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Leaders Head Home
Race leader Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is expected to cross the finish line in Malta shortly after midnight having established an insurmountable lead in the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race. Esimit has passed the island of Lampedusa, the most southerly point of the 606-nm course and is some 70-nm from the finish line in Malta. A third straight line honours triumph beckons for Igor Simcic's 30.48m/100-ft Maxi.
Ran II (GBR), Med Spirit (RUS) and Stig (ITA) are engaged in their own duel to finish second on the water having kept each other company throughout the race. This pack is currently travelling between Pantelleria and Lampedusa at a consistent ten knots.
While five of the record-breaking 83-international entrants have retired from the race, the majority of the fleet are negotiating the tactically arduous passage across the northern coast of Sicily and approaching the stronger northwesterly breeze running down the west of the island.
Welcome news for boats such as the 12.9m/40-ft Kuka- Light (SUI). "We've had a very slow 24 hours like a lot of the boats around us and the conditions are variable," explained skipper Mitch Booth. "We are getting quite close to the (northwest) tip of Sicily and enjoying some close racing. Conditions are quite frustrating. We are looking forward to a downwind stretch after a lot of light, upwind." Despite the frustrations caused by light winds, the crew have enjoyed the challenge: "The race is very scenic, we've seen a lot of wildlife and volcano action, as well a lot of other boats which is not always the case during an offshore race."
The battle to be overall race winner is still wide open. Current estimates indicate that Niklas Zennstrom's 21.94m/72-ft Mini Maxi Ran II holds the advantage on handicap although a clearer idea will emerge once the bulk of the fleet heads into stronger airs after Trapani.
The End Of The 'Auld Mug'?
Perhaps that's a deliberate move by the powerful PR machine behind the present AC organisation, whose principle agenda appears to be the 'modernization' of what used to be the pinnacle event of our sport into a nautical version of Nascar! To hell with tradition, obviously that's not fashionable. Let's create a continuing circus event and reduce the reputation of the America's Cup to that, or less, of any other class championship.
The present set-up with its continuing rounds of regattas in the AC45 class is creating some confusion amongst the press and the non-sailing sports public alike, even in sailing mad New Zealand. Recently, a leading TV channel, reporting on the latest San Francisco Races announced: 'Oracle defeats New Zealand in America's Cup Race!' If the press keep feeding the public headlines like that several times every year, sports oldest and most esteemed trophy will be reduced to just another sailing regatta, or even the scrap-heap.
Like many other older sailors, I've keenly followed the America's Cup, albeit from a distance, since the first match of the twelve metre era, when the British challenged the New York Yacht Club in 1958 and I've also read extensively about the earlier contests since that famous race in 1851. It has, to this date, been a captivating event, with all the elements that fascinate right across the entire sporting public and media alike.
But excitement does NOT build, if you are racing events several times every year and they are called America's Cup races or Youth America's Cup, or whatever else the present AC organization may be planning to call other events in his quest to re-invent a proven formula. -- Jim Bolland in his blog A Brush With Sail:
Full editorial at abrushwithsail.blogspot.com
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Garmin Hamble Winter Series and the MDL Hamble Big Boat Series
Saturday saw the start of the final MDL Hamble Big Boat Championship weekend. The forecast was appalling, with a mirror calm greeting the race committee as they motored out to the race course, and no-one really expected to get any racing in. But competitors couldn't believe their luck as 4-5 knots of southeasterly filled in after an hour's postponement, allowing the race team to get four races in from a startline near Wight Vodka.
On Sunday, a good NorthEasterly 10-15 knots was forecast, and, unlike Saturday, that was exactly what the weather gods served up. Racing started from the vicinity of Sunsail Racing buoy at low tide, with courses cascading down the East Solent in a sluicing flood tide. The MDL Hamble Big Boat Championships fleet raced alongside the main Garmin Hamble Winter Series fleet, with two races for all classes.
In the Farr 45 class, Stewart Whitehead's Rebel sailed consistently well, posting a 1st and a 2nd, to top the class at the end of the two weekend series. In the J/111 class, Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug took two seconds on Sunday, but that was enough to keep them nine points clear at the top of the fleet – an impressive showing for their first regatta.
Andrew McIrvine's La Reponse continued her near clear sweep with another two firsts to win the Beneteau First 40 class in fine style, while in the two-boat Beneteau First 40.7 class, Nick Rawbone's Playing Around and Stuart and James Wilkie's Mitchellson Interceptor took a race each.
