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470 World Championships
Barcelona, Spain: Race day 3 at the 2012 470 World Championships was a tense and enthralling day. Seven nations secured their right to be at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 470 Men, whilst six nations in the 470 Women continue to fight their way for the remaining five nation places.

Another blue sky day in Barcelona, with all fleets completing two more races and determining the teams proceeding through to the 470 Men gold, silver and bronze fleets and the 470 Women gold and silver fleets. The breeze was not quite as strong as forecast, around 10 knots and shifty.

After 6 races of qualification series, the gold and silver fleet splits are now determined, with 27 boats allocated to each fleet for the next stage of the 2012 470 World Championship. Coming ashore after race 6, the air was tense as teams waited to find out who had qualified through to the gold fleet and place themselves one step closer towards their World Championship aims and Olympic qualification. The story has unfolded in the most dramatic way possible.

With only five Olympic qualification places available at the 2012 470 Worlds, six unqualified nations have made it through to the gold fleet and will now battle for the slots - so this adventure continues. There are seven more races of the final series to go and this story is a long way from over yet ... as teams from Austria, China, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and Russia go head to head.

Two races are scheduled for all fleets tomorrow, with the 470 Men and Women gold fleets assigned to course area bravo and the 470 men silver and bronze and 470 women silver on course area alpha. Racing is scheduled to get underway at 1200 hours with the 470 Men silver and 470 Men gold up first on the race track.

470 Women - Top 10 Overall after 6 Races

1. Camile Lecointre/Matilde Geron, FRA, 12 points
2. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux, FRA, 13
3. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie, NZL, 13
4. Lisa Westerhof/Lobke Berkhout, NED, 15
5. Gil Cohen/Vered Bouskila, ISR, 16
6. Ai Kondo/Wakako Tabata, JPN, 16
7. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark, GBR, 20
8. Kathrin Kadelbach/Friederike Burnet, GER, 21
9. Tara Pacheco/Berta Betanzos, ESP, 27
10. Henriette Koch/Lene Sommer, DEN, 30

470 Men - Top 10 Overall after 6 Races

1. Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page, FRA, 5 points
2. Alvaro Marinho/Miguel Nunes, POR, 11
3. Joonas Lindgren/Niklas Lindgren, FIN, 12
4. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic, CRO, 15
5. Pierre Leboucher/Vicent Garos, FRA, 17
6. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela, ISR, 18
7. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis, GRE, 18
8. Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente, ARG, 21
9. Paul Snow-/Jason Saunders, NZL, 23
10. Ryunosuke Harada/Yugo Yoshida, JPN, 24

Complete results on the event site:

Araka GP Wins Line Honours Vuurschepenrace
Scheveningen, Netherlands: On Wednesday morning May 16 2012, Baraka GP took line honours of the Vuurschepenrace 2012, part of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta. The Swan 42 skippered by De Graaf crossed the finish line at 9:02:47 AM local time off the Harwich coast, eleven minutes later than the Aquis Granus of skipper Robert Rohde (GER). Rohde withdrew after racing, because of rounding a buoy at the wrong side. Entirely as expected it was a cold and wet crossing from Scheveningen.

'The weatherforecast was the worst possible version', says De Graaf after having moored at the Woolverstone Yacht Club. 'It has not stopped blowing at 30 knots, with gusts to 38 knots. Half the crew was seasick, so this was a fun trip. As soon as you are in, you forget the hardships.' On his crossing De Graaf says:' We have sailed our own race. At night we had the Xcentric Ripper and Elke just behind us, but they were gone after a squall of about half an hour. '

According to De Graaf the first finisher, Aquis Granus, rounded the South Bawdsey buoy off the English coast wrongly. 'We're going to protest him,' said De Graaf. The German skipper Rohde commented: 'After they told us this, we checked everything. We also have the track on screen. As far as I can see, we haven't made a mistake, so I think we are good. But I'm only a human being, so I can be wrong." It turned out he was indeed wrong, so he retired.

A total of eight teams withdrew for various reasons from the Vuurschepenrace:

Meanwhile, more and more competitors are crossing the line. The results will follow as soon as possible.

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Laser Worlds: Perfect Racing Conditions Transform Leader Board
Tactically challenging conditions with mildly oscillating winds from 15 to 20 knots today's races lead to interesting changes in the results at the top of the leader board of the Audi Laser World Championship 2012. In uncharacteristically rough waters for Boltenhagen there were several capsizes during the races and in the strong winds some starters were a little too eager, receiving a total of seven black flags.

Alison Young (GBR) was able to discard her 39 points from the very fist race of the series and moves up from 31st to first place in the overall results with a second place and a win. Only four points behind is Lija Xu from China who was fifth in the first race and won the yellow fleet's second race. In third place with eight points like Lija Xu is Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) who came second in the first race but had to discard her 14th place from the second race.

