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Vendee Globe
Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski (ENERGA), bowed to the apparently inevitable on and announced his retirement from the 2012 Vendee Globe on Wednesday at 1330hrs (French time) after days trying to find a fix for his autopilots.

Gutek, almost 2,000 miles behind the leader, Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) had been sailing east, running tests on his two autopilots after his wipe out on Saturday. He said that electronic issues and the autopilots have been the problem from the start and he and his team have been working with B&G, the makers, who also have their autopilots on Gamesa, Hugo Boss, PRB, Acciona 100% EcoPowered, Initiatives coeur, Akena Verandas, Virbec Paprec 3, Synerciel, Mirabaud, Banque Populaire, Macif and Cheminees Poujoulat.

"Today I need to officially announce what I've been thinking about for days," Gutek said. "Being brave is not only about fighting, it is also about knowing where to stop. I know I did everything I could, working on my electronics issues for many days. I know my team and friends did their best as well. And I am extremely grateful for the huge support I got.

But I can't carry on like that. When there is big wind and when the boat is going over 15 knots the autopilot starts to live a second life, doing whatever it wants.

"Having no autopilot means I can't race, and if I can't race, I have to retire. When I joined the Vendee Globe I was not interested in being the 15thth skipper to finish. That's a tough decision, one of toughest in my life. But that's Vendee Globe, that's the power of the ocean and you can't fight it.

* Jeremie Beyou (Maitre CoQ), who had to retire from the Vendee Globe after nine days of race, may have found a good explanation for what caused the breakage of his keel jack head: " It probably happened as we were leaving the front off the Canary Islands. There was a 40-knot wind and a very rough cross sea. As I was going down after surfing a wave, I must have hit a UFO with the side of my keel bulb, because you can clearly see an impact there. This probably put an unusual pressure on the keel head. And then time passed and a couple of days later, the jack head broke because it had been weakened by the shock. After a thorough analysis of the part and discussions with experts, that's te likeliest explanation."

* Following a protest from both HUGO BOSS and the Race Committee, several skippers were expecting the international Race Jury's decision regading the way they sailed in or trough the Finisterre Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). The jury's decision is as follows:

Synerciel, Mirabaud, Acciona, Initiatives Coeur and Energa are given a 2-hour penalty. Gamesa is given a 30-minute penalty. Virbac Paprec 3 is given a 20-minute penalty.

Details regarding the penalty implementation will be determined by the Race Management in consultation with the skippers. Grounds for the decision can be found in the race's official notice board.

vendeeglobe.org

The Day Began with Wind and Clouds....
Luderitz, Namibia: In 40-45 knots wind some more records were broken today (subject to WSSRC ratification) and not the least: A new Windsurfing World Record has been beaten by Antoine Albeau with 52.05 kts, the first windsurfer to reach 52 knots and the only one so far who has reached this tremendous performance: 5 runs over 50 knots and 6 runs over 51 knots.

Anders Bringdal was following with his new Swedish Record which is also a new World Record on Production board : 51.45 knots

Jurjen Van Der Noord the Dutch Record Holder went over 51 knots today, joining Anders Bringdal and Cedric Bordes, with 51.26 knots

Alexander Goncharov has broken twice his Ukrainian Record ending with 40.94 kts, sailing only in moderate wind.

Boris Vujasinovic also is now the Holder of the Croatian Record with 42.27 kts

Nick Vardalachos smoked his own Greek Record being the 6th windsurfer over 50 knots with 50.56 knots.

Mark Grinnell managed to reach the 49 knots which was his goal, with 49.66 knots, improving the South African Record in Windsurfing and is on the road to the 50.

Patrick Diethelm from Switzerland broke the same record than the last day race, doing the exact same speed: 50.49 knots

Bjorn Dunkerbeck the famous 41 times world titles holder has just joined the event today in the middle of the afternoon reaching 49.53 kts after only a couple of runs.

www.luderitz-speed.com

Old Age and Treachery Will Overcome Youth and Skill
Photo of John Walker by Andrea Francolini, www.afrancolini.com. Click on image to enlarge.

John Walker At 90 and 85, two veteran icons of yachting will take on the best of the younger sailors on Sydney Harbour in the Seven Islands Race on Saturday as part of Middle Harbour Yacht Club's annual Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship.

