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Fifty Days To Go, But More Than Fifty Knots
The weather poured onto the Weymouth and Portland Bay's race courses causing cancellations, postponements and some full on racing for those classes that did get out there. The racing schedule had already been moved forward to an early start to try to beat the inbound gale - forecast to arrive in the afternoon. But the weather system hit fast forward and by early morning it was already too windy for any Paralympic racing.
The rest of the schedule was rejigged and in the end, all the Olympic classes except the Stars got at least one race in.
The Finns took to the water in the afternoon, having been moved from their normal distant offshore course to sail on the inner harbour. They got just one race done and it was won by Britain's Giles Scott. The chasing pack slipped further back, with Ben Ainslie scoring his discard with an eighth. The US of A's Zach Railey was involved in an incident at a mark that ended in a capsize, and was subsequently rewarded redress to hold third place.
The 49er fleet has now split into gold and silver, and it was the top half that took priority today. They sailed one race early on in the harbour course and it was won by the overall leaders, Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen. That further increased their lead over second-placed Emmanuel Dyen and Stephane Christidis of France. Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign moved up to third, pushing their countrymen and one-time leaders, Dave Evans and Ed Powys into fourth.
In the Laser it was a return to the top for the man who is so far unbeaten at the Olympic venue - Tom Slingsby (AUS). He posted a first and a fourth to breeze past his countryman, Tom Burton, who dropped to fourth, leaving Germany's Phillip Buhl in second and Tonci Stipanovic of Germany in third.
Racing has been postponed till midday tomorrow due to the weather forecast - and as the athletes were leaving the venue, the gusts on the harbour wall reached 53 knots.
High Stakes, Rough Ride For Leg 8 Sprint
To avoid the boats being caught in the clutches of the light winds of the Azores High, race organisers could opt to route the fleet around a virtual waypoint rather than the original turning point of Sao Miguel island in the Azores. A final decision on the exact location of the waypoint will be made in the days leading up to the start.
Despite its relative shortness, Leg 8 is shaping up to test the crews in a variety of ways with key factors likely to be the location of the Azores High and the possibility of finding a volatile low pressure system on the way back.
In order to maximise boat speeds on the first section, the fleet is expected to head south west rather than point directly at the waypoint.
The first section should take around 48 hours, but to complicate matters the easterly track of the Azores High could mean that the approach to the waypoint will take place in light winds close to its centre.
"This is likely to mean some compression after the first 48 hours as the high slows the boats' progress close to the waypoint turning mark," Infante said.
"Also it puts a high premium on nailing the layline to the waypoint perfectly."
After rounding the Azores waypoint the teams would hope to hook into strong winds emanating from one of the regular low pressure systems which rocket east towards land -- if they are there.
If not, instead of a fast downwind ride it could be tough upwind racing for the final 48 hours to the finish.
Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient is scheduled to start at 1300 local time (1200 UTC) on Sunday, June 10, with the fleet expected into Lorient on or around June 17.
Highland Fling Takes Top Honours
Conditions at midday were changeable. Initially, a 9-knot breeze from the northeast meant the race committee chose a course that would send the fleet out to a windward mark, up to Mortoriotto and Soffi Islands, down to Monaci and out to the entrance to 'bomb alley' before returning to finish off Porto Cervo. A slight shift delayed the start, and with the wind swinging and settling at around 125 degrees, the start sequence got underway at 1230.
For the performance division, racing under conventional ISAF rules, the fleet start is always a key moment. As the superyachts lined up in the final seconds, Lord Irvine Laidlaw's 25.3m Highland Fling took the pin end of the line, while the 25.4m My Song and the 25.1m Aegir battled for a slot in the middle of the line. The 24.9m Swan Alpina scored their best start of the week so far, crossing at the committee boat end pretty much as the gun went.
The big story of the day though was that although Highland Fling appeared to do her usual disappearing act, the corrected times showed that Aegir had finished just 13 seconds behind - an incredibly close finish after two and a half hours racing at average speeds around 15 knots.
For the rest of the competitors, today was a day to relax and enjoy those beautiful surroundings. Some owners and crews headed to the beach, others went out for a sail. Tonight a pizza party in the Piazza Azzurra should give everyone a further dose of fun before racing starts again in earnest Friday. -- Tim Thomas, Editor of Boat International
This partnership covers the production of RORC & event merchandise and branded sailing clothing for the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. RORC members will also receive a range of privilege benefits on Henri Lloyd products and a specialist service in the production of branded team clothing for their crew.