Defending World Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) is delivering a steady performance in fifth place, only one point behind the World Champion from 2009 and 2010, Sari Multala from Finland who achieved the same scores as yesterday with a first and eighth place. Even though American Olympic hope Paige Railey placed seventh and fifth today her results from the first day prevent her from moving up significantly in the overall results. She improves from 30th place to 23rd.

France's Marie Bolou is still leading in the U21 results, followed by Erika Reineke (USA) and Michelle Broekhuizen (NED).

Complete results:

No Racing On Day Four In Falmouth
Andy Denison, GBR. Photo by Mark Lloyd, Lloyd Images, Click on image for photo gallery.

There was no racing on day four of the J.P. Asset Management Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth, UK, after the wind spent most of the day spinning circles around the race committee. Three races will now be sailed on Thursday, to conclude the opening series, before Friday's medal race and final race.

Lights winds forced an early postponement ashore and the sailors waited. AP was lowered at 11.15 with 6-7 knots out of the race course and the boats were sent out hoping for at least one race. However, as the soon as they arrived the wind dropped, shifted picked up, shifted, dropped and finally set in at around 10 knots. The race team got as far as setting a course before a 90 degree shift through west turned the course on its head.

With further changes to the wind strength and direction the race officer pulled the plug and sent the fleet home early to enjoy the daily pasta, supplied by Sainsbury's, and served in the dinghy park straight after racing.

Though there is no junior championship here, there is still a tense battle to be leading junior at the world championship. The leading junior is Jorge Zarif (BRA), the 2009 Junior World Champion in 28th place. Martin Robitaille (CAN) is close behind in 35th while Anders Pedersen (NOR) is further adrift in 40th.

So there will be three races on Thursday, slightly shorter than normal and with a forecast of 20 knots from the east it could be the epic day everyone has been waiting for. Ben Ainslie (GBR) takes a ten point into the day and if it all goes his way, he could end the day with his sixth Finn Gold Cup virtually in the bag.

To Make Nelson Proud
Set up to encourage British talent into the French-dominated solo offshore scene, the Artemis Offshore Academy is now in its second year. Former Figaro competitor Marcus Hutchinson looks at the significance of this fast evolving initiative

At the prizegiving ceremony of the 1998 Solitaire du Figaro in the main square in Concarneau, France in mid-August I stood with a huge number of locals and holidaymakers who had come to see the show. By the time the top skippers were called up the crowd was eager for the climax. The presenter called for multiple race and leg winner Jean Le Cam to step up: 'They call you 'Le Roi Jean' (King Jean) because you are so dominant. This is your 17th participation, you have won it twice, and yet you still come back for more!

'Jean, tell me and the crowds, why? What brings you back again and again to this tough race, sailing by yourself in a little boat, getting no sleep, offshore around the coasts of France, Spain and Ireland for three or four days at a time, in all kinds of weather? Why do you do it?'

Full article in Seahorse:

Three RNLI Gallantry Medals to be Awarded
The RNLI's highest accolade will be presented to volunteer crew members from Dungeness, Exmouth and St Abbs lifeboat stations tomorrow (17 May) at the charity's annual awards ceremony at the Barbican Centre in London.

Dungeness RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Garry Clark (48) is to be awarded a Silver Medal for Gallantry - one of the RNLI's highest honours. This is in recognition of his exemplary bravery and determination during the rescue of seven people from the yacht Liquid Vortex on 3 January 2012.

The RNLI Bronze Medal for Gallantry is to be presented to Exmouth crew volunteer Roger Jackson (43) following the rescue of four people from a capsized powerboat last October. The award will acknowledge Roger's exemplary command and leadership, boat-handling skill and tenacity in exceptional conditions

St Abbs volunteer Helmsman Darren Crowe (39) is to be awarded the RNLI's Bronze Medal for Gallantry for rescuing a man who became trapped in a cave at low tide, after the man fell from St Abbs Head into the sea while fishing with a friend.

The medals, awarded to individuals who demonstrate exceptional courage, leadership or skill during a rescue service, will be presented to the volunteers by HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

Traditional Fireworks Saved at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Photo by Rick Tomlinson, Click on image to enlarge.

Following the news that Aberdeen Asset Management has extended its sponsorship of the world-famous regatta, Cowes Week, until 2015, the financial services company has also extended its support to include a significant proportion of the necessary funding to safeguard the traditional event fireworks display.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Gilbert, CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: "The fireworks display on the final Friday of Cowes Week is one of the regatta's great traditions. Aberdeen Asset Management, in partnership with a range of financial groups and other organisations is proud to be playing a key role."

The other organisations to have come forward with financial support for the fireworks so far include: Cowes Week Limited, Cowes Town Waterfront Trust, City AM newspaper, Artemis Investment Management, JLT Specialty Limited, the Island Sailing Club, the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, the Royal London Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Squadron, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, GKN, Red Funnel Ferries, Blue Funnel Ferries, and Solent and Wightline Cruises. Other donations are anticipated following pledges of support.

The fireworks display will be held on the final Friday of this year's Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, Friday 17th August.

Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championships
The next generation of Britain's sailors are getting ready to compete at the annual Volvo Gill Optimist Inland Championships this weekend (19th-20th May). Once again Grafham Water Sailing Club will play host to over 300 Optimist sailors, split between the Main (10-15 years) and Regatta fleet (8+years) who will spend the weekend battling it out for Inland Championship titles.

One of Britain's leading Paralympic sailors and quadruple World Champion, Niki Birrell will be making a special visit to Grafham to support the young sailors and offer sailing tips and advice from the water. Along with helm Alexandra Rickham, Niki the pair have been selected to represent Team GB in the Skud 18 class this summer, their second Paralympic games together. The top pairing have recently began a partnership with Volvo Car UK becoming members of Team Volvo.

The annual weekend competition is the first ranking event in the Optimist sailing calendar and draws competitive members of the class together following the winter season training. The event attracts the top sailors in the class including the newly selected representatives of Great Britain, including the team who will be competing at the IODA European Championships in Italy from the 30th June - 7th July and the IODA World Championships in the Dominican Republic at the end of the year.

IOCA are also pleased to announce that the Volvo Gill Inland Championships will act as a selector for the class invitational girls training happening in July.

IOCA are also pleased to receive continued support from official clothing supplier Gill for the second year running.

The competitors briefing is at 09.45 on Saturday morning with racing due to start at 10.55 and prize giving is expected at 16.30 on Sunday afternoon.

Spinnaker Tales
Sydney 2000 Olympic 470 Gold Medallist Tom King has set his sights on becoming the first skipper to win back to back championships during the ADCO Etchells Australasian Winter regatta off Mooloolaba next month.

King the skipper of Iron Lotus and his clever crew mates Ivan Wheen, Owen McMahon and David Edwards who recorded a brilliant win in the World championship in Sydney earlier in the year are naturally nominated as the regatta favourite.

They have the distinction of winning the hotly contested series off Mooloolaba before and are no strangers to adjusting their tactical strategy to master the tricky winter wind which often prevails off the South Queensland coast in June.

The success already recorded in skipper Tom King's personal log book including an Olympic Gold Medal and the 2012 Etchells World championship suggests he deserves the honour of holding the top skipper's card.

However he understands the equally important role contributed by the crew to rank the Iron Lotus racing team as the best to master the extreme test to remain as the best in this strict art form of one-design keel-boat racing.

But the sailing conditions off Mooloolaba have shown at past regattas that they are rarely predictable and have the potential to sort the best from the rest.

Previous major regatta results have proved that skipper Tom King and his Iron Lotus crew are well equipped to handle the tactical pressure and deserve the honour of being the top nomination and the pre-title favourite.

There is also a strong mix of former World championship gold medallists in the fleet which suggests the battle to win the 2012 ADCO Etchells Australasian winter trophy has again attracted another World standard fleet.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht club skipper Mark Thornburrow has added important tactical clout to his title challenge with the former Australian champion Racer X.

Thornburrow has including the exceptionally talented 2009 World Championship Gold Medallist Bucky Smith to his crew.

Bucky Smith regarded among the smartest sailors to develop his career from racing off Mooloolaba will provide the Racer X challenge with an edge in local knowledge while his World title crew mates Matthew Chew and Paul Wyatt promise to be on the pace with Gen XY.

Master tactician Colin Beashel who holds the distinction of representing Australia at six Olympic Games besides being a member of the Australia ll Americas Cup winning crew plus a gold Medal performance at the 1993 Tag Heuer World Etchells in Brisbane returns to the class.

Beashel will skipper North Star with specialist North Sails principal Richie Allanson and Garry Gudmunson making up a highly skilled one design sailing combination that have the proven potential to command respect as a title challenger.

However while the Iron Lotus crew remain as the pre-regatta favourite the pressure will be on for them to sail consistently to hold the chance of becoming the first to win back to back when the final race is decided off Mooloolaba Beach on June 10. -- Ian Grant

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 Zvi Ziblat: In response to - "Australian Windsurfing Association president Brett Morris has had the wind taken out of his sails.(Eurobutt 2592)"

May I suggest him to first be angry with how the Australian council member voted for kites before he is angry with the Spanish mistake.

* From Jamie Campbell: Neil Pryde makes a valid point when he says that sailing is in danger of being thrown out of the Olympics. Unfortunately, he fails to question whether sailing has any place beside track and field events or even whether the Olympics help our sport as a whole.

Personally, I'm delighted when GB competitors do well and wish them every success in August. Unfortunately the sums of cash thrown at professional sportsmen also make it impossible for an amateur to compete on equal terms. Basic economics come into play - the more expensive an item, the fewer people buy it. Small boat sailing has declined as a sport since the heady numbers of cheap, plywood dinghies and our efforts directed to wards the Olympics must shoulder some of the blame. The considerable resources thrown at Olympic sailing eats away at the base of the pyramid by out pricing the just the sort of club 'yachties' that helped produce the Olympic hopefuls in the first place.

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The Last Word
At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes--an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense. -- Carl Sagan

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