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Robertson Late Charge Tops Qualifying
Gilmour finishes second in the qualifying table at STENA Match Cup Sweden. Photo by Rick Tomlinson / AWMRT. Click on image to enlarge.

WMRT Marstrand, Sweden: Phil Robertson went unbeaten in Qualifying Session 4 at STENA Match Cup Sweden to finish top and get the first pick of opposition in the Quarter Final of the event as he looks to continue his fantastic early season form through the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing Team may have gone under the radar of some of his fellow skippers, having taken two of his three qualifying losses in the first day of sailing before winning seven from eight to secure the early advantage. A win in the final flight of the day saw him beat Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing in a match that was set to decide first position. Robertson, said: "When we started the Gilmour match, we didn't realise on board that it could allow us to top qualifying.

After dominating performances in the opening three days of qualifying, local hero Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team struggled against the other skippers looking for top spot in the qualification table, losing out to Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar and seven-time STENA Match Cup Sweden winner, Peter Gilmour.

Hansen was handed a Quarter Final match-up against compatriot Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team on home soil, meaning that local fans can look forward to an all-Swedish match tomorrow and a definite presence in the Semi-Final on the last day of racing. Williams will face Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team.

Follow the action online throughout both events. To watch, visit Live streaming will be available from 1400 – 1600 on Friday and Saturday.  

Quarter Final Draw:
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing vs Reuben Corbett (NZ) AON Racing Team
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing vs Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team vs Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team

Final Qualifying Standings:
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing 10-3
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 10-3
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 9-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing Team 9-4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 9-4
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 9-4
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 7-6
Reuben Corbett (NZ) AON Racing Team 5-8
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 5-8
Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team 5-8
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Miss Sophie 4-9
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team 4-9
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match 3-10
Viktor Ogeman (SWE) Team Accure 1-12

Dragon Edinburgh Cup Sponsored by Belfast Harbour
Photo by Thomas Anderson, Click on image for photo gallery.

Dragon Edinburgh Cup Sponsored by Belfast Harbour Cultra, Northern Ireland: Day two of the Dragon Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour brought just about every possible weather condition bar snow. The day started and ended with rain, there was thick fog for several hours followed by a spell of lovely hot sun and the wind came from almost every direction possible at some point in the day. Despite the delays for fog and the very shifty and mainly light conditions the race committee was able to run two further races, races three and four of the six race series. For the competitors it was an extremely challenging day's racing with a number of boats having decidedly mixed results on only three boats managing an all top ten score.

Julia Bailey, Graham Bailey, Dylan Potter and Will Heritage sailing GBR720 Aimee retain their overall lead of the regatta despite a wobble in race three which saw them finish twentieth. Fortunately they came back hard in race four fighting their way out of the pack to finish second and secure a ten point overall lead.

Top performing boat of the day was Simon Brien's IRL214 KIN, crewed by Mark Brien and David Gomes who took third in race three before going on to win race four in style by leading the fleet the entire length of the course. As a result Brien leaps up the scoreboard from 13th to second place overall counting 34 points. Also very consistent was Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR716 Jerboa with Martin Payne and Rui Boia, who placed ninth then fourth to move up from ninth to third overall, four points behind Brien.  

In the Corinthian Division for the all amateur crews Julia Bailey again continues to lead the fleet, Simon Brien has moved up into second place and Owen Pay has dropped down into third.

The Edinburgh Cup sponsored by Belfast Harbour continues until Saturday 7 July with two further races still to be completed. The single discard will come into play once race five has been raced. One championship race is scheduled for tomorrow and in addition the traditional and highly competitive Crews Race will also be run tomorrow with contenders for this prestigious title including 11 year old Will Heritage from Aimee and teenager Harry Strauss who is crewing for his parents Quentin and Nikki aboard GBR708 Rumours.

Top Five After Four Races

1. Aimee - Julia Bailey, GBR, 24 points
2. KIN - Simon Brien, IRL, 34
3. Jerboa - Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, GBR, 38
4. Seabird - Own Pay, IRL, 39
5. Fei-Lin's Flirtation, GBR, 43.5

Mixing It Up
Photo by Daniel Forster, Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship Newport Rhode Island, USA: The Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship in Newport saw some lighter breezes and stronger currents for Day Two of racing, which was held on Narragansett Bay, north of the Pell Bridge. The fleet of 11 teams sailed Races 4 and 5 of the series, and each of those yielded a new winner, just as yesterday's three races had done

The day started out with 9 knots of breeze, and the fleet was taken by surprise in Race 4 when Struntje light, skippered by Germany's Wolfgang Schaefer, came from behind on the last downwind leg to finish first. "We had an unlucky start, so we had to let the fleet pass us, but fortunately we had a good recovery," said Schaefer, who followed up his performance with a second in Race 5, resulting in his team taking the overall lead and the Daily Winner's Trophy.

