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AC72 Capsizes, Wing Destroyed
Photo by Erik Simonson, http://www.pressure-drop.us AC72 Safety issues with the Americas Cup radical new 72-foot-long catamarans have been a hot topic since the design was unveiled. Capsizing wasn't an "if" but a "when" -- and "when" arrived on Tuesday, when Oracle Team USA pitchpoled in 30 knots of wind near San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

Cupinfo.com spoke with Dirk Kramers of Oracle Team USA:

Oracle went with a design that includes a large pod below the boat's hard wing that acts as something of a wing extension, providing more power closer to the waterline. That's a positive contribution, but one negative with the pod is it means the sailors cannot do the "monkey dance" down the netting to safety.

"One of the aspects that's difficult about this kind of boat is that once it's capsized, you can't really climb up or climb down. So you're sort of stuck. With the AC45, you can climb up and down, but this boat has the big pod in the middle. And you can imagine falling off, if the boat is at 90 degrees. If you fall down into something hard, that's not going to be good. We've had a lot of guys falling off the AC45s, but we've been lucky that no one has hit something hard yet -- like what happened to Russell, it was inches away from it being a big problem. And it's happened to other guys. That is the biggest thing, making sure the guys have something to hang onto.

"When we sailed the big boat event, there was a lot of talk about whether you were better to jump or to hang on. But you're hanging 90' in the air that's a long way to fall. At that point, it was better to hang on and dangle and wait for someone to come get you rather than trying to save yourself. -- Diana Swintal for CupInfo, full report at

www.cupinfo.com

"We did something we had hoped we would never do, and that's capsize an AC72," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. "The most important part is that all the crew are safe, and no injuries. The next step now is to get the boat back to shore safely - we have it under tow and we're making progress now."

"When the nose went down, the wing hit and a few guys went in the water," said tactician Tom Slingsby. "We were unsure if the wing would snap, so we all climbed off the boat."

With the boat on its side, the sea conditions quickly inflicted damage on the wing. The boat was pulled out to sea by the strong current, and as darkness fell, the team was still working to secure the catamaran platform and bring it back to base. The wing is destroyed.

"There's no question this is a setback. This will be a big test for our team," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. "But I've seen these guys in a similar situation in the past campaign before we won the America's Cup. A strong team will bounce back from it. This won't stop us from winning the America's Cup."

oracleteamusa.com

Coastal Race Starts Tomorrow
Photo by Rolex / Kurt Arrigo. Click on image to enlarge.

Malta Valetta, Malta: With less than 5 days to go to the start of the 33rd edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, a steady stream of boat captains have been making their way to the Royal Malta Yacht Club making their final registrations for the race. Yachts from 18 different nations are taking up their berths at The Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Grand Harbour Marina. The extensive facilities at the club will be put to good use, as Thursday night's Crew Party, will cater for 1500 invited guests. Racing starts tomorrow (Wednesday 17th October) with a coastal race in preparation for the main event, which starts on Saturday 20th October.

Volvo Ocean Race skipper and Olympic sailor, Andreas Hanakamp will be racing on the Austrian Class 40, Vaquita: "I am not surprised that this race has become so popular, there are six Austrian yachts racing, which is great to see. The race has fantastic scenery and it is a very challenging course, which makes it really attractive and has established it as a classic not to be missed."

Irish Two-handed entry, Dinah is skippered by Barry Hurley. "I have sailed nearly 3000 miles to get here but this is not my first race, I have competed six times before, often with Maltese boats and I have very fond memories of those races. This year, I had the chance to come here and sail in my own boat and I am really looking forward to a great race.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th October. The Royal Malta Yacht Club is organising a coastal race. Scheduled to start at 1000, the coastal race offers the teams an opportunity to practice before the big send off on Saturday. The course is likely to be approximately 16 miles, starting from Marsamxett Harbour then up the northwest coast of Malta around Comino and finishing in front of the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Spectators will be able to watch the race from along the Sliema seafront at the start and the finish. During the coastal race, the Gozo Ferry terminal at Cirkewwa will offer views of all the boats as they round Comino.

