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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster. Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Neville Crichton's New Zealand supermaxi Alfa Romeo has taken line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, crossing the finish line opposite Castray Esplanade on the Derwent River at 22:02:10hrs for an elapsed time of 2 days, 9 hours, 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

Averaging 10 knots in a reasonably consistent N/NW breeze on the river, the silver maxi made easy work of the final stretch. At last the seasoned crew of twenty two Australian, New Zealand and British round the world and America's Cup sailors could stop looking over their shoulders.

Crichton led the race from the early hours of Sunday morning when she opened a 20 mile lead on Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI and Mike Slade's British supermaxi ICAP Leopard.

The win is sweet revenge for the New Zealand yachtsman. Four years ago these same, near identical Reichel Pugh designed maxis staged a dramatic dual in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

That year it was Wild Oats XI's turn, beating Alfa Romeo across the line by 49 minutes. Ironically, then it was first use of a wind shift off the NSW coast that gave Wild Oats XI her decisive break.

Mark Richards, the skipper of Wild Oats XI, the four-time line honours winner and record holder of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, vowed to return next year after finishing second to arch rival and near sistership, the New Zealand supermaxi Alfa Romeo, just after midnight this morning.

Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI from NSW crossed the Castray Esplanade finish line at 12.05 am, two hours behind Alfa Romeo and 16 hours outside her own 2005 race record.

Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard and Sean Langman's Investec LOYAL are the next two yachts due to finish the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised race. The two super maxis currently have ETA's of just after 4.30am and shortly after 5.00am respectively.

GGYC To Meet With SNG On Country Construction Rules
Valencia, Spain: The Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing intends to meet with Societe Nautique de Geneve as soon as possible in an attempt to remove the question mark hanging over the legality of Alinghi's yacht they will use to defend the forthcoming 33rd America's Cup. Foremost is the nationality clause in the America's Cup Deed of Gift document which governs the event and requires the yachts of the Challenger of Record and the Defender to be constructed in the country of the yacht club they represent ("CIC").

Last week SNG was informed by GGYC of the obvious illegality of its yacht's USA-built sails. Yesterday SNG responded and agreed to meet on the matter. "With racing scheduled to start in Valencia in just six weeks, we want this serious issue dealt with before the boats come to the starting line," said GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman.

The 33rd Match starts in Valencia, Spain, on February 8th.

"We don't think the sailing world would tolerate the two teams failing to sort this out, especially given that GGYC first put SNG on notice concerning CIC in July 2008," Ehman said.

"Virtually every racing sailor in the world knows North Sails' moldedconstruction is proprietary and unique to its Minden plant in the USA. It is the only place in the world where such sails are constructed. Nevada is not Switzerland."

When the two sides meet, GGYC is prepared to give the defender reasonable time to manufacture sails in Switzerland and take other remedial measures. "Alinghi's sails are not their only CIC problem, only the most obvious," Ehman said.

Failing a satisfactory outcome, GGYC will take the CIC issue to the International Jury. -- statement from Tom Ehman,

* SNG responded saying Alinghi 5's sails were constructed in Switzerland.

The America's Cup Deed of Gift, dating back to 1887 requires the Challenger and Defender to be constructed in the country of the Challenging and Defending Club respectively.

Normally the issue is covered by Mutual Agreement/Consent between the Challenger and Defender, however because the 33rd America's Cup will take place under the strict terms of the Deed of Gift, applying when there is no mutual consent, the yachts must be constructed in the country of origin of the clubs.

There is no precedent set by the New York Supreme Court in this matter, and rules that applied in previous America's Cups do not apply either as they were undertaken under the Mutual Consent provisions of the Deed of Gift and last for the duration of that Match only.

Further a series of Interpretative Resolutions advocated by the New York Yacht Club and dating back to 1958, were set aside by SNG when they became the Defender, as is the recent practice prior to an alternative basis being agreed between the parties in the protocol governing the next Match.

There is no such Protocol for this 33rd Match, and the strict wording of the Deed of Gift will apply.

While the International Jury has been approved by the International Sailing Federation, it is understood that it has not yet been constituted, pending agreement on indemnification and personal insurance for its individual members, against action by one of the parties. -- Richard Gladwell,

* SNG's response:

Societe Nautique de Geneve defending yacht will be constructed in Switzerland in compliance with the provision in the Deed of Gift. The Deed only requires the "yacht or vessel" to be constructed in the respective country and does not expressly impose obligations in respect of any of the separate components onboard the yacht or vessel.

