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Riou Wins Europa Warm'up By Just Over One Hour
The Europa Warm'Up came down to a difference of just over an hour. That was the final gap this Sunday morning between past Vendee Globe winner Vincent Riou and this coming edition's 'rookie most likely to...', Francois Gabart on MACIF.

It was the final night which decided the outcome of the inaugural edition of the Europa Warm'Up and it was Riou on PRB which proved slightly quicker and smarter to hold off the hard driving Gabart who has shown a maturity beyond his years in how he paced himself and pushed on this second leg.

Thirty miles before the Occidentale de Sein buoy and PRB and MACIF were separated by less than one mile. Riou attacked by setting a big spinnaker. He stuck to the helm to drive hard with PRB overpowered for much of the time, building a gap which finally allowed him to add another win to a list of honours. Riou is not short of podium successes in his career, but this is his first victory since winning the 2011 Fastnet race with Jean Le Cam. It is a win which is a good reward for PRB a very supportive and passionate Vendee supporter, but which proves how close the top of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet is, and how well prepared PRB is.

Gabart is proving the talented IMOCA Open 60 rookie with no pretences or ego. He is clearly talented and hard working who is showing the benefit of his early mentoring by Michel Desjoyeaux but also his ground work at the centre if excellence at Port La Foret. Already having won the BtoB on his first IMOCA Open 60 solo outing, Gabart is surely worth ranking among the Vendee Globe favourites.

Armel Le Cleac'h never gives up and it is not for nothing that the soloist from the Bay of Morlaix has been dubbed The Jackal. But on this occasion it was a broken halyard lock hook on his mainsail which annulled Le Cleac'h's predatory instinct. He managed to keep finding workable solutions which kept him just ahead of Cheminees Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm's stalking black cat which took fourth.

Ranking at 18h

1. PRB, arrived 03-jun-12, 11h 22mn 50s. Race time: 7d 18h 22mn 50s
2. MACIF, arrived 03-jun-12, 12h 33mn 58s. Race time 7d 19h 33mn 58s
3. Banque Populaire, arrived 03-jun-12, 15h 11mn 15s. Race time 7d 22h 11mn 15s
4. Cheminees Poujoulat, arrived, 03-jun-12, 17h 16mn 17s. Race time 8d 00h 16mn 17s
5. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered. 225.2 nm to finish
ABD Virbac-Paprec 3
ABD Groupe Bel

Tangling With Beryl In The North Atlantic
As Tropical Storm Beryl prowls around the North Atlantic, the Global Ocean Race (GOR) fleet of double-handed Class40s has successfully sailed through the second gale in three days. Furthest south in fourth place, Nico and Frans Budel recorded gusts of up 35 knots on Sec. Hayai, while 260 miles north of the Azores, the South African duo of Phillippa Hutton-Squire and Nick Leggatt in third with Phesheya-Racing report gusts of over 40 knots.

However, while the fleet leaders, Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough on Cessna Citation, were too far east to feel the strong winds, the big winner was Financial Crisis in second as Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo positioned themselves perfectly to lock into winds in front of the system as Beryl slewed northwards in their wake with Nannini's three-year-old Akilaria Class40 averaging over 13 knots for a sustained ten hours, closing down the lead on Cessna Citation by 27 miles in 24 hours and trailing the leaders by 300 miles at 12:00 on Sunday.

As Beryl rolled eastwards, the Budels were 500 miles west of the Azroes and were first to feel the storm on Saturday evening as the centre of the low pressure passed to the north of Sec. Hayai. "We're now in the depression with the wind building to over 30 knots and occasional gusts to 35 knots," reported Frans Budel in a brief email. "So we're sailing with two reefs in the main and staysail, but there's still water flying everywhere," he added as Sec. Hayai continually polled averages over ten knots.

* Progress in the last couple of days has been fantastic. Last week we had to take a difficult choice to slow down to avoid the worst of a severe depression that was about to cross our path, as it turned out we saw some horrible conditions and had some damage to sails, Cessna ahead of us was forced to stop the boat during the worst of the gale as a safety precaution in enormous breaking seas, all in all we were happy with our choice although it had cost us quite a few miles to the leaders.

