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BMW Oracle Press Conference - Valencia
It snowed in downtown Valencia early on Friday morningJ anuary 8 as the Mediterranean city woke up during an unexpected snowfall. If the 33rd America's Cup was to start exactly a month before the scheduled day, not only would it have been the most spectacular it would surely have been the whitest one. We will have to check Bob Fisher's bible on the world's oldest sports trophy to see whether there has been snow in any of the 32 previous editions.

Tim Jeffery, the newly-appointed Director of Communications, conducted the press conference. Tom Ehman is currently in the United States, together with BMW Oracle's legal team in order to further investigate on Alinghi's sails. As Jeffery stated, they have "very serious concerns" about the sails Alinghi is using on their yacht, which they have also publicly raised by asking the five-member International Jury recently appointed by the International Sailing Federation to rule on the matter. Ehman will soon leave the US and fly to Singapore in order to meet with Alinghi and the Chairman of the international jury, David Tillett.

Should we expect further legal action from BMW Oracle on that issue? Is Ehman's presence in the US a sign that such action is imminent? According to BMW Oracle, the sails currently used on Alinghi 5 have been made in Nevada and not Switzerland, as required by the Deed of Gift. In addition, Jeffery stated that Alinghi has been warned by his team, more than a year ago, that they would be taking a perilous path should they go on and make these sails in the USA.

As for the press conference itself, we didn't get any wiser, although a private chat afterwards with Joseph Ouzanne, the French "father" of the wing sail, was very instructive. The best part of it focused on explaining why we will probably never see BOR 90, their giant trimaran inside Port America's Cup, or darsena (basin), the Spanish term often used by all, even if this is obligatory as per the Notice of Race.

All four men, Spithill, Jeffery, Elvira and Ouzanne went to great lengths explaining how difficult and dangerous is to maneuver the giant trimaran with the wing sail on it. The safety of the yacht as well as her crew could be endangered. The 600 square meters of wing sail produce huge forces even with a very light breeze and small angle against the wind. According to Ozanne, BOR 90 with the wing sail on can reach 10 knots of speed in a matter of seconds and when you move at 5 meters per second, even a reaction time of 1-2 seconds can prove crucial. -- Pierre Orphanidis in his Valencia Sailing blog:

valenciasailing.blogspot.com

Light Winds Turn Clipper Leader Board On Its Head
In the words of Hull & Humber skipper, Piers Dudin: "What a day! It seems like the wind gods have found a new game - rearranging the order of the Clipper fleet!"

Overnight the leader board seems to have turned on its head with Team Finland making a dash for the front of the pack. The fleet is incredibly close and this morning just 12 miles separated the top eight boats.

Piers continues, "Having five other boats all within sight, all pretty much in a line is quite an event! We've been trimming well, full time, throwing in gybes and peels hourly now it seems. We were unlucky to get pulled under a big cloud where the wind varied so much we had to take down the kite and try to shake out of its grasp, which took a few hours. All we seem to talk about nowadays is boat speed, wind speed, compass heading, wind direction..."

The clouds in the Equatorial zones continue to herald unpredictably strong wind - or none whatsoever - which makes maintaining boat speed a frustrating and tough job as the crews make change after change to the sail plan.

With just two miles separating third to seventh place it's likely that those positions will change numerous times to keep the crews - and those of us following the action from dry land - on tenterhooks...

The fleet will arrive at Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore, on Saturday 23 January.

Positions At 1200 UTC, Monday11 January 2010

1. Jamaica Lightning Bolt, DTF 807
2. Cape Breton Island, +1 nm to leader
3. Spirit of Australia, 2
4. California, 4
5. Team Finland, 4
6. Hull & Humber, 8
7. Cork, 11
8. Uniquely Singapore, 15
9. Qingdao, 35
10. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, 40

www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Grand Prix Action On Tap - Key West Race Week
M32s with Calvi Network in the middle of the action in 2009. Photo by Ken Stanek. Click on image to enlarge.

Key West Race Week Sailors from around the world are arriving in Key West and preparing to race in North America's premiere annual international regatta - Key West 2010, presented by Nautica. Boats from over 14 countries and 20 states begin five days of intense competition on January 18th.

