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Opening Day a Crazy Sweep for the Kiwis
Photo by Erik Simonson, Click on image for photo gallery.

Nespresso International 18 Skiff Regatta San Francisco, California, USA: "We're just chipping away," skipper Alex Vallings said after he and his C-Tech crew of Chris Kitchen and Josh Melonick swept the Nespresso International 18 Skiff Regatta opening day races the hard way with a remarkable comeback in the second race Monday.

The top five among 18 boats was filled out by Australia's Jonathan Witty, Grant Rollerson and class icon John Winning and six-time winner Howard Hamlin from Long Beach, Calif. down the coast.

18 boats hit the race course on an uncommonly warm San Francisco day on the mid-70s, some struggling to stay upright a modest 16 knots of breeze in the late stages of a flood tide by the time the first race got under way at 5:21 p.m. PDT.

No problem. By day's end, as the sun settled under the bridge and a three-quarter moon rose from behind, the Kiwis were first to cross the finish line and arrive back at the beach fronting Crissy Field.

Racing continues with two races Tuesday and Wednesday starting at 1 p.m., followed by a lay day Thursday before two more races late Friday climaxed by the traditional 7 1/2-mile Ronstan Bridge to Bridge Race from the Golden Gate to the Oakland Bay late Friday afternoon. The last two of 10 races will be Saturday.

Top five
(18 boats; after 2 of 10 races)
1. C-Tech, Alex Vallings/Chris Kitchen/Josh Melonick, New Zealand, 1-1, 2 points
2. Lumix, Jonathan Witty/James Hozack/ Marcus Ashley-Jones, Australia, 2-2, 4
3. Black Swan, Grant Rollerson/Justin Healey/Marco Schurman, Australia, 3-4, 7
4. Yandoo, John Winning/David Gibson/Andrew Hay, Australia, 5-3, 8
5. CST Composites, Howard Hamlin/Matt Noble/Matt McKinlay, USA, 4-5, 9

Full results (PDF):

X35 Worlds
Photo by Nico Martinez, Click on image for photo gallery.

X35 Worlds Barcelona, Spain: The second day of this world championship has offered different wind conditions for the X-35 fleet. The first race was sailed with a Garbi wind (185 degrees) of 8 knots and the second one was sailed with a dramatically different wind from the East (70 degrees) with an intensity of 11 knots. In both cases the side towards land has been the good one, in the first race to the right and in the second race to the left.

Today the wind intensity did not force material damage, but five boats have been disqualified in the second start. After several recalls the strong current of the area forcing the boats to windward, the race committee decided to apply the black flag. These black flag boats have not been able to sail the fourth race, race that has validated the world championship under the ISAF regulations.

Margherita of Roberto Mazzucato was the most consisten sailor of the day with two second places and four points, Karma of Pegoraro Vladimiro is now the new leader with 6 points (1rst and 5th) to be added to yesterday's 12th points. They are at present the two best representatives of the Italian squadron who are trying to stop the North European teams. This north European team is pursuing the overall results with the German boat Niramo X-Treme, followed by the Danish boat, Oxygen and the Finnish team, Audi e-Tron.

The Spanish representatives have improved today, the catalan boat, Desafino de Miquel Colomer with a sixth and a tenth place, allowing them to move up to tenth place, just in front of Tuvvik of Joaquin Ibáñez, after having lead the first race of the day and ended up in fifth place. In the second race of the day they finished eleventh overall. The other Spanish representative, Fyord of José Luis Maldonado seems to be slowly improving with a 22nd and a 13th.