In the past few days on the other hand we've had the opposite scenario, the extra-tropical storm Beryl was behind us and threatening to give us a nasty battering and all considered the safest option was to try to run as fast as possible ahead of the centre of the cyclone which then hopefully would have passed to our stern on its northward trajectory... The picture shows the very active centre of the low that we are running away from and it's predicted position behind us, and towards the north.

So, with a double incentive, avoiding a storm and getting as fast as possible to the finish line, we've been pushing hard and clocked some impressive mileage.

All has held together so far and the miles to go kept decreasing rapidly until earlier on we crossed the psychological milestone of 1000 miles to the finish. The wind is still strong but should start decreasing within hours and hopefully this will become another successful storm tactics pub story to tell! -- Marco Nannini

Last Minute Yacht Availability For The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Charter Dates 29th June -1st July)
Click on image to enlarge.

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King of the Lake
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 Austria Morgan Larson is soon to be crowned 'King of the Lake' after Torbjorn Tornqvist's Artemis picked up another two wins in today's two races on Lake Traunsee to take a commanding lead overall at the RC44 Austria Cup.

The start of the day didn't look hopeful. The sky was grey and overcast with prolonged rain shutting off the wind. The twelve RC44s were held ashore, the start postponed by an extra hour, as Principle Race Officer Peter Reggio's uncanny sixth sense for these things prevailed and racing got underway at 1230 CET in 10 knots from the south.

In the southerly 'oberwind', as it is known locally, the eastern shore of Lake Traunsee once again was the place to be. The team making the most of this would edge into the lead as they were lifted along the shore after they tacked, also enjoying better pressure and clean air. In today's two races that team was Artemis.

2011 champions Team Aqua managed to hold on to third place posting an 8-4, despite being penalised for a port-starboard incident on the opening beat of the first race.

Still holding second overall is Igor Lah's RC44 Team CEEREF. "There was definately a pattern in the race track which Artemis nailed pretty well with two great races," said CEEREF's tactician, Michele Ivaldi. "We came twice in the top five, which should be the goal for every race, to try to be consistent. Igor drove really well and the guys onboard kept the boat fast all the time, so it was a good day for us."

According to Ivaldi, tomorrow should be warmer with less cloud cover. If this comes true then it is possible the northerly sea breeze might establish, but this won't be well into the afternoon. While Artemis is the runaway leader, there will be an almighty fight for the podium with just seven points separating third from 10th.

Follow the final day of racing at the RC44 Austria Cup on the live blog at

Oman Sail's Multi One Design "Musandam-Oman Sail" is Unveiled
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, Click on image for photo gallery.

Multi One Design 70 Musandam-Oman Sail Oman Sail unveiled its Multi One Design 70 Musandam-Oman Sail at a traditional naming ceremony today in St Nazaire, France, ahead of the yacht's maiden race on Sunday at the Record Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer regatta.

"I feel very privileged to be here in St Nazaire for the launch and naming ceremony of Musandam-Oman Sail and to see this amazing MOD70 at the start of its career, carrying Omani colours and with Omani crew members onboard," said His Highness Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib Al Said, adding: "They are in great company as Oman has some legendary sailing personalities, Sinbad for example dates back to the 9th century, they were people who were completely unafraid of going out on the high seas and putting their lives in danger to discover new places so in a way this team is a modern version of these people creating new Omani seafaring legends.

The MOD70 is a high profile and beautiful looking yacht, it's fast, it's cutting edge, it's Oman Sail's flagship and I think that it's the star of the Oman Sail fleet and is worthy of that. Fair winds"

The trimaran, skippered by French offshore sailor Sidney Gavignet, is due to compete in its first race on Sunday ahead of a trans-Atlantic crossing and the start of the Krys Ocean Race from New York to Brest on the 7 July, which heralds the beginning of the Multi One Design campaign.