International Team Competition for the Nautica Watches Trophy has nine strong teams. Team Italy 1 will defend their 2009 title against five additional European teams and three from the US. Vincenzo Onorato's Farr 40 Mascalzone Latino and Lorenzo Bressani's Melges 24 UKA UKA Racing are joined by Carlo Alberini's Melges 32 Calvi Network.

Follow all the grand prix action, racing excitement, and results through the web-site blog and coverage, on the scene reports, live tracking of the Melges 32 and J/80 fleets by Kattack, and nightly on demand video on www.TP2.tv

Scratch sheet, schedules and news: www.Premiere-Racing.com

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
Click on image to enlarge.

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Newport, Rhode Island, USA: The New York Yacht Club (NYYC), announced today that the club has invited 26 pre-eminent American yacht clubs to compete for places in the second New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, which will be sailed in Newport, R.I., September 10-17, 2011. Commodore Elwell explained that a number of yacht clubs in the United States had expressed interest in competing in the inaugural event, held in September of 2009. "This invitation for a U.S. Qualifying Series is in response to that interest," he said. The Qualifying Series will be held in Newport on September 8-11, 2010.

The initial list of invited American yacht clubs are American in Rye, N.Y.; Annapolis; Bayview in Detroit and Little Traverse in Harbor Springs, Mich.; Boston and Eastern in Marblehead, Mass.; Carolina in Charleston, S.C.; Chicago; Fishing Bay in Deltaville, Va; Fort Worth Boat Club; Houston; Ida Lewis in Newport, R.I.; Indian Harbor, Pequot and Stamford in Connecticut; Larchmont, Rochester and Seawanhaka Corinthian, also in New York; Long Beach, Newport Harbor and San Diego in Southern California; St. Francis and San Francisco in Northern California; Southern in New Orleans, La.; St. Petersburg in Florida; and Seattle.

The top three U.S. teams from this series will receive invitations to the NYYC Invitational Cup, where they will join the top six teams from 2009: New York, Royal Canadian, Japan Sailing Federation, Nyländska Jaktklubben of Finland; Royal Cork of Ireland and Royal Bermuda, plus at least 10 other international teams, to be invited in the spring of 2010

Next summer's U.S. Qualifying Series will feature fleet racing in Sonars and J/22s in historic Newport, R.I. - on the same waters that the NYYC conducted the America's Cup from 1958-1983. This will be the only opportunity for domestic yacht clubs to earn a place in the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.

www.nyyc.org

Peter vs. Peter
Simpson Bay, St.Maarten: The Sint Maarten Yacht Club has just confirmed that both Peter Isler and Peter Holmberg will compete in the Budget Marine Match racing Cup which will take place on Tuesday March 2nd 2010. This event is in its second year. The Match Racing Cup takes place just before the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta and is a great opportunity for sailors already attending the regatta to compete in one more day of racing and with cash prizes totaling $10,000; the event is drawing a lot of attention from fellow sailors.

Peter Holmberg, native of St.Thomas and the winner of last year's first ever Budget Marine Match Racing Cup will once again attend and defend his title as overall winner.

Peter Isler will also attend the event and will prove to be a fantastic competitor for the other crews. He is a two time Americas Cup Winner, and participated in five Americas Cup campaigns. Two time Maxi Class World Champion Isler has sailed aboard Pyewacket, Rambler, Titan 15, and Moring Glory to name just a few of the top notch racing boats he has worked.

There are six other competitors in the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup, of which one of them will be Eugeniy Nikiforov, ranked 45th as an ISAF Match Racer placing 1st in the Ekaterinburg Cup-a qualifier for the YAVA Trophy Ekaterinburg Russia. Nikiforov participated in the event in 2009 and placed 3rd overall. Other confirmed participants to date are Colin Rathbun, Chris Nesbitt, Marc Firtzgerald and Jakub Pawluk. There is still one spot left for those who are interested in qualifying. For more information contact the regatta organization at for more information or send your sailing CV directly to be considered for the final position.