The Garmin Hamble Winter Series ran as usual on Sunday, this time from the same startline as the Big Boats in ideal conditions. The day sponsor was Southern Ropes, who provided prizes at the clubhouse after racing. All classes sailed two races, with the smaller boats finishing on the Hill Head plateau, and the bigger boats finishing near Browndown.
Mark Lloyd's Mills 43 Chaos took two bullets in the IRC 0 class. In IRC 1, Philip Farrands' Old Mother Gun and the First 40.7 Beaufort Winston finished joint first in the first race of the day, with the Reflex 38 Jaguar Logic taking the second race.
In IRC 2, David Franks' Straight Dealer, a JPK 1010, continued her near-perfect run with another two firsts. Similarly, Paul Griffiths' Jagerbomb posted two firsts in the J/109 class. Things were less clear-cut in IRC 3, with Peter Dessent's Archambault A31 ImaDjinn and Craig Cossar's Salona 35 Vital Eyes taking a race each. -- Ben Meakins
Farr 40s in Queensland Versus New South Wales Rivalry
Traditional sporting rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales will take to the water this weekend when three top crews from Sydney take on the best of Brisbane sailors in the Queensland championship for the Farr 40 class.
The Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored championship, to be sailed from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, is the first in a series of regattas for the prestigious international one-design class this summer, with others to follow in Hobart and Sydney.
The Brisbane fleet of five Farr 40s will be joined by the prominent Sydney boats, Transfusion, Estate Master and Kokomo, whose owners have had them sailed and/or trucked them north especially for the Queensland titles.
The championships will be sailed on Moreton Bay on Saturday and Sunday with up to six windward/leeward races scheduled on a testing course east of St Helena Island.
RQYS regatta manager Carl Webster says the forecast breezes will be ideal for the Farr 40 class, with 11-15 knots forecast for racing on Saturday and fresher 15-18 knots for Sunday.
While the Queenslanders will be racing on their home waters, the competition from the south will be exceptionally strong, headed by Transfusion, the 2011 world championship boat skippered by Sydney yachtsman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis. -- Peter Campbell
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New Champions Crowned
Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, was hit by light winds on Saturday, which meant no racing was possible for the 24 Junior (under 16) teams and 23 Youth (under 19) teams competing for Championship honours, leading to an intense racing schedule on Sunday when conditions had improved.
In the Junior competition, contested in RS Fevas, Not the Spinnaker Team (Spinnaker SC, Ringwood) and Team from South, comprising sailors from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, made it through to the final with an unblemished record of eight wins from eight races, while HISC Black (Hayling Island) and Cardiff Bay YC, with seven race wins apiece, were left to fight it out in the third place play-off.
The south coast HISC sailors claimed bronze 2-1 over their Welsh rivals, while in the final, Not the Spinnaker Team took control to overcome Team from South 2-0 and claim the 2012 RYA Eric Twiname Junior Team Racing Championship title.
In the Youth event, sailed in Fireflies, MCS (Magdelen College School, Oxford) assured themselves of at least a silver medal when both of their competing teams set up a head to head in the first semi-final. It was MCS 1 who progressed with a 2-0 victory over their teammates, while Sevenoaks A and Ladico Race Team battled it out for the remaining spot in the final, with Ladico pulling through with a 2-1 win.
MCS 1 ensured some silverware remained in the event's host city, claiming a 2-0 win in the final and the Youth Championships title over Ladico Race Team, while Sevenoaks A claimed the final podium spot with a 2-0 victory over MCS 2 in the third place play-off.
Full results: www.sailracer.org/events/
Bribie Star one of three almost identical Queensland Farr 40 class sloops will face a supreme test of tactical racing over six searching races on Moreton Bay against an impressive trio of New South Wales yachts including the 2011 World champion Transfusion skippered by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis of Sydney.
The fleet of six yachts crewed by a number of highly talented sailors will present a classic contest of tactical strategy to win the prestigious hand crafted trophy.
Skipper Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and his exceptionally talented crew have been nominated as the pre-regatta favourite following their Bronze Medal result at last month's World championship in Chicago but they realise there will be no margin for error. The selected course area will be set on the tricky waters east of Green and St Helena Islands which are familiar to the crews of the Queensland team yachts Skreenkraft/Lambourdini (David Lambourne) Bribie Star (Ken and Lucas Down) and Bobby's Girl (John Lehman).
But the highly talented trio of New South Wales crews will need to continually update their tactical strategy to coincide with the change of current flow to protect their reputations in what is expected to be a close fought series.
