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A Gulf War for the Figaro Fleet
In a flimsy 2.4-knot south-westerly on a mirror-like sea, less than 200 miles from Gijon the skippers are fighting in slow-motion, longing for the new easterly breeze that should reach them later tonight. This 'Gulf war' requires the sailors to have nerves of steel to gain even a few meters, constant vigilance to keep sails filled as best they can, and mental alertness to position themselves best to enter the new breeze.

Today the often fearsome Bay of Biscay more resembles an alpine lake, where the leaders have hopelessly watched their advantage vanish in the high-pressure mist as their adversaries attack them on all fronts. All of the skippers are struggling to advance towards a Spanish finish line that looks more and more distant, their sole consolation in the weather, which has improved with slowly rising temperatures and an end to the previous pouring rain.

The leading trio of Yann Elies (Groupe Queguiner - Le Journal des Entreprises), Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) and Morgan Lagraviere (Vendee) has maintained only the slightest of advantages, no more than a few hundred meters on their competitors. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva), Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat), Paul Meilhat (Skipper Macif 2011), Damien Guillou (La Solidarite Mutualiste) and Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement), despite being spread out across the racecourse, have closed dangerously on the front-runners' lead as the fleet develops a lateral west/east separation of more than 12 miles. This 're-start' with fewer than 200 miles from Gijon could represent a golden opportunity for the trailing boats and those who were six or seven miles behind have now closed the gap to just three or four, with a possible chance to get back into the game.

Top ten at 26 June 2012 19:00:00 CEST

1. Vendee, Morgan Lagraviere, 185.5 nm to leg finish
2. Groupe Queguiner / Journal Des Entreprises, Yann Elies, 0.5 nm to leader
3. Groupe Fiva, Alexis Loison, 0.6
4. Gedimat, Thierry Chabagny, 0.9
5. La Solidarite Mutualiste, Damien Guillou, 1.1
6. Skipper Macif 2012, Fabien Delahaye, 1.3
7. Skipper Macif 2011, Paul Meilhat, 1.5
8. Agir Recouvrement, Adrien Hardy, 1.9
9. Generali, Nicolas Lunven, 2.1
10. Financiere De L'echiquier, Thomas Normand, 2.5

A Fantastic First Day
Tuesday June 26 was a fabulous start for the ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds

Fantastic sailing with tight, tough matches right from the start. Wonderful weather; sun and the wind we wanted, northerly - northwesterly that increased during the day, said the principal race officer Annika Ekman.

The matches in group A went without hitches. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA),Ekaterina Skudina (RUS), Sally Barkow (USA) and Olivia Price (AUS) actually won all their matches; leaving Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA), Mandy Mulder (NED), Julie Bossard (FRA) and Anna Kjellberg (SWE) with only losses.

Group B had more varied results. After three flights only Claire Leroy (FRA) and Silja Lehtinen (FIN) had won all their matches. Lucy Macgregor (GBR) and Renee Groeneveld (NED) won two each. Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) and Rita Gonçalves (POR) each got one win and Silke Hahlbrook (GER) lost all three matches.

The Way To Weymouth
The Way to Weymouth with Sperry Top-Sider With this year's sailing events just around the corner, hear what the Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes have to say about their goals for the event.

Paul Goodison, Graham Biehl, Lucy Macgregor and many others from the UK, Europe and USA speak on qualifying, preparation as well as their hopes and dreams for this year's games.

For the full story, go to:

"This summer is going to be a once in a lifetime experience. Many people dream about it and then a precious few actually get to compete..."

Patriotic Support at ACWS - Newport
Team New Zealand has a close encounter with the Louis Vuitton boat... Photo by Carlo Borlenghi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Patriotic Support at ACWS Newport, Rhode Island, USA: In practice last weekend for ACWS - Newport, team skipper Jimmy Spithill acknowledged the local support ORACLE TEAM USA, defender of the 2013 America's Cup, received on the waters of Narragansett Bay.

In two days' time, championship racing for ACWS - Newport will begin with ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL looking to secure the first-ever overall season title. Spithill and crew Dirk de Ridder, John Kostecki, Joe Newton and Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen hold a 4-point lead over Emirates Team New Zealand and skipper Dean Barker.

For Russell Coutts, who is returning to the helm of the No. 5 boat for the first time since last September, he issued fair warning to his fellow competitors today. "If we're suffering from a lack of training these other skippers should stay out of the way this week because anything could happen," Coutts joked.

