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Rolex Sydney to Hobart
Race start photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image for photo gallery.

ROLEX SYDNEY TO HOBART The maxis leading the Rolex Sydney Harbour race fleet cleared a barrier of light air and calm in Bass Strait in the early hours of this morning to reach away on a new westerly flow at speeds of up to 20 knots.

Race leader Alfa Romeo, a Reichel/Pugh 100 owned by Sydney-based New Zealander Neville Crichton, first to clear the calm-creating ridge of high pressure to the north of Tasmania, opened a healthy lead of 30 nautical miles on her nearest maxi opponent for line honours, Mike Slade's Farr 100, ICAP Leopard.

At 0700 Alfa was 22nm east of St Helens on Tasmania's northeast coast, doing 14 knots and on course for Tasman Island, 41nm from the finish. She had 150 miles to sail and, at the present time, is expected to finish in the early evening.

ICAP Leopard, making 16.7 knots, was still three miles ahead of the race record holder Bob Oatley's R/P 100 Wild Oats XI.

Alfa Romeo was not only on track for the line honours win; computer calculations had her leading the race for the Tattersall's Cup, the race's major prize for the overall winner on IRC handicaps.

Alfa, Leopard and Oats had gained a huge jump on the rest of the fleet. The fourth boat, Sean Langman's Elliott 100 maxi Investec Loyal, was 80nm behind Wild Oats XI, 51nm east of Flinders Island making 9.2 knots; much slower than the leading trio.

Five yachts have retired to date, and there are 95 yachts still racing. The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet has crews representing the USA, UK, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Caledonia as well as every Australian state.

* A little known yacht named St Jude is leading the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on handicap late this afternoon; the Sydney 47 owned by Noel Cornish contested the race for the first time last year and was not expected to be at the front end of the star studded fleet.

While last year's overall winner Quest, a TP 52 owned and skippered by Bob Steel, who was recently awarded the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Ocean Racer of the Year title, is struggling in 57th place and famous names such as Syd Fischer and his Ragamuffin (NSW) are in 53rd overall. The smaller and lesser known yachts are making the best of the light and fickle conditions the weather gods have dished up - and they are basking in the glory.

The two year-old Sydney 47, owned by CYCA member Noel Cornish, first contested the 628 nautical mile race last year finishing 60th overall from 69 boats in the IRC class. This evening Cornish and his yacht have found themselves in the limelight.

The Bureau of Meteorology told crews to expect mixed weather throughout the 65th edition of Australia's summer ocean classic. Owners, tacticians and navigators agreed on Boxing Day it was one of the most confusing weather reports they had ever received. It was welcome news for many though, as it meant every yacht in the fleet would have the opportunity of shining, as is being witnessed tonight.

Kingsley Piesse, a 26 Rolex Sydney Hobart race veteran, is sailing aboard Bruce Taylor's Melbourne entry Chutzpah, which is only seven miles behind St Jude. Both are east of Green Cape on the NSW south coast, Piesse describing the conditions they were in late this afternoon: 'It's light and fluky; we've got five knots from 080 (just north of east). -- Di Pearson

* Things are getting desperate at sea for some of the back markers in this year's snail-paced Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Food and drink is now being rationed on board early handicap honours challenger Yendys.

"We have started to ration water to make sure we have enough for this extended Sydney Hobart race," Yendys navigator Will Oxley told reporters today.

"The trimmers are no longer allowed to pour fresh water over their winches to keep them quiet. No tea or coffee overnight."

Others yachts, which had catered for feeding their crews for only two days, were also reporting they are running low on food and water. -- Sydney Morning Herald,

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Andy Soriano (USA)
‘A scholar and a gentleman’ - Led Pritchard! ‘With 3 Rolexes in 12 months it’s about time you had a new pair of shoes to match! Thanks for a great season’ - Mark Thomas; ‘A driving force behind the owner-driver movement’ - Kevin George; ‘Andy has pursued one goal from the outset, to win with the people who he likes to go sailing with… and to look after their interests as much as his own; a true gentleman in every sense of the word’ - Mark Mills.

