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ORCi European Championship Prysmian-Celadrin
Photo by Fabio Taccola. Click on image to enlarge.

ORCi European Championship Prysmian-Celadrin Punta Ala, Italy: With 30 boats participating to represent 8 countries and carrying a wide variety of talent on board, Day One of the 6-day ORCi European Championship Prysmian-Celadrin was still a long one. The light southwest breeze showed early promise, but never stabilized until late in the afternoon when Race 1 got started in 10-11 knots that held nearly constant for the next two hours as Class A did their 3-lap and Class B did their 2-lap race around the buoys.

By being the fastest in the fleet, G. Martin's TP52 Aniene not only sailed in clear air and completed the course over 11 minutes ahead of their nearest rival, but corrected to a victory of nearly 6 minutes over the day's runner-up in Class A, the Stillitano-Narduzzi partnership's Nautilus Wave. But the NM43 was only 19 seconds ahead of Andrea Lacorte's Salona 41 Vitamin A in corrected time, who beat Armin Schmid's new Farr 400 Sonnenkonig by 18 seconds, who in turn was ahead of Giovanni Labini's new Grand Soleil 46 Exprivia Luduan Reloaded by only 4 seconds. In fact, the boats finishing in 2nd through 7th places in this class were only 55 seconds apart in corrected time.

Being close in size to her rivals, Class B's winner, Giuseppe Giuffre's M37 Low Noise, did not have the same crushing effect on her rivals as did Aniene, finishing only 31 seconds ahead of runner-up Morgan, a new Grand Soleil 39 skippered by Nicola de Gemmis, and only 47 seconds ahead of Vincenzo de Blasio's NM38S Scugnizza.

Racing continues tomorrow, with the morning start of the long-distance race over a course of about 130 miles that is set up to be laps sailed from Punta Ala to the island of Giglio and return.

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Day 1
Photo by Paul Wyeth, Coutts Quarter Ton Cup Cowes, UK - Fast, furious, nail-biting fun is the best way to sum up today's opening action at the 2012 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes where the 30 teams enjoyed three amazing races in near perfect conditions. With only seconds separating many of the finishers, both on the water and on corrected time, the Quarter Tonners once again demonstrated why so many sailors have an enduring love affair with the class and what keeps them coming back time and time again.

From the tiny Love in a Mist, Dragon supremo Eric William's 1974 Waarschip design - the smallest and lowest rated boat in the regatta, up to Diamund Foley's 1980 Bruce Farr designed Anchor Challenge, which rates the highest, every team got a piece of the action at some point during the day.

Overall it was Peter Morton's newly refitted Bullit that put in the most consistent performance winning races 1 and 2 and coming second in race 3 to lead the regatta overall - not bad for a team sailing their boat for the first time! Whilst Bullit now has a relatively comfortable six point lead over their nearest competitor they most certainly didn't have it all their own way on the water and had to work extremely hard for their placing in each race.

Also very consistent throughout the day was Rickard Melander's 1990 Phil Morrison designed Alice who kept nipping away at the heels of the higher rated boats to end the day with a 3, 4, 3 score line putting them second overall, six points behind Bullit.

Three further races are planned for tomorrow with racing concluding on Wednesday 27June. Up to nine races are scheduled with a discard coming into play once seven races have been completed.

Full Results:

Elies And Delahaye Lead Through The Raz
Over the course of today the La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire fleet has successfully ticked off two of the most significant marks of leg one: the Chenal du Four, between the island of Ushant and the northwesternmost tip of France, and the Raz de Seine.

But a key moment of this leg in fact occurred before this as the boats attempted to get around the Portsall cardinal mark this morning. With the wind dying, the boats were forced to break away from the north Brittany coast and out into the powerful adverse current taking them back up the course. The lead trio of Yann Elies on Groupe Queguiner/Journal des enterprises, followed by Morgan Lagraviere on Vendee and Fabien Delahaye on Skipper MACIF 2012, made it round the mark virtually unscathed but after them there was major reshuffle and compression in the fleet with the fourth placed boat through to the 25th all regrouping back to within a mile of each other.

With the wind in the southwest, the boats entered the rock strewn Chenal du Four late morning.

Once through the Chenal du Four and fetching due south on starboard tack, the skippers have been able to grab their first sleep of the race. But all too briefly. At 1345 UTC the leaders had reached the Raz de Sein, the famous narrow corridor between Ile de Sein and the Pointe du Raz, and one of the most significant tidal gates of the course. Fortunately they were with the tide which isn't due to turn until around 1530 UTC and this should see most of the fleet through.