2010 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race
J.P. Morgan Asset Management has announced its extended sponsorship of the Round the Island Race through to 2012. As organisers of the Race, the Island Sailing Club announced a series of new initiatives for the 2010 event all generously sponsored by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management also announced their continued sponsorship of Ben Ainslie, Britain's most successful Olympic sailor of all time. The company has been Ben's title sponsor since 2007 and backed his gold medal campaign at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The new race initiatives are in response to ideas raised in the competitor feedback survey. New additions include the launch of bespoke technology allowing spectators to remotely track the positions of boats during the Race, an online photo gallery specifically for competitors and free, regular water taxis to ferry sailors between the Folly and the regatta village in Cowes Yacht Haven.

The 2010 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race starts at 0500 on Saturday 19th June. With over 16,000 sailors of all ages and experience and around 1800 yachts the Race is now the 4th largest participation sporting event in the UK, after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.

The Island Sailing Club also announced today its intention to introduce live GPS tracking facilities for boats taking part in the 2010 Race. Competitors with suitable GPS-equipped mobile phones or laptops will be able to continuously log their position as they sail around the Island. A global online audience of friends, family, sailing fans and media representatives will be able to follow the progress of participating boats via the Round the Island Race website and, after the finish, competitors will be able to replay their race and compare their performance with that of other boats.

The solution is being developed by the Race technology partner, Next Generation Results, and is one of the largest event tracking initiatives ever undertaken with mobile phone technology. Subject to the completion of successful trials during the winter, each competitor with compatible equipment will be able to download a small piece of software that will allow their mobile phone or laptop to become a real-time GPS tracking device. The device's position will be periodically transmitted to the race website, where a simple, easy-to-use race viewer will allow visitors to monitor the progress of individual boats throughout the race. More details of supported equipment and how to register for the service will be announced in the Spring.

The Race continues to raise an increasing amount for charitable causes with 100,000 GBP raised in 2009. J.P. Morgan Asset Management has confirmed that the SailTime Charity Challenge will take place in 2010 where the four preferred race charities - the Ellen MacArthur Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support, Breast Cancer Care and Prostate UK - will race against each other in identical Oceanis 40 yachts.

Anyone who would like to apply for a place on one of the four SailTime Charity Challenge boats should visit www.roundtheisland.org.uk for more details or contact Dan Wilkinson:

Spanish Castle To White Night
Completing the Volvo Ocean Race is a supreme human achievement - only a fraction of the sailors that started from the ramparts of Alicante's castle will sail all of the 37,000 miles to the finish in St. Petersburg. The handful that does will have been through every emotion, their human story intertwined with the raw elements of nature and the extraordinary technology on which their survival depends.

Mark Chisnell, the author of Spanish Castle to White Night, the official book of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, brings unique experience to this story - having mixed writing with professional sailing for over 20 years; publishing nine works of fiction and non-fiction, and writing for some of the world's leading magazines and newspapers, including Esquire and the Guardian. He has also won three offshore sailing world championships, and navigated with six America's Cup teams.

Stunning images accompany the text, taken by a professional team of photographers, including Rick Tomlinson, whose work has been featured in National Geographic and countless other world class publications; and Rick Deppe, a cameraman for the Emmy Award nominated, Discovery Channel documentary Deadliest Catch.

The Official Volvo Ocean Race Book and official DVD and available for order now at: www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/volvobookEUROBUTT/

Industry News
* Outdoor clothing brand Musto has been granted two Royal Warrants from Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

The Royal Warrant is an accreditation given to a company that has supplied its products to The Royal Household over a period of five years or more. Musto has provided clothing for country sports and sailing to both Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to facilitate their outdoor lifestyle.

Musto's CEO, Nigel Musto, commented: "Musto has always strived to produce the highest quality performance clothing, so we are extremely proud to have this honour bestowed upon us at a time of significant growth for our business. We are very much looking forward to continuing to supply The Royal Household for many years to come."

Musto has expanded into the lifestyle clothing market, developing a marine inspired range of casual wear. The brand continues to grow both its wholesale and retail operations in the UK, with a further 8 stand alone retail stores planned to open in the 2010, to complement its existing portfolio of 15 stores.

* The start of the Prebon Tullett London Boat Show saw Dubarry of Ireland announce their continued association with record breaking yachtswoman, Dee Caffari.