Henri Lloyd's Joint CEO Paul Strzelecki comments: "We are very excited and proud to have the Henri Lloyd brand associated with one of the world's foremost club's. The RORC reflects some of the same heritage qualities as Henri Lloyd and with its large membership of experienced offshore racers and calendar of events, is a great club to be associated with. We are especially excited to be the merchandise provider for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2013 and look forward to a long relationship with RORC, their members and events.
MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship
The title sponsor of the World Championship, MIQ Logistics, has invested heavily in the regatta, as has the clothing company SLAM.
The J/80 World Championship fleet will be 40% bigger in Dartmouth than when the World Championship last came to the UK back in 2005. The prestige of the Britannia Yacht Club and the proven ability of the Royal Dart Yacht Club to deliver top flight racing has ensured that the event has major International appeal and the enthusiasm, generosity of more than sixty volunteers, almost all of whom are Royal Dart Yacht Club members, is also intrinsically linked to the success of the event.
Ruairidh Scott of North Sails won the World Championship for the UK when the event was last here in 2005. Scott returns to the J/80 fleet for the 2012 World Championship and will be racing with Simon Johnson in their boat Joyeuse.
Kevin Sproul of Ultimate Sails helmed the top British J/80 at Spi Ouest Regatta in France earlier this year. Sproul sounded confident but cautious about his prospects for 2012. 'The French and Spanish are very strong at the moment' said Sproul. 'They're spending a lot of time on the water and they will not be easy to beat but my crew are absolutely ready.' Sproul and his team won the UK National Championship which was raced in Dartmouth in 2011 and so he knows the waters well. Having just come back from winning a major International regatta in a forty foot race-boat in Barcelona last week it is clear that Sproul is at the top of his game just now.
The Regatta HQ for the MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM will be open to the public for the duration of the regatta and those who would like to watch the racing in Start Bay will be able to do so from the beaches around Dartmouth. The website at www.j80worlds2012.com will feature a live blog from the racetrack with all the thrills and spills of the racing being reported as they happen.
2012 Tornado European Championships
Day one provided the sailors with perfect conditions, a force 3 breeze with gusts. As with any championships the sailors started a little keen with some people over the line on race one. Race two was made more interesting for the sailors with very different wind conditions across the course with plenty of shifts.
At the end of day one there was a surprise with the other Greek team of Niklos Mavros and Alexandros Targarpolous taking the lead with two bullets from the races.
Day two's weather conditions changed dramatically when the rain, cold and strong winds arrived which caused a postponement at the start of the day. By 12pm the fleet were on their way out to the start area with three races scheduled. Although wet the wind conditions were excellent for the sailors with some interesting battles and changing of positions throughout the three races.
Team Redbull managed to pull back in front with 3 race wins which put them on top of the fleet at the end of day two.
What looked like a light breeze on day three quickly built to 15 knots creating similar conditions and sailing to day two. In race two and three the wind dropped slightly for the sailors. At the end of day three the Greeks had added another three bullets to their scorecard and were on their way to winning another European Championships.
Warmer conditions were in store on day four but unfortunately the sunshine killed the wind, there was just enough to start and complete one race which was to be the last of the 2012 Tornado European Championships. No prizes for guessing who took the race victory.
A big thank you to Warder Sailing Club and the race organisers for putting on some great racing.
Final Spot for Artemis Solitaire Du Figaro Sailors Decided
After this weekend's Solo Basse Normandie it was confirmed that Henry Bomby would be given the final spot after his solid and improving performance over the last few months, including finishing fourth in the Solo Basse Normandie just behind Nick Cherry.
Now in its 43rd season, the 2012 Solitaire du Figaro has attracted 36 sailors - the first-timers like Bomby and Cherry are also ranked in the 'Rookie Division' as well as overall - and is based on elapsed time over three legs from France to Spain and back. Over the years this race has a roll-call like no other, graced by many solo sailing legends - Alain Gautier, Michel Desjoyeaux, Vincent Riou, Jean Le Cam, Christophe Augin and Philippe Poupon. Out of six editions of the ultimate non-stop solo round the world Vendee Globe race three of those have been won by Solitaire du Figaro victors - Gautier, Augin and Desjoyeaux. So it is no surprise that the Artemis sailors will face some of their stiffest competition yet in the Solitaire du Figaro which grants them an incredible opportunity to learn from the masters.