The effects of not making the tidal gates can already be seen with the Solitaire fleet backmarkers, Kristin Songe Moller and, unexpectedly Jean-Pierre Nicol on Bernard Controls, now 17 and 21 miles off the lead respectively, a position which in Nicol's case will be a hard position to recover from in the combined overall elapsed time scoring for La Solitaire.

With the Raz behind them, the lead skippers are back in the driving seat as they attempt to reach under spinnaker towards Pointe de Penmarche where they will be able to crack off on to a more comfortable course, assisted by the wind veering into the west.

Once round Pointe de Penmarche the boats will be heading for the Les Birvideaux to the east of the Quiberon Peninsula, the last mark of the course along the French coast before the boats are free to cross the Bay of Biscay to Gijon, a passage of just over 250 miles.

Top ten Tue 26 Jun 2012 05:00:00 AM CEST

1. Groupe Queguiner / Journal Des Entreprises, Yann Elies, 230.8 Nm To Leg 1 Finish
2. Skipper Macif 2012, Fabien Delahaye, 0.3 Nm To Leader
3. Vendee, Morgan Lagraviere 0.7
4. Generali, Nicolas Lunven, 3.6
5. Sepalumic, Frederic Duthil, 3.8
6. Cercle Vert, Gildas Morvan, 4.4
7. In Extenso Experts Comptables, Nicolas Jossier, 4.7
8. Nacarat, Erwan Tabarly, 5.0
9. Skipper Herault, Xavier Macaire, 5.1
10. Keopsys, Charlie Dalin, 5.1

J Class Yachts Practising Hard
Falmouth, UK: All four yachts were out practising on Sunday. With a perfect 12 knots and sunny conditions the yachts were out for more than four hours practising starts, and perfecting their impressive spinnaker handling.

Ranger, Lionheart and Rainbow are all using new dark North 3Di sails whilst Velsheda is using 3Dl. The black sails make a stark contrast with the horizon.

Whilst they got close at times, they never lined up together.

Race starts
After consultation with the captains at the race briefing; the race start has been moved to 1200 each day, weather permitting. You can view the yacht preparations from alongside the Maritime Museum or on the pontoons.

Top crews
All four crews have some of the most talented professionals in world sailing, including;
Earle Williams - Helmsman - Ranger
Godfrey Cray - Tactician - Ranger
Bouwe Bekking - Tactician - Lionheart
Tom Dodson - Tactician - Velsheda
Justin Clougher - Crew boss - Velsheda

Three of the owners will helm the boats themselves, including Chris Gongriep who boasts years of sailing experience, having raced Windrose for many years before building Rainbow.

Racing starts tomorrow at 1200.

Myth Of Malham (Round Eddystone) Race
J/105 Voador at the start of the 2012 RORC Myth of Malham. Photo by David Ballantyne. Click on image to enlarge.

Myth Of Malham (Round Eddystone) Race The 2012 RORC Season's Points Championship has been a tough series of races and the 230-mile Myth of Malham (Round Eddystone) Race was probably the harshest so far.

With a forecast of 30 knots of wind and big seas, many yachts took the decision not to race. However fifteen yachts decided to start the race. Twelve retired, mostly with sail damage, however, the entire fleet made it back to harbour. Whilst crew no doubt suffered bumps and bruises, there were no reports of injuries requiring medical attention and the coastguard received no requests for assistance

Harry Heijst's S&S 41, Winsome, completed the race winning IRC 4 and coming second overall. Winsome's efforts have lifted them to the pole position in the RORC Season's Points Championship, both in class and overall.

Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum III, took line honours for the race and a win in IRC One. Olympic and America's Cup helmsman Andy Beadsworth was on board for his first offshore with the Magnum III team prior to the forthcoming Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

Although Magnum III took line honours, the Myth of Malham Race was won by J/105, Voador. What makes the victory so admirable is that Voador was raced Two Handed by a father and daughter team of Simon and Nikki Curwen.

Simon Curwen is a veteran of short-handed racing, in 2001 he came second in the Mini Transat, beating notable competition including Sam Davies and Brian Thompson. However, his daughter Nikki is just 23 and after graduating from University works in Bournemouth in the media industry.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the Round Ireland Race, which started on Sunday 24th June. The next race of the series will start on Friday 29th June with the East Coast Race from West Mersea across the North Sea to Breskens. -- Louay Habib

Andy Shaw Wins Royal Southern Academy Match Cup Final
Click on image to enlarge.

