleet both in light airs and upwind, the crew of the trailing Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) are not quite so comfortable.

"We are putting a great deal of effort in, but it is failing to pay off," said helmsman/trimmer Charles Caudrelier. The team are mystified as to why Groupama 4 is not performing and is now 75 nm in arrears.

"We've had a speed deficit during the start of this course, which means that we have fallen behind," Caudrelier said. The crew has checked that nothing is wrapped around the appendages, even sending Caudrelier into the water to take a proper look, but nothing was found. "Right now, those at the front of the pack are tending to make good their escape, but we can't really explain our deficit," the Frenchman said.

With the trade winds yet to fully establish, there are still options for the French in the next day or so and Telefonica skipper Iker Martínez was quick to point out that although being the first boat to reach the trades normally gives a big advantage, it also depends on the stability and strength of the winds.

At 1900 GMT the five-boat fleet continued their compression as bows were pointed north, with a little over 1,000 nm covered since the leg start on April 22. From her windward position, PUMA's Mar Mostro led CAMPER by 10.9 nm, with Telefonica 33.8 nm and Abu Dhabi 34.7 nm behind.

Global Ocean Race: The End of the Trade Winds
Just as i write a big rain cloud on the horizon has brought a sudden windshift, this is the first we encounter since leaving the unstable airs around the equator and unfortunately it probably signals the end of the stable band of the trade winds... We have 1350 miles to the finish which will bring more variety and hard work.

Ahead of us a patch of really light airs which wont fill for another two days and which has already caused us to slow down and forced Cessna onto the opposite gybe. This is of course all to Phesheya's advantage, the longer we'll suffer in this air bubble the more miles they will catch up, they have at least half a day longer to enjoy the stronger stable trade winds but they will eventually get to ligher airs and should pay a high price for the loss of their A2 big spinnaker.

My laptop charts still carry the log of all the races i did so far, i'm using the same laptop since the 2009 OSTAR in fact and right now i can see i'm crossing the track i followed on my way to Guadaloupe during the Route du Rhum 2010. I didnt do very well, just 27th out of 45 boats, i had chosen the northern route but made a mistake around the Azores high which saw me dropping from 10th to mid fleet in a day when i got stuck in light airs. Interestingly Conrad Colman was racing that race too, and we shared the same strategy and the same mistake.

I keep looking at the complex weather forecast ahead and i know i wont find peace until we're in Charleston, getting stuck in a wind hole is my biggest worry since that poor performance in the Route du Rhum, we already dropped 25 miles of our lead to Phesheya in just a day and our 160 miles advantage does not seem that great any more... we're all here to play till the end and i'm sure they'll push hard seeing us slowing down. -- Marco Nannini

Royal Southampton Corona Extra Double Handed Series
Over 100 boats will be vying to break the double handed Round the Island record on Saturday 5th May. "If the early starts off the Royal London YC are combined with brisk winds, then it's possible we'll see the first boats home in the early afternoon but this year's east-about course will call for some different tactics from the more usual west-about course." explained Bob Trimble, Captain of Racing.

He added that the current monohull record of 5hrs 58mins 38secs set in 2009 by 'Concise', Class 40 (Ned Collier Wakefield/Luke McCarthy), was almost beaten in 2011 but in the event, the closest finish was almost 25 minutes later, so all is still up for grabs again this year.

The RSYC is delighted to see the return of the multihulls who were sorely missed in 2011. Apart from this one year of absence, multihulls have consistently comprised a strong fleet upwards of 12 boats. Even so, the multihull record for the circumnavigation remains unbeaten since 1996 when firebird Catamaran 'Phoenix' (Martin Hutchings/Tim Hazel) positively flew round in 4hrs 44mins 29secs.

The Island Double has always been the favourite of the annual 8 race series and this year will see racing in 2 IRC classes, 2 Club classes and 1 Multihull class. It's the second race of the Inshore Series and the forth race of the Main Series.

Blast Reach In Paradise
The Devil's Bridge, just one of the stunning vistas for the Yachting World Round Antigua Race. Photo by Louay Habib/Antigua Sailing Week. Click on image to enlarge.

Antigua Race Week With over 20 knots of warm trade winds forecast for this Saturday's Yachting World Round Antigua Race, a blast around the windward side of the stunning tropical island is a virtual certainty. 43 yachts will tackle the 55 nautical mile course and crews from over 20 different nations are set for a Caribbean thrill of a lifetime. Besides some truly awesome sailing conditions, crew will enjoy some spectacular views of Antigua's mesmerizing coastline.

Peter Aschenbrenner's 63-foot trimaran, Paradox, completed the circumnavigation in less than four hours back in January. Paradox will have America's Cup and round the world legend Cam Lewis on board for Antigua Sailing Week and Paradox is odds-on to take line honours in the Yachting World Round Antigua Race.

Peter Harrison's Farr 115, Sojana will be hoping to secure line honours for the monohulls and also has the potential to set a new record. Sojana completed the race in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 43 seconds in 2009 at an average speed of just over 12 knots. Since then Sojana has been modified with a retractable bowsprit flying an enormous 800 square metre spinnaker with 25% more sail area than before.

