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A tactically challenging and meteorologically intriguing 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race is developing. Thirty hours into the contest, all 83 yachts are still racing with the bulk of the fleet negotiating the infamous Strait of Messina. Leading the fleet, and midway between the Strait and Stromboli, are the 30.48m/100-ft Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), and two 21.94m/72-ft Mini Maxis Ran 2 (GBR) and Stig (ITA). Currently sailing at a meagre two knots, the three are separated by less than one mile.
Esimit Europa 2 has not broken away from the pack in the manner she has become accustomed to in previous editions. The first night proved frustrating for Igor Simcic's crew, caught in a fading breeze that allowed her rivals to close in. On the approach to the Strait this morning, Ran 2 took advantage of a positive current to close the gap on Esimit, and even take the lead. By midday the two boats were only 100m apart exiting the Strait together, destination Stromboli.
18 yachts have now passed the Strait of Messina. The current advantage on handicap belongs to defending champion - Lee Satariano's J/122 Artie (MLT). It is a precarious lead as the fleet heads into the second evening and a frustrating search for breeze.
Live race tracking from the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race is available here as a record-breaking 83 international entries contest this classic offshore race.
Fine French Victory On French Waters
Going into the final double points race Pennec had to keep three boats between him and McMillan to claim victory and the race was won at the start when McMillan found himself stuck in the second row from which he never recovered. Only a major faux pas would have prevented Pennec from claiming a win that was arguably rightfully theirs after a strong performance over the last three days and 28 races.
It wasn't all celebrations dock-side this evening in the French Riviera and there was bitter disappointment for Roman Hagara on Red Bull Sailing Team. The team never seemed to recover their stride from their crash on day two and finished in sixth place - but more significantly for the Austrian double Olympic gold medallist they may have put their chances of a podium position in the overall Series in jeopardy falling to fourth overall.
Final Results: Position / Team / Points
Extreme Sailing Series 2012 Overall Series Results after Act 7, Nice
Finding and Saving a Man Overboard
Using the new generation Mk V Jonbuoy, a high visibility and high stability inflatable support ring, can make recovering a person who has fallen overboard a simple operation. But if the weather is extreme and there's no visibility, a bit of backup in the form of an AIS Survivor Recovery System can be very welcome.
Combining the two innovative products is a massive step towards improving survival prospects. The Jonbuoy does its job by supporting the MOB in a cradle like position in its inflatable support structure, while the R10, the first personal AIS transmitter of its kind, provides high precision GPS information, bearing and range, relayed to the vessel's AIS system updated every 60 seconds.
The R10 SRS is professionally fitted to the Jonbuoy so that when the Jonbuoy is deployed from its container - an easy operation since it inflates automatically - the system is ready for use and the R10 automatically starts transmitting.
Nord Stream Race
Helsinki, Finland: With winds approaching 30 knots from the South West, Leg One, of the Nord Stream Race has provided plenty of action for all competitors racing from Saint-Petersburg, Russia to Helsinki, Finland. Team Russia, sponsored by Gazprom, after leading round the first mark of the 198 nautical mile passage sailed consistently to retain a first place position across the finish line situated between the Husunkivi Beacon and Länsi Mustasaari Light.
The Nord Stream Race Fleet is now berthed next to the Market Square of Central Helsinki.
Saturday saw the five-strong Swan 60's battle it out for the Nord Stream Match Racing title. The Match Racing event was held in the harbour overlooking the one of the only churches in Finland that also acts as a lighthouse which provided the backdrop to light winds and a calm sea state.
The Round Robin structure of the Match Racing ensured all teams raced each other in short, quick, one on one races with the Umpire Team and International Jury keeping a close eye. Light and shifty conditions of eight knots meant that tactical decisions were all the more significant for the teams getting ahead of their opponent.
Team Germany supported by Stroygazmontaz were in dominant form with Jesper Radich, previous World Match Racing Champion, brought in to raise the performance levels for the day within the specialist discipline of Match Racing, taking all four Round Robin wins.
Leg Two commences on October 22nd with the Gazprom Swan 60 Class lining up to race from Helsinki, Finland to Gotland, Sweden.
Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series
On Sunday at the final day of competition in Napoli, the last two races hung in the balance, that would ultimately bring the 2012 Sailing Series circuit to a close.
Standing tall above all the rest in 2012, after five events and thirty-six races, Onorato takes home the Series Circuit trophy and title, proudly accepted at his home port of Napoli. All season long Onorato remained determined to edge out Cirillo, and in the end did so by a wide margin. Pavesio, after great success in Malcesine, persevered and won Napoli. In turn, he was rewarded greatly with a spot (third) on the podium in the year-end Series Circuit standings.
Napoli was the final event of the Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series, organized by B-Plan Sport & Events with the collaboration of the International Melges 32 Class Association, Melges Europe and the local Circolo Canottieri Napoli. In addition to Audi, to support the Audi Sailing Series are haute watches Eberhard & Co, the official timekeeper of the season, and Musto, involved as a sponsor.
Top Ten Results (After Eight Races, One Discard - Final)
2012 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series
Full results: melges32.com
Running The Rhumblines
Rising Farrst showed she was back on the pace following a long layoff to record a popular 12 second win over Esoteric (Col Forster) while Colin Prudon helmed Sandpiper into third another 51 seconds astern.
The near perfect 18 knot sea breeze and moderately choppy sea way provided the fleet with a serious test of individual sailing talent measure up with the required all angle sailing speed to challenge their respective handicaps.
While the crew of Rising Farrst were faced with the task to again 'learn the ropes' and overcome being a little rusty with the combined crew technique they still managed to protect their handicap rating to celebrate a return to racing with a popular win.
