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Russians Rule In Sweden
Photo by Nico Martinez, www.martinezstudio.es. Click on image for photo gallery.

RC44 Championship Sweden Marstrand, Sweden: The penultimate event of the RC44 Championship Tour kicked off in Marstrand, Sweden under blue skies for the match racing phase of the RC44 Sweden Cup. With the south entrance to Marstand pretty lumpy, the fleet headed north for some flatter water. The day started in 16-17 knots from the north-west. Some pretty big shifts came through in the first four flights before the wind started to drop slightly and with it the fleet switched to their big jibs to have some punch through the choppy sea.

The day belonged to two of the four Russian team's competing in this year's Tour. Synergy Russian Sailing Team has been sat at the top of the match race rankings since the second event in Cascais. Team Nika's fortunes have been mixed this season, in Austria they failed to win a match, but in Sweden they shone, both teams finishing the day with five wins and two losses.

Synergy had started the day with a two-point lead over the French Aleph Sailing Team in the overall Tour match race standings. They won their first three matches against Katusha with Andy Horton at the helm, then Peninsula Petroleum, Russell Coutts back in the RC44 fleet calling the shots for owner John Bassadone and Italy's AFX Capital, still in their first RC44 season and owner Massimo Barranco at the helm.

Next up to take on the mighty Synergy was Aleph Sailing Team. With Mathieu Richard at the wheel, the French team started to windward, held their lane and picked a long layline into the windward mark. Synergy was forced to follow them in and the French team were in control, a position they maintained it to the finish.

Going for near total Russian dominance, RUS 7 Sail Racing Team powered by anywayanyday.com were the giant killers of the day. After a slow start and losing their first three matches, they suddenly kicked into form in the fourth flight of the day beating Team Aqua, with Cameron Appleton at the wheel. They followed by taking the scalp of Peninsula Petroleum and then AFX Capital. They so nearly made it four in their match against Aleph, but the French team, who had had an inconsistent day, pulled back to take the win.

The overall match racing standings remain unchanged after four events. There is just one more day of match racing in the 2012 Tour before the match racing champion is crowned. Synergy have 20 points, three points ahead of Aleph, who are just holding off Team Aqua in third.

Four days of fleet racing for the RC44 Sweden Cup starts on Thursday 18th July. With three team's each winning an event so far this year, the 2012 Championship title is still wide open, but Team Aqua are still the team to beat.

www.rc44.com

J Class Solent Regatta
Photo by Kos / kospictures.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

J Class Solent Regatta A difficult first day began with strong winds and a fierce outgoing tide facing the four yachts at the start of the Solent regatta

Ranger crossed the line first, followed extremely closely by Velsheda and Lionheart, with Rainbow a few seconds behind. Lionheart and Rainbow crossed onto the North shore for the long beat into a strong 20 knot SW wind and building sea.

Ranger and Velsheda elected to work the Island shore, where the stronger outgoing tide was expected to work in their favour.

At the weather mark, now crowded with spectator boats from all around the Solent, Ranger rounded first, with Lionheart close behind, followed by Rainbow and Velsheda, who had slipped back. Ranger gybed and set onto a symmetrical kite whilst Lionheart split from her with a bearaway set onto an assymetric kite. Ranger then drew ahead, sailing the best angles into the foul tide with the symmetrical.

The gap between the yachts never opened up significantly, Ranger led 100 metres from the finish line and just squeezed across first, despite a very strong finish from Lionheart.

1st Ranger
2nd Lionheart
3rd Rainbow
4th Velsheda

www.jclasssolentregatta.com

Sunny Weather with Two Races for Optiworlds 2012
Photo by Matias Capizzano, www.capizzano.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Optiworlds The 230 young sailors competing at the Optimist World Championship in Dominican Republic prepared their boats early in the morning and took the last advice from their coaches before they hit the water.

The beautiful waters in Boca Chica, where the organizing Yacht Club is, offer the best scenery for the Worlds. The winds were light in the morning and the combination of big swell and shifty weather, made it even more difficult.