This month's nominees:

Adam Minoprio (NZL)
By the end it wasn’t even close, as Minoprio and his BlackMatch team took the 2009 World Tour with a 41pt margin from runner-up Torvar Mirsky (AUS), with Ben Ainslie (GBR) making a late run for third. Minoprio also won the year’s final deciding event - the Monsoon Cup - and the lion’s share of the event’s US$300,000 prize purse. Three young guns at the top of the World Tour table… look out, world

Piero Romero (ITA)
Azzurra skipper Francesco Bruni was a recent nominee here so who better to take his place than the team’s aft-grinder Romero, who played such a key part in securing the Sardinian entry’s win at the Nice Louis Vuitton Trophy. When mid-bowman Pietro Mantovani went overboard at a key moment in the final against Emirates TNZ, Romero dived into the stern scoop where he grabbed Mantovani and hauled him out ‘like a wet fish!’

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto.

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

* Seahorse has a special six issue subscription offer for those who vote and/or comment on the Sailor of the Month... vote and see!

Dubarry For New Year's: Are You Worth It?
At right: the Dubarry Newport

Dubarry Fastnet New Year's can be dangerously aspirational. The truth is, a pair of string-back gloves won’t turn you into Michael Schumacher. Slipping on some Giorgio Armani pants doesn’t mean you’re David Beckham. A splash of Brut won’t give you Henry Cooper’s right hand. Unwrap a pair of Dubarrys though, and you’ve made the same choice as dozens of professional sailors. True, it doesn’t mean you’re ready for the Volvo Ocean Race, but it does mean you’ve got a pair of durable, comfortable, high performance boots that will give you the best possible chance to shine. Dubarry. Of course you’re worth it!


Spanish Success On Medal Day At Palamos Christmas Race
The winners for Spain are Trujillo (Finn), Pacheco/Betanzos (470-W), Santurde/Ramos (470-M) and Reyes (Laser Radial).

The Medal Race was held with South-West wind between 15 and 20 knots and with rain at the end of the day.

Top three results:

470 Men (54 entries)
1. Pablo Santurde / Alejandro Ramos, ESP, 32 points
2. Steven Le Fevre / Steven Krol, NED, 34
3. Alexandre Rossignol / David Boudgourd, FRA, 39

470 Women (18 entries)
1.Tara Pacheco / Berta Betanzos, ESP, 13
2. Sophie Weguelin / Sophie Ainsworth, GBR, 17
3. Marina Gallego / Julia Rita, ESP, 22

49er (15 entries)
1. Julian Ramm/Oliver Lewin, GER, 25
2. Erik Heil/Thomas Ploessel, GER, 36
3. Berthez/Sébastien Durand, FRA, 48

Finn (13 entries)
1. Rafael Trujillo, ESP, 12
2. Aleandro Muscat Diaz, ESP, 15
3. Vincec Gasper, SLO, 16

Laser Radial (22 entries)
1. Lucia Reyes, ESP, 19
2. Claire Blom, NED, 29
3. Fatima Reyes, ESP, 28

Laser Standard (48 entries)
1. Alejandro Foglia Costa, URU, 38
2. Eifion Monn, GBR, 48
3. Jean Baptiste Gellee, FRA, 52

How Galway Won The Volvo Ocean Race
Maria Moynihan Lee, Festival Director City of Galway was obviously pleased with the value that the Volvo Ocean Race stopover provided to the city during 2009. One of the clues to the success of the event could be in Maria's title - it's not about sport. It's not about sailing, but about major events that involve the whole city. Like Ericsson and Puma, Galway's intent was to 'Win' the Volvo Ocean Race - not on the water, but off it, in the hearts and minds of those following.

Galway is a tourism based economy. In other words, there is an imperitive to fill hotel rooms and resturants and generate business with incomes of visitors rather than residents.