We remain willing to meet and discuss to resolve any concerns you may have, although until there is certainty as to what "yacht or vessel" SNG will declare for the Match the issue would appear to be theoretical and moot until then.

Spanish Castle To White Night
Green Dragon's watch captain Neal McDonald had done five of these races, and reckoned days two and three of any leg were always the worst. It was the transition between shore and sea life that was hardest.

On the first day the adrenaline was pumping and no one slept much anyway, and by day three the crew was getting into the new rhythm. It was the bit in between that was tough, and on this leg it was not being made any easier by the conditions.

Rick Deppe wrote from PUMA ... "My own theory is that people are still recovering from the physical and mental toll taken on them by Leg 5, there's been no real downtime for months now, so being out here and going between zero and three knots is understandably frustrating."

Ericsson 4's Kiwi watch captain Stu Bannatyne wrote of his own concerns: "In Rio, there was barely enough time to regain weight, let alone any conditioning or strength lost on the previous leg.

"This means that most of the sailors on Leg 6 will still be at sub-optimum physically. Add to this the travelling for the guys that flew home from Rio and it makes for a tough turn around.

Extract taken from the Official Volvo Ocean Race Book - packaged together with the official DVD and available for pre-order now at:

European Freestyle Kiteboard Championship
For 2010, the International Kiteboarding Class Association (IKA) announces the first official European Championships in Freestyle Kiteboarding.

A tour of five events will determine the best European Kiteboarder in the thrilling discipline of freestyle. Each individual event will also offer kiteboard racing with ranking points counting towards the IKA world ranking to cover two of the most attractive disciplines.

For 2010, the tour starts with stages in Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and at least one more country, and will have a total Price Money of more than 60.000 Euros.

"Due to the fact that the tour will be hosted by existing and well introduced events such as Surf Cup Podersdorf, Kiteboard Open in Nordweijk and Kitesurf WorldCup Sylt, the Kitesurf Tour Europe attracts more than 250.000 spectators and ensures extensive European Media-Coverage via national identification by the media. For the riders, the series offers a great opportunity to compete in a professional set up without major travel expenses", states Thilo Trefz, CEO of Brand Guides.

"It`s a great step to present kiteboarding to the european audience at the most beautiful and popular beaches of Europe. We are happy to utilize Brand Guides` nine year expertise in running high level kiteboarding events for the execution of the Kitesurf Tour Europe", Markus Schwendtner, Executive Secretary of the IKA added.

Contender Worlds
An Australian dinghy from the sketch pad of a young designer Bob Miller, who changed his name by deed poll to Ben Lexcen, is celebrating its 40th World Championship in its Queensland design birth place in January 2010.

It is a landmark event for the Contender, a single-handed high performance sailing dinghy, which was awarded International status in 1968 and now has fleets in more than twelve countries throughout the world.

The first World Championship was held at Hayling Island, Great Britain in 1970. The second World titles in 1972 held at Mebemblik, Germany was won by Brisbane sailor Peter Hollis who then defended his title in Italy in 1973.

In 1974 Matt Mulder, the current Queensland Contender Association President, was a baby in a bassinet on the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS) rigging lawns when his Dutch born father Jan Mulder raced at the 1974 World titles, from the largest Queensland yacht club.

Mulder Junior sailed his first World Championships in 1988 in Brisbane and is very pleased to see them coming back again, in RQ's 125th year.

'The Contenders have always been strong in Australia. Four Australians have won the Worlds on a total of nine occasions, including the 2007 world champion Marcus Hamilton from Victoria.

'We've been working towards this event for eight or so years. It will be a very high standard fleet. The last World Championship held in July 2009 at Sønderborg, Denmark was won by Andrea Bonezzi of Italy and Andrea will be going for his eighth World title in January, but there will be sailors from around the world and certainly a host of locals, led by Jonno Neate from Victoria, who will be keen to spoil the party.'

Event Co-organiser Suellen Hurling from RQYS explains. 'It's a big year for us, our third Contender Worlds in our 125th year; it's pretty exciting for one club to host three World titles of the same class.

'We're expecting a fleet of around 70 Contenders to face the starter. Sailors from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, and France have already entered. -- Rob Kothe,

2010 Australian Championships 3-6th January 2010
2010 World Championships 7-12th January 2010

NOR and online entry, more information at

Seahorse January 2009
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Enjoy... that is exactly what former Star World Champion, Whitbread Round the World Race and Louis Vuitton Cup winner Paul Cayard is aiming to do at this stage of a remarkable racing career. And it seems to be working... in between plotting for something ‘big’ of course!