All six crews manning the decks of these state of the art one-design match racing yachts have an equal chance of winning off the start line but the slightest error in tactical strategy and sail handling skill can mean the difference between winning or finishing back in the pack.
The recent Queensland IRC Championship success suggests that the David Lambourne skippered Skreenkraft/Lambourdini is tactically prepared to go bow down with the strong New South Wales trio however that will depend on crew support and the proven ability of Mike O'Brien to dominate the tactical 'mind games' over his New South Wales rivals.
While they respect the previous regatta results achieved by Transfusion, Kokomo and Estate Master the proud Queensland crews manning the decks of Skreenkraft/ Lambourdini, Bribie Star and Bobby's Girl have not prepared to accept the fourth, fifth and sixth places without a fight.
Ken Down respected as the most experienced individual sailor in the Queensland team including the career distinction of recording an Admirals Cup win in his log book will play a major role in the challenge of Bribie Star while Skreenkraft/Lambourdini helmsman David Lambourne and his experienced sailing mates Mike O'Brien, Barry Cuneo and Scott Millar have never been known to shy away from a tactical 'dog-fight' are race ready to duel with their New South Wales rivals. Experienced Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron race management official Louise Davis has the proven skill to set fair courses which sets the foundation to decide which of the intensely proud States has the best Farr 40 crew when the final of six races is decided on Sunday. -- Ian Grant
D-One Gold Cup
The 2012 D-One Gold ended in the hands of czech Martin Trcka but lot of surprises came in during the race. Viktor Teply controlled all the race from the start but capsized at the last gennaker hoisting. At that point Trcka had a fast run to the finish but the real fight was behind him, where come-from-behind Argentinian Agustin Zabalua, a former D-One Gold Cup winner, recovered 10 boats in the second beat to fight for his chance. If Zabalua should finish in second place the last race, the Gold Cup would take a Valencian route. With a third, Czech Trcka would have the Gold Cup in his hands. Italian Andrea Casale broke Zabalua's dream fighting hard in the last run. On the finish line, after Zabalua's last jibe, only half a meter separated the two d-oners, but the italian's bowsprit was ahead.
The 2013 edition of the D-One Gold Cup will be sailed on Attersee, Austria, in late September.
Video Interview with Martin Trcka: youtu.be/Wha1Lg7KFkc
Final Race with live commentary (Luca Devoti and Michele Tognozzi), from Monday morning: youtu.be/TfhMEYRWfz4
Final top five:
1. Martin Trcka, CZE, 20 points
Tall Ship Lord Nelson Begins Circumnavigation
The ship, operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), departed Southampton on Sunday, setting sail for Rio de Janeiro, from where it will head onto Cape Town.
It began the journey on Trafalgar Day, which marked the 207th anniversary of the death of the vessel's eponymous vice-admiral and the Royal Navy's defeat of the French and Spanish fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar.
It set sail for Brazil at 11.50am, the time that Horatio Nelson hoisted his final flag signal to the fleet at Trafalgar.
The circumnavigation is expected to take two years and will visit 30 countries and all seven continents.
From Practical Boat Owner:
Jubilee Sailing Trust: www.jst.org.uk
* From Tony Moody: Just read Peter Campbell's story on the girls Nick Rogers conned into sailing the new "wonder" class in Hobart , the SB20.
A great pity Nick could not devote more of his same energies into helping promote the Dragon class which has for so long supported him in Tasmania.
I believe his Dragon Karabos is now on the market .. sad.
* From the Extreme Sailing Series: On Thursday 18th we were forced to cancel racing - it is only the second time ever in 6 years we have cancelled a days racing and both have been due to sea state rather than wind. We have happily (and yes extreme!) raced in 25-30 knots a number of times and love doing that. But the boats went out to the racecourse and could not safely manage to tack due a very short steep seaway in the authorised racing zone as provided by the local authorities.
If the day had been one of the stadium days we probably would have done speed runs, but risking destroying the fleet before Stadium sailing even opened didn't make sense for anyone (day one is pre public opening). The teams were in agreement this was the right decision as quoted by Ian Williams, GAC Pindar skipper: "Shame not to get some races in today but it was the right decision by the race committee to abandon racing. When it becomes just a case of survival, the racing becomes compromised and the risk of major damage is not worth taking."
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Brokerage through Navis Marine: www.yachtworld.com/navismarine/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com
The Last Word
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