On Struntje light's tail in Race 4 was Barking Mad, skippered by Jim Richardson (Newport, R.I.), which held the top position until the final leg of the race.

By the start of Race 5, the breeze had lightened to about six knots, and when the fleet rounded the first upwind mark, Enfant Terrible, skippered by Alberto Rossi, had a decent lead, which the team held onto until crossing the finish line. "In the second race of the day we didn't make any mistakes, and the results confirm it," said Rossi whose victory keeps him in a comfortable second-place overall.

Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany, 2-4-8-1-2 (17)
Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Anacona, Italy, 4-6-2-6-1 (19)
Barking Mad, James Richardson, Boston, Mass., 3-3-10-2-3 (21)
Charisma, Nico Poons, Monaco, 5-2-4-9-6 (26)
Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, Sydney, Australia, 9-10-1-3-5 (28)
Groovederci, John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Calif., 6-5-3-7-7(28)
Provezza 8, Ergin Imre/Onur Erardag, Istanbul, Turkey, 10-1-7-8-4 (30)
Plenty, Alexander Roepers, New York, N.Y., 7-7-5-4-10 (33)
Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, Md., 1-8-6-10-9 (34)
Asterisk Uno, Hasip Gencer, Istanbul, Turkey, 8-9-9-5-8 (39)
Yellow Jacket, Bulman Scholz Syndicate, Annapolis, Md., 11-11-11-11-11 (55)

France Reveals Its Hand
As battle lines are being drawn up with the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup due to start on Sunday 22nd July, so France has been the final nation to reveal its team line-up.

Over the course of this spring and summer French contenders have been undergoing their own intense trials to determine the final three boat team, under the watchful eye of a Selection Committee comprising Henry Bacchini, Vice President of the Federation Française de Voile, Marc de Saint Denis, President of the UNCL, and Jean-Michel Carpentier, UNCL Vice President and chair of the Racing Committee.

The three boats chosen are:

- Beelzebuth 3, the Grand Soleil 40 owned by Olivier Pesci
- Eleuthera, the Grand Soleil 44 R of Herve Borgoltz
- Nutmeg IV, J/122 of François Lognone

The French trials took place over a much longer series of regattas than the British ones, including Spi Ouest France, the Course des Trois Iles, Obelix Trophy, Grand Prix IRC Manche Ouest, Cervantes Trophy, Grand Prix du Crouesty along with Normandy Sailing Week.

The result is the cream of the French IRC will be heading for the Solent in the last week in July to compete against the six other international three boat teams.

The form boat among the French trio is Beelzebuth 3, currently IRC 1 leader of the Championnat Manche IRC UNCL 2012, the French equivalent of the RORC Season's Points Championship.

Olivier Pesci and the Beelzebuth 3 Grand Soleil 40 crew have so far this season won their class at the Grand Prix de Saint-Cast, the Grand Prix IRC Manche Ouest and the Cervantes Trophy and finally the Normandy Sailing Week, where she was tied on points with Eleuthera.

As a last warm-up prior to the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, all three boats in the French team will be competing in the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo race over the weekend of 13-15th July.

Further details of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup can be found at:

Gold To Croatia and Great Britain
The 470 Men and Women Medal Races wrapped up the 2012 470 European Championship with five nations claiming the podium places - Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, Slovenia.

Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) already secured their 2012 470 European Championship title yesterday, after winning race 12 which put them in an unassailable position. Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) joined them as 470 Women European Championship winners today in a tense Medal Race sail off with four teams gunning for the podium slots.

The top 10 teams on the leader board in the 470 Men and 470 Women fleets competed in the Medal Race double-points sail off, with the other teams racing a final race. All racing took place on course area B immediately opposite Largs Sailing Club in a windward/leeward format. Light winds were the order of the day, in what was to prove testing for athletes and the Race Committee.

470 Men - Top 10 Overall

1. Sime Fantela / Igor Marenic, CRO, 44 points
2. Ben Saxton / Richard Mason, GBR, 66
3. Mikhail Sheremetyev / Maxim Sheremetyev, RUS, 69
4. Panagiotis Kampouridis / Efstathios Papadopoulos, GRE, 80
5. Philip Sparks / David Kohler, GBR, 92
6. Luke Ramsay / Mike Leigh, CAN, 94
7. Antonis Tsimpoukelis / Pavlos Kagialis, GRE, 94
8. Yannick Brauchli / Romuald Hausser, SUI, 97
9. Vianney Guilbaud / Mathieu Fountaine, FRA, 104
10. Vladimir Chaus / Denis Gribanov, RUS, 111

470 Women

With the top four teams going into the Medal Race all in contention for medals the pressure was intense. With a four point separation between the top three teams from Great Britain, Germany and Slovenia, and Croatia just slightly behind, there were quite a few scenarios which could have unfolded today.