Entries are still a work in progress for the Seven Islands Race thriller, but John Walker (90) and Tig Thomas (85) will not be too bothered by their younger sailing contemporaries, as both have a wealth of experience on their side.

On Saturday, the theory will be tested, when Walker, a veteran of 25 Sydney-Hobart races (the last in 2008 when he was a young 86) and Thomas, a twice past MHYC commodore, who is famous for his Half-Tonner 'Plum Crazy' (as the name suggests, it is a deep purple), which he won the Dunhill Half-Ton Cup in 1972 and set a record in the 1975 Sydney Hobart for the fastest yacht under 9.5 metres, will hit the race track.

In a pursuit start off MHYC, the yachts will wend their way to various islands east and north of the Harbour Bridge and return and finish off the host club where a beach side party will occur to recount the tales of the day; Walker, with his Peterson Three-Quarter Tonner called Impeccable, and Thomas with his Carter 33, Highland Ghost.

Thomas, who also represented Australia overseas with his Plum Crazy, and Walker, still like to get amongst it and are as competitive as ever. Joining the two is another race veteran, Col Wildman who can count 43 Sydney-Hobart races on his card and will sail his Beneteau 43, Oarsome.

Among the younger crews they will take on are Andrew Parkes and his X-412, Exeme, Colin Pitstock's Delphia 40, Shazam, Steve Plante's Beneteau 35s5, Twitcher and Robert Hunt's Adams Offshore 350, Attitude.

Also highlighted this weekend are some of the form boats this season, which will race in the Premier IRC and ORCi categories, and those in the Beneteau First 40 Australian Championship. -- Di Pearson

All information on the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship, including Sailing Instructions: www.ssorc.mhyc.com.au

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Twilight Racing Sees Felix Oehme Secure Alster Match Race Act 22
Hamburg, Germany: World #44 Felix Oehme took his first Open match racing title since April 2010 over the weekend as he won the Alster Match Race Act 22 in Hamburg, Germany.

Oehme with his team of Niklas Meyerinck and Klaas Hopcke overcame World #125 Lars Hueckstaedt (GER) 2-1 in the final having brushed past Max Throat in the semi-finals 2-0.

Oehme has been a regular feature in ISAF Graded regattas in Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland notching up some credible results along the way to reach World #44. As an ISAF Grade 3 regatta, Oehme's win will push him further up the ISAF Open Match Race Rankings.

Results

Final
Felix Oehme 2-1 Lars Huckstedt

Semi Finals
Felix Oehme 2-0 Max Throat
Sven-Erik Horsch 1-2 Lars Huckstedt

Final Places

1. Felix Oehme
2. Lars Huckstedt
3. Sven-Erik Horsch
4. Max Throat
5. Lucas Lier
6. Mitja Meyer
7. Lorenz Muller
8. Roger Stocker
9. Florian Haufe
10. Stratis Andreadis
11. Pyotr Lezhnin
12. Kasper Tunski

New RC44 Rule Opens The Door For All Female Team
Photo of Ekaterina Zhilina and Caroline Heerema by Nico Martinez, www.martinezstudio.es. Click on image to enlarge.

RC44 Interest from an all-women's team in joining the RC44 Championship Tour has meant a rule change on crew weights to allow competitive all women teams to join the class for the 2013 season.

At the final event of the season in Croatia the RC44 owners agreed that an all women crew can have an increased all up crew weight of 740kg, 60kg more than a mixed or all male crew. There is no crew number limit in the class, but any all-women's team will need to sail with a minimum of three amateur sailors, including the boat owner.

The change in rule was an important step for the Women's Only Sailing Team campaign led by Danish sailor Caroline Heerema and Russian marketer Ekaterina Zhilina. Caroline is an experienced sailor having competed on a number of dinghy and keelboat campaigns, and is no stranger to the RC44 class having guest helmed her father's RC44 No Way Back on various occasions throughout the 2012 season.

The Women Only Sailing Team plan to train and undertake a series of team selections throughout the winter months in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, with Team Manager Ekaterina Zhilina is currently working hard to secure funding with the aim of joining the 2013 Championship Tour at the second event of the season in Sicily.