New kids... the many national sailing teams watching with approval as Messrs Ainslie, Percy and friends inch their way out of the ferocity of youth and into their ‘maturity’, well, we’re afraid that the news is not at all good. Not far behind Team GBR’s current golden crop at least one more pretty complete generation of talent is fast emerging up through the ranks. Andy Rice takes a personal look at what the Olympic sailing future may hold in store post Weymouth 2012...

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

Melbourne To Launceston
Crews from eXtasea and Akatea were last night celebrating a Geelong quinella in the Melbourne to Launceston yacht race.

eXtasea, winner of the race two years ago, crossed the finish line first just after 6.30pm last night after covering the 198 nautical mile journey across Bass Strait in just over 27 hours.

Akatea were just over half an hour behind after passing Belle in the final stages of the race.

The two crews were last night waiting for the rest of the fleet to sail into dock and join their celebrations.

eXtasea skipper Paul Buccholz said the breeze picked up yesterday afternoon to allow them to motor away from their nearest rivals.

"It was frustrating at some times. It was like sailing on a big calm pond," Buccholz said. "But we had no problems. We had a good run down here and the bunch of guys on board sailed the boat really well all the way.

"It's been a nice relaxing time. We had a good cruise down and we'll have a good cruise back."

eXtasea took out the Melbourne-Launceston and Melbourne-Hobart races two years ago, which earned the boat the Rudder Cup from the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria.

Meanwhile, the Tony Fowler-skippered Ocean Skins remains locked in a battle with XLR8 in the Melbourne-Hobart Eastcoaster.

The Geelong vessel is due to sail up the Derwent River sometime tomorrow morning.

The leaders looked a good chance to beat the first Melbourne to Hobart west coast race yachts into Hobart.

Industry News
* These are quiet days at the Goetz Custom Technologies facility at the corner of Ballou Boulevard and Broadcommon Road [Bristol, Rhode Island, USA'. Many days, Eric Goetz is alone or nearly alone in the 43,000-square-foot building that he erected just a few years ago.

Mr. Goetz is out of work, laid off along with the entire Goetz workforce for the second time in a year. All of the 30 or so remaining employees were laid off in September.

Likewise, work has completely stopped on an 82-foot racing sailboat that Goetz was building for Aegir Racing Ltd., the legal entity created by a Scotsman who hired Goetz to build the Rogers 82 in August of 2008 for more than $6 million. In October, Aegir filed a lawsuit against Goetz in U.S. District Court. Two weeks later, Goetz responded with a counterclaim.

The two sides are locked in a which-comes-first, chicken-or-the-egg dispute. Aegir wants Goetz to hand over the partially constructed boat, which includes hull and deck, without paying any more for the work completed. Goetz would gladly give Aegir possession of the boat, if Aegir settles its outstanding debt for materials and services already rendered, estimated at more than $450,000.

Aegir also claims that the 82-footer has a structural problem, "in that some bulkheads and longitudinal beams have not been fabricated or installed in accordance with the plans." In its counterclaim, Goetz denies that allegation, and Mr. Goetz, speaking for the first time since the lawsuit was filed and his firm closed down, also adamantly denied that accusation in person last week. -- Full article at

* Lewmar has appointed Aquafax, one of the UK's leading marine distributors, to represent the company in the UK. Aquafax, a family owned company, was established in 1982 and represents many leading marine brands in the UK. Its head office and main distribution warehouse is based centrally in Luton, with branches in Hamble, Middlewich, Norfolk and Plymouth. Aquafax has extensive warehouse space, employs a team of over 60 people and is supported by six salesmen on the road.

* The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, hosts of the Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Offshore Series announced a partnership with McConaghy Boats for the 2009-10 series which kicks off on December 30, 2009.

The winner of the overall IRC Division of the four race Pittwater & Coffs Offshore Series will win a brand new McConaghy Carbon Fibre Steering Wheel worth $3,500.

Commodore Russell Murphy said "We welcome McConaghy boats as a prize sponsor of the 29th Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Offshore Series and thank them for their interest in our warm water event. McConaghy boats might now be an international "brand", but they remain an important local business. They have had a long, close & continuing relationship with the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and its members.

* McMurdo, a company of the Orolia Group (NYSE Alternext Paris - FR0010501015 - ALORO) announces today that the company has appointed a new distributor in Spain. Hispano Radio Maritíma, (HRM), based in Madrid, will actively promote and distribute the full range of McMurdo's products which include emergency distress beacons, VHF radios and SARTs.