Top five after 4 races

1. Karma (ITA), Pegoraro Vladimiro, (2-10-1-5) 18 points
2. Margherita (ITA), Roberto Mazzucato), (13-2-2-2) 19
3. Niramo X-Treme (GER), Sönke Meier-Sawatzki (5-7-4-7) 23
4. Oxygen (DEN), Morten Ulrikkeholm (11-1-12-3) 27
5. Audi e-Tron, Teemu Kekkonen, (FIN) (8-4-14-1) 27

Gaastra Pro Gear Collection
Gaastra Pro Gear Collection The 22-year-old Douwe Gaastra established Gaastra as a sail-making company in 1897 in the Dutch town of Sneek. He set out on a mission: to make sailing gear better, faster and more efficient. More than 100 years of sailing experience later, Gaastra Pro has become a highly respected name in the field of technical sailing gear, using the most advanced techniques and materials. All Gaastra PRO gear is tested by professional crews in real racing conditions. After all, how can you judge the quality of waterproof zippers if you have never been ambushed by a huge roller splashing over the bow? Being involved at all levels of ambitious sailing is an essential element of Gaastra's research and development.

The crews encounter situations beyond what even our designers could imagine. Knowledge of these details is what puts our excellent sailing gear way out ahead of less functional apparel. Tested by professional crews under extreme racing conditions, Gaastra Pro guarantees optimal protection and comfort for all types of sailing, on all types of water, and in all kinds of weather conditions. This is the best possible gear that delivers perfect performance before, during and after the regatta or voyage.

Check out the whole Gaastra Pro gear collection at:

and find an outfit that will also fit your next sailing trip perfectly.

Richard Targets Triple In Switzerland
Photo by Andrew Carter / Alpari WMRT. Click on image for photo gallery.

WMRT St. Moritz, Switzerland: Mathieu Richard will join the fifth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour as a wildcard at the St. Moritz Match Race, an event that he has won two times previously. With Bjorn Hansen battling with Ian Williams for top spot on the overall Tour leaderboard, there is much at stake as the world's top match racers begin their battle to become 'King of the Mountain' tomorrow.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) Loire Atlantique Sailing Team won the St. Moritz Match Race in 2008 as well as in the 2010 season, which ultimately saw him take a second place overall on the Tour behind Ben Ainslie (GBR).

Bjorn Hansen also arrives in Switzerland for what will be his fifth event on Lake St. Moritz and in the form of his life, currently sitting second in the ISAF Match Racing World Rankings. He said: "We like the conditions in St. Moritz and we're hoping for some tough weather, which would suit the environment we are used to in Sweden.

"We've sailed well every  year at the St. Moritz Match Race except one. There aren't any specific objectives and expectations so we will just concentrate on going as far as we can in the event.

"I've never come to the event ranked so high but past results dont count for anything at the start of a regatta. It's impossible for us to controll Ian Willams throughout the event so the focus is just on sailing as well as we can and we'll see what result we come out with on Sunday."

The St. Moritz Match Race gets underway at tomorrow's first qualifying session, starting from 11:00AM CET.

St. Moritz Match Race - Competing Teams:
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Jerome Clerc (SUI) Team CER
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
Josh Junior (NZL) Wellington Spirit
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match
Eric Monnin (SUI) Okalys Corum
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) Loire Atlantique Sailing Team
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar

Follow the St. Moritz Match Race action online with regular updates at

Spinnaker Tales
High performance Queensland SB20 sailors skipper Glenn Bourke, Rod Jones and Greg Macallansmith reconfirmed their international ranking with a close but impressive class win during the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in the warm Whitsunday Islands.

However it was a tough tactical grind for the Club Marine crew who have won all class regattas including State championships and the 2012 Australian title trophy contested on the tricky River Derwent earlier this year.

The talented team presently ranked fourth in the World are working towards matching the tactical skills and boat speed of England's dual World champion Geoff Carveth when the battle lines are drawn to decide the 2012 UON SB 20World championship at Hamilton Island from December 13-21.

Skipper Glenn Bourke from Hamilton Island already has the career distinction of showcasing Laser World championship in his personal log book remains focused on becoming the first Australian skipper to win the prestigious SB 20 World crown.

Both he and his dual Australian AUDI IRC class champions Rod Jones and Greg Macallansmith from the Sunshine Coast were provided with a wakeup call when Mooloolaba skipper Phil Gray and his Dulon Polish crew pressed the National champions for the honour of winning the AUDI trophy.