The first race for the 4 groups was sailed in tricky conditions and just before the second one was about to begin, the wind shifted a lot and the racecourse was resettled. In those difficult weather conditions, the Singaporeans managed to prevail and have two athletes at the top. Yokoyamaelisa Yukie scored a bullet and a second and is leading, in front of its compatriot Neo Samuel Jiun Jie, which scored a bullet and a third. Lambriex Bart from Nederland seemed more determined than the last Worlds in New Zealand and after to second places is now in third position, very close to the two Singaporeans.

The local girl, Pacheco Maria Justina, was leading in her group on the first race but after charged with a penalty by the jury she dropped on fourth place. Same thing happened in the second race and that meant her disqualification (DSQ) at that race.

Same conditions are expected for tomorrow and the Championship has still a long way to go.

Top five after 2 races:

1. Elisa Yukie Yokoyama, SIN, 3 points
2. Damuel Jium Jie Neo, SIN, 4
3. Bart Lambriex, NED, 4
4. Jessica Kai Ling Goh, SIN, 5
5. Sven Stevanovic, CRO, 6
6= Rodrigo Luz, BRA, 8
6= Jacob Von Koskull, FIN, 8
8. Romain Screve, USA, 10
9. Ivan Shestopalov, USA, 13
10. Gabriel Elstrodt, FRA, 13

www.optiworld.org/MiniSite/12Worlds/index.php

Event Format Revealed for 2012-13 AC World Series Season
San Francisco, California, USA: The first event of the 2012-13 AC World Series is in San Francisco from August 21-26 this summer. This marks the first racing in the host city of the 34th America's Cup.

On Wednesday, the format of competition for the new 2012-13 AC World Series was released; a five day program of racing building to a grand finale on the Super Sunday of each event.

"This format is one we intend to use at each of the events for the 2012-13 AC World Series racing calendar," said Iain Murray, the Regatta Director of the 34th America's Cup.

"Last season we experimented with a number of different formats to develop a program we were happy with," he added. "This year, we'll have a consistent program for the events, with minor adjustments, if required, for the local conditions in each venue. The stakes have been raised with each race counting towards a season ranking in both fleet and match racing."

Racing is scheduled to begin on the Wednesday of each event. All races sailed from Wednesday to Saturday count towards qualification for the Match Racing Semi Finals.

On the last day of racing, on Sunday, the top four teams meet in the Match Racing Semi Finals (sudden death), with the winners going to a one-race Final. The event closes with all of the teams racing in the AC World Series Championship Fleet Race with the winner taking all.

2012-13 AC World Series Racing Program:
Wednesday: Match Racing
Thursday: Two Fleet Races (Match Racing Qualifier)
Friday: Two Fleet Races (Match Racing Qualifier)
Saturday: Two Fleet Races (Match Racing Qualifier)
Sunday: Match Racing Semi Finals and Finals; ACWS Championship Fleet Race

Points earned from Super Sunday's Fleet Racing accumulate over the course of the year to determine the AC World Series Champion. Points earned from a team's finishing position in the Match Racing Championship determine the AC World Series Match Racing Champion for the season. For the challengers, these points also determine a Louis Vuitton Ranking, which will confer an advantage at the beginning of next year's Louis Vuitton Cup.

Television and web streaming coverage will be provided for all racing from Friday through Sunday, with highlights from Thursday's racing.

One tweak for the San Francisco event will see the Match Racing Semi Finals and Finals, normally scheduled for Super Sunday, instead take place on Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of stronger wind conditions. Otherwise, an early start to racing on Sunday could have seen the Match Racing championships determined in very light, fluky conditions before the forecast sea breeze gets established.

The AC Village for the 2012 San Francisco events in August and October will be on Marina Green in San Francisco, with the main public area moving to Piers 27-29 in 2013.

www.americascup.com

Hydroptere DCNS Launched in Los Angeles
Photo by T.Lesage / l'Hydroptere DCNS. Click on image to enlarge.

Hydroptere l'Hydroptere DCNS was launched on Tuesday in Los Angeles after a week's work in the dry in Cabrillo Way Marina, San Pedro. Having arrived in California at the start of July on a cargo ship, the flying trimaran has undergone a whole range of fine-tuning on her appendages. She will now be on weather standby for her transpacific record attempt.

