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Yann Elies Wins The Figaro
Photo by A.Courcoux. Click on image to enlarge.

In his 13th attempt at the race, Yann Elies (Groupe Queguiner - Le Journal des Entreprises) put in a masterful performance on the final leg to conclusively win the 43rd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire.

The race history already bears the Elies name - it was 33 years ago that his father Patrick won the race with another dominant performance, leading all four stages of the 1979 edition - but Yann's 2012 victory will only add to the legendary status of this toughest of solo races.

Having won the first stage with an 11-minute advantage over Morgan Lagraviere (Vendee), Elies held the overall lead throughout the race, but was tested hard by a talented trio that included Lagraviere, Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012), and 2009 race victor Nicolas Lunven (Generali), with stage 2 winner Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) putting in another strong challenge.

Elies started the final stage of the race from Saint Gilles Croix de Vie on the back foot, with a mid-fleet position as Lunven and Morvan set the early pace. However he is not a man to give up easily - he self-funded this season's Figaro campaign until a sponsor could be found - and as the fleet departed the Vendee shores he steadily worked his way up into the top 10.

Those 13 years of experience told as he kept with the pace of the leaders throughout the first evening, biding his time until the Glenan archipelago when he was able to make serious gains, moving into the top five by Pointe de Penmarch. Each mark of the course proved an opportunity for Elies to climb the rankings, taking fourth through the Raz du Sein, then third through Finistere, chasing Delahaye and Lagraviere across the Channel.

Around 1.5 miles covered these top five skippers along the English coast, with Elies stealing the lead as they passed Portland Bill just before midnight last night to show the way around Needles Fairway buoy. As the fleet re-crossed the Channel this morning there was no let up in pressure, with Elies fending off several challengers including Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls), who had a storming final section of the race. However, by the final 20 miles of racing Elies had secured a half mile advantage which he converted into a solid win by 3 minutes, 31 seconds from Morgan Lagraviere - making last year's top 'Bizuth' an impressive second overall with a deficit of 33 minutes from Elies. Third home in the final stage was Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat) with Nicolas Lunven (Generali) fourth, Lunven also gaining third in the race overall.

First rookie overall was Thomas Norman (Financiere de l'Echiquier), despite a strong showing by Julien Villion (Seixo Promotion) who finished 9th in the third stage.

For the three British skippers the third stage also saw the best performance of the race, with Sam Goodchild (Artemis 23) starting the inshore section in third. Goodchild maintained a top 10 position for much of the 486-mile leg, racing among highly experienced French competitors on his second attempt at the race before slipping to 14th in the final few hours. Overall Goodchild finished in 24th, one place ahead of team mate Nick Cherry in 25th (Artemis 77) while the youngest sailor in the fleet, Henry Bomby (Artemis 37) finished in 31st. Portuguese sailor Francisco Lobato (Roff) was 27th, and Kristen Songe Molle (NOR, Kristin For Fulle Seil) 33rd.

www.lasolitaire.com

Swinton Still Hot In Chicago
Bjorn Hansen takes on wildcard entry Jordan Reece. Photo by Peter MacGowan / AWMRT & CMC. Click on image to enlarge.

Chicago, Il, USA: Keith Swinton got off to a fantastic start on the first day of the Chicago Match Cup today, taking six wins with just one defeat at the fourth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, which runs 10 - 15 July.

Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing was a winner at the Chicago Grade 1 Match Race in 2011, prior to the venue joining the Tour for the first time in 2012. That success on Lake Michigan in the same TOM 28 boats, where he beat fellow competitor and Tour Card Holder Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team, suggests that he is one of the skippers capable of victory in the sole US stage of the Tour.

Swinton's mastery of the TOM 28's in today's light to moderate breeze shown in several close matches, with probably none closer than his one and only losing match with today's runner-up and current Tour Leader Bjorn Hansen.

The twelve competing teams also feature a strong local entry, including Beijing Olympian Sally Barkow (USA) - Team 7 Match Race and North America's number one match racer, 23 year-old Taylor Canfield (ISV) - Canfield Racing, who feels that he can use the event to show he has what it takes to compete at the top table of match racing on a regular basis.

Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team began the Chicago event hot off the back of a win at his home regatta, STENA Match Cup Sweden last week and leads the overall Tour standings with a commanding 62 points. Firmly the man to beat on the Tour so far in 2012, Hansen got off to a solid start on day one, finishing 5-2.

Chicago Match Cup Qualifying Session 2 will commence on Thursday 12th July at 1000 CDT. The Final of the event is scheduled for 1400 CDT on Sunday 15th July.

Results after Qualifying Session 1:
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing Team 6-1
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 5-2
Taylor Canfield (USVI) - Canfield Racing 4-1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 4-2
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing 4-3
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 3-2
Simone Ferrarese (ITA) Ferrarese Racing Team 2-3
Sally Barkow (USA) - Team 7 Match Race 2-3
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match 2-4
Jordan Reece (AUS) - Estate Master Sailing Team 2-4
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 1-4
Donald Wilson (USA) - Chicago Match Race Center 0-6

wmrt.com

Henri Lloyd Sponsor RYA Volvo Team GBR
As part of Henri Lloyd's sponsorship of the RYA Youth Programme, we shall be providing technical clothing to the RYA Volvo Team GBR competing at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland from the 12-21 July.

The twelve GBR squad members were selected at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships in April and since then Henri Lloyd's technical team have been working with the RYA to select items that will be suitable for the sailors & their support team for the conditions that they will encounter when competing on the Irish Sea.

The team will be dressed in the latest innovative range from Henri Lloyd's marine collection including bespoke dry top's as well as items from the Henri Lloyd Atmosphere 360 range and dinghy collection.

www.henrilloyd.com

Ghost X 3: Spirits Having Flown
Onboard Foncia. Photo by Foncia / MOD70. Click on image to enlarge.

Approaching the tip of Britain the three leaders chose to hide. The rules of the KRYS Ocean Race offer the teams the chance to disappear from the world for nine hours.

In the middle of this afternoon, the constant transatlantic leader Spindrift racing, with less than 500 miles to the Scillies and two 'ghosts' in pursuit some 60 miles behind, also chose to disappear.

The finish of the race off the Petit Minou light is expected at the end of the afternoon Thursday, with a huge welcome into the heart of the Tonnerres de Brest maritime festival, amidst a winners cavalcade Friday at 1500hrs (local time).

Race rules for the KRYS OCEAN RACE allow teams to have their position frozen for three successive position reports, effectively disappearing for nine hours. Consider that the boats are averaging 27 knots. Over nine hours that can offer significant scope to make a big escape.

First to play the 'stealth' card this morning, to try and put pressure on the second placed team they are hunting down, was Michel Desjoyeaux's FONCIA crew. To all intents Spindrift racing was pretty much out of reach with a lead of 80 or so miles and pointing directly at the Scillies gate some 500 miles ahead.

The 'hunted', Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, then went 'under the radar' three hours later. Then, finally, this afternoon so did Spindrift racing, leaving the Josse and Desjoyeaux crews to play a game of seaborne 'pin the tail on the donkey'.

So on the strength of this dream weather pattern which has driven them across the Atlantic, riding one system all the way from the Labrador coast to Brittany, even flattening off the Azores high, the winning MOD70 should complete the passage in just over five days - or an average of over 25kts - an extraordinary debut for the MOD70 class.

So blessed have the conditions been that even for these 1000 miles of the race, the seas have flattened. They were described as velvet this morning by Michel Desjoyeaux, so allowing the teams to really turn up the heat on each other, intensifying their attack over the final miles. Incredibly they have made the crossing almost exclusively on starboard tack.

www.krys-oceanrace.com

Champagne Wednesday
Photo by Tim Wright, www.photoaction.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

With the sun bursting through the clouds and a moderate to fresh breeze of 15 - 20 knots, the racing area south of Roches Point was a truly spectacular location for Ireland's longest running and most prestigious sailing regatta.

On today's Slalom Course, Piet Vroon's electric blue rocket ship, Tonnerre de Breskens revelled in the conditions, fully pulling the trigger, hitting 18 knots of boat speed. Tonnerre de Breskens romped home in both races by over two minutes. Mike Bartholomew's Mills 40, Tokoloshe and Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40, Peninsula Signal 8 took a second place each today cementing second and third respectively on the leaderboard.