Royal Southern Academy Match Cup The scheduled racing days on Saturday and Sunday (June 23 & 24) were hit by gales and the fleet of Pelican SB20s were stuck in Cowes, Isle of Wight! In the end, as the boats couldn't get to the event, the event went to the boats and, after the briefing at the Royal Southern, a flotilla of RIBs and Committee Boats set off through the Solent chop to rendezvous with the finalists in Osborne Bay.

With a stiff south-westerly but in sheltered water, PRO David Arnold hoisted the 'Yankee' flag - no spinnakers - and racing began with the competitors undeterred by the conditions. Despite full-on engagement in the pre-starts and some really tight matches, there were no boat on boat collisions and just the one gentle hand-off with the Committee Boat. Qualifiers from the earlier heats, including last year's winner Sam Pearson, Ali Hall, Andy Shaw and Allan Higgs, were joined by Pete Nicholas and 'Team Freshie' from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Western Australia and the highest placed in the ISAF rankings.

Going through to the semi-finals Andy Shaw beat Ali Hall in the first semi-, whilst in a dramatic change of fortune in the second semi-, Sam Pearson went into a mighty broach as his boom caught on the backstay while gybing. Heading back to the weather mark is not a quick way to get downwind and so Pete Nicholas charged by to enter the final against Andy Shaw.

His win also qualified Shaw for entry into the RYA's National Match Racing Final. In the petit-final where the lead again changed hands several times, Ali Hall's 'major move' on the last downwind leg saw him home ahead of Sam Pearson, who commented wistfully, 'Just not our day today'.

Final results of the Royal Southern Academy Match Cup.

1. Andy Shaw, Royal Southern Academy
2. Pete Nicholas, Royal Freshwater Bay YC
3. Ali Hall, Royal Southern YC
4. Sam Pearson, Team Wight Racing, Royal Southern Academy

Royal Yacht To Race Off Airlie Beach
Top performing Spanish TP52 class sloop Bribon has become the latest high profile ocean racer nominated for the 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week Grand Prix IRC class championship.

The sleek ocean racer officially owned by King Juan Carlos of Spain has been chartered by prominent Sydney businessman and former Rolex Sydney Hobart Race winner Geoffrey Ross. Bribon will have a name change and will race over the tactically testing Whitsunday Sailing Club courses under the famed Yendys battle flag before heading to contest the Audi Australian IRC championship at Hamilton Island from August 18-25.

While Geoff Ross has the career distinction of winning the prestigious Grand Prix title at Hamilton Island in 2007 this will be his first challenge to win the important series off Airlie Beach.

During a recent interview with Rob Mundle Geoff Ross explained that he had been working hard building his wealth management business in China and needed to rekindle his yacht racing career.

"I searched the world for the best yacht and found that Bribon was available for charter so I stuck a deal and arranged for the yacht to be shipped to Australia".

"Bribon has arrived in Brisbane and we should be sailing in a few weeks". The normally enthusiastic Geoff Ross said.

The renamed sloop Yendys and the Anthony Lyall owned and skippered Tasmanian TP52 Cougar ll are poised to stage a one-design 'drag race' for the boat of the regatta title and this contest promises to have their crews racing at peak performance before they are required to enter the tactical 'bull ring' against the defending Audi Australian champion and 2011 Brisbane to Gladstone race winner the Marcus Blackmore skippered Sydney TP52 Hooligan. -- Ian Grant

2012 Poole Regatta Winners Celebrate With Wight Vodka
Click on image to enlarge.

Wight Vodka The International Paint 2012 Poole Regatta was run over the extended Jubilee bank holiday weekend, and was an action packed event with a full social programme shared among the Clubs of Poole. The massive list of classes included the 2.4m, Cruiser 1, Cruiser 2, Flying 15, Flying Dutchman, IRC 1, IRC 2, IRC 3, J24 Nationals, MOCRA, R19, Redwing, Shrimper, Sonata XOD Classes and two 70ft yachts entered by the Regatta Charity, The Tall Ships Youth Trust.