"The bulk of our technical mission is over. Right now it's in the hands of the wind gods and our five crew," admits Warren Fitzgerald, Boat Captain on l'Hydroptere DCNS. "The winter refit began in February in La Ciotat and has just been officially completed here, some 10,000km away, jokes Fran├žois Cazala, the project's technical manager.

All the optimisation is complete and the fastest trimaran in the world is just waiting to be rigged, so as she can go flying in the thermal breezes of California. l'Hydroptere DCNS is lighter and boasts increased sail area, some all-sea state foils and incorporating an automatic piloting system for the aft stabiliser, created by DCNS to improve directional stability in heavy seas, something Alain Thebault, Jean le Cam, Jacques Vincent,Yves Parlier and Luc Alphand will be delighted to get their hands on.

At that point, the sailors just have to wait for the first favourable weather window to head off for the Catalina Islands, where the tradewinds will enable them to hightail it to Hawaii. Along the way, they'll be attempting to beat the record set by Olivier de Kersauson, at the helm of Geronimo, which covered the 2,215 nautical miles separating the Fermin Point lighthouse to the South-West of Los Angeles, from the Diamond Head lighthouse offshore of Honolulu, in a time of 4 days, 19 hours and 31 minutes, at an average speed of 19.17 knots (35.5km/hour).

After her launch in San Pedro, the boat was taken to the main pontoon in Rainbow Harbor Marina in Long Beach. The trimaran will be visible to the general public with another legendary boat sharing the same skyline: the enormous Queen Mary.

www.hydroptere.com

First Week of Summer? Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
With racing due to get underway at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup this Sunday, 22nd July, the 21 boats competing are making their final preparations for the pinnacle event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2012 calendar.

A crucial element a team considers in planning for any regatta is anticipation of the weather, but the latest forecast is indicating conditions next week far from what teams have been expecting. After the wettest June in the UK since records began more than 100 years ago, and an equally rainy July, this weekend the weather looks set to break finally, and summer may begin. This change looks set to coincide exactly with the start of racing at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

The long term forecast shows high pressure moving towards the UK this weekend with temperatures soaring into the high 20s next Wednesday. The sun putting in an appearance may be welcome, but of more consequence to the teams is that with high pressure comes light wind and at present the forecast is indicating sub-10 knot conditions for at least the first half of the week.

Nigel King, who has been coaching the four GBR teams, says that his crews are going to have to dust off their numbers and settings for lighter conditions. "Everything recently has been windy, so it has been hard to train for the lighter stuff. We trained at the weekend and in one race they had both 6 knots and 27 knots and the conversation afterwards was that sometimes you haven't got a chance to get the optimum sails on to suit the conditions, so you have to make what you have got on work - because you know it is only going to last for 10 minutes - and then move on."

King observes that if it really does warm-up, as it may do on Wednesday for example, then there is the possibility of a good sea breeze developing.

The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup' first races are two inshores, the first starting at 1030 BST this Sunday (22 July).

Further details of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup can be found at: commodorescup.rorc.org

Pacific Cup: Early Lead for Double Handers
Photo by Erik Simonson, www.pressure-drop.us. Click on image for photo gallery.

Pacific Cup With more than half the 2012 Pac Cup fleet now en route to Hawaii, albeit slowly, the remaining racers are not exactly chomping at the bit to get off the dock, given the dour wind pattern that has plagued the early starters and the not-so-great outlook for the next day or so.

As of 1300 hours PDT on Wednesday, as predicted, the lead boats were those taking a more northerly route. Currently leading is Jamani, the J-120 from San Francisco skippered by Sean Mulvihill and crew Jeff Mulvihill, with a mere 215 nm under their belts in almost 48 hours since their start on Tuesday.

Naos 30, the Beneteau 1st from Los Angeles, skippered by Charles Devanneaux and crew Frederic Courouble, had tucked away 192 nm in the same period, while in third, Moonshine, the Dog Patch 26 crewed by Dylan Benjamin and Rufus Sjoberg had sailed 183 nm.

Jamani and Moonshine, further north than Naos 30, were making between 6-7 knots, while Naos was maintaining a steady 5.5 knots.

Skip McCormack, navigator on Double Trouble leaves for his 9th west coast to Hawaii race on Thursday with the Div E boats.