There was a sense of jubilation enjoyed by the Rising Farrst crew but they will become the target of tactical attention when the 41st race in the yearlong series is decided later this week. Meanwhile Bernie Van't Hof continues to dominate line honours contest with his well sailed Swan 50 Tulip.
Both Bernie Van't Hof and crew relished the opportunity to race Tulip in a stronger wind velocity sealing a strong grip on line honours early in the race.
Their rivals in Reignition (Charles Wallace) and Treasure V111 (Harold Menelaus) faced an uphill battle to match the larger Tulip in her favoured sailing conditions to eventually finish over five minutes off the pace.
However all three failed to sail to their handicap ratings fishing back in the pack in a race dominated by the lower rated Rising Farrst, Esoteric and the ever consistent Sandpiper.
Alan Sneddon collected the spoils in Division 3 when he steered Pacific Phoenix to a deserved corrected handicap win over Dan White in Riff Raff while Peter Mitchelson steered Lorna Rose Too into third place.
All three crews are expected to continue their tactical duel when the battle line for the 41st race of the series is drawn on Pioneer Bay later this week. -- Ian Grant
For The Record
Record: Trieste to Malta. Rule 21.c Powered Sailing Systems
18ft Skiffs AEG 3-Buoys Challenge, Race 3
Despite conditions which constantly fluctuated in strength and directions throughout the race, Brett Van Munster, Kieryn Cowan and Joel Castle were always somewhere near the lead before their 54s victory.
Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, James Hozack, Aron Everett) also sailed consistently to finish in second place, with Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman, Tim Baraclough, Ewan Duckworth) a further 17s back in third place.
Backmarker Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) was fourth, followed by Mojo Wine (James Dorron) and the rookie Team Southern Cross (Oliver Hartas) in sixth place.
Kenwood-Rabbitohs win also gives the team the outright lead in the series on three points, following their second placing in last week's first round.
Lumix is second overall on nine points, with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Gotta Love It 7 equal third on 10 points.
'Pick the Podium' is back again this season with prizes to be won by just making some selections on which teams you think will fill the placings in Sunday's race. For full details go to http://www.18footerstv.com/18-promo
Race 3 of the AEG 3-Buoys Challenge will be sailed next Sunday with the Spectator Ferry leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.15pm. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League
Panerai Transat Classique
After a first leg across the Bay of Biscay, it's now the turn of the Mediterranean fleet to race to the rallying point of Cascais in Portugal. With preparations well underway, they'll be crossing the Saint-Tropez starting line at 1400 hrs on 25 October.
The fleet will set out from the port of Saint-Tropez to race across the Mediterranean. The testing autumnal weather will be an opportunity for the skippers to try out some daring tactics. The yachts have first to cross the Gulf of Lion, well known for its powerful and unpredictable temper, and then sail down the Spanish coast or around the Balearic Islands before heading into the Straits of Gibraltar. Extremely narrow, the passage between Europe and Africa is subject to powerful currents.
Earlier this year, in July, the first leg of the Panerai Transat Classique enjoyed excellent conditions. The summer sun shone on the competitors as they sailed out of the Bay of Douarnenez accompanied by hundreds of vessels taking part in the festival there, and the finishing stages of the race had all the hallmarks of a nail-biter.
On the starting line the veterans of the Transat Classique will be welcoming Corto, a 1970 Carter design. They will undoubtedly remember how, during the previous edition of this prestigious race, her crew sailed into Agadir with water halfway up their calves, having bailed like madmen for days on end. Moroccan shipwrights then had to pull out all the stops to get her seaworthy for the Atlantic crossing. Even the night before the start of the ocean leg her decks were alive with activity, while her fellow competitors were dreaming of rolling along before the trade winds. Despite their efforts, the crew had to face up to the facts: Corto may well have crossed the starting line, but she was in no shape to continue the adventure without putting her crew, and herself, at risk. So it is with great pleasure that, four years after she had to prematurely call it a day, Corto is once again taking part in this wonderful race.
Vendee Globe Village Opens
Also attending were Les Sables d'Olonne Mayor Louis Guedon, Sodebo CEO Patricia Brochard and the skippers. Bruno Retailleau opened the gates of the entrance pavilion, an architecturally innovative building that stands like a lighthouse at the entrance of the port. As a place to get practical information on the 2012 Vendee Globe, the pavilion allows the public to access the Quai Gravière, the plaza and the dock, all open to the public.
The Village was a single structure in 2008-2009 but this new Village - where about a million visitors and 1,200 French and international journalists are expected throughout 23 days - has been divided into four different areas spreading on a total surface of 4 hectares that makes for a much easier circulation of the visitors.
A huge and public-friendly "Business Area" will make it easier for companies - especially local ones - to meet and exchange through exhibition spaces, private rooms and meeting areas.
The Village is also about having fun and it offers many food&drinks possibilities as well as activities, concerts, fashion shows and performances... endless activities are scheduled until November 10, the start of the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe.
This Ker 53 cruiser/racer is the best of both worlds, a 53ft race boat which is ready to win regattas and a 53ft cruising boat which will cruise and entertain in comfort. She is certainly stylish enough to be the centre of attention at any premier sailing location in the Mediterranean or around the world.
Dralion has recently won the following regattas: Volies de Saint Tropez (IRC-B), Rolex Middle Sea Race (IRC-2) (2011) and Rolex Giraglia (IRC A) in 2012, she is certainly ready to win more with her next owner.
Brokerage through Nicolle Associates: www.findaboat.co.uk
Complete listing details and seller contact information at
The Last Word
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