Dubarry supported Caffari throughout her last campaign which culminated in the solo sailor claiming 6th place in the Vendee Globe solo, non stop, round the world race in February of last year. Dubarry will begin their association as the Official Supplier of Clothing and Footwear to the Dee Caffari Racing team in January 2010 as Caffari continues to search for a new title sponsor to support her next Vendee Globe campaign. Dubarry of Ireland will continue to back Caffari and her team up to and including her entry into the 2012/13 Vendee Globe race, where this time she will be looking to improve her ranking and aim for a podium position.

Caffari and her team will be wearing Dubarry of Ireland's performance footwear and their new 2010 clothing collection while working closely with the company to provide regular product usage reports. -- www.dubarry.com

* Bainbridge Marine, a UK marine wholesaler based in Southampton, has been made a distributor of Quick Srl's entire marine portfolio. This includes windlasses and capstans, thrusters, water heaters, battery chargers, remote controls, electrical support equipment and a wide range of Italian-made lighting products.

Bainbridge Marine is a leading UK marine wholesaler of top international brands including RWO, Perko, Hubbell, Teleflex Marine, Marlow Ropes, Hella and more. The company supplies over 7,000 products to chandlers, boatbuilders, riggers and marine engineers.

Headquartered in Ravenna, Italy, Quick designs and manufactures marine equipment and accessories from a 35,000m2 site with more than 12,000m2 of covered floor space.

www.ibinews.com/ibinews/newsdesk/20100005130029ibinews.html

* "Since my first Volvo Round The World Race new technologies have been developed and integrated in the Volvo boats and one result has been that designers could create super fast sailing boats which reach speeds up to 70 km an hour and can travel distances of nearly 600 miles in 24 hours. The downside for us sailors is that the term fire hose sailing has become a common word on the boats," commented Bouwe on ocean sailing.

"My goal is to help Magic Marine develop the best offshore gear for a Volvo Ocean Race crew member," said Bouwe. "It is refreshing to see that Magic Marine has the drive and the knowledge to fill my high demands. One thing I know for sure, if I am well protected on the ocean, the same will be the case for you."

Bekking is a native of Deventer, the Netherlands and currently resides in Gilleleje, Denmark. His adventures in the sport have included 5 Round the World Races, 5 World Titles, and more long distance races that one can count. Recently Bouwe broke the North Sea crossing record from Lowestof in England to IJmuiden in the Netherlands. He beat the record set in 2008 by 23 minutes on the Delta Lloyd VO70.

* Two leading forces in the Canadian marine industry have been inducted into Canada's Boating Hall of Fame. Sailboat designer Ian Bruce and Princecraft chief Marcel Dubois were honoured at a ceremony at the Toronto International Boat Show on January 11, 2010.

Bruce, 76, is known for his design and development of high-performance sailboats like the PS200 Laser. "Bruce's groundbreaking work on the Laser began in the 1970s when he opened nine manufacturing plants worldwide using a design that remains essentially unchanged to this day," said Linda Waddell, NMMA vice president of northern shows. "During his 40-plus years in the boating business, Bruce also won the prestigious Prince of Wales trophy in international Fourteens twice, in addition to representing Canada twice in the Summer Olympics."

Dubois, who took control of Princecraft Boats in 1984, has led Princecraft through several ownerships. He has seen the company grow from less than 60 workers to well over 300, while employing 600 workers from local suppliers in Princeville, Quebec. Princecraft is a division of Brunswick Corp. -- IBI news, www.ibinews.com/ibinews/

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 Andrew McIrvine, Commodore, Royal Ocean Racing Club: It will be tragic if 'Bloodhound' is left tied up next to 'Britannia' and no longer sailed. After what appears to be an excellent restoration she is fit for action, not to be condemned to be gawped at by unknowing tourists coming to see the equally sad end to 'Britannia'. It could be acceptable if her upkeep is maintained by being in dock some of the time but continuing as a youth sail training vessel during the summer. I cannot believe that HRH the Duke of Edinburgh feels happy with her current fate.

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The Last Word
Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings... and lawyers. -- Richard Pryor

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