The racecourse figures to offer a few opportunities. While one side of the boundary will be along the shoreline of Fort Adams, the course should be wide and offer open racing. The tacticians will be taking note of the current, which might affect how a crew plays the course.

"With these boats it seems like the current will play a factor upwind in a normal, southwesterly seabreeze," said Kostecki, who has raced in Newport many times through his career. "You can get up to 3 knots of current, so I believe you could get an advantage by playing a certain side. Downwind the speed of the AC45 seems to negate the effects of the current, but it could play a big factor on the upwind legs."

Racing begins Thursday at 12:00 pm EDT with the first fleet race. The results of that race will determine the seeding for the ensuing quarterfinal round of the match racing. Each pair will sail a best-of-three series with the winners moving on to the semifinal round on Friday. The quarterfinal round is scheduled 12:40-3:20 pm.

2011-12 America's Cup World Series Overall Standings (After five of six scheduled events)

Team (Country) Match - Fleet - Total Points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 36 - 44 - 80
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) 43 - 28 - 71
4. Energy Team (FRA) 32 - 33 - 65
5. Team Korea (KOR) 30 - 26 - 56
6. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (USA) 29 - 24 - 53
7. Luna Rossa Piranha 18 - 16 - 34
8. China Team (CHN) 13 - 15 - 28
9. Green Comm Racing (ESP) 11 - 12 - 23
10. Luna Rossa Swordfish 11 - 10 - 21

Oman Sail Arrives In Newport
Photo by Richard Langdon, Click on image for photo gallery.

Oman Sail Arrives In Newport The countdown has started to one of Oman Sail's most exciting milestones after its new Multi One Design 70 Musandam-Oman Sail arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, ahead of the 2012 Krys Ocean Race next month.

Skipper Sidney Gavignet has crossed the Atlantic 25 times, but for two of the three Omani sailors Fahad Al Hasni, and Khamis Al Anbouri, the 3,700nm (6852 km) delivery from Lorient to Newport was their first transatlantic passage. Mohsin Al Busaidi has crossed the Atlantic once before.

"There were some challenging conditions but they coped with them well especially the Omani sailors who are more used to 45 degree temperatures," said Gavignet who reported they had sailed through storms, thick fog and big seas during their nine days and three hours at sea.

The crew had spent just 24 days and one night on board the boat before they set sail but the delivery had been a big success and a boost to their confidence.

The eight-strong MOD 70 crew will be based at Newport Shipyard Marina from Thursday 28 June putting Musandam-Oman Sail through a series of safety and technical checks.

On July 2, they will line up alongside the four other high-speed trimarans for the 120nm prologue race to New York, where the finish line has been set on the Hudson River, with the world famous landmark Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.

For the following five days, the fleet will be berthed at New York's North Cove Marina but since they will be in full race mode, crews will not be permitted to carry out any further work.

The racing starts in earnest on July 5 when the five trimarans go head to head in a speed match as a shakedown to the historic moment two days later when Philippe Lalliot, the French Consul in New York and Francois Cuillandre, the Mayor of Brest will fire the start gun of the first ever Krys Ocean Race from New York to Brest.

Musandam-Oman Sail MOD 70 crew list
Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
Ryan Breymaier (USA) (stand-in for Loik Gallon (FRA), who is injured)
Fahad Al Hasni (OMA)
Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA)
Khamis Al Anbouri (OMA)
Jeff Cuzon (FRA)
Brian Thompson (GBR)
Thomas Le Breton (FRA)

Showdown of the Series' Winners and World Champions
On the final racing day of the Olympic Star and the 14 international classes, there was no sunshine, but the favorite athletes had a chance to show their talent in light winds. Five-times World Champion Wolfgang Hunger (Strande) with Julien Kleiner (Munich) took the chance to build up his record series for Kiel Week and gain his 20th victory in the 505 and 470. Johannes Polgar's and Markus Koy's (Hamburg) victory in the Star was remarkable with ten first places.

For Johannes Polgar, winning in the Star was his second victory of the Kiel Week. For Detlef Mohr his first place in the Hobie 16 was also an anniversary, with changing crew on the foresheet he was already celebrating his tenth victory in Kiel. For Karen Wichardt as his crew it was the fourth victory.

Despite a gaffe on the final racing day, Steffen Stegger from Denmark brought home the victory in the H-Boat. Winning the last race, the World Champion from 2010 defended his title at Kiel Week.