The close matched Club Marine and Dulon Polish crews who each discarded a fourth place as their worst performance in the 11 race series were finally separated by 4 points due to the more consistent results 'ground-out' by the persistent Club Marine crew.

This result was almost a blue print from their tactical arm wrestle in the Australian championship when Club Marine scored a come from behind win in the final to win the series by one point from Dulon Polish.

"I haven't sailed since February so I was a little bit rusty early and light wind makes it more difficult because it's all about feel". Glenn Bourke said.

After the first five races the Club Marine crew with a score of 1-2-1-4-1 seemed poised to firm a strong grip on the series when they led Dulon Polish 3-1-2-3-3 by three point.

However the never say die attitude of skipper Phil Gray's Dulon Polish crew won races 6 and 7 to narrow the gap to one point.

Racing one-design places a huge demand on making the correct human element related decisions.

Skipper Glenn Bourke admitted the racing was close and tough "The wind was quite shifty and we suffered some punishment which made it into a real battle for us".

But the Club Marine crew who proved when the going gets tough the tough get going showed their tactical experience to record a 2-2-2-1-1-3 compared with a 1-1-4-3-2-1 to claim the series by four points over Dulon Polish while Dennis Whinstanley cleverly helmed Jump into third place. -- Ian Grant

Oracle Team Usa to Launch AC72 This Week
San Francisco, California, USA: ORACLE TEAM USA has started the countdown to launching its first AC72 wingsailed catamaran this week.

A Media Day is planned for Friday 31 August, the first scheduled sailing day for the boat that will play a central role in the San Francisco team's bid to win the America's Cup again next year.

Today, the giant 12 story high wing was lifted at Pier 80 in a successful test of the new ground handling systems.

"This was one tick in a very long check-list of essential steps before the boat can go into the water," said Mark Turner, shore manager.

Upgrading from the identical one-design AC45s used during last week's America's Cup World Series event in San Francisco is going to be no small order; the AC72 is more complex, more powerful and entirely custom designed and built by ORACLE TEAM USA.

"Compared to the AC45, the AC72 is twice as long, five times as powerful and 100 times more complex," explained Dirk Kramers, one of the 25 strong design team who has worked for two years on the team's first boats. "It will also be 25% faster, capable of speeds over 40 knots (45 mph)."

Constructed entirely from carbon fiber, the AC72 hulls were built at the team's base in Pier 80, San Francisco. The cross beams connecting the two hulls, wingsail, appendages (rudders and lifting daggerboards) and other key structures were made in New Zealand by Core Builders Composites.

The next step for the team is to lift and fit the 130-foot wingsail onto the hull. Once preliminary checks on shore are complete, the boat then touches Bay water for the very first time. -- Tim Jeffery

Cardiff Bay Prepares To Become Extreme Stadium
Photo by Nick Treharne. Click on image to enlarge.

Cardiff Excitement is building in the Welsh capital Cardiff ahead of the UK leg of the 2012 Extreme Sailing Series. The fleet has already raced stadium-style in Muscat, Qingdao, Istanbul and most recently on the magnificent Douro river in Porto, and one team has dominated so far. British Olympian Leigh McMillan and his team The Wave, Muscat have triumphed in all but one of the previous Acts but as McMillan mused, it is getting harder to retain an advantage, especially with three other teams - the Austrian Red Bull Sailing Team, their stablemates Oman Air, and the French on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild - who suffered serious damage to their Extreme 40 on the final day at Act 4 Porto which ultimately cost them their place on the podium - are more determined then ever to claim their first victory this year. Two new crew members will be racing - Christophe André, who last sailed an Extreme 40 in 2011, brings America's Cup, match racing and offshore experience to the French team, whilst Romain Motteau may be a newbie to the Extreme Sailing Series but as a youth multihull World Champion he is sure to find his Extreme 40 feet quickly.