The British win was by no means easy and at one point during the Medal Race, the Slovenians had the gold medal in their hands ahead of Sophie Weguelin / Sophie Ainsworth.

For many of the other teams, they will next face each other at the 2012 470 Junior European Championship in Italy from 9-17 August 2012.

470 Women - Top 10 Overall

1. Sophie Weguelin / Sophie Ainsworth, GBR, 40 points
2. Tina Mrak / Teja Cerne, SLO, 42
3. Annika Bochmann / Elisabeth Panuschka, GER, 44
4. Enia Nincevic / Romana Zupan, CRO, 53
5. Joanna Freeman / Katie Tomsett, GBR, 70
6. Anna Burnett / Flora Stewart, GBR, 80
7. Amy Seabright / Eilidh Mcintyre, GBR, 104
8. Alisa Kirilyuk / Lyudmila Dmitrieva, RUS, 104
9. Fiona Testuz / Anne-Sophie Thilo, SUI, 106
10. Maelenn Lemaitre / Aloise Retornaz, FRA, 113

Gretel II's Salute to 150-Year-Old Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
Click on image to enlarge.

Gretel II The former America's Cup challenger Gretel II will be one of nearly 40 classic yachts that will salute the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on Sydney Harbour tomorrow afternoon, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Squadron's foundation in 1862.

In 1970, Gretel II was the second 12-metre class yacht to represent the Squadron in a bid to wrest the America's Cup (the first was Gretel in 1962) from the New York Yacht Club, and she fronted up again at Newport, Rhode Island, for another tilt at the world's oldest sporting trophy in 1977.

Neither challenge was successful, but the innovative design of Gretel II, skippered by Squadron member Jim (later Sir James) Hardy, set the pattern for Australian challenges that ultimately saw Australia II win the Cup in 1983.

Another RSYS member, Michael Maxwell, has beautifully restored Gretel II, the last 12-metre class yacht built of wood, and tomorrow she will lead a fleet of mainly wooden boats in paying tribute to the RSYS by taking part in the Squadron's Classic Sesquicentenary Regatta.

Gretel II heads 21 boats entered for the spinnaker division, while another 18 classic yachts have entered for the non-spinnaker division, with the race starting at 12.10pm and finishing of the RSYS clubhouse at Kirribilli.

Her competitors, on handicap at least, include Bill Gale's famous Ranger and Ben Stoner's Weene, the first of the Tasmanian one design class yachts built more than a century ago.

Sir James Hardy, who skippered Gretel II in 1970, will be helming his own yacht, the gaff-rigged Nerida, in the non-spinnaker division.

Nerida, which was handicap winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1950, will be joined by two Sydney Hobaart line honours winners, Bruce Gould's Margaret Rintoul (19510 and Nigel Stoke's Fidelis (1966). -- Peter Campbell

Mcmillan Stakes An Early Lead In Porto
The Extreme Sailing Series, Act 4 Porto opened in spectacular fashion today with big sea swells and strong winds creating some thrilling racing. The new faces on the circuit Fred Le Peutrec and Andrew Walsh showed they can mix it up with the more experienced skippers on the opening day of racing in Porto with both men leading their teams to race wins, but ultimately it was Leigh McMillan who came out on top, alongside a familiar top three at the end of day one including Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Red Bull Sailing Team, in what McMillan predicted after racing "will be the toughest event so far this year.

Seven races were sailed in the open water racing in tricky conditions with the forecasted sea breeze building throughout the day to reach a peak of 17 knots. The eight Extreme 40s had to face three metres of rolling Atlantic swell and at times it looked like it wouldn't have taken much to trip them up.

The British team GAC Pindar, and in particular their skipper Andrew Walsh, made everyone and sit up and take note from the off today, posting an impressive win in the opening race of the day in what was Walsh's first day in charge of an Extreme 40 since he was skipper of BT in 2009. The British team finish the day in a respectable fourth place, tied on points with third placed Red Bull Sailing Team.

Another new skipper in Porto, ZouLou's Fred Le Peutrec – one of the most experienced multihull skippers in the world and current holder of the Jules Verne Round the World trophy – got to grips with the Extreme 40 quickly, posting wins in races two and three. But the French team ultimately lost out to the consistency of the more experienced skippers leaving Le Peutrec to settle for seventh

Follow the racing on the official event website and watch it LIVE online from 1645 local time (1745 CEST) tomorrow.

Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Act 4 Porto, Portugal standings after Day 1, 7 races (05.7.12)

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan / Ed Smyth / Pete Greenhalgh / Hashim Al Rashdi / Bleddyn, Mon, 44 points

2. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (FRA) Pierre Pennec / Arnaud Psarofaghis/ Herve Cunningham / Bernard Labro / Romain Petit, 37
3. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara / Hans Peter Steinacher / Matthew Adams / Graeme Spence, Pierre Le Clainche, 34
4. GAC Pindar (GBR) Andrew Walsh / Nick Rogers/ Mark Bulkeley / Adam Piggot / Jono Macbeth, 34

 5. Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli / Jean-Christophe Mourniac / Pierre Yves Jorand / Nils Frei / Yves Detrey, 32

 6. Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson / Will Howden / Charlie Ogletree / Nasser Al Mashari / Andy Maloney, 30

7. ZouLou (FRA) Fred Le Peutrec / Philippe Mourniac / Jean-Sebastien Ponce / Bruno Jeanjean / Patrick Aucour, 27
8. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram‐Hansen / Rasmus Kostner / Pete Cumming / Mikkel Rossberg / Jonas Hviid,14

Final Battle to Decide Overall Inshore Series
The battle for the In-Port Race Trophy goes down to the wire with Saturday's Discover Ireland In-Port Race.

After nine inshore races in the host ports along the route, four teams are still in with a shot of glory when the fleet takes to the water one last time on Saturday, with Galway Bay providing the arena for the final showdown.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand currently top the table with 39 points, tied with PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.

Just one point behind sit Groupama, who secured overall victory in the round-the-world race with a second-place finish in Leg 9 from Lorient to Galway, Ireland.

Four points off the pace are Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who along with Groupama have won the most in-port races with three apiece.

Although relatively low-scoring, accounting for around 20 percent of the points, the in-port series has played a crucial role in deciding the overall winner of the Volvo Ocean Race. The in-port races are held around short courses close to the shore to provide a spectacle for fans, lasting around 60 minutes.

The Discover Ireland In-Port Race, the final scoring opportunity of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, will start at 1200 UTC (1300 local time) on Saturday.

The race will be streamed live at and

ACO Musto Skiff World Championship
Photo of Bruce Keen by Tania Samus Click on image for photo gallery.

ACO Musto Skiff World Championship The final day of the ACO Musto Skiff World Championship dawned with sun and wind and many happy competitors as the conditions at Weymouth looked perfect for skiff sailing. The wind was a good 16 – 20 knots and the racing was scheduled to be inside the harbour.

With 6 races on the board 4 were scheduled for the final day and the fleet launched with plenty of drink and energy bars on board to see them through the day.

Although 4 races were scheduled it looked likely that this 3rd race would be it, as the conditions were following the forecast and building to 25 knots.

Going into the race Stenhouse still lead on points but it was all to play for …

As it was the leaders all came streaming over the line with Newman second and Oswald third. Stenhouse could only manage 6th which meant Bruce Keen had taken the title by 2 points.

The skiff fleet also runs Silver and Bronze fleets which gives everyone something to race for. In addition there are age categories for youth, master and grand master.

Top ten final results:

1. Bruce Keen, GBR, 30 points
2. Richard Stenhouse, GBR, 32
3. Tom Wright, GBR, 37
4. Jon Newman, AYS, 43
5. Roger Oswald, SUI, 48
6. Andrew Peake, GBR, 69
7. Dan Vincent, GBR, 70
8. Frithjofn Schwerdt, GER, 84
9. Alastair Conn, GBR, 91
10. Graeme Oliver, GBR, 101

Full results:

Royal Southern Yacht Club Postpones Biscay Race to 2014
The Royal Southern Yacht Club has taken the difficult decision to postpone the staging of its inaugural 950nm Biscay Offshore Race, until 2014. The precise start date will be advised in due course.

Launched in August 2011 and forming a signature event in the Club's 175th Anniversary year, the Biscay Race was planned to take competitors from the Solent to La Rochelle and Brest, before returning them to Hamble. It had the additional innovation of offering Sunsail Racing's Beneteau F.40 charter fleet for competitors new to the experience of offshore competition and had been widely heralded for its novelty and opportunity.

The Club, ever-mindful of its race stakeholders, has prudently decided that, despite a healthy interest, owners are continuing to hold back on firming up their entries and it has therefore become impossible to plan the race logistics and stop-overs, or the essential social events and media coverage, to deliver to the high standard required.

The Club's planning, logistics and marketing teams have been working on the Biscay 2012 Offshore Race for 18 months and it is with the greatest regret that this decision has been taken. However, a postponement to 2014 ensures that the Club preserves the goodwill and good working relationships with a number of partners going forward.

The Biscay Race was created as a legacy to members from the Royal Southern in its 175th Anniversary year and was always planned to run as a biennial and international event. 

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The Last Word
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