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Downhill To The Canaries
The outstanding sailors this evening are Francois Gabart and Alex Thomson. Gabart's pace is totally unrelenting and whilst many observers were expecting him to lose miles over today his lead is looking pretty solid now that the top three are very much in the same wind regime.

Bernard Stamm has risen back to second while Armel Le Cleac'h has lost a few miles.

Alex Thomson is the quickest in the fleet this evening. He was in pragmatic, preservation mode earlier in the day, working through the very bouncy, bumpy stuff but Hugo Boss is sliding along rapidly and is stealing miles back on Gamesa. Alex is just seven miles off Mike Golding's seventh place and was going five knots quicker. By the looks of things the boats in the east, Golding, Le Cam and Boissieres have four or five knots less wind pressure.

One mild frustration for Thomson is that his rival Jeremie Beyou cleared off today and is 12 miles ahead, but Hugo Boss is a knot quicker just now.

Bertrand De Broc has built a lead of 30 miles on Gutek Energa today and now has some 130 miles to catch Les Sables d'Olonne's favourite Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto on Team Plastique.

Top ten rankings as of Wednesday 14 November 2012, 20h00 (FR)

1. MACIF, Francois Gabart
2. Cheminees Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm, 59.1 nm to leader
3. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac´h, 63.5 nm
4. PRB, Vincent Riou, 134.9 nm
5. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 155.7 nm
6. Maitre CoQ, Jeremie Beyou, 155.9 nm
7. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 160.6 nm
8. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 167.0 nm
9. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 176.8 nm
10. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 218.3 nm

* Another collision with a trawler:

After bouncing off a fishing boat in bad visibility and damaging his port shroud very early this morning, Louis Burton indicated this afternoon that he intends to sail the 700 miles back to the start to try and effect a suitable repair in Les Sables d'Olonne. .

The skipper of Bureau Vallee believes his ascent back across the Bay of Biscay will take him around four days. The race rules prescribe that the start line closes at 1302hrs on the Tuesday 20th of November. According to him their biggest hurdle is having to replace the custom shroud itself, the manufacture of which would normally take three weeks.

The weather is due to ease for his passage back to Les Sables d'Olonne but his immediate problem is that he cannot tack on to port.

In fact I was going through the front and had a couple of hours to go and had 30-35kts of wind. There was very poor visibility, rough seas and I had the radar and the AIS on. I was under the canopy to nap a bit and was making about 20kts. I turned my head bit and so a medium sized trawler slide along the hull. I grabbed a light to inspect the hull in a panic to see if it was OK. I was relieved but then saw the damage to the shroud. I tacked on to starboard immediately and focused first on Lisbon looking to get to land as quickly as possible.

At dawn I took some photos and sent them to the technical team to give them an indication of the level and type of damage. For sure the damage is just too much to continue like this. There might be a way to get back to Les Sables d'Olonne and away on time, but we need to make a custom piece which will not be easy because it usually takes about three weeks. For the moment I'm confident. I'm trying to get the boat back to Les Sables as quickly as possible, taking into account I can't change tack without the risk of capsizing I will try to get back to Les Sables d'Olonne as quickly as possible to save as much time for the repair."

* Early this afternoon in Saint Philibert, Marc Guillemot's team removed Safran's mast and took her out of the water at the team's base. The enquiry into the causes leading to the keel breaking four hours after the start of the Vendee Globe can now begin. At the same time, the whole team is busy working on establishing a race programme for 2013.

Jean-Marie de la Porte, project leader within the Safran group, explains, "For the time being, we don't know what caused the keel on Safran to break, as we were completely satisfied with it for 20,000 miles. We are not excluding any possibility, a design fault, a problem with the manufacture or an external cause (a shock)? We are currently setting up an investigative committee with experts from the Safran Group, who will be trying to identify the origin of the damage. In order to be completely open, the results will be published. As we have done with each technical problem we have encountered on the boat, the conclusions of this assessment will be sent to the IMOCA class and to other teams with the goal of improving the safety and reliability of the boats."

Will Tiller Wins On Home Waters
Auckland, New Zealand: World #6 Open Match Racer Will Tiller (NZL) won the New Zealand Match Racing Championship over the weekend beating Lion Foundation Youth Training Graduate Gavin Brady (NZL), 3-2.

In a nail biting finish Tiller, with Brad Farrand, Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason from Full Metal Jacket Racing took out Brady and his crack crew of Ryan Houston, Rob Salthouse and John Cutler to win the title.

The final race was full of umpire whistles, fast and furious tacking duels and crucial gennaker hoists right down to the wire. It was all about the start and all about who had the quicker crew manoeuvres. The battle could have gone to either competitor right until the final few meters.

