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La Solitaire Du Figaro
In decidedly autumnal conditions, the opening leg of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire set sail from Paimpol on the north coast of France at 1300 local time (1100 UTC) today, with Cercle Vert skipper Gildas Morvan, at the head of the 37-strong fleet.

Earlier the singlehanded skippers bid farewell to their families and loved ones dockside in Paimpol before casting off to cheers from the crowd that had assembled, despite the persistent drizzle.

With a substantial spectator and press fleet out braving the grey conditions, along with the 37 singlehanded Figaros, so the race committee set up a long start line which at least half of the fleet nailed spot on, in the light northwesterly breeze.

Jean-Pierre Nicol on Bernard Controls made the best of the first beat and led around the top mark ahead of Vincent Biarnes on Prati'Bûches and Fred Duthil on Sepalumic. Holding fifth place, was the first of the three Artemis Offshore Academy skippers, Nick Cherry.

ETAs into Gijon are still looking like Thursday, but the area of high pressure in the Bay of Biscay is now being forecast to reach the boats sooner, just after the boats pass Les Birvideaux, the last turning mark off the southwest Brittany coast.

Top ten at press time (37 boats)

1. Groupe Queguiner / Journal Des Entreprises, Yann Elies, 374.8 Nm To Leg 1 Finish
2. Vendee. Morgan Lagraviere 0.0 Nm To Leader
3. Skipper Macif 2012, Fabien Delahaye, 0.4
4. In Extenso Experts Comptables, Nicolas Jossier, 1.0
5. Generali, Nicolas Lunven, 1.1
6. Dlbcy, Ann Richomme, 1.2
7. La Solidarite Mutualiste, Damien Guillou, 1.3
8. Skipper Herault, Xavier Macaire, 1.4
9. Artemis 77, Nick Cherry, 1.5
10. Nacarat, Erwan Tabarly, 1.6

* Despite a growing shorthanded racing scene in Norway, a Norwegian sailor has never previously taken part in La Solitaire du Figaro. This will change in 2012 with Norway represented in singlehanded offshore racing's effective world championship by a 6ft tall blond woman. Kristin Songe Moller, from Sandefjord on the west side of the Oslo fjord, comes from a sailing family. Her father was a three time Norwegian Optimist champion. Although 35 years old, she jokes that her experience is less because in Norway they can only sail for around four months each year.

Watersports have always been part of Kristin's life. During her late teens and early 20s she was part of the Norwegian Olympic team on the Mistral sailboard. However over the last decade, she has been a regular on the Norwegian shorthanded circuit where the Watski Skagerrak TwoStar is the top event, a 300 miler which can be sailed double or singlehanded. Kristin has sailed in every edition of this for the last 11 years, save for 2012. Last year she tried to race in its singlehanded division, but wasn't allowed. "They didn't think it was safe, so I asked my father, nicely, if he could be a passenger for the race so the poor guy stayed down below, like a ball in a wash machine!"

Round Ireland Yacht Race
Photo of Green Dragon by Brian Carlin, Click on image for photo gallery.

Round Ireland Race At 1200 hrs Sunday, the Round Ireland race got off to a furious start! - mayhem on the start line as not an inch to spare separating some boats. Tonnerre was rammed on her starboard side by another overtaking competitor just a few feet from us as we shot over the start line amongst a furiously competitive and tightly bunched up fleet. The noise of the collision was intense! - Currently sailing neck and neck with MAX VMG which is another class 40, just up to windward. Identical boat speeds just now. -- report from Alex Bennett, Team Wild Goose

The most popular way to stay up-to-date on the progress of competitors will be through the Race Tracker. Viewers will be able to closely watch the race unfold tack by tack and replay the race at any stage.


Live leaderboard:

Event sites:

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup
Alice ll, Rickard Melander (SWE) training off Cowes. Photo by Rick Tomlinson, Click on image to enlarge.

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Cowes, UK - The 2012 edition of the ever-popular Coutts Quarter Ton Cup kicks off on Monday 25 June and will feature three days of close quarters racing plus three nights of relaxed, fun filled partying for the 30+ boats and crews taking part in this revival event.