HRM is planning to hold a local stock of the whole McMurdo range and has an active strategy in place to expand both the leisure boating and commercial maritime market place in Spain. HRM will offer full service and support of the McMurdo products via their extensive network of retailers. Spain is already a key focus for McMurdo's safety products, since it is already compulsory for the nation's fishing fleets to be equipped with 406MHz emergency beacons.

* Marine electronics manufacturer Raymarine announced on Friday that it has entered into exclusive discussions with a single party over the possible sale of the business. The company also confirmed that it is no longer in talks with US communication and navigation specialist Garmin.

It is thought that the proposed transaction will be structured by means of a sale of Raymarine Holdings Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raymarine, and that the whole of Raymarine's bank debt will be repaid on closing.

Raymarine's other creditors, including employees and suppliers, will continue to be paid in the normal course. It is not anticipated that there will be any value remaining for ordinary shareholders. -- International Boat Industry News,

* Organisers of the Liverpool Boat Show say leading figures in the UK's marine industry have backed plans for the new show in 2011, with 60 companies having pledged to exhibit among accusations the established boat shows are failing the needs of enthusiasts beyond the south of England.

Show organiser Marine Industry Events is now planning a breakfast briefing in London's docklands to coincide with the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show. 'We had many requests to stage a Liverpool Boat Show presentation in London and demand for an early London date has increased dramatically since the open day success last week,' said MD Rob Mackenzie. 'We'll do this during the London Boat Show on Tuesday January 12 with a breakfast briefing at the Museum of London Docklands in Canary Wharf.'

The Liverpool Boat Show 2011 takes place from April 29 to May 8 at the Albert Dock, Liverpool. -- Boating Business,

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 Julian Everitt: Now that a final decision has been reached to sail the 33rd America's Cup match between Oracle and Alinghi in Valencia, I can reveal a new perspective from the Gulf.

As long ago as March last year extremely senior people within Abu Dhabi where trying to get Alinghi to listen to a proposal to hold the 33rd AC in AD if all the court actions were dropped and mutual consent was implemented in all areas of dispute between themselves and Oracle. They declined to attend the invitations to talks.

Subsequently in July I presented an outline agreement from Larry Ellison to Abu Dhabi informing them that Oracle was happy to race the America's Cup in their waters as long as they were given similar commercial opportunities to Alinghi and providing the outstanding issues of disagreement regarding the rules of the Match were resolved. Alinghi, once again declined the opportunity that this presented to talks in Abu Dhabi.

Even more incredibly, when Ras al Khaimah was announced as a venue by Alinghi, I presented to Dr Khatter Massaad, the key man representing the Emirate, a letter from Larry Ellison outlining the conditions under which Oracle would be happy to race in RAK.

This letter was presented to RAK in late August. They declined to follow it up in any way, thus becoming the losers of the opportunity to stage the AC, due to their own inaction.

* From William F. Cook: There has been some chatter recently concerning the AC Constructed-In-Country rules. "Constructed" does not mean the same thing as "designed" and none of the patents or other issues which are often brought up apply. The rule simply says that you have to build it in the country from which you are challenging or defending. None of the historical exceptions to this rule which are so often cited apply because all of those exceptions come about from mutual consent agreements. There is no mutual consent in this America's Cup. For the first time in history the two parties have agreed on nothing (even in 1988 they had some mutual consent!). As a result, the event rules are derived from the deed alone. I would suggest that it is probably worth someone's time at SNG to actually read the thing, which they clearly haven't done. GGYC notified SNG of the CIC issues more than a year ago in an attempt to make SNG understand the implications of failing to arrive at mutual consent, but the overtures were ignored. GGYC has taken great pains to follow the letter of the deed in the absence of such an agreement with the understanding that their challenge would be scrutinized for any infraction. It isn't too much to ask that SNG either do the same or finally come to the bargaining table and agree to a fair protocol, although it's undoubtedly too late for that now.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1994 Cookson Farr 43 Performance Cruiser, US$253,200. Located en route to San Diego, California, USA.

Kai Mana (ex Flash Gordon2) was built by the Cookson Boat Yard in New Zealand (known for very high quality yachts) out of carbon fiber (construction that lasts) under the architectural design and specifications of Farr Yachts in 12/1994. Her electronics, mast and sails were finished in early 1995, upon which she was campaigned on the world-wide Grand-Prix Circuit. In the Mid 90's competing at the height of grand-prix racing won the Rolex Cup, 3rd in the Southern Ocean Racing Conference, won the Chicago Nood, won the Chicago-Mackinaw, Second at Kenwood Cup, won the Rolex IMS Championship and won Key West Race Week and was voted 1995 Boat of the Year.

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The Last Word
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