The 2013 RC44 Championship Tour will visit a new venue for its first event of the 2013 season. The Wave, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman will host the season's opener starting on the 30th January 2013. The racing format remaining the same; one day of match racing when the professionals or owners can take the wheel followed by four days of fleet racing with only the owners or an amateur allowed at the helm.

www.rc44.com
www.w-only.com

Notice Of Race Published For Isaf Sailing World Cup Miami
Miami, Florida, USA: The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, to be hosted from 27 January to 2 February 2013, has been released.

The regatta will serve up six days of elite-level competition in the 13 sailing events selected for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the notice of race is available to view here.

Registrations are starting to come through and early birds include 2008 Olympic gold medallist and 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) in the 49erFX class.

One of the highlights of the winter Olympic and Paralympic circuit, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami is the only North American regatta to be included in the International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) 2012-13 Sailing World Cup series.

For fleet racing in the Olympic classes, the regatta will consist of a five-day opening series (Monday - Friday) and a double-point Medal Race (Saturday). The top 10 finishers in the opening series of each class will advance to the Medal Race. Competitors in the Paralympic classes will have five days of fleet racing (Monday-Friday) and no medal race. Medals will be awarded to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class on Saturday 2 February.

Regatta Headquarters will be located at the US Sailing Center Miami, an official Olympic training center, in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, Fla.

mocr.ussailing.org

World Yacht Racing Forum
World Yacht Racing Forum Running alongside the World Yacht Racing Forum is the 4th edition of the Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium. This event brings together leading designers, engineers, builders and technology suppliers to hear presentations and take part in discussion on the latest developments on the technical side of yacht racing.

This year's programme includes a session on the new Volvo One Design with speakers from a number of the companies involved in the project including Marcel Muller - Green Marine, Pat Shaughnessy - Farr Design and Yann Perfornis - Multiplast. Other sessions include an update on CFD developments; a look at how high performance super yachts can balance performance, speed, safety and comfort; a discussion on the ideal project plan process for high performance race boats; Race boat reliability vs risk management and also a discussion on some of the design features on the AV72's.

Be part of the discussions and enjoy the opportunity to network with leading figures from both the technical and commercial worlds of yacht racing by confirming your delegate place today.

View Website

Download Conference Flyer

Register Today for a Conference Delegate Pass at only 250 Euros + VAT
www.worldyachtracingforum.com/register.html

2013 Transpac Announces Start Dates
Newport Beach, California, USA: Organizers from the Transpacific Yacht Club (TPYC) have announced the starting dates for their 47th edition of this classic biennial race from Los Angeles to Honolulu to be held in July 2013. The first start will be on Monday, July 8th, 2013, with subsequent starts planned for Thursday, July 11th and Saturday, July 13th.

The staggered starts help compress the finish times for a fleet that will have widely different speeds over the 2225-mile course, which could range from the record-setting 16.5 knot average course speed made in 2009 by Neville Crichton's R/P 100 Alfa Romeo to a more leisure pace at half that rate among some Aloha Division entries. Depending on weather conditions, entries could be crossing the finish line at Honolulu's Diamond Head as early July 19th and keep coming right up until the final awards ceremony a week later.

Soon after the Standard Entry deadline of March 2nd, 2013, TPYC will start organizing preliminary class divisions and assign start dates to entries, with the slowest boats starting on Monday and fastest entries starting on Saturday. Final rating data for each entry is due on June 1st, 2013, from which final class assignments will be made for the fleet.

Other events in the 2013 race schedule include a US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminar held on January 19th at Newport Harbor YC; a Safety Inspections deadline on June 23rd; the Skipper's Briefing on July 6th, followed by the Aloha Send-off Party in Long Beach; and another US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminar held at Shoreline YC on July 7th.

A Transpac Race Preparation Seminar and Transpac Weather Seminar are also planned prior to the start, with date and venue details to be announced soon.

www.transpacrace.com

Spinnaker Tales
Many friends of super fit Sunshine Coast aquatic athlete Klade Hauschildt have long regarded him as a loner in the highly competitive sport of One-design dinghy class racing.

Klade Hauschildt now 22 and a member of the Queensland Academy of Sport sailing squad with his long term friend and training partner Ryan Palk expressed his talent as a teenager sailing alone to win an Australian Sabot class bronze medal.

As to be expected he then stepped into senior class racing again sailing alone winning the Australian championship in the Laser 4.7