Cowes-Deauville Race
RARE, a Class 3 Figaro II, skippered by Ian Hoddle at the start of the Cowes-Deauville Race in Cowes today. Photo by Michael Austen Photography. Click on image to enlarge.

Deauville Following a spectacular evening spent by the competitors at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, representatives of the organising Clubs oversaw the start of the biggest fleet ever, at 107 yachts, to contest the 50th Cowes-Deauville Race. Starting procedures were co-ordinated by representatives of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), whose fleet had swelled the numbers this year and were racing for the Cervantes Trophy, one of RORC's most famous offshore racing trophies.

A true team effort by all the clubs involved, the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the Royal London Yacht Club, the Junior Offshore Group (JOG), RORC, Deauville Yacht Club and Yacht Club de France, launched the anniversary start in spectacular style, enjoyed by the Mayor of Cowes, David Walters, and the Mayor of Deauville, M. Philippe Augier, who fired the cannons from the Royal Yacht Squadron Platform for IRC Divisions 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The first start line at 1430 was clear from Divisions 4 and 5 with a French entry, Adrenaline, leading the way.

The second start at 1440 for Divisions 2 and 3 was initially led on the water by Pace, a TP52 driven by Johnny Vincent, closely followed by Tonnere de Breskens 3 and Royal Southern member Philip Farrands driving Old Mother Gun in 3rd.

The fleet headed eastwards towards Gilkicker Point, where they easily overhauled the White Sail fleet, led by Royal Southern member, Bill Blain in Batfish V, which started its race at midday. Spinnakers were the order of the day for the IRC classes creating a spectacular sight on the mainland shore as the boats headed on a straight course to Deauville which should see the majority of competitors arriving there from lunchtime on Saturday. The fleet is starting to spread out in light winds in the Solent but it is hoped that they will increase through the night with some forecasts showing 15-16 knots from the east.

Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series
Photo by Studio Borlenghi /  Luca Butto. Click on image for photo gallery.

Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series Portoferraio, Italy) - The second leg of the Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series ended with the great victory for Peccere, the hull of Mirko De Falco, Guglielmo Giordano and Piero Vigo (today 3-6). The crew successfully defended their overnight lead of the 24-strong Audi Melges 20 fleet in Portoferraio. The two races completed on Sunday allowed PRO Fabio Barrasso to deliver all scheduled races making the final day quite exciting.

Renato Vallivero's Turnover finished second, thanks to two victories. After his overall first place finish in Loano, Vallivero confirmed his team is in a good place, and is now the official leader of the 2012 Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series 2012.

Fifteenth overall, and first of the Corinthian, was Claudio Dutto's Asante Sana.

The second leg of Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series was sponsored by the city of Portoferraio and organized by B-Plan Sports & Events in collaboration with Melges Europe, the Lega Navale Italiana of Portoferraio and Comitato Circoli Velici Elbani.

Next appointment for the fleet is the Audi Melges 20 German Open that will take place in Starnberg See on June 23-24, 2012.

The Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series will restart in Malcesine on July 13-15, one of the most appreciated venues of the circuit.

Top Ten Results (Provisional, After 6 Races, 1 Discard)

1. Mirko De Falco/Guglielmo Giordano, Peccere, 21 points
2. Renato Vallivero/Marco Perazzo/Enrico Fonda, Turnover, 22
3. Vincenzo Onorato/Nathan Wilmot, Mascalzone Latino, 23
4. Alessio Marinelli/Branko Brcin, Candida Sailing Team, 24
5. Achille Onorato/ Lorenzo Bressani, Mascalzone Latino Jr., 26
6. Guido Miani/Gabriele Benussi, Audi Out of Reach, 28
7. Giancarlo Capolino/Francesco Ivaldi, Legionario, 40
8. Robert Wilber/Chris Rast, Cinghiale, 42
9. Federico Albano/Giulio Desiderato/Andrea Trani, 3menda, 42
10. Dario Levi/Andrea Casale, Fremito d'Arja, 42

Running the Rhumblines
A spanking South East trade wind spiced with gusts to 25 knots provided a supreme test of fresh wind sailing in the Whitsunday Sailing Club Lady Skippers race on Pioneer Bay last week.