This year's regatta has attracted a record number of overseas entries including Rickard Melander's Alice II from Sweden - fresh from victory at the recent Vice Admiral's Cup, Pierre Paris's Pinguin Playboy from France, Theo and Andre Bakker's Freres-sur-Mer from the Netherlands and George Andreadis's Atalanti IV from Greece, who make a most welcome return to the class after 21 years. Reigning Corinthian (all amateur) Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Champion George Kenefick and his young crew from Ireland will be back once more aboard Tiger to defend their Corinthian title.

New teams racing in the event for the first time include four more Irish boats - Paul Colton's 1979 Alain Jezequel designed Cri Cri; Jason and Dominic Losty's Fauroux designed Illes Pitiuses; Diamund Foley who now owns the Bruce Farr designed Anchor Challenge; and Ian Travers with Per Elisa. Ian can't attend the regatta personally as his wife delivered their first baby last week, but he has lent the boat to his crew for the regatta. Olivia Chenevix-Trench has just taken delivery Catch Me from France and all the way from Holland we have Joker, owned by the White/Byrne/White syndicate, who will be hard to miss in her distinctive orange livery.

Joining the overseas visitors will be lots of familiar faces although some of those faces will be in new boats, including revival Quarter Ton Class founder Peter "Morty" Morton. Morty will be racing his newly refitted 1977 Fauroux design Bullit and will be hoping to take the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup for a record third time in three different boats (his first victory was in 2007 in Espada and his second in 2009 in Anchor Challenge).

Registration for the event opens on Sunday 24 June and championship racing will take place in the Central Solent from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 June. Nine races are scheduled with a minimum of three races being required to constitute a series. If six or more races are sailed one discard will be applied.

Revived Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Winners

2005 - Purple Haze (1977 David Thomas design) - Tony Dodd
2006 - Enigma - (1977 Ed Dubois design) - Ed Dubois
2007 - Espada - (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Peter Morton
2008 - Tom Bombadil (1982 Doug Peterson design) - Chris Frost & Kevin George
2009 - Anchor Challenge (1978 Bruce Farr design) - Peter Morton
2010 - Cote (1990 Gonzalez design) - Darren Marston & Olly Ophaus
2011 - Overall - Espada (1980 Bruce Farr design) - Louise Morton
Corinthian - Tiger (1989 Fauroux design) - George Kenefick

You will be able to keep up with all the news from the 2012 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup via the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Blog and the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club website.

Stephen Murray's 'Decision' Wins Onion Patch Series
Hamilton, Bermuda: The new Carkeek HP40 'Decision' owned by Steve Murray (New Orleans LA) was the top Onion Patch boat in the Newport Bermuda Race and then the talented 'Decision' team put on a top performance in Friday's Royal Bermuda YC Anniversary Regatta presented by the Butterfield Group to come out as the first place individual boat in the series.

'Decision' edged out Lawrence Dickie's 'Ptarmigan' by only 0.5 points and beat the US Naval Academy TP52 'Invictus' by 2.25. 'Invictus' had led going into the Bermuda event but finished that day in 11th place.

As the top individual boat in the Onion Patch Series, Murray wins the Henry B. du Pont Trophy.

The NYYC Red Team of Rives Potts' McCurdy & Rhodes 48 'Carina', Andrew Weiss' J122 'Christopher Dragon', Jim Bishop's J44 'Gold Digger' won the team competition. Their prize is the Onion Patch Trophy.

NYYC Blue— 'Stark Raving Mad', 'Dorade' and 'Temptation' (which did not sail in the RBYC Anniversary Regatta) finished second, and The US Naval Academy with 'Invictus', 'Defiance' and 'Swift' came in third.

The Onion Patch is a tough triathlon of sailboat racing that combines closed course and ocean courses in three world-class venues. Boats from all IRC classes in the Newport Bermuda Race were eligible to enter and must also have raced the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta and the RBYC Anniversary Regatta, too.

The Onion Patch Series concluded Friday, June 22 with the RBYC Anniversary Regatta presented by the Butterfield Group.

Two Handed Transatlantic Race 2012
Andrea Mura and Ricardo Apolloni were the first to cross the finishing line of the Two Handed Transatlantic Race 2012 (Twostar), establishing a new record for this boat race. Mura and Apolloni arrived in Newport (Rhode Island, U.S.A.) at 7.47 p.m. local time on Saturday 16th June 2012 (it was 01.47 a.m. In Italy, 17th June), they are the first Italian skippers to win overall this boat race.