The 43rd edition of the Solitaire du Figaro starts on 24th June.
Weymouth 2012 Police Train Up For Race Course Patrol
Around 200 police offers are being trained in preparation for providing security and to deal with any incidents on the water.
Ocean Safety's specialist tuition, in conjunction with training organisation Power Boat Training, is helping the police trainees to complete the RYA's Basic Sea Survival Course, with instruction on the specific and vital items of safety equipment provided by Ocean Safety's Training Manager Chris Waterman.
The 200 police personnel were selected from applications from all over the UK. "We have held the Sea Survival Courses in a number of swimming pool venues along the south coast between Portland and Poole, for groups of up to 12 policemen and women at a time," says Chris. We've introduced them to the operation of lifejackets and demonstrated how to deploy liferafts, as well as running through other valuable safety procedures."
He adds "The RYA course and the instruction we have provided will equip the police well for any real life situations in the bay, but of course we all hope for an incident free period for the sailing event."
London To Portland Small Ships Race
The London to Portland Small Ships Race gives young people between the ages of 12 and 25 an opportunity to work as a team to tackle the challenges that the everyday operation of a large Sail Training vessel entails, including sailing, cooking and keeping a lookout. The fleet will be comprised of up to twenty small ships, which are up to ninety feet long, and will include the Gipsy Moth IV, Pegasus and Pelican of London.
After they complete their voyage from London, the boats will race on Saturday in Weymouth Bay. The race will be started by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Mrs Anthony Pitt-Rivers, at 1100 by firing cannons from the ramparts of Nothe Fort.
The race is expected to last around four hours, and some ideal viewing areas for the public are from the Nothe Gardens and Weymouth Beach.
For more information, and to download the race guide which can be used to identify the participating vessels, visit www.uksailtraining.org/smallshipsrace
A Royal Wight Vodka Regatta In Lymington & Yarmouth
The race officers from both the Royal Lymington and Royal Solent divided the racers into two fleets; the Diamond Fleet, which had IRC Class 1, LH Classes 1 and 2 and the Gaffers racing with a Royal Solent race officer, and the Jubilee Fleet including the Folkboats, XODs and YODs with a Royal Lymington race officer.
Racing conditions were excellent throughout the weekend, with a 15 knot easterly on Saturday with flat water and sunshine, and a 15-20 knot westerly and against a building flood tide on Sunday, which kicked up big waves and made for an exciting day. Unfortunately, there was one dismasting of the beautiful 100 year old yacht, Rosenn. At the prize-giving, Peter Scholfield, who towed Rosenn back in Xarafa, received a bottle of Wight in appreciation to a huge round of applause by all.
The winners and runners up by class include the IRC Class 1; 1st Chris and Hannah Neve in No Chance, 2nd William Newton in Jelly Baby, 3rd Robin Taunt in Jibe. Class 2, Division 1; 1st Tim Stevenson in Andrillot II, 2nd Peter Blick in Charlotte, 3rd Richard Jenner in Bonni Lady. Class 2, Division 2; 1st Kevin Podger in Pallas Athene; 2nd Nick Morgan in Rooie Rakker; 3rd Richard Truscott in Unity. Gaffers; 1st Stephen Akester in Alice III, 2nd Malcolm McKeon in Windflower, 3rd Richard Rouse in Charmina. Folkboats; 1st Stuart Watson/M Jones in Crackerjack, 2nd Jeremy Austin in Tak, 3rd James Hoare/G Coulter in Samphire of Oykel, XOD; 1st Stuart Jardine in Lone Star, 2nd Eric Williams in Diana, 3rd Phil and Jo Brewer in Zest. Class YOD; 1st Puffin and 2nd Diatom.
Ritu Manocha, the entrepreneur behind 50° North and Wight Vodka, said "The Royal Lymington and Royal Solent put on a fantastic regatta! We are proud to be part of their Diamond Jubilee Regatta and certainly look forward to their next event!"
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