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SEIKO 49er Worlds Day 1
Photo by Nikola Sisko. Click on image for photo gallery.

49er Worlds Evening showers broke to a cloudy day with light winds keeping anxious sailors onshore for the first day of racing for the SEIKO 49er World Championship in Zadar, Croatia.

After a few hours the race committee released the sailors for three races each in the three qualifying flights. With varying and shifting winds that eventually settled into a nice afternoon seabreeze of 8-11 knots the 74 boats took turns and completed enough races for a full day's racing.

After three races early regatta leaders Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) are tied with Tobias Schadewaldt and Hannes Baumann (GER) with 10 points. One point behind is a 3-way tie with Bermuda brothers Jesse and Zander Kirkland, Justus Schmidt and Max Boehme (GER) and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL).

With Bermuda hoping to take one of the 5 qualification spots for the 2012 Olympic Games, skipper Jesse Kirkland explained their strategy; "we went into the day with a simple plan of top 10 finishes." He explained further that "we've been here for a week training and the conditions have been similar with a soft northwesterly, so the conditions were perfect to our training" Although early in the regatta, Jesse made a point to mention his thanks to "the many supporters back home as well as some Bermudian friends here supporting us as well." Preparation and a cheering squad couldn't be better!

The forecast for tomorrow's racing looks rewarding with more consistent wind of 10-15 knots and clear skies.

Follow the action on www.49erworlds.org with the qualifying series continuing through May 9 and the prizegiving on May 12.

Reactions On Olympic Equipment Decisions
John Derbyshire, RYA Racing Manager and Performance Director, was present at the ISAF mid-year meetings where the votes took place.

"The 49er FX and the Nacra 17 both performed well in the Santander trials and stand to be great additions to the Olympic sailing programme both in terms of the challenge they present to sailors and their visual appeal," Derbyshire commented.

"The introduction of Kiteboarding, while an exciting prospect for a new discipline, the decision to replace windsurfing with Kiteboarding will of course be a huge blow to the windsurfing community, and we're disappointed for all those who are working at the coalface of the RYA's windsurfing programmes to deliver activity and British success on the world stage who will be affected most by this decision."

"Kiteboarding made a solid case for its Olympic inclusion at the March trials," Derbyshire continued, "and although a surprise that ISAF has voted it into the Olympic programme at this stage, it appears that the Council of ISAF wished to seize the opportunity, rather than wait until 2020.

"This decision will force the pace of change and the RYA is looking forward to the opportunity of working with Kiteboarders and the British Kitesurfing Association in order to develop the talent pathway for this new event, and to using the strengths of our UK Sport lottery funded high performance system that has become the envy of the world so that GBR is well-placed to deliver the first Olympic kiteboarding medals in Rio in four years' time."

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Yachting New Zealand is disappointed with the decision to replace windsurfing, however the announcement has also brought some welcome news for the NZ Sailing Community and Marine Industry through the confirmation of the 49er FX.

"We have recently invested significant resources into rebuilding windsurfing within our development programmes" said YNZ's Chief Executive Dave Abercrombie. "This is a major setback but if it's a fait accompli, we will have to adapt and get up to speed as soon as we can".

Until more information is made available, including equipment and race format for the kiteboard, Yachting New Zealand is somewhat hamstrung in any decision making.

"In the meantime will be putting our high performance team together and will identify existing talent on the kiteboard, develop a pathway for youth to enter the sport, and investigate a racing structure". Abercrombie continued.

Yachting New Zealand does not currently have a pathway to support sailors starting to kiteboard, developing skill or excelling on the world stage. In March 2011, YNZ's Board of Directors sent a submission to ISAF to include both kiteboarding and windsurfing.

New Zealand's MacKay Boats (who currently build the men's 49er and other Olympic classes) have had their equipment selected for the 2016 Women's two person skiff event, and the impact will settle deep within the sailing commuity and marine industry.

"It is an accolade of boat design and delivery for this to be going to the world market, and our women can be supported quickly into race mode" said Abercombie. "It is the best possible outcome for Dave MacKay and John Clinton who have put tireless effort into the development of these classes".