The two Italian skippers won the race in 13 days, 12 hours and 47 minutes on board of the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna (designed by Felici Yachts) and they set a new record for the monohull division of the Two Handed Transatlantic Race 2012 (Twostar).

This ocean yacht race, which is 2,786 miles long, is organized by the Royal Western Yacht Club. The racers left from Plymouth, Great Britain, on June, 3rd to arrive to Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The previous record dated back to 1994 and was established by the 60 foot, Cherbourg Technologies in a time of 15 days 00 hours and 31 minutes.

Mr Mura and Mr Apolloni are the first Italian skippers to win this legendary boat race, both arriving first in real time - and therefore winning the prestigious Line Honors - and in compensated time. The two skippers have thus become the first Italian crew to set the sailing record for the race. After winning the 2010 edition of the Route du Rhum and the Two Handed Transatlantic Race 2012, Andrea Mura is definitely playing an important role in the international oceanic races.

Clipper Race 13: Nova Scotia - Derry-Londonderry
It's been 'another day in the office' for the Clipper Race fleet over the past 24 hours with 25 knots of headwind, slamming into waves and living at a 30 degree angle the norm for ocean racing in the North Atlantic.

"The North Atlantic Ocean is a living breathing animal, who seemed particularly angry today, not friendly at all, but now she seems quietly content to let us go, making our lives hard but not desperate," says Derry-Londonderry skipper, Mark Light, as he continues to push his yacht home to its home port.

Despite Welcome to Yorkshire maintaining the lead, further south Gold Coast Australia, currently in second place, celebrated being the first yacht to cross the line of latitude marking the start of the Ocean Sprint at 0317GMT this morning; the crew will be aiming to set a sprint time for the rest of the fleet to beat for a valuable extra point. Meanwhile, Singapore skipper Ben Bowley was left frustrated as complications with sails brought the yacht to a halt for some hours during the night.

"What started as a broken guy and a swiftly dropped kite has turned into a disaster on the 'Big Red Bus'. We have ended up with such a mess of halyards that we have been unable to raise any headsails or kites since midnight. If we don't get moving soon then we shall miss our express ride to the north west and the whole point of sailing more miles to the east will be negated," reports a frustrated Ben Bowley.

Geraldton Western Australia is currently in third place and with the frontrunners just over 900 miles from shore, the Clipper Race fleet is set to start arriving into Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, between 29 June and 1 July.

Running The Rhumblines
The ever reliable Southerly trade winds again provided the Whitsunday Sailing Club fleet with a competitive test of tactical handicap racing on Pioneer Bay last week.

Predictably Peter Millar's power sailing catamaran Cynaphobe left a white water wake for her rivals to follow when the crew enjoyed another fast ride to score a runaway line and corrected time win.

The result was a repeat performance from the previous week where the Cynaphobe crew also outpaced their high .904 handicap to set up a commanding 8 point lead in the sprint race championship.

Cynaphobe nominated to contest the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week multihull class championship in August against a fleet including the Sean Langman skippered Brisbane to Gladstone Race record breaker Team Australia has shown the all angle sailing speed to be a star performer in the sprint racing format.

Only time will tell if her crew can reproduce the same form when the battle lines are drawn for the honour of winning the Telcoinabox class championship trophy over the longer and more tactically testing passage race courses in August.

However while Cynaphobe proved to be a runaway winner in the multihull class the battle for honours in the Division 2 keel boat class was resolved by the narrow margin of one second.

Veteran helmsman Harold Menelaus has been involved in many tactical 'dog-fights' during his lengthy career but few can compare with last week's win where Treasure Vlll denied the Charles Wallis skippered Reignition the opportunity to claim the line and handicap double by the narrowest possible margin.

When Reignition produced what was considered to be a faultless performance to win the line honours by a comfortable 2 minutes 7 seconds over the Damien Suckling skippered Another Fiasco her crew thought they held a strong chance to claim the win on handicap as well.

But when Treasure Vlll completed the course in third place with an elapsed time of 1 hour 1 minute 33 seconds her crew effectively dampened the celebrations for the Reignition racing team when the final results were declared favouring Treasure Vlll over Reignition while Rod Sawyer steered Surefoot into third another 7 seconds astern.