In the Folkeboat local hero Walther Furthmann won. Per Joergensen from Denmark, Kiel Week winner in 2010 and winner of the Gold Cup in 2002, was disqualified in one race and had to give away the first place to the competitor from Kiel.

Soeren Andreasen from Denmark, who sailed in the Contender on rank three at the Worlds in April this year, won two races on the last day at Kiel Week and took the overall victory. World Champion from 2005 Jan von der Bank finally was on rank two, while record World Champion Andrea Bonezzi (Italy) fell off the podium and had to give away the third place to Jesper Nielsen from Denmark.

In the OK-Dinghy, the leading teams offered another exciting racing day. While the Ex-World Champions Thomas Hansson-Mild from Sweden and Greg Wilcox from new Zealand did not have a good racing day with some mishaps, reigning World Champion Nick Craig (Great Britain) had a strong day with one third and one first place. At the end of the day, Hansson-Mild won the series by a small margin, followed by Craig and Wilcox.

There was no doubt about the victory in the Flying Dutchman. Szabolcs Majthenyi/Andras Domokos from Hungary were unimpressed by Laser star Philipp Buhl (Sonthofen) with Adalbert Netzer as crew. The eight-times World Champions won eight out of ten races and celebrated their fourth victory in a row at Kiel.

New faces were seen in the leading positions of the classes dominated by young sailors. The Spanish sailors Carlos Robles/Florian Trittel demonstrated an excellent performance in the 29er. In the class with most participants at Kiel Week, the 420, Nadja Horwitz/Francisca Fuentes from Chile won the race series.

Frenchman Silvain Notonier successfully defended his title in the Europe Dinghy. He regained rank one on the last racing day and thus could celebrate the his second consecutive victory at Kiel Week. -- Herman Hell

Mixed Tornado Teams are the Fastest in the Audi Sailing Arena
Photo by Otto Kasch. Click on image to enlarge.

Tornado It was a great emotional race in the Audi Sailing Arena during Kieler Woche. The Tornado Speedsailing was in the habourchannel of Kiel Sailing City. The weather was wild and crazy. Sun, rain, calm, strong gusts, thunderstorm packed in all the racing days.

12 Tornado teams from 6 countries were entered. Some of them capsized on the way to the Arena so badly, they were not able to get to the starting line of the regatta.

Especially on the first day we nearly got every second an adrenaline kick with each gust in the Audi Sailing Arena. The second day was unfortunately not sailed because of total calm. Then we had some sprint races between the fronts of the thunderstorms. This brought us back to our speed limit. The final day bought us heavy rain, which took almost our vision.

In this challenging weather we won 7 out of 8 races, our first victory at Kieler Woche as a mixed team in the Open Tornado event. Last year we were second overall. We are really happy, and feel very honored to win in the biggest sailing festival in the world, and that we came so well through the regatta.

Second was a new mixed team with Stephanie Rosse and Michael Gloor from Switzerland. Third place went to John Ready and Martin Sedevic from England. It's the first time two mixed teams are in the front of the Kieler Woche. Both teams have intentions to make an Olympic campaign for Rio 2016. -- Roland Gaebler
Video from TeamGaebler (german)

Sail For Gold Game
Sail for Gold game Try and beat Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, Ben Ainslie this summer on the RYA Volvo Sail for Gold game

Compete against top British sailing talent this summer from the comfort of your living room on the RYA Volvo Sail for Gold game.

Online sailors can test their skills by racing against some of the worlds very best sailors including triple Olympic gold medallist, Ben Ainslie and Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison plus many more of the team selected to represent GBR.

Sailors can transfer their talent of one of Britain's most successful sports into the virtual world by using touchscreen gestures to gybe, tack and sail around a world championship course whilst collecting bonus stars to increase their scores.

Aimed at both sailors and non-sailors alike, players will gain an understanding into how the country's top medal hopefuls will sail for gold in 2012 and try to beat their scores on the online leader-board!

Search for 'Sail for Gold game' in the App store:

Dragon Grand Prix Germany
The Dragon Grand Prix Germany, taking place at Weisse Wiek in Boltenhagen from June 30th to July 8th will commence with the CHLDOOD Race on Saturday.