With a discard kicking in, Richard Fildes, Corby 37, Impetuous returns to the top of the class, scoring a first and a fourth in today's races. Richard Goransson's Corby 36, Inga from Sweden was desperately close to a win in the opening race of the day, missing out by just ten seconds.

In IRC Two, Hall & McDonnell's J/109, Something Else leads the class with two more solid results today.

It's tight at the top of IRC Three. Royal Cork Yacht club Admiral, Peter Deasy had a very good day at the office. His Sunfast 32, Bad Company won both of today's races, putting the team from Cork just half a point behind the class leader, Diarmuid Foley's Quarter Tonner, Anchor Challenge. Tim Cunliffe's Half Tonner, Insatiable had their best day so far, scoring two podium finishes to put the Cornishmen into third in class.

In IRC Four John Twomey's Sonar, Baileen Ban started the regatta with a disappointing fifth but since then the team has been virtually unstoppable, winning all but one of the five races. -- Louay Habib

Top three by class:

IRC 0:
1. Tonnerre De Breskens 3, Peter Vroon
2. Tokoloshe, Michael Bartholomew
3. Peninsula Signal 8, Jamie Mcwilliam

IRC 1:
1. Impetuou,s Richard Fildes
2. Jump Juice, Conor Phelan
3. Inga Ii From Sweden, Richard Goransson

IRC 2:
1. Something Else, J Hall, S Mcdonnell & B Hall
2. Jelly Baby, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley
3. Chenapan, Gilles Caminade

IRC 3:
1 Anchor Challenge, Diarmuid Foley
2 Bad Company, Desmond/Ivers/Deasy
3 Insatiable, Tim Cunliffe

IRC 4:
1. Baileen Ban, John Twomey
2. No Half Measures, Finbarr Dorgan
3. Outrigger, J Nyhan & M Buwalda

J109:
1. Something Else, J Hall, S Mcdonnell & B Hall
2. Jelly Baby, Ian Nagle
3. Jalapeno, Baker Et Al

1720:
1. Aquatack, Denis Murphy
2. Irl1760, Robin & Ben O'Mahony
3. Wahoo, Finbarr Jeffers

IRC Non Spinnaker 1:
1. Xerxes, Dan O'Neill
2. Something, Mike Bailey & Andy Roy
3. Diamonds Are Forever, Anne O'Sullivan

IRC Non Spinnaker 2: 1. Minx III, Tom Ncneice
2. Xtension, Conor O'Donovan
3. Aisling, Bryan Heffernan

Full results at www.corkweek.ie

* From Digby Fox, this great video from Cork Week:

Try and Beat Britain's Most Successful Olympic Sailor, Ben Ainslie This Week and Win Great Prizes
Compete against the triple Olympic gold medallist from the comfort of your living room at sailforgoldgame.com, then post your top score on Facebook.com/volvocarssailing to see if you are the day's winner.

The RYA Volvo Sail for Gold game is the only place online sailors can test their skills by racing against some of the worlds very best sailors including Ben, Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison and Olympic Windsurfing Medallist, Nick Dempsey 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!

Go to www.sailforgoldgame.com or search for 'Sail for Gold' in the App store.

52 Super Series: Royal Cup
Ran Racing broke their winning drought on Wednesday, claiming line honours in the dramatic second race of the Royal Cup in Palma, Mallorca that was marked by crew error.

It is the first time Ran have celebrated victory since winning race five of the first 52 Super Series events, the Trofeo Conde de Godo de Vela regatta, which was held in Barcelona in May.

Quantum Racing finished second, followed by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One, Aquila, PowerPlay, Provezza and Gladiator, who failed to recover from losing their kite overboard to finish 4.37 minutes behind.

It was a nightmare start for series newcomers Provezza, helmed by double Olympic 470 silver medallist Nick Rogers, who were recalled after jumping the start.

Zennström, determined to be one of the best ranked teams not just the best owner-driver, held strong downwind, before drama struck Gladiator. The British team edged into second place at the second mark but soon lost it when their spinnaker ended up in the water.

The boat ground to a halt and the crew were forced to watch every yacht in the fleet sail around them as they struggled to get their sail back on board.