In the Petit Final for third and fourth place, Laurie Jury (NZL), World #5, cleaned up with a two nil drubbing of Francesco Bruni (ITA).

Final Placings

1. Will Tiller
2. Gavin Brady
3. Laurie Jury (NZL RNZYS)
4. Francesco Bruni (ITA Luna Rossa)
5. David Hazard (NZL RNZYS Lion Foundation Youth Training Programme)
6. Chris Steele (NZL 36 Below / RNZYS)
7. Scott Dickson (USA Long Beach Yacht Club)
8. Rod Davis (NZL RNZYS)
9. David Wood (NZL RNZYS)
10. Mike Bullot (NZL MBSC)
11. Sam Osborne (NZL RNZYS)
12. Hampus Appelgren (SWE)
13. Tugdual Piriou (CNC Noumea)
14. Adam Middleton (RPNYC)

Regatta Website

An Absorbing Interest. The America's Cup - A History
The America's Cup - A History By Bob Fisher (£250 + p&p)
Revised edition

This beautifully designed book charts the history of sailing's most enigmatic and greatest prize. In two volumes it covers the drama, boat design, personalities and sheer fascination of the America's Cup, from 1851 in Cowes to 2003 in Auckland. It is illustrated with photographs, cartoons, paintings and figures and can rightly claim to be the definitive history.

The work contains full records of all races and is made up of 32 Chapters - one for each of the 31 challenges and one for the race around the Isle of Wight in 1851 for the One Hundred Pound Cup, presented by the Royal Yacht Squadron as a prize for the regatta.

"This is the Bible of the America's Cup." Bruno Troublé - Louis Vuitton

View sample pages:

Purchase online at

Artemis' AC72 First Sail
Photo by Sander van der Borch / Artemis, Click on image for photo gallery.

AC72 First Sail Alameda, CA- A great day for Artemis Racing as we went out on our first AC72 sail. Conditions couldn't have been better, sunny and warm with a light breeze between 8-12knots.

"The goal was to get in four hours of sailing. We left the dock at 10:30 and got in at about 3:15 so we over achieved a little bit. As with any new boat there are creaks and groans and it gives you shivers up your spine as you hear it, but all in all a really good day. It's been a long time coming for us," said skipper Terry Hutchinson.

The team was very excited and proud to see the boat sailing after all their hard work and determination. The next couple of days for us will be a lot of data analysis, in order to make the next day sailing as successful as today.

Paul Cayard, CEO, summarized the day, "it has been a long time coming but we were happy to get a good day of sailing in. Most of the day was spent gathering load data, which we correlate to our predicted loads for higher wind speeds. Bringing one of these boats on line is a process, that takes time and patience."

Henrique Haddad Wins Match Race Brasil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Rio 2016 Men's 470 hopeful Henrique Haddad (BRA) representing the Marinha do Brasil took the Match Race Brasil title in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Eight crews competed and Haddad went through the series undefeated to win $23,000 and the Trophy Roger Wright. Samuel Albrecht finished behind Haddad with Marco Grael in third.

To avoid delaying the schedule, which was hampered by the absence of winds in the last two days, the race committee changed the formula and gave the title to the crew that totalled the most points in the round robin. All teams clashed in the waters of Rio.

The event welcomed the first female team in the history of the event with Renata Decnop skippering the team. Decnop took two wins overall to finish in seventh place. Decnop will campaign in the Women's 470 with Isabel Swan for Rio 2016.

Final Results
1. Marinha do Brasil, Henrique Haddad, 7.5 points
2. Veleiros do Sul, Samuel Albrecht, 6
3. Rio Yacht Club, Marco Grael, 4.5
4. Buzios Vela Clube, Alexandre Saldanha, 4
5. Yacht Club Ilhabela, Maurício Santa Cruz, 3.25
6. Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro, Thomas Low-Beer, 3
7. Ciaga, Renata Decnop, 2
8. Clube Naval Charitas, Rafael Pariz, 1.25

From ISAF:

Tasports Maria Island Race
Tasmanian east coast when Westward won the inaugural Maria Island Race. Click on image to enlarge.

Westward 1947 This weekend will see the 65th running of The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's annual Maria Island Race Yacht Race over a 190 nautical mile offshore course around the south-east coast of the State, making it one of the oldest ocean races in Australian waters.

Sponsored this year by Tasports (Tasmanian Ports Corporation Pty Ltd), the Maria Island Race was first sailed in 1947, just two years after the inaugural Sydney Hobart Race.

Over the past 64 years the race has been won by many of the fastest and best sailed ocean racing yachts in Tasmania as a key event in their preparation for the Sydney Hobart and other major events.