"It's unfortunate that the way that these things work with the staggered starts is that you generally have winners and losers right off the bat," McCormack commented. "Unfortunately those earlier starts are showing again, just as they did in 2010, they're just struggling to get around and through that low that eventually shut the door on them. It's a real struggle out there - the buoy reports are showing absolute still calm conditions right outside the Gulf of the Farallones. It's just a bummer and I feel pretty bad for those guys."

While the fact will be beaten to death that the conditions we're seeing at the start of this race are far from typical, what's more frustrating is that the race is being held a few weeks later than usual, at a time when summer coastal conditions should be well and truly set up. -- Michelle Slade

Full report on www.pacificcup.org/news/18jul2012

Harken UK Laser National Championships
With the Olympics just days away this year's National Championships are missing some key figures. So far the weather at Abersoch has been rather unpredictable and there have been delays afloat to allow banks of mist and drizzle to clear the race areas. However, for the 200 helms that have entered the regatta the event is living up to expectations.

After the first three full days of racing and with six races completed, and a discard now allowed, Alex Mills-Barton has won five races in the Standard fleet to hold an 8 point lead going into the 2nd half of the championship. Behind him a group of four helms: Martin Evans, Jack Wetherell, Elliot Hanson & Ben Cornish are locked into a battle for the other main places overall.

The near 100 strong Radial fleet have been racing in flights but after today's results they will be separated into Gold & Silver fleets for the final two day's racing. Hannah Snellgrove holds a narrow popints lead over youth sailor Jack Preece, both of them recording only wins and 2nds on their scorecards. Behind them six helms have a realistic chance of upsetting the overall results.

The Laser 4.7 fleet is showing healthy signs of growth with 49 boats entered, including a strong representation from across the sea (Ireland) and six different winners. Three helms; Hamish Eckstein, Conor O'Beirne & Will Creaven are showing at the top but with the weather set to improve for the rest of the week all things are possible.

The championships are sponsored by HARKEN UK and continue until Friday, 20th July -- Eddie Mays / UKLA

www.laser.org.uk

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Alistair Skinner: I would agree wholeheartedly with David Pelly's comments about Paul Elvstrom's impact on the world of small boat sailing, from sitting on the side-deck to through to horizontal hiking and the level of professionalism he brought to sailing can never be repeated. he was, is and always be a great hero of mine. In fact the first book I bought as a kid was 'Expert Dinghy Racing' by the great man and I still have it- and it is still relevant. Add to that the sailmaking, the ubiquitous and wonderfully simple self bailer and so much more. As an innovator in the sport he will take some beating. He was however so different from the corinthian sailors he competed against and this gave him much of his advantage.

Ben Ainslie on the other hand competes against sailors who all sail professionally, who all horizontally hike, who all pump downwind (in the Finn Class) and the level of overall competition is so far above the level that existed at the last London Games (where Paul Elvstrom won his first gold). The title of the greatest Olympic sailor is largely empirical from the media's point of view and if Ben does as is expected in 3 weeks time and stands on the top step of the podium he will have trumped Paul by one silver. Take away the medal count and we will never know. Quite simply they are both 'Simply the Best', just from different eras and i am sure they both have the same respect for each other and their achievements. If Ben was sailing in 1948 would he have beaten Paul or would Paul out pump Ben down the run off Weymouth - We will never know. The simple fact is they are both the greatest Olympic Sailor of their era.

Let's just leave it as honours shared.

* From Adrian Morgan: During the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, every mark rounding was covered. Sure was, and I watched most of them from a RIB and later, in an editing suite in London, spent hours and interminable hours disentangling the footage for the official video. Was that 470 race 3, second windward mark, or was it race 4? Multiply that through the classes and it became a small nightmare.

And, I can say this now, we probably got some of them wrong. But did anyone notice? Probably not. Did anyone watch the film? Very few. Why? Because it was marginally less boring to watch than it had been to edit those interminable hours of Finns. FDs, 470s etc and windsurfers (they were the worst) going round in circles under the Californian sun. But at least I got paid for it. I wonder on what dusty shelf that film now resides? So much for trying to make Olympic sailing watchable.

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Complete listing details and seller contact information at
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The Last Word
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small. -- Neil Armstrong

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