The combination of sea spray gusty breeze and a lumpy seaway presented the resolute deputy skippers with a not so ideal afternoon for a relaxing sail for the important points in the 2012 Lady Skippers championship.

It was a dusty afternoon in the warm Whitsunday Islands however Damien Suckling realised his 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Performance Handicap champion the Jutson 42 Another Fiasco was in good hands with deputy skipper Donna Fornasiero at the helm.

Another Fiasco has the reputation of being a star performer when the wind velocity presses the leeward rail and her female skipper did no harm to the moderate to the fresh wind sailing reputation when she helmed the sloop to rare line honours and corrected handicap double.

They crew relentlessly applied the required attention to sail trim while also packing the body weight on the weather rail which ultimately allowed Another Fiasco to firm a strong grip on line honours while Kathryn Galloway (Queensland Marine Services) and Kevin Fogarty's Twister capably helmed by Tania Watson settled into a match race for the minor places.

While Another Fiasco predictably dominated the race for the first to finish trophy the crews manning the deck on the smaller and slower Queensland Marine Services and Twister settled into their own tactical dog-fight for the more important corrected handicap honours.

But they faced an uphill battle when Another Fiasco continued to stretch her lead and appeared to become a distinct challenger to outpace her high handicap when skipper Donna Fornasiero completed the fresh wind test with an impressive performance.

They completed the course with a runaway 5 minute 9 second win over Queensland Marine Services while Twister hung on to claim third another 42 seconds astern.

All three crews naturally remained focused on the corrected handicap result where the Another Fiasco crew were rewarded when they were officially announced as the winner.

However it was close with the narrow margin of 12 seconds separating Another Fiasco and Queensland Marine Services while Twister filled third another 1 minute 43 seconds off the pace. -- Ian Grant

Fever Glenfiddich Still Unbeaten After Jubilee Procession
Photo by Marc Turner / CCC. Click on image for photo gallery.

Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series It was a distinctly 'old school' day on Loch Fyne for competing crews at the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series where there was a departure from the usual diet of windward-leeward races and even Olympic triangles. Instead days of old were recalled favourably with a 25 miles passage race up to the south of Loch Fyne around the Inchmarnock Island to a spectator-friendly finish line in front of the entrance to Tarbert's natural harbour.

The brisk conditions proved ideal for Jonathan Anderson's Playing FTSE which was at her best on the stiff upwind, reaching and the powerful downwind. The Beneteau 47.7 was pressed hard on handicap by the Mumm 36 of Kelly and Bramall which finished just 1 minute and 32 seconds behind on corrected time after 3 hrs and 7 mns of racing. Anderson's team are regular class winners and head IRC Class by two points ahead of the Forth crew on Absolutely 2, but light winds for tomorrow's two final races could still upset the class standings here.

Salamander XXI consolidated their lead in IRC Class 2 with a win over Sloop John T to lead their fleet now by three points ahead of Arran's Thomson brothers and their crew on Sloop John T.

For Tarbert's Ruairidh Scott, tactician on Fever Glenfiddich, the J/97, the last time he - like others in the fleet - recalls racing inside Inchmarnock was on the days when the Scottish Series still had an offshore feeder race. Head to head at the island turn with Jackaroo, the current Scottish Series Trophy champions, Fever cut the corner by around ten boat lengths according to Scott, and managed to escape to a comfortable win. They remain unbeaten over all six races so far and might have already put themselves in pole position to win the overall Scottish Series Trophy.

In CYCA Class 5 it was Ian Cameron's Lady Rhona which triumphed, winning by a similar margin on handicap as her sistership Playing FTSE did in the corresponding IRC handicap fleet. Douglas Clow scored a good win in Guilty in CYCA 6, leaving Norman Howison's family crew on Tartan Pimpernel in second. -- Lorraine Alonzi

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The Last Word
I'd like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do. -- Mae West

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