Andrew Wood aptly chose the nautical name of Driftwood for his Division 3 class sloop but she proved to be no slow sailing slouch when they recorded a runaway 4 minute 37 second corrected handicap win over Hooter (Terry Kelly) while class leader Breakaway (Rob Davis) filled third another 59 seconds off the pace. -- Ian Grant

Brewin Dolphin British Open Metre Regatta
The renaissance of the Six Metre class has completely established itself over the past decade and there is plenty of activity in the class this year. Wednesday June 27th sees the first race in the 3-day Brewin Dolphin British Open Metre Regatta, organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, when the Sixes, both classic and modern, will be competing for trophies including the Royal Southern Yacht Club Challenge Trophy, presented by Southern Television and first awarded in 1979.

The Classic Class includes the oldest yacht in the regatta, Fenton Burgin's Sioma which was designed by Johan Anker and built in 1927. At 85 years old she is still racing regularly and will be joined by another vintage six, Christian Teichmann's Abu, built in 1933. Very little in terms of performance separates the Classics from the Moderns.

In the Modern Class, competitors include Andy Ash Vie's Wildcat, fresh from a podium 3rd place in the British Open Championships, held in Cornwall at the beginning of June. Also in the line up will be brothers Tom and Robin Richardson, competing against each in their respective yachts Georgia and St Kitts.

The 1987 built Blade originally built for Larry Marks is a modified version from the same mould of Ian Howlett's Kurlew, winner of the Seawanhaka Cup. Avia Willment bought her in 2008 and will be bringing her to the event. Also joining the fleet will be Martin Belvisi's Victoria.

Many old yachts restored or rebuilt to racing condition and Six Metre competition is once again thriving. Principal Race Officer David Arnold is expecting to have some very competitive racing within the fleet. Courses will be raced in the mid-Solent.

Adding an historical background to the event will be the 12 Metre Sceptre, which raced as the America's Cup Challenger in 1958. She will be dressed overall and berthed in front of the Royal Southern's Clubhouse for the duration of the regatta. The Brewin Dolphin British Open Metre Regatta is supported by Gaastra Pro Gear and Piper-Heidsieck Champagne.

Full details including Notice Of Race and Sailing Instructions can be found on the Club web site.

3/4 Ton Class Racing Revival
Click on image to enlarge.

3/4 Ton Class Racing Revival Many years ago, for those who can remember, Level Rating was established in the mid 70's for 6 Classes of IOR Rated yachts from Mini Ton to 2 Ton. These virtual 'one design' yacht classes from numerous designers successfully raced together on a 'first past the post' basis. This produced excellent racing both inshore and offshore that worked well until IOR faded in the mid 80's.

Today the ex 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 Ton yachts are in the smallest Class in RORC, JOG, Cowes Week and local club races. With the inevitable widening of class spreads, the increasing number of 'sprit' boats, the increased larger average size of yachts and predominance of short multiple W/L courses, racing is becoming more and more difficult for these aging smaller sized yachts under 35ft.

Having noted that there has been a revival of 1/4 Ton and 1/2 Ton yachts racing together again, there is a potential market to re-introduce a 3/4 Ton Class to race on the South Coast. I am sure that there would be many clubs interested to include a 3/4 Ton Start on their Line with a traditional Ton Cup Olympic Course of 20-25 NM using IRC Ratings. However, this project needs the owners to make it happen.

The proposal has the support of the RORC's Rating Office who have confirmed that recent 1/4 and 1/2 Ton races have produced excellent close racing results. Owners of SJ35's, DB1's, MG RS34's, X-3/4 Ton, UFO34's, Nicholson 33's and yachts from other designers and builders are invited to contact to help initiate this project in time for the 2013 racing calendar.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2011 Aquila RP45 Racer/Cruiser "Limited Edition". US$ 525,000. Located in New Zealand.

Versatility and performance are at the forefront of the Aquila Racer/Cruiser design with the ultimate goal of a fast and competitive yacht, that is as comfortable on the race course as it is in the world's finest cruising grounds. As difficult as it can be to achieve these goals, the end product's primary attributes include moderate volume, high stability, a comfortable interior, modern appendages and a manageable sail plan; all bundled in a hull form born from the highest levels of grand prix racing. The Aquila 45 leads the world with this new breed of fast, fun, exciting yachts blending the newest IRC (International Racing Class) design features into a comfortably sized inshore / offshore racer / cruiser.

Brokerage through All Boat Brokerage Ltd.:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses. -- Johannes Kepler

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