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'Lilla' Takes Cruiser Division in Bermuda Race
Photo by Daniel Forster, Click on image for photo gallery.

Hamilton, Bermuda: 'Lilla', the big red Briand 76 (IRL7600) owned by Simon and Nancy De Pietro of Cork, Ireland and Mattapoisett MA, sailed a fast straight-forward Newport Bermuda Race and won Class 13 in the Cruiser Division. 'Lilla' also took first place in the whole Cruiser Division and will be presented with the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy for first place.

'Lilla' led classmate 'True', a J-160 owned by Howard Hodgson of Ipswich MA by 1 hr 17 min on corrected time for the win in class and division. 'True' was second in both Class 13 and the division. Third place in the Cruiser division went to 'Odyssey' a Swan 55 sailed by Glenn Dexter from Halifax NS.

And there is Icing on the cake for 'Lilla'. In 2011 she raced in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and set the 645-mile course record from Marion MA to Bermuda at 68:58:45. That performance last year and her top finish in the Newport Bermuda Race earn her the Bermuda Ocean Cruising Yacht Trophy presented by SAIL Magazine. This special combined competition trophy goes to the captain who has the best performance in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races. 'Lilla' sailed from Newport this time - a 10-mile shorter course in 63:17:13, some 5 hours and 41 minutes faster.

In addition to doing the Bermuda Races, she has also done the Caribbean 600. She is an aluminum yacht with just 8.5-foot draft. She does not go to weather well but on a reach her waterline works and she is good and fast. The De Pietros thought of entering the St. David's Lighthouse Division but needed to be able to use the power winches.

The Newport Bermuda Race had 6 divisions and 17 classes. The Cruiser division had 30 entries. More than 100 prizes will be awarded Saturday evening on the lawn of Bermuda's Government House. His Excellency Mr. George Fergusson the Governor of Bermuda will present the prizes along with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore John Brewin and the Cruising Club of America Commodore Dan Dyer. -- Talbot Wilson

Seven Teams Confirmed as Deadline Passes
With the Monday 18th June final deadline for challenges having passed, so seven teams are to contest this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, to be held on the Solent and English Channel waters over 22nd-28th July.

For the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup each team as usual must comprise three boats. This year the four British teams will be up against strong competition representing France, Hong Kong and Benelux, the latter comprising two boats from the Netherlands and a third from Belgium.

While the entry list of national teams is complete, the French have yet to reveal the boats they will be sending to the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

This year the make-up of the teams has changed slightly as has the race format. Previously each team had a small, medium and big boat, each racing in its own group with its own start. Following feedback from competitors, this year all the boats will be racing together en masse with a single start. The rating bands of old have been opened up to make entry simpler. Boats must now have an IRC time correction coefficient of between 1.020 and 1.230, the only further requirement being that teams may field only one 'big' boat (with an TCC of 1.150-1.230).

Two teams, GBR Black and GBR Blue, do not have a big boat. GBR Black's fastest boat is Seb Blair's King 40, Cobra, with a TCC of 1.114, while their 'small' boat is David Aisher's British Keelboat Academy-crewed J/109, Yeoman of Wight, which has the lowest rating of all the boats taking part, at 1.029.

As a group the boats in GBR Blue have the tightest set of ratings, all towards the smaller end of the permitted band, ranging from ex-RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine's First 40 La Reponse at 1.086 to Paul McNamara & Tony Lowe's First 40.7 Incognito at 1.053.

Hong Kong has the fastest three boat line-up with their 'slowest' boat being Peter Rutter's 2011 IRC National Championship winner Quokka 8, chartered to Ante Razmilovic, with a TCC of 1.100.