Andrew Walsh will remain in the driving seat of the British GAC Pindar for a second consecutive Act with a few new faces amongst his crew. Team GBR 49er sailor Rick Peacock returns to the Extreme Sailing Series after debuting at the 2011 UK leg on board Aberdeen Asset Management, while American sailor Anna Tunnicliffe will be calling tactics for the British boat. Tunnicliffe is best known for winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and who has also been awarded the ISAF World Sailor of the Year twice.

Tunnicliffe will be one of two women competing in Cardiff; the other is Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills on the local entry Team Wales.

The nine Extreme 40s will race on Cardiff Bay from the 30th August for four days, with the event opening to the public on the 31st August. The fleet will race in the stadium race mode that is synonymous with the Extreme Sailing Series, putting the Welsh public at the heart of the action. Follow the racing live on the official event website including live video streaming and an interactive blog from 1400 local time (CEST - 1) from the 31st August.

ISAF Invites Bids to Host the 2016 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship
ISAF is now inviting bids to host the 2016 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship.

The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship is ISAFs longest running event, having taken place every year since the first championships hosted by Sweden in 1971.

The event has been held in 25 countries over the past 42 years. The 42nd edition took place from 12-21 July in Dublin Bay, Ireland before the flag was handed over to Limassol, Cyprus who will host the 2013 version. Tavira, Portugal will welcome the best young sailors in 2014 before the event heads to Langkawi, Malaysia in 2015.

In advance of the 2012 ISAF Annual Conference in Ireland, ISAF is inviting bids to host the 2016 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship.

All ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs) are invited to bid for the event. MNAs interested in bidding should contact the ISAF Secretariat here to receive the bid manual.

The deadline for bids is 17 October 2012. Bids will be reviewed by the Youth World Championship Sub-Committee during its meeting on 3 November 2012 at the ISAF Annual Conference in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

Great Britain is the current holder of the Nations Trophy, awarded annually to the top performing nation at the Youth Worlds.

Past notable winners include American's Cup skippers, Russell Coutts (NZL) and Chris Dickson (NZL), Volvo Ocean Race sailor Stuart Bannatyne (NZL) and many Olympic Champions including Robert Scheidt (BRA), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA) and Iain Percy (GBR).

Sailing Family Pay Tribute to Olympic Sailor Howard Lee
Howard Lee The Bermuda sailing community is mourning the death of pioneer sailor Howard Lee.

Lee, 77, passed away earlier this week after a long bout with illness.

During a distinguished career Lee set the benchmark for black sailors to strive for after representing Bermuda in the Finn dinghy at the 1976 Montreal Games.

At age 13 Lee started sailing competitively in Comets out of West End Sailboat Club as crew for Gates Smith and Sparky Lightbourne before he eventually owned his own dinghy.

In 1956 and 1957 Lee won the Long Distance Comet Race in his boat, High Yella, to become only the fourth skipper to win back-to-back titles behind his idol Ellsworth Lovell.

He also sailed in the Sunfish and Laser classes.

Lee's success inspired other black sailors such as Glenn Astwood to take to the sport.

"Howard was a huge inspiration for me because I used to watch him from a kid," Astwood recalled. "I used to always go down and follow High Yella in the Long Distance Race before I even started sailing.

"My father used to take us down to follow the race every year and it was always High Yella, High Yella."

Astwood later went on to represent Bermuda at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea in the Tornado catamaran.

Alan Burland, who also represented Bermuda at the Olympics in the Tornado, described Lee as a good sailor and wonderful ambassador for Bermuda.

"I had an awful amount of respect for Howard Lee who was a tremendous man," he said. "He was a hard worker in an era when things were not easy for blacks in the sailing world.

"Howard was a wonderful good sailor and ambassador for Bermuda and supporter of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation. He wanted to help the youth and Bermuda be the best it could be.

"We will sorely miss him and our condolences go out to all of his family and friends to which there is an immense number." -- Colin Thompson in Bermuda's Royal Gazette

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The Last Word
If drinking makes fighting men like Ulysses Grant, then find out what he drinks, and send my other commanders a case! -- Abraham Lincoln

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