It is also highly likely that the Slovenian Supermaxi, Esimit Europa 2 will arrive in Malta during the course of tomorrow's coastal race. Esimit Europa 2 is aiming to establish the benchmark time for the 700 nautical mile passage record Trieste to Valletta, recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. -- Louay Habib

rolexmiddlesearace.com/index.cfm

Ocean Safety Opens Two New Service Centres in the USA
Ocean Safety Racing boats on the international circuit are very often equipped with equipment from UK-based Ocean Safety, especially favourites such as weight-saving Ultralite liferafts, Jonbuoy man overboard systems and Volvo race-tested Kru lifejackets.

With so many of the yachts turning up for regattas in the US and needing to get their kit serviced there, it's been a good time for Ocean Safety to open a couple of service centres on the east coast.

The two centres, LRSE, based in Tiverton, Rhode Island, and Lifeline, located in Miami, are well established outlets of marine safety equipment for the US market. Staff at both are now fully trained and approved to service and sell Ocean Safety's lifejacket, liferaft and MOB ranges.

"Ocean Safety has set up servicing facilities at these two well established outlets in response to demand for service of our products, which has come most specifically from racing yachts in those areas," explains Ocean Safety's Sales Director Mark Hart. "An increasing number of yachts are involved in international sailing programmes so equipment that may have been bought in Europe is needing to be serviced in the US."

www.oceansafety.com

Sailrocket Straight Into It. Over 50 on Second Run
Walvis Bay, Namibia: It was a perfect day over on speed-spot today. The wind was 21-25 knots, the sun was shining and the tide was high.

The day looked great and I was reading gusts of 23 knots on the Tacktick display and Helena was seeing peaks of 25 knots further down the course. I was confident we were going to see a fast run... or at least get good info.

The start up went pretty smoothly and sure enough, VSR2 broke free of all the low speed drag and got up on the plane. Ah, sweet release! I held a course into the beach to get into the flat water and then bore away down that magical mile. Everything felt fine. The steering was light and responsive and the acceleration came in bursts. We were easily well over 40 knots in a matter of seconds. Some times she would feel slippery and other times it felt like she was being dragged back... or was pulling drag. VSR2 seemed to break free again about 100m after the timing hut and surged up to a steady peak speed just before I turned away from the beach to give myself room to do a big round-up into the wind to stop completely. It was a solid run that ticked a lot of boxes. I was happy to see 50.11 knots on the small GPS to confirm what I would have guessed. The average was 45.57 knots over 500 meters.

I can't get too excited about low 50's anymore. we have hit that speed many times with both boats and every foil we have ever used. The concept on which the Sailrockets are based has the power to pull any half decent foil up to this speed. We are openly targeting 60 knots now. -- Paul Larsen

* At press time, SailRocket was headed back out for round 2 with higher winds than yesterday.

sailrocket.com

Hong Kong To Hainan Race
After a hiatus of five years, the Hong Kong to Hainan Race is back.

This Offshore Category 1 race from Hong Kong to Sanya, Hainan Island was first contested in 1997 and was a biennial alternative to the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race until 2009, when logistical issues made the race unviable.

Twelve boats will set off from Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour at 1220hrs on Thursday. The conditions being bandied around by those with access to weather services are 15 to 20kts of north / north east breeze - just perfect for this race.

The race record of 29h 25m 08s is held by Sam Chan's Ffree Fire, a 71' ULDB sled, and Chan will be chasing his own record on his latest incarnation, TP52 Freefire as well as looking for a first on corrected time to add to his perfect score at the St. Regis International China Coast Regatta.

Competition for Line Honours will be fierce though, with Geoff Hill and Syd Fisher campaigning Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes and Stephen Tan and Ernesto Echauz looking for Philippine glory on Jelik V. The competition for IRC Overall will be equally gripping, with Jonathan Mahony's Zanzibar, IRC Overall winner of the Rolex China Sea Race 2012 up against Anthony Root's Red Kite II, IRC Overall winner of the San Fernando Race 2011 and Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake, who came a very close divisional second to Zanzibar in the 2011 VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.