The maxi ketch Tasmania, skippered by wellknown RYCT member Bob Clifford set the current race record of 19 hours 50 minutes and 1 second in 1994 and then went on to take line honours the following month in the 50th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race from a record fleet of 371 starters.

This year's Maria Island Race is a qualifying event for Tasmanian yachts entered in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and three of the four yachts that will be representing clubs from this State will be competing this coming weekend: Cougar II (Tony Lyall), Dump Truck (Justin Wells) and Martela (Anthony Williams).

The 65th Maria Island Race will start off Hobart's Castray Esplanade at 1900 hours (7pm) tomorrow, Friday, 16 November.

Inaugural winner of the Maria Island Race in 1947 was George Gibson's cutter Westward, which went on to win the Sydney Hobart that year and again in 1948. Westward is now berthed in Constitution Dock as part of the Tasmanian Maritime Museum's floating exhibition of historical vessels.

The most successful yacht in recent years has been Roger Jackman's Dr Who, which has won handicap divisions in seven races as well as taking line honours in several races. -- Peter Campbell

Will Cammas be the French Sailor of the Year?
Franck Cammas has been shortlisted by the French Sailing Federation for the title of Sailor of the Year 2012. Winner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 with Groupama sailing team, is he going to add that award to his well-stocked honours list?

The Federation selected five eligible sailors - Cammas, who never won that prize, Loïck Peyron, who established a new Jules Verne record with Banque Populaire in 2012, windsurf legend Antoine Albeau, who won his 20th world title in PWA, Julien Bontemps, world RS:X champion and Jonathan Lobert, bronze Olympic medallist in Finn.

A jury of sailing experts, journalists and representatives of the Federation will vote to elect the Sailor of the Year 2012 on December 10.

The winner will be announced the same evening during the annual FFVoile party.

UK Laser Association's Nik Froud Wins The Wildwind Sailing Holiday
Ninety helms from the ten regional UKLA's 2012 Grand Prix Series qualified to go into the draw for a free sailing holiday in Greece. The draw was conducted before the main prize-giving at the UKLA Inland Championships at Grafham Water. The winner was the South Coast's Nik Froud from Royal Lymington Y.C.

Nik learnt to sail in Dubai, where he lived with his parents. He was twice UAE National Champion, once in Optimists and then in the Laser Radial class. He now lives in the UK and his sailing is improving steadily. He recorded good results in both the recent Sunderland & Pwllheli Qualifiers to merit selection to the latest RYA Youth Squad. Only an overload of college work prevented him from attending the Inlands last weekend.

On receiving his prize Nik said "I would like to thank Wildwind Sailing Holidays for presenting me with such a fantastic opportunity. I can't wait to experience some Greek sunshine and the great sailing there."

UKLA Chairman John Ling was delighted with both this year's support and the continued presence of Wildwind Sailing Holidays amongst the Association's sponsors. "This sponsorship has undoubtedly increased the number of UKLA members who attended the events and have qualified for the draw and we are very appreciative of Simon's efforts to support us." -- Eddie Mays

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 Andy Dare: I have been watching the UK press going into meltdown recently - lets not do the same here with the Groupe Bel incident.

George Morris in Scuttlebutt 2717, tried to get the record straight as we do not know the facts & have not heard from the fishing boat yet, so lets not jump to any conclusions - however passionate we all are about yachting.

Elaine Buntings blog in Yachting World seems to me to have set the correct attitude, with her balanced & factual piece about the VG attrition.

See Elaine's posting at:

* From David Brunskill: Thank you George Morris.

Under the international regulations for prevention of collision at sea

- a sailing vessel must give way to a vessel engaged in fishing.

- All vessels must keep a proper lookout and must use all available means to determine the risk of a collision.

So whilst perhaps the trawler is not wholly innocent a more appropriate headline would be "yacht rams trawler". It is fortunate that no one was injured.

Anti collision radar in the "X" band is to prone to sea clutter and may not pick up a target until close. AIS technology is remarkably good but is currently VHF line of sight, although satellite AIS being developed in Canada and elsewhere is remarkably effective when used. A presentation at the International Maritime Organisation during the last Barcelona World Race displayed tracks of yacht in the antarctic ocean via satellite AIS. Vessels not bound by the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention however are not obliged to use AIS - and a small trawler could be under the size limit for SOLAS.

So whilst there is every likelyhood that sailors will be able to access technology in the future to prevent this type of collision we are not there yet. Sailors cannot stay awake indefinitely and cannot keep a lookout 24/7. Single handed sailors - and pundits reporting on their exploits - must therefore accept that single handed yacht racing is a risk to themselves and others.

There is no easy solution.

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The Last Word
Things are the way they are because they were the way they were. -- Fred Hoyle

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