Meanwhile the fleet raced with moderate speeds up wind, and Ran held off all challenges to win.

Standings after 2 races:

1. Quantum Racing, USA, 3 points
2. Ran, SWE, 4
3. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, ITA, 5
4. Audi Sailing Team by ALL4ONE, GER/FRA, 9
5. Gladiator, GBR, 12
6. Aquila, AUT, 13
7. Powerplay, CAY, 13
8. Provezza, TUR, 13

www.52superseries.com

Cowes - Dinard - St Malo Race
Mike Slade's supermaxi ICAP Leopard competing in the 2012 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. Photo by OnEdition. Click on image to enlarge.

This 170-mile race to St. Malo from Cowes, which dates back to 1906, has always been one of the most popular races in the RORC Season's Points Championship and with over 100 boats there will a spectacular send off from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line this Friday. The course takes the fleet around The Casquets off the northwest coast of Alderney. Weather forecasts predict a south westerly breeze of 20 to 25 knots on Friday going westerly overnight, which should provide fast sailing conditions for the fleet.

Mike Slade's Farr 100, ICAP Leopard, will be hot favourite for line honours. The powerful Supermaxi holds the race record completing the course in 14hr 07min 42sec back in 2008.

There is a wealth of RORC trophies up for grabs and there will be some intense battles right through the fleet. Harm Prins' Volvo 60, Pleomax, and Derek Saunders' CM60, Venomous, are set for a close duel in IRC Zero. Whilst in IRC One, Bernard Gouy's French Ker 39, Inis Mor, is in fine form having won the recent Round Ireland Race and could well take pole position for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Also participating are two yachts that will compete in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup; Herve Borgoltz's Grand Soleil 44, Eleuthera, and RORC Commodore Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III, which has been chartered for the event by the Hong Kong Team.

A good battle is expected in IRC Two, especially between six First 40s which include former RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine's La Reponse. UNCL President Marc de Saint Denis' MC34 Courrier Vintage makes its debut for the championship, co-skippered by Gery Trentesaux.

25 yachts are expected to be on the start line in IRC Three, including most of the Two-Handed Class. Nick Martin's J/105, Diablo-J, is the current class leader for the season, Vincent Willemart's, Wasabi, is second and Noel Racine's, Foggy Dew, third.

IRC Four is the largest class racing to St.Malo with 32 yachts from all over Europe entered. Harry Heijst's Dutch S&S 41, Winsome, is the current class leader and should be evenly matched on the water with some true classics including Charles Anthony's Two Tonner, Cervantes IV, which was part of the victorious 1971 British Admiral's Cup team and Jean Yves Chateau's French Nicholson 33, Iromiguy, which won the Rolex Fastnet in 2005.

www.rorc.org

* Oyster Group's Southampton Yacht Services (SYS) has completed a six-month refit of 30m (100ft) racing supermaxi Leopard 3.

She has been fitted with a bespoke interior, which SYS designed and manufactured on-site at its Saxon Wharf facility in Southampton, UK.

Her refit was completed alongside three Oyster 885s - the first of which will be launched in August for Formula 1 racing pundit Eddie Jordan's family trust.

Leopard 3 (Editor: racing as ICAP Leopard) has returned to racing in the J P Morgan Round the Island Race where she defended her title and the monohull record set in 2008 of 3hrs, 53mins and 5secs.

IBI News: www.ibinews.com

Ludo Bennett-Jones Will Finish His Epic Voyage This Thursday
Former International yachtswoman and campaigner Dame Ellen MacArthur is set to greet Ludo on his return at the Ellen Macarthur Sailing Trust Offices in East Cowes at 12 noon on Thursday 12th July.

Ludo Bennett- Jones aged 21 who set sail from East Cowes on Saturday 28th April for his 2500 mile circumnavigation of the coastline of Great Britain is scheduled to complete his epic voyage on Thursday 12th July. He has followed in the footsteps of esteemed yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur who's first voyage was also a circumnavigation of the Britain, aged just 19.

Sailing in a two handed 16ft Wayfarer dinghy sponsored by BT, Ludo will be the youngest and fastest to have completed this unique challenge when he arrives back into Cowes. In addition to trying to break two world records, Ludo has been raising funds for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust and Sport Relief, charities supported by BT. Of the target £100,000, £35,000 has been raised so far.