EFG Bank Mandrake will also be hoping to add to her first in division at the St. Regis China Coast Regatta with a win in Racing Division 1, however Ambush, Sell Side Dream, Wicked and Avant Garde will also be looking for glory in the 40-footer division and will not be making it easy for the Burns/ Kinmonth partnership.

X-55 Xena could also prove dangerous in the overall standings, although as the only Premier Cruiser she is guaranteed first in division, as is Koon Woon, the lone HKPN representative.

All boats will be tracked using the proven Yellowbrick tracking system, with the first boats expected to arrive early Saturday morning, and the tail end to finish on Sunday.

www.rhkyc.org.hk/hainanrace.aspx

8 New Ropes from Marlow Launched at METS 2012
Marlow Ropes METS will see the introduction of 8 new products to the Marlow Ropes 2013 'Rope Catalogue'. Covering the Extreme Sports Series, Excel Dinghy Series, Cruiser/Racer Series and Mooring lines, there really is something new and exciting for everyone launching at METS 2012.

The introduction of new fibres, manufacturing techniques and requirements from the market allow the Marlow technical team to create some innovative new products.

- The New Marlow Extreme Sports Series combines new and existing products into one range.
- The Excel Dinghy Series receives some line durability upgrades as well as the introduction of fibres new to the range.
- The Cruiser/Racer series has an innovative new product and a product facelift to to a classic favourite.
- The Mooring lines have a significant specification upgrade.

Tested at the Marlow development facility and more importantly by the world's best yachtsmen, Marlow ensure that the sailor receives the very best rope for the job.

Come and see us at METS 2012 Stand 03.301 and check out the Leisure Marine Homepage for the latest news and product upgrades coming soon.

www.marlowropes.com/products/leisure-marine.html

Garmin Hamble Winter Series
The second weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, which incorporated the first weekend of the Lewmar Hamble One Design Championships, saw some champagne sailing conditions. Bright sunshine and 8-12 knots of breeze burned off the thick frost and eerie mist that started the day off, giving some stunning, if shifty, sailing conditions for all classes.

The race team got two races in on schedule on windward-leeward courses, with big shifts and a strong ebb tide giving competitors the chance to make big gains - and losses.

IRC 0 was first away. Dr Ivan Trotman's J/122 Jolou and Andrew Howard's Grand Soleil 46 Belladonna won a race each. In IRC 1, Reflex 38 Visit Malta Puma posted two first places, ahead of Philip Farrands' Old Mother Gun. David Franks's Straight Dealer and Peter Morton's Salvo took a win apiece in IRC 2.

In the J/111 class things were close. Cornel Ridkin's Jitterbug and David and Kirsty Apthorp's J Dream are tied overall on 5 points, with a first each. Similarly in the J/109s, Paul Griffiths' Jagerbomb leads the class overall by a point, with a first and a third, ahead of David McLeman's Offbeat and her score of a 4th and a 1st.

Nick and Adam Munday's J/97 Indulgence topped the IRC 3 class, with a 3rd and a 1st. Craig Cossar's Vital Eyes is close behind, with Peter Dessent's ImaDjinn hot on her heels.

The Sigma 38s saw some of the closest racing. The class is topped in the series so far by Kevin Sussmilch's Mefisto, who took two bullets. Kindred Spirit is second, with With Alacrity a point behind, and Nick Gale's Zanzara a point behind her.

In IRC 4, Polly took two firsts, with Quarter Tonner Menace scoring a 2nd and 3rd second and Impala 28 Imptish a 5th and a 2nd.

Next weekend is the final MDL Hamble Big Boat Championship weekend, as well as the third race day of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series.

Full results at www.hamblewinterseries.com

Spinnaker Tales
The warm tropical sailing waters at Hamilton Island will be transformed into an intense scene of one design match racing when the high standard fleet contest the 2012 UON World SB 20 championship from December 12-20.