As pointed out in the presentation, the number of people in Ireland belonging to a yacht club number about 25,000 and there are an estimated 125,000 sailing fans in the whole of Ireland. Based on these numbers, Galway could not hope to make a return on a stopover, which is why the event had to have a broader appeal. The goal then was to:

Sell a visitor experience where all senses are used, combined with passion.

The numbers for Galway have been done and by all accounts the event was a resounding success. According to Volvo's published numbers, Galway achieved:

- Euros 55.8 million total impact - 30% above initial projections
- Euros 36.5 million of spending by race spectators from outside the local region
- 99% of international visitors would recommend Galway as a holiday destination

Maria ended with the statement:

Would we do it again. In a heartbeat.

* During the Global Ocean Race 2011-12, the fleet of Class40s will be in-port for almost 50% of the race. How can a stopover's host port maximise the impact the race will have locally and globally? With the boats in-port and away from the race course, how can a race sponsor use this opportunity?

Josh Hall's 2008-09 Portimao Ocean Race (POR), lasted a total of 257 days from the start gun of Leg 1 in Portimao in early October 2008, to the last boat across the Leg 5 finish line in late June the following year. During this period, the fleet were at sea racing for 52% of the time (from the start gun of each leg to the first boat home at the end of each leg), with a fleet presence in-port for 48% of the race. With a dramatic increase in the fleet size for Hall's Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) for double-handed Class40s, the opportunity to maximise the benefits onshore for the start/finish port, for the stopover locations, for the overall race sponsors and for individual team sponsors is a primary goal.

Hall and his team are currently in negotiation with nine ports for the rights to host the start and finish of the Global Ocean Race 2011-12. In the PGOR, the average, in-port time during a stopover was 28 days, with the longest period of 37 days spent over the New Year in Wellington, New Zealand, prior to Leg 3 through the Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans. The start/finish port that contracts with the GOR will have the majority share of the fleet's time ashore with the boats and a race village in place three weeks prior to the start of Leg 1 and two weeks between the finish and the prize-giving at the conclusion of the circumnavigation. The value of the race presence for the host port during this extended period and for the race sponsors and the individual team sponsors is crucial.

Yachtworld Magazine
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Available in two formats:

- Digital. Providing an electronic/digital version of the magazine that gives you additional powerful interactive features such as video clips, archiving, highlight notes etc

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And It's A Lot Warmer In New Zealand In February...
Canada's "Wind Athletes" program has received a commitment from a donor to sponsor an Open 60 program which will provide some of Canada's best sailors with an opportunity to expand their sailing experience into an area that is only rarely available to our elite sailors. It is a valuable opportunity to both cross-train and to improve their sailing resumes for those with an eye on a career as professional sailors.

A small group of Canadian athletes and coaches have been selected to go to New Zealand in February and March to learn how to sail this awesome machine. Those competing in the Olympic Classes will use this trip as an opportunity to train with their New Zealand counterparts at a time when the sailing conditions in the Southern Hemisphere will be ideal as we continue to shiver in the cold back in Canada.

They will be under the careful guidance of experienced New Zealanders, Dan Slater, Edward Smythe and Allan West. Dan is New Zealand's 2008 Olympic Representative in the Finn Class and is a former member of Team New Zealand's America's Cup Program. Dan is ideally suited to help these dinghy and small boat sailors make the transition to one of the most technically advanced and awesomely powerful sailing crafts ever designed. Edward is also a highly experienced big boat sailor and America's Cup team mate of Dan Allan has worked on many successful Open 60 Programs in the past including Ellen McArthur's second place finish in 2001 and Mike Golding's 3rd place in 2005 in the Vendee Globe Ocean Race.

We are privileged to have the assistance of these 3 very capable gentlemen to get our Canadian athletes up to speed on sailing this powerful and exciting boat.

Wind Athletes plans to capture the high points of this program on video and make a documentary that will be available to the public as a DVD and perhaps to have it broadcast on television.

Death of a Solo Sailing Legend
Mike Richey Mike Richey, the veteran solo sailor and celebrated navigator, has died at the age 92 after a heart attack at his home in Brighton.