The Poole Regatta, whose main sponsor is International Paint, brings together all of the Sailing Clubs of Poole and illustrates the direction that Poole is taking as a significant strength in the sailing world. The event is held biannually and there were over 130 competitors sailing in Poole Bay and Poole Harbour. The festivities started at the Royal Motor Yacht Club and the Du Vin Poole on Friday evening with Wight Vodka cocktails flowing, followed by the Parkstone Yacht Club on Saturday, Poole Yacht Club on Sunday and finished off with a superb prize-giving on Monday afternoon back at Royal Motor YC.

The weather was great for sailing, with really varied conditions and dry and often sunny skies, Congratulations to the class winners who took home the Wight Vodka spoils: The team of Turner and Batchelor took the J24 Nationals on Serco, Jim Macgregor's Premier Flair took IRC 1, Ian Braham's Enigma took IRC 2 and Ian Foster's Kudos took IRC 3. The International 2.4m winner is Steve Bullmore's Noggin the NOD, the Cruiser 1 winner is Brian Thompson and Ivor Graham's Deity, the Cruiser 2 winner is M Reynell's Opus, the Flying 15 class was won by Chris Gorringe's Tempus ffugit, the Flying Dutchman Nationaqls and Regatta Trophy was won by Alex Rogers' Scrote Boat, and the MOCRA class was won by Phil Cotton's Buzz, the R19 winner was Julian Peach's Rapier, the Redwing class was won by Tony Byrne's Kingfisher, Philip Atha's Isolde won the Shrimper class, Owain Peters' Frankie the Rhino won the Sonata class, Challenger 4 won the Tall Ships and McNeill and Tredea's Lara won the XOD class.

Who Won The Newport Bermuda Race? No Single Winner… 6 Divisions and 17 Classes
Hamilton, Bermuda: No single boat 'wins' the Newport Bermuda Race. This classic ocean race has 5 divisions and 16 classes. The 166 boats entered in 2012 raced for over 100 trophies including 5 major division trophies under the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) system, and a one major prize for IRC that combines most boats in the St. David's and Gibbs Hill Divisions that choose to be dual scored. There was also one prize for the Spirit of Tradition Division. Winners in the 17 classes won perpetual trophies and up to 4-deep keepers based on the number of boats in the class.

The St. David's Lighthouse is often regarded as the main trophy because that division is the largest with 93 boats, and because it carries on the founder's aim to get amateurs sailing offshore in cruising-racing boats. Winning any division is worth bragging rights.

St. David's Lighthouse Division for the St. David's Lighthouse Trophy:
Carina, the McCurdy & Rhodes 48, sailed by Rives Potts (Westbrook CT), finished at 18:16:59 Monday. Her corrected time was 45:08:16. This division is for mostly amateur crews.

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division for the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy:
George Sakellaris in the Reichel/Pugh Shockwave (Boston MA) crossed the line third on elapsed at 8:55:25 on Sunday. She had a corrected time of 39:06:56. This division allows full professional crews.

Cruiser Division for the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy:
Simon and Nancy De Pietro's Briand 76 Lilla (Cork IRL) crossed the line at 7:17:13 on Tuesday. Her corrected time was 59:46:539. This division is for mostly amateur crews sailing cruising style boats.

Double-Handed Division for The Moxie Prize:
Hewitt Gaynor's J120 Mireille (Mt. Sinai, NY) co-skippered by Jay Raymond (Whitefish Bay WI). Mireille's finished at 18:32:34 on Monday and her corrected time was 55:57:57. One professional is allowed, if that person is the owner.

Open Division for the Royal Mail Trophy:
Michael D' Amelio (Hamilton. Bermuda) skipper of the Welborn 92 Med Spirit. She finished at 13:56:28 Sunday and her corrected time was 45:26:28. This division is for cant-keel boats with full professional crews allowed.

Combined Gibbs Hill and St. David's Lighthouse Divisions for the IRC North Rock Beacon Trophy:
George Sakellaris in the Reichel/Pugh Shockwave (Framingham MA) crossed the line third on elapsed time at 8:55:25 on Sunday. She had an IRC corrected time of 65:19:30. This prize allows for full professional crews and amateurs.

Spirit of Tradition Division:
The War Baby Trophy for the winner of the division was presented to Spirit of Bermuda which finished at 23:20:17 Monday night. -- Talbot Wilson

Final results:

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The Last Word
It's no use blaming anyone now.... It is not that I fear death. I fear it as little as to drink a cup of tea. -- Ned Kelly

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