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Naturally [RS Sailing] are hugely disappointed that the RS900 has not been selected as the women's Olympic skiff. It was recommended for selection by ISAF's Equipment Committee who carried out the most detailed examination of all the entrants and judged it to best fit the criteria – a spectacular boat that would suit the size of sailors specified.

However, in the end the argument around the ISAF Council table focussed on the advantages of an elite skiff (RS900 or MacKay 49erFX) versus the universality offered by the 29erXX through low cost and existing distribution of the 29er hull. This focussed the voting and the MacKay won out due to its advantages of an established common platform with the men's skiff and the fact it was liked at the trials due to its performance through being the biggest...

... We congratulate MacKay Boats on their successful selection campaign and wish the FX Class well for the future.

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Sir Richard Branson, one of the IKAs Olympic Ambassadors and supporters from the very first minute added: "Well we all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio ! Kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport! To celebrate this, myself, my family and a few friends will this week attempt to kite across the English Channel to show off the beauty of kite-surfing."

Kristin Boese, 9x Kiteboarding World Champion and also lobbying for Kiteboarding in the Olympics Campain during the ISAF mid-year meeting in Stresa concluded: "I still can't really believe what happened! There was a lot of support for kiteboarding in the ISAF council room yesterday but we thought we were not going to stand a chance against windsurfing which is such an established class within the ISAF. After the council debate was over we knew that the decision was going to be a lot closer than we had originally expected, but we still never thought it was going to go our way. It is an incredible surprise and I am very excited for kiteboarding and incredible greatful for all the hard work the IKA has put into the Kiteboarding in the Olympics campaign - what an amazing campaign to have been a part of."

Australian Sporting Legends Head for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
Photo by Andrea Francolini / AUDI. Click on image to enlarge.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week John Bertrand, the man who steered Australia II to its historic victory in the America's Cup in 1983, will lead a crew that includes other Australian sporting legends at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August - but Bertrand will be the only one who knows how to sail.

Among his team will be two greats of Australian Rules football - Hall of Fame members Ron Barassi and 'Dipper' DiPierdomenico. Federal parliamentarian and Government Minister, Simon Crean, will also be in the line-up.

All members of the group, who refer to themselves as 'Once were Worriers', are aged in their 60s and 70s.

'It's all about having fun,' Bertrand explained. 'We are a group of 21 mates from around Australia who every couple of years go out and do something different, something out of the box. Several years ago we walked the Kokoda Track. We then rode mountain bikes 450 kilometres through the mountains of Mongolia. Last year it was white water rafting down the Snowy River.

'This year the guys came to me and said they wanted to do a yacht race, and mentioned the Sydney to Hobart. My immediate response was "no way", telling them that it was the equivalent of rank amateurs trying to start at the top of a sport. I then suggested Audi Hamilton Island Race Week was a far better alternative: they could enjoy warm weather racing, great parties and be tucked up in their beds each night. Not surprisingly, they liked that idea.'

The 'Once were Worriers' team will charter Bruce Abolson's Volvo 60, Spirit of the Maid, for Race Week, and, seeing Bertrand will have a team of non-sailors with him, Absolon and two of his regular crew will be aboard to support the skipper. They will compete in the Performance Racing Division.

Bertrand, who sampled Audi Hamilton Island Race Week briefly six years ago when he sailed for two days aboard Bob Oatley's 66-footer, Wild Oats X, said he was looking forward to experiencing the complete sailing and social side of the event this year. He plans to have his novices at the island two days before the series starts on August 17 so they can learn the ropes aboard Spirit of the Maid.

'My guys don't even know the difference between a jib and a mainsail,' said Bertrand, 'but even so, Barassi is adamant that we are going to win. I told him I was equally adamant that we had two aims for Race Week: not to kill anyone, and survive the regatta - including the parties.'

All information relating to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 is on the regatta website - www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au. The Notice of Race and Entry Form are also on the site.