The CHILDHOOD Race traditionally marks the start of this high-class sailing event with the top-ranked dragon sailors from 8 nations. The World CHILDHOOD Foundation, founded by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, is the charity partner of the dragon class. For the 8th consecutive time the race will take place according to the motto: "Top class sailing for children in need". Dozens of companies have pledged pledge their support for CHILDHOOD on the spinnakers.

Responsible for the organisation on the water is one of the leading German yacht clubs, the "Norddeutscher Regatta Verein".

The Weive Wiek, which was also the venue for the Laser World Championship last month, has extended its reputation for being a unique destination for an exclusive and high class sailing event and is proud to welcome all dragon sailors and visitors. For the first time during the Dragon Grand Prix Germany the "HM Queen Silvia Sailing Trophy" will be awarded to the winning team of the Grand Prix as a challenge trophy.

Falmouth J Class Regatta
Click on image to enlarge.

J Class Regatta Falmouth Fog delayed the start of the first race of the UK J Class Regatta series 2012, postponing the 1200 start, positioned one mile south of Pendennis Point, by one hour.

By twelve o clock, the sun was still struggling to break through but visibility had improved enough to get the UK regattas underway. As 1300 approached, the number of spectators on the water grew towards the hundreds. Almost all spectators kindly complied with the race officers' request to keep the start line clear.

After the ten minute gun, the yachts started circling and manoeuvring for the best starting positions, the atmosphere getting more and more tense as the minutes ticked away. The last few minutes were thrilling for all spectators.

At the start, the boats split into two sections; Lionheart and Ranger at the end of the line, and Rainbow and Velsheda at the port end.

As they accelerated towards the windward mark at Helford River, the support ribs and spectator fleet gamely tried to keep up.

Ranger, who had sailed on the seaward side of the course, managed to pull in front by a few boat lengths and by the time she'd rounded the windward mark had stretched her lead to 200 metres, along the short spreader reach, turning downwind and launching her 10,000 sq. Ft. Spinnaker.

Lionheart was next around the mark, but after an early gybe she ran into a spinnaker problem and was forced to drop it on deck and launch another, smaller spinnaker. This proved costly as she slipped to last place further down the leg.

Meanwhile, Velsheda and Rainbow sailed with spinnakers offshore, picking up a fresh wind from the seaward side and by the end of the leg, with freshening wind, closing the distance on Ranger.

After around 2.5 hours of racing in various wind strengths across the bay, the race was shortened, with Ranger crossing the line first, comfortably ahead of Velsheda and Rainbow, with Lionheart some distance behind.

1. Ranger
2. Velsheda
3. Rainbow
4. Lionheart

Trans Tasman Rivalry Heads to Airlie Beach
Photo by Ian Grant. Click on image to enlarge.

Vodaphone New Zealand yachtsman Simon Hull has placed his racing reputation on the line with his record breaking trim ran Team Vodafone Sailing nominated to contest the major winter regattas in the warm Whitsunday Islands.

Both skipper and crew were the star performers in 2011 and have returned to Airlie Beach via a record breaking performance in the 962.5 nautical mile Auckland to Noumea race earlier this month.

The impressive ORMA 60 trimaran continues to present an awesome sight at from her mooring in the Abel Point Marina.

Her early arrival suggests that Team Vodafone Sailing will again contest the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week scheduled for August 10-16 before lining up to compete for the 'Gun Boat' title at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week from August 17-25.

Last year the triple hull sprint machine was unchallenged to claim the title as the fastest yacht in The Southern Hemisphere when she effortlessly logged speeds to a peak of 33 knots over the Whitsunday Sailing Club courses on Pioneer Bay.

There is every indication that skipper Simon Hull and his Team Vodafone Sailing combination will need to repeat those exciting peak speeds to answer the proven fast lane sailing performances from the almost identical Australian challenger the Sean Langman owned and skippered Team Australia.

Both super fast trimarans have the distinction of shattering major ocean race records in recent months which makes it difficult to suggest which crew will have the right to claim the fastest in The Southern Hemisphere title.

Last Easter Team Australia logged a remarkable 18.7 knot average with a runaway line honours win in the 308 nautical mile Brisbane to Gladstone race while Team Vodafone Sailing recorded a super swift 12.26 knot average when she scored an impressive line honours time of 3 days 6 hours 29 minutes 50 seconds in the longer and more physically demanding Auckland to Noumea classic. -- Ian Grant

Featured Brokerage
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The Last Word
I believe in general in a dualism between facts and the ideas of those facts in human heads. -- George Santayana

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