An accomplished sailor Ludo has demonstrated enormous determination and great skill to complete his task in what can only be described as some of the worst weather conditions Britain has experienced in recent years.

He will have been away for 76 consecutive days sailing for 47 of them with several different crew members to help him complete his challenge. His exploits and experiences have been well documented in Ludo's blog which can be found at www.loveludo.com

Challenge Day at Panerai British Classic Week
Photo by Guido Cantini / Sea&See. Click on image to enlarge.

With boats ranging in age from just a few months old to some 126 years young, Cowes Yacht Haven is awash with glimmering varnish and glinting brass work, and the sailors love nothing better than to wander the docks comparing boats, swapping advice and information and generally talking classic boats.

The oldest boat in the fleet is David Aisher's gaff cutter Thalia, which was launched in 1888 and is registered with the UK National Maritime Museum as a vessel of historic importance. Designed by G F Wanhill, who also designed three of the yachts that competed in the very first America's Cup Race of 1851, her first owner was R Foley, Commodore of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and her current owner still has the log of her racing results during the late 19th and early 20th century along with some of the bills of sale and papers from her construction.

The boat that had the biggest adventure getting to Cowes for this year's regatta has to be the diminutive Sensa, an International 5 Metre built in 1936 by Kingsors Betvarv of Sweden to an Eric Nilsson design and now owned by Cornelius van Rijckevorsel. Sensa is an open cockpit day racing boat, but that doesn't stop Cornelius from sailing her in all weathers and over great distances. In the fortnight running up to this regatta alone he sailed her across the English Channel and back to take part in a French classic regatta and on his delivery from Plymouth to Cowes he faced winds regularly gusting over 35 knots.

Many of the boats have had colourful histories and one that could tell a few stories if only she could speak is Zoom. Built in 1952 by Camper & Nicholson to a Charles E Nicholson design, her first owner was Group Captain Teddy Haylock, Editor of Yachting World during the 1950s. Her current owner Rollo Malcolm-Green was recently in contact with Haylock's widow who most generously presented Rollo with the yacht's original visitors book containing entries from many of the best-known sailors of that era.

Perhaps the most famous yacht at the regatta is Panerai's own 1937 72' Bermudan ketch Eilean, star of the iconic 1982 Duran Duran music video for global hit Rio. Sadly after her moment of glory in the Rio video Eileen fell on hard times, until Officine Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati found her mastless and rotting in Antigua in 2006. A two and a half year intensive restoration project later, Eilean was once again ready to race and she now competes regularly in Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge regattas around the world.

On the water it was Challenge Day where any competitor has the right to challenge a yacht larger than herself in a boat-on-boat match and this year five individual matches were arranged. The results do not count towards the overall series, but that doesn't stop the races being as hard fought as ever. Today's conditions were tough with a series of torrential rainsqualls bringing gusts of up to 37 knots.

Racing continues until Friday 13th of July and the regatta concludes with a Parade of Sail on Saturday 14 July.

www.britishclassicyachtclub.org/regatta/

Featured Brokerage
1990 ORMA 60. EUR 360,000. Located In Rostock, Germany.

This has been the most successfull trimaran in the history of the ORMA Class. The boat dominated the class in the nineties, skippered by Loick Peyron under the Fujicolor name, winning the 97 and 99 ORMA championship as well as every single Grand Prix in 98. Later on it continued as a top placed boat named Belgacom.

In 2004, named Academy and skippered by Knut Frostad, the boat won the Nokia Oops Cup over all, winning 9 out of 10 events during the season. After a major refit and upgrade, Academy finished 2nd in the Nokia Oops Cup 2005, beating a fleet of newer boats such as Groupama, Banque Populaire, Bonduelle and La Trinitaine. Academy also won two of the most prestigiuous offshore races in Nordic Waters in 2005: The Round Gotland Race and The Faerder Race.

This boat was the first to introduce the "X-beam" concept which today is the standard for new trimarans.

Brokerage through Baltic-Yachtpoint: www.yachtworld.com/balticyachtpoint/

Complete listing details and seller contact information at
uk.yachtworld.com

The Last Word
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

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