America's Class 40 Grand Prix
The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is a the United States' premier Class40 sailing race. The 2012 race will kick off in Charleston, South Carolina May 11th. From Charleston competitors will race double-handed to New York City. There will be approximately a 4-5 day stop-over in New York before the race restarts and competitors sprint to Newport, Rhode Island. Once in Newport, skippers will race an inshore grand prix with a crew of six.

The 2012 race will showcase the some of the top Class40 sailors in the U.S. and world as they complete the 3-leg event. The 2012 race will test the skills of the sailors as they'll be challenged in multiple ways. The first will be the longer off-shore leg which will require skippers to navigate the always challenging Cape Hatteras. The second challenge will be on the sprint leg from New York to Newport. As competitors approach Newport, they'll have to decide which direction to go around Block Island. And the third challenge will be to switch their boats into an inshore mode and race with a crew of six when they arrive in Newport. The combined overall winner of all 3 stages will be the very crowned Atlantic Cup Champion.

Additionally, The Atlantic Cup, with the help of 11th Hour Racing's sponsorship, will again be one of the most environmentally sustainable races in the United States. The Atlantic Cup will again be run as a Clean Regatta and boats will utilize hydro-generators and bio-diesel for power.

Teams: Transport Coherence - FRA, Benoît Jouandet & Jorge Madden
Initiatives - GBR, Emma Creighton and Rob Windsor
Dragon - USA, Michael Hennessy, Merf Owen (Leg 1) & Chris Museler (Leg 2)
Toothface - USA, Mike Dreese and Ken Luczynski
Groupe Picoty - FRA, Jacques Fournier and Jean Christophe "JC" Caso
40 Degrees - GBR, Hannah Jenner and Peter Harding
Campagne De France - FRA, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron
Eole Generation - GDF Suez - FRA, Sebastien Rogues and Jeff McFarlane
Gryphon Solo 2 - USA, Joe Harris and Tristan Mougline
Talan-Bureau Veritas - FRA, Stephane Le Diraison and Jesse Naimark-Rowse
Partouche - FRA, Christophe Coatnoan and Ari Sebag
Mare - GER , Jorg Riechers and Ryan Breymaier (Leg 1) & Charles Euverte (Leg 2)
Icarus Racing - USA, Tim Fetsch and Ben Poucher
Bodacious Dream - USA, Dave Rearick and Matt Scharl

atlanticcup.org

Last Day of Qualifying Series in Boltenhagen
After eight races with light and shifty winds as well as ever decreasing temperatures the qualifying series for the Audi Laser World Championship 2012 in Boltenhagen, Germany, is over and the fleets for the final series have been decided.

Australian Tom Slingsby is still at the top, ahead of the rest of the fleet with an enormous 20 point lead on Andreas Geritzer (AUT) who is currently at number two with 38 points. Moving up one place into the medal ranks is Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia.

Although the top ten spots have been shuffled around a bit everything is still to play for as Andreas Geritzer in second place is only twelve points ahead of Rutger Schaardenburg (NED) at number ten. Recovering nicely from his non discardable disqualification yesterday is Olympic champion Paul Goodison (GBR) who moves up from 37th to 22nd place after a scoring a seventh and fourth place in today's races.

Also able to improve were Germany's top two contenders in the Laser class: Simon Groteluschen who is representing his country at the Olympic Games in Weymouth this year moves up one place to eighth in the overall results after achieving a third and seventh place today. Currently there are only two points separating him and Maxim Semerkhanov (RUS) in seventh place and a mere seven points between Groteluschen and a potential medal. Finishing second in the second race of the day means fellow countryman Philipp Buhl leaps from 27th to 19th place overall.

www.laserworldchampionship.com/en/results.html

Giles Scott Wins JP Morgan Asset Management UK Finn Nationals
He only needed one race and that was all it took. Giles Scott (GBR) won the opening race of the day at the JP Morgan Asset Management Open UK Finn Nationals to seal his third UK title with a race to spare Ben Ainslie (GBR) finished second while Jonathan Lobert (FRA) placed third.

The overnight storms had cleared leaving blue skies in the morning, but the wind built during the day for a challenging, physical day on the water for the last day of the regatta. The first race took over 45 minutes to get away following a series of general recalls and black flags. When it did Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) led round the top mark with Giles Scott (GBR) close behind. Scott soon took the lead and rounded the gate just ahead of Andrew Mills (GBR) and Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) to sail away to win the race and the championship.