England's defending champion Geoff Carveth heads an impressive overseas challenge while the Russian skipper Rodion Luka and Olympic female 470 representative Anna Basalinka are preparing to enjoy a welcome chance to race in the tropics.

Both dual World title winner Geoff Carveth and his Russian rival Rodion Luka who will no doubt enjoy making an escape route from the cold Northern Hemisphere climate are ranked among the top contenders.

However while wind and current will provide some hidden challenges for the International crews they will remain too focused on protecting their International one-design class racing reputations during the UON trophy series which is the first to be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere.

Multiple World Laser class champion Glenn Bourke winner of the 2012 Australian championship will be aiming for an improvement on his 4th at the 2011 SB 20 World championship in England.

Skipper Glenn Bourke who raced with the talented Sunshine Coast sailors Rod Jones and Greg Macallansmith in Club Marine remains undefeated in SB20 class racing on the tactically demanding Hamilton Island courses.

His clash with Geoff Carveth, fellow English helmsmen Jerry Hill and Robert Greenhalgh along with the talented Russian Rodion Luka is expected to be one of the many interesting highlights in what promises to become a one-design match racing arm wrestle.

This will also become a special moment in the career of determined Sunshine Coast sailor Rod Jones who first introduced the impressive SB 20 to Australian fleet racing.

Rod Jones a successful sailor in his own right include winning two AUDI Australian Ocean Racing titles first recognised the SB 20 as the perfect one-design class to challenge the skills of Australian sailors.

However while he was personally confident it became a challenging 'learning curve' with Australian SB 20 sailors now enjoying the benefits of refining their personal one-design racing skills in the fourth largest fleet in the World.

While Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke and his exceptionally talented Club Marine crew will have a marginal advantage of local course knowledge there will be no margin for error in tactical strategy or sail handling technique.

He has successfully raced in this intensely competitive environment before and is mentally prepared for what is expected to become a tactical 'dog fight' against the defending champion Geoff Carveth and his English team mates.

Robert Greenhalgh who finished ahead of the Australian champion at the 2011 Worlds believes that providing Glenn Bourke's Club Marine crew can repeat their big fleet racing strategy that they will be the combination to try and match when the battle lines are drawn off Hamilton Island later this year. -- Ian Grant

Great Forecast To Be Treated With Caution
Click on image for photo gallery.

Vodaphone Three days out from the NZMYC's Coastal Classic Auckland to Russell Yacht Race, Simon Hull , skipper of TeamVodafone Sailing, is trying not to think too much about the prospect of a back to back record in the iconic New Zealand race.

"If it's a good forecast, which it is, then it will turn bad," he jokes, "but it's looking hopeful for a similar sort of race to last year, so we have got to have a chance at slicing at least a few minutes off the record," he says.

In 2011 when the 60 foot trimaran set a record of five hours, 44 minutes and 31 seconds, it averaged 20 knots for the duration of the course, peaking out at 34.8 knots.

"We had a slow period last year - it really lightened off from halfway up from Tutukaka to Cape Brett. If it's looking the same we'd go wider again. We'll try to be out at Poor Knights. Last time we were pretty close but we'll try to be right out at the right hand side of the track so when it lightens we have that bit more latitude to stay off. Apart from that we'll run it pretty similarly," he says.

Simon Hull speculates that the race this year will be similar, but slightly lighter to 2011, but when asked if getting to Russell as early as 3.30pm - making a 5.5 hour record theoretically possible, although more difficult to achieve in practice.

The NZMYC Coastal Classic is 119 nautical miles in length and starts at 10am this Friday 19 October, off Devonport Wharf in Auckland. Current PredictWind weather routing has the boat finishing in well under five hours.

TeamVodafoneSailing will be carrying a PredictWind tracker aboard for the duration of the race - follow their progress at www.teamvodafonesailing.co.nz and www.coastalclassic.co.nz

Featured Brokerage
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Brokerage through Marco Marine: www.yachtworld.com/marcomarine/

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

The Last Word
All the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911. -- Lewis Black

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