"Given the current weather forecast, Sojana is capable of surfing at up to 20 knots on the windward side of Antigua - that's a lot of inertia for a yacht of well over 100 tons," explained Skipper Marc Fitzgerald. "On board we have an international crew from Denmark, Antigua, France, Great Britain and New Zealand including: Poul Hoj-Jensen, Karl James, Mo Gray, Luc Poupon, Jonny Malbon, Ian Budgen and Fraser Campbell. Our primary goal is to take line honours but given the forecast we could well break our own record for the course."

Sojana may well be in the reckoning for the overall win on corrected time, however several other yachts may well be in the running including: German skipper Stefan Lehnert helming his Tripp 53, Passion 4C and American Jan Rupert, skipper of Tripp 75, Blackbird.

The first warning signal to start the Yachting World Round Antigua Race will fire at 0800 local time on Saturday 28 April.

Pantaenius Rund Skagen Race
The 28th of May 2012 heralds the start of the Pantaenius Rund Skagen race, part of the North Sea Week 2012, the only German race series that takes place on the open sea and is so testing that it attracts international participation. Each yacht will set off with a Yellowbrick aboard, a satellite-based tracking system that has already proven its worth in many regattas and rallies.

Approximately 80 yachts are expected to participate in this year's Pantaenius Rund Skagen regatta, and each yacht will be fitted with a race tracker system from Yellowbrick, enabling live, real-time race coverage on the Internet.

The Pantaenius Rund Skagen is held every two years as a part of the international North Sea Week yacht racing event and is considered to be one of the most challenging open-sea regattas. The route crosses through three very different areas of sea: the North Sea from Heligoland to Hanstholm which is a shelf sea, with heavy sea and ground swells accompanied by prevailing westerly winds, then comes the Skagerrak, an Atlantic strait with water depths of up to 1000 metres and flat bays on Jutland's coast and finally, after rounding the Skaw buoy, the yachts enter the Baltic Sea.

The demanding regatta lived up to its expectations in every respect in 2010: of the 87 registered yachts, only 54 crossed the start line due to a forecast of inclement weather. Of these 54, only 30 reached Kiel. With Beaufort Force 7 gales gusting to Force 8 from the North, an air temperature of around 12 degrees Celsius and water temperatures of between 4 and 6 degrees, Mother Nature was harsh and uncompromising as she separated the wheat from the chaff. It remains to be seen what the Pantaenius Rund Skagen 2012 has in store for its participants, but whether it be storm or calm, it will definitely be exciting.

Thompson Takes Bermuda Race Week's Trimingham Trophy
Photo by Talbot Wilson Bermuda International Invitational Race Week Hamilton Bermuda: All week Will Thompson and Tim Patton battled tooth and nail for Etchells bragging rights and the Trimingham Trophy awarded to the winner of the class in Bacardi's Bermuda International Invitational Race Week. Today Thompson snatched the prize with a third and a first on the day.

It looked bad for Thompson at the start of the day's first race. He was sliding down the line near the pin and a wind shift made it impossible for him to lay the mark to start. He had to make a 270º gybe to escape the crowd of boats coming down above him. Then he had to take their sterns on port tack. Will was able to claw his way back to third place in the light and shifty westerly wind that the Great Sound handed out early in the day.

In the next race Thompson and his crew of Adam Barboza and Somers Kempe got away early and sailed flawlessly from Start to finish. Ever gracious veteran Patton who had a fifth and a third today said, "Thompson's crew had an advantage over us today in the light air. We just couldn't keep up."

Adam Barboza who trims the main for Thompson said, " At the start of the first race we were stalled out at the pin and had to escape. The best choice was to gybe quickly and cut our loss. Third place was good for us, and we put two points on Timmy. In the final race, we got ahead and stayed between Tim and the marks. We were sailing fast in these conditions." Thompson had finished second in the 2011 Bermuda International Invitational Race Week.

Bermuda's Malcolm Smith put a ten-point lead on Brett Wright in the 13-race Laser Class series to win the International Race Week Championship Trophy. Smith dropped his worst two scores a nine and a three and ended with 16 points. Wright dropped his seven and a four and ended at 26 points after leading from the first day to the final.

In the battle for the IOD's Vrengen Gold Cup, Peckham's team and the Burnham/Rugg Fishers Island team are still in a tight battle. In the overall competition, with a full schedule of 13 races completed, the two worst scores are dropped. Burnham/Rugg lead Peckham in the overall chase by three points with two races remaining on Friday. The winner of the cup won't be decided until the final race of the final day. -- Talbot Wilson

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2005 Cookson 50. Located in Sydney, Australia. A$ 895,000.

This Cookson 50 has had no expense spared since new, including a thorough preparation for the 2010 Sydney to Hobart resulting in a 4th overall in IRC open and 2nd in ORCi open.

Build 2004 in New Zealand by Cookson, she won the NZ Coastal Classic, around North Island Race, Auckland Race Week and Bay of Islands Race Week, before arriving in Sydney.

Complete with an extensive cruising inventory for fast comfortable passages, she is a great compromise. Alternativly, in race mode she is capable of being at the sharp end of any fleet.

Brokerage through Yoti:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Always do everything you ask of those you command. -- George S. Patton

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