With the wind reaching 20 knots the final race was a hard test, with many deciding to call it a day. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) battled against Jonathan Lobert (FRA) for the lead, but eventually the Croatian extended for a comfortable win.

The sailors now have five days off before the JP Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup starts on Sunday 13th May.

Final results (7 races, 1 drop)
1. Giles Scott, GBR, 11 points
2. Ben Ainsie, GBR, 18
3. Jonathan Lobert, FRA, 26
4. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 28
5. Jonas Hogh-Christensen, DEN, 33
6. Rafael Trujillo, ESP, 45
7. Oleksiy Borysov, UKR, 58
8. Michael Maier, CZE, 66
9. Jorge Zarif, BRA, 71
10. Eduard Skornyakov, RUS, 72

www.falmouthfinnfestival.com
www.finnclass.org

Short Tacks
Stena Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand 2012 takes place July 2-7. The World Match Racing Tour sailing event is an annual world class event, with its setting as a unique natural sailing arena that draws more than 100.000 spectators. Stena Match Cup Sweden offers a week full of exciting sports, fun activities and entertainment for the whole family and is also a meeting spot for the Swedish and international business world.

During the week in Marstrand well-known artists, celebrities and top businessmen meet, sail and perform, and you will find top class restaurants, night life and live TV. All this in addition to the world's best matchracing sailors battling for the trophy in the Swedish stage of the world championship in match racing!

www.stenamatchcupsweden.com

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The J Class Association has announced that the J Class yachts competing in the Solent Regatta and Hundred Guinea Cup race this July will now be primarily based in Ocean Village, Southampton.

David Pitman, J Class Association, said: "Given their 130 ft length and 16ft draught, finding a base for four or five Js is always a compromise between access and convenience. Unfortunately Hanuman has withdrawn from UK regattas this year and with Endeavour planning to berth in Cowes, it was possible to berth the remaining four Js - Ranger, Rainbow, Lionheart and Velsheda in Ocean Village, closer to the host Club, Royal Southampton."

Royal Southampton Yacht Club, which is hosting the Solent Regatta 2012 and Hundred Guinea Cup Race, has a Clubhouse in Ocean Village, where the race office will be located. Having the fleet so close will make communications between the Club and competitors much easier, and also enables owners, skippers and crew to enjoy Club facilities.

When she is in the UK, Velsheda regularly berths in Ocean Village, so is effectively returning to her UK home port, while Ranger, Lionheart and Rainbow are new to the racing area of the Solent. Endeavour plan to make their way to the race course each day from their base in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

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AC World Series crews have the opportunity to compete for €50,000 in prize money in the City of Venice Trophy on May 12-13. The invitational regatta, organized and announced today by the yacht club Venice Compagnia della Vela, marks the opening of a nine-day celebration of the America's Cup World Series in the historic Italian city.

With €50,000 at stake, the City of Venice Trophy becomes an important prologue to the AC World Series championship. The new, two-day event consists of five, 30-minute fleet races, to be sailed on a course just outside Lido Island.

But the highlight will be Sunday's long fleet race, which starts outside Lido Island and finishes just off St. Marks Square. The first team to finish at St. Marks Square will receive the City of Venice Trophy presented by Arzanà Navi as well as a cash prize of €30,000. The remaining €20,000 in prize money is distributed to the top three crews from the five 30-minute fleet races.

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This year's 48th Delta Lloyd 24 Hour Yachting Race will be expanded. A new sports buoy off the coast of Medemblik (Netherlands) is added to the course map, allowing participants to sail extra nautical miles. Furthermore, the ORC yachts without spinnaker will have their own class. Teams can register through the new website www.deltalloyd24uurszeilrace.nl

The starting gun will be fired on Friday August 24, 2012 at fifteen locations around the Ijsselmeer and Markermeer. The massive finish is a big spectacle, showing hundreds of yachts crossing the line in Medemblik.

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The Last Word
If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion. -- Herman Hesse

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