Born in Eastbourne, on July 6, 1917, Mike Richey was famous on the solo sailing circuit as the slowest and most gentlemanly skipper of the engineless, junk-rigged Folkboat-style vessel, Jester. Originally she was sailed in the first solo transatlantic race in 1960 by Blondie Hasler, from whom Mike bought her after the 1964 race. He sailed her in six subsequent Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Races, until he was forced to abandon her in July 1988, when a rogue wave smashed a hatch, leaving the boat open to the seas some 500 miles south-east of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The boat was finally lost under tow. She was not insured and Mike was in no position to replace her.

However, a trust was formed to build a replica Jester. Colin Mudie drew up the plans and she was cold moulded, rather than planked, and built by the Aldeburgh Boat Company just in time for the 1992 OSTAR.

The 1996 OSTAR took rather longer than Mike had hoped. He sailed back from America the following year, to be presented with a world record certificate by the Guinness Book of Records for having crossed the North Atlantic alone at the ripe old age of 80.

In 1979, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Navigation and in 1986, was awarded the Seamanship Medal of the Royal Cruising Club. In 1993 the Ocean Cruising Club gave him the Award of Merit. A full report of Mike's life will be published in the March issue of Yachting Monthly

Mike was last spotted by a Yachting Monthly journalist at the start of the 2009 OSTAR in Plymouth, in company with another veteran solo sailor, Val Howells, who at 83, is the only surviving member of the first race in 1960. Mike protested to Howells, who was riding a Mobility scooter, when he ran over Mike's foot! -- Paul Gelder,

Information on Jester:

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 James Dadd, Chief Measurer, Seahorse Rating Limited:
In response to Nicola Sironi's statement in Scuttlebutt Europe on 24th December, with regards to measurement of stability only being available from ORC certificates, IRC certificates include stability information derived from ISO 12217-2, the International Standard on Stability and Buoyancy, which is also compatible with the CYCA's requirements for stability data for each entry in the race. Best of luck to all those racing to Hobart!

* From Alistair Skinner: In response to Daniel Charles Letter.

Now we are really getting silly, Can anyone use Kevlar because it is a Du-Pont invention? - how far back in the process does Daniel want to go? If he assumptions were anything like correct only the Polynesians could defend in a catmaran in any case. There is a huge difference beteen a design process - we went through all that in 1983 with the Ben Lexcen Affair and a manufacture process and a patent.

I do tend to agree however that BMW and DOGzilla are barking up the wrong tree with this one as Ben Lexcen was given dispensation to use foreign towing tanks as because they didn't exist in Australia and in AC32 wasn't every sail maunuactured in Nevada except the Chinese (they used UK Sails) and Larry's boys were quite happy to race against them then.

Let's just get out on the water.

And as far as Mr Harwood Bee's asertions about the Louis Vuitton Series - the would be no Louis Vuitton Series without the AC and certainly not the class of boats that are currently being used.

Having dumped AC after AC32. surely Louis Vuitton stepping into the hiatus casued by so many proven Alinghi rule and spirit breaches is little more than commercial opportunism and would the teams still be as keen to compete if there wasn't the light of AC34 at the end of the tunnel - I really don't think so.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1996 Custom Cruiser / Racer, US$ 975,000.

Built over a period of 7 years with the help of a collection of dedicated and highly skilled crafts men, guided by Peter Ebbutt, a well known Naval Architect and Structural Engineer, who kept the project on the proper path. The result of that effort exceeded the Owner's highest expectations. According to her racing skippers she handles beautifully... in choppy waters, high wind and lazy breezes. The boat performs completely balanced with outstanding control. The yacht has the benefit of a turbo-charged Cummings power plant. Below decks are 17 beds... 1/2 of them are wide enough to sleep 2 people. In addition, there is an owner's cabin with a large hanging locker, oversize queen bed, bathroom, shower, lots of storage, TV, CD player and surround sound.

She is beautiful and ready for a new owner.

Brokerage through Berthon Spain:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

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