Benelux: Baraka GP (Ker 40) Harmen Jan de Graaf/NED; Xcentric Ripper (J/111) Robin Verhoef/NED; Moana (First 47.7) Francois Goubau/BEL

France: to be confirmed

Hong Kong: Peninsula Signal 8 (Ker 40) Jamie McWilliam; Quokka 8 (Grand Soleil 43) Ante Razmilovic; EFG Bank Mandrake (Ker 39) Nick Burns

RYA Team GBR Red: Keronimo (Ker 40) Jonathan Goring; Dignity (Mills 39) Andrew Williams; Eaujet (Archambault 35) Mike West

RYA Team GBR White: Magnum III (Ker 40) Andrew Pearce; Joopster (J/122) Neil Kipling; Philosophie (First 40.7) Nicolas Gaumont-Prat

RYA Team GBR Blue: Incognito (First 40.7) Paul McNamara and Tony Lowe; La Reponse (First 40) Andrew McIrvine; Premier Flair (Elan 410) Jim Macgregor

RYA Team GBR Black: Cobra (King 40) Mike and Seb Blair, Salvo (Corby 33) Peter Morton, Yeoman of Wight (J/109) British Keelboat Academy

Folkboat Association Nordic Nationals
Photo by Eddie Mays, Click on image for photo gallery.

With so many extra events scheduled into what is already a very crowded Solent sailing calendar the Folkboat Association decided to make this year's Nordic Championships a two day event, less strain on both crew resources and the owners' pocketbook. Like many regattas in the Solent held over the weekend of the 16th & 17th June Saturday's racing was cancelled after an early morning briefing. With the weather set to improve overnight and the need to complete three races to make the championship valid Royal Lymington's P.R.O. Jane Pitt-Pitts set a 10:00 start time for Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning with a decent breeze coming through the Hurst Narrows and a building west going tide the race team set a different course for each race using a combination of laid and permanent marks to the east of the entrance to the Lymington River. With all the main players from both the Royal Lymington and the Royal Solent fleets in action the racing was always going to be highly competitive but in the final analysis three boats stood out consistently. It would have been five but by the 2nd race past champion Edward Donald helming 'Madelaine' had lost the use of his spinnaker and using only white sails downwind was uncompetitive and retired from the regatta, and at the start of the final race Chris Baldwick (Bonnie), who had finished 4th in both the first two races, pushed too hard and was adjudged OCS, which set him back in the overall standings.

In addition to the main championship results, which reflect the strict one-design status of the class, the Royal Lymington fleet have been experimenting with a handicap system, based on the helm's results. This was then applied to the performance of the boats over the weekend and it is significant that on this basis the three boats that performed best were from relative newcomers to the class.

Overall Results:
1. Crackerjack , Stuart Watson & Matthew Jones, Royal Lymington Y.C.
2. Tak, Jeremy Austin, Royal Lymington Y.C.
3. Padfoot, Chris Hills, Royal Lymington Y.C.
4. Bossa Nova, David Fox, Royal Solent Y.C.

Handicap Standings:
1. Bossa Nova, David Fox, Royal Solent Y.C.
2. Second Wind, Richard Martin, Royal Lymington Y.C.
3. Sweet Caroline, Michael Hawthorne, Royal Lym. Y.C.
4. Strider, Andrew Salason, Royal Lym. Y.C.

Strong Sea Breeze for Superyacht Cup Opening Race
Palma, Mallorca, Spain: The 12-strong fleet at the 2012 Superyacht Cup Palma was graced with clear blue skies and a healthy 15-20 knot breeze today for Race Day 1 of the regatta sponsored by event partner Pantaenius.

The fleet was split into two classes to shorten the start sequence, the 35m Hoek designed Firefly having the best start of the day just 1 second off their allocated start time, crossing the line at full speed.

The two classes separated after the start with Class 1 given a slightly longer course for the faster boats. The fleet merged back together mid race at the most southerly part of the course off Isla de Sech confidently led by the 30m Hoek designed Reesle ahead of the chasing pack Ithaka (27m Jongert), Highland Breeze (34m Frers/ Nautor Swan), Maria Cattiva (40m Bruce King/Royal Huisman) and Atalante (27m Hoek/Claasen Jachtbouw) within a few minutes of each other.

Reesle and Highland Breeze were able to hold their positions to cross the line in first and second place and win their respective classes.

The weather forecast for tomorrow's race promises similar conditions with clear skies ahead for the weekend.

Results - Day 1, 21 June 2012

Class 1
1. Highland Breeze
2. Ivanka
3. Ganesha
4. Scorpione dei Mare
5. Firefly
6. Saudade

Class 2
1. Reesle
2. This is Us
3. Ithaka
4. Maria Cattiva
5. Atalante
6. Drumfire

What Could the Volvo Ocean Race Learn from Le Mans?
As the Volvo Ocean Race boats were making their way into Lorient in France, one of the world's greatest races was taking place a three hour drive away in Le Mans.

An iconic, historic race was won by one of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the planet. If ever there was a way to convince a 'petrol-head' that driving a hybrid car is cool, then the Audi R18 E-TRON Quattro is it - however it is unlikely that such a car would exist if Le Mans was a 'one-design' race.

I've argued many times that sports car racing should be used as a model for more sailing events. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a race that sailing events organisers should study carefully - from the participation to manufacturers, to the mixing of prototype classes with 'production' classes, to the use of live radio to engage fans.

There is a lot of talk about what the format of the Volvo Ocean Race will should be for the next edition. Many have talked about the use of a one-design boat to reduce costs, and of course there is a lot of discussion about the route that the race should take, but these questions can only be addressed properly if the raison d'etre of the race is understood.

Previous winners of the Volvo Ocean Race are more often referred to by the boat (sponsor) name than the Skipper's name - even in the time of the 'legends' - Steinlager and ABN AMRO are the names that can be recalled.

The purpose of the Volvo Ocean Race then has been to build the best boat - and then get a team of great sailors to showcase how good the boat is. Of course there are some sailors who gain notoriety, but the boats are still the stars for now.

The same can be said for Le Mans. The winner of Le Mans is always a car marque - like Audi, or Ferrari. There are great drivers - like Tom Kristensen or Frank Biela, but the purpose of the race is to showcase the ride.

Full editorial by David Fuller on

Myth Of Malham
Photo of Rare by Hamo Thorneycroft, . Click on image to enlarge.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with the Myth of Malham Race. The 230-mile race, around the Eddystone Lighthouse is one of the longest races in the RORC calendar. It is a test of endurance and concentration and is extremely tactical, especially with regards to the strong tides that flow along the south west coast of England. Usually, a tough beat to the famous Eddystone Lighthouse is rewarded with a downwind return leg back to the Solent. The race also carries a weighted points factor of 1.2, making it even more important for the RORC Season's Points Championship.

In IRC One Jens Kuehne's RP48, Sjambok, is the scratch boat and will be giving away a considerable time handicap to Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum III, and Chaz Ivill's Grand Soleil 54, Trustmarque John B, the next highest rated boats in the class. It will be a race that the German team on Sjambok will remember well!

Here is a video from on board last year's wicked downhill sleigh ride back to the Solent from the Eddystone Lighthouse.

Also in IRC One Mark Emerson's Rodman 42, Phosphorus, has been scoring well in the RORC Season's Points Championship, including a class win in the North Sea Race. A good result in the Myth of Malham will move Phosphorus up to first place for the season in class and possibly pole position for the whole championship. However, the current class leaders; Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens and second place Nick Martin's J/105, Diablo J, are both in Ireland for the Round Ireland Race with a 1.5 weighted points factor.

America's Cup and Olympic helmsman Andy Beadsworth will be racing on board Magnum III, which won class in last week's IRC National Championship.

In IRC Three Todd Wells will be competing in only his second race with his new J/109, Je Vante.

Ten yachts will be racing Two-Handed including three Figaro yachts. The Artemis Offshore Sailing Academy's Artemis 43 with Liz Foreman and Robin Elsey on board should have a close battle with Katie Miller's Hot Socks and Ian Hoddle's Rare which will be easy to spot on the start line as it is bright pink. -- Louay Habib

ORCi European Championship Prysmian-Celadrin
Punta Ala, Italy: Just a few days remain and the excitement builds before the start of the 2012 ORCi European Championship Prysmian-Celadrin, organized by the Yacht Club Punta Ala for 23-30 June. After this weekend's two days of registration, measurement checks, and the opening ceremony, inshore racing is due to begin on Monday, 25 June, followed by a mix of inshore and offshore racing throughout the week until the end of competition on Saturday, 30 June.

As of today there are 33 teams entered from 8 countries, a number that organizers expect to grow even further in the few remaining days left to the start of the event. Entries with GPH ratings from between 450 and 599.9 seconds/mile) will be competing in Class A, while entries with GPH ratings between 600 and 660 seconds/mile will be competing in Class B. Overall results will be calculated from a series of inshore windward/leeward races held on 25, 28, 29 & 30 June, as well from a long offshore race held around the Tuscan Archipelago over 26-27 June.

Daily results, press releases in Italian and English, and photos from Fabio Taccola will be available at the event website:

Fleet Prepares as Tropical Storm 'Chris' Looms
What a difference a day makes in the life of an ocean racer as the ten international teams talking part in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race have been doing all they can to keep approaching tropical storm 'Chris' at bay.

In the last 24 hours, the fleet has received warning that 'Chris', which was expected to pass by, has been moving closer towards them and could produce further challenging conditions. Meteorologist and winning skipper of the Clipper Race in 2002, Simon Rowell, reports, "Today should be the strongest day of tropical storm 'Chris', with it forecasted to start curving northwards, reaching its furthest point east by midnight tonight. Depending where each team is positioned the centre could get pretty close to them, and even though the winds won't be more than they have seen many times before, the speed of change in wind direction and the confusion will add to the sea state which will make helming quite challenging."

With the tropical storm in sight, the teams have been busy plotting their best course to move away from its path whilst not jeopardising their position on the leader board, as well as carrying out preparations on board for the potential heavy upwind sailing.

Gold Coast Australia, Singapore and Welcome to Yorkshire continue to lead the pack, whilst Visit Finland has emerged from its period in Stealth Mode in the middle of the leader board.

At 0500GMT this morning, Qingdao crew member Lynn Harmer had a fall below decks and sustained an injury. Lynn is in a stable condition and is being looked after by a medically qualified crew member on board. The yacht is in contact with Falmouth Coast Guard and the Clipper Race Office.

As a precaution Qingdao has changed course towards Newfoundland (approx. 450 miles north west) to get Lynn closer to shore based medical support if it is required. If her condition improves, a decision may be taken to resume racing towards Derry-Londonderry. Further updates will be posted on the website.

The Clipper Race fleet is set to arrive into Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland between 29 June and 1 July.

Hydroptere DCNS Makes It Into The Pacific
Photo by Francis Demange. Click on image to enlarge.

On Tuesday morning, Hydroptere DCNS cleared the Panama Canal aboard a cargo ship which is heading for Los Angeles, the starting point for her Transpacific Record attempt.

24 days have passed since she set out from Toulon at the end of May and, barring any unexpected circumstances, the flying trimaran, which is in good company on deck alongside some massive wind turbine blades, is set to reach the port of Long Beach on Thursday 28 June. In France, the shore team is rounding off its preparations and will take off for the West in a few days time in order to see in the 'flying fish' and supervise her unloading.

The unloading at Long Beach will be followed by five days of work to be carried out in the dry, which will notably include setting up a new carbon skeg (a part whose role is to support the aft stabiliser), which is lighter and more reliable. We've also scheduled in some trials to finalise the servo-control of the trimaran's elevator in manual mode with the help of the engineers from DCNS. More responsive, the developed system will be crucial to the success of the attempt since it will enable the boat's trim to be more finely adjusted in the swell and hence minimize the risk of the bows burying into the waves.

If things go without a hitch, Hydroptere DCNS will be able to enjoy the Pacific waves for the first time during the first week of July. At that point a few sea trials will still be needed before the crew can put in their first tacks along the beaches of California.

The stand-by period for the WSSRC will begin on Thursday 5 July.

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The Last Word
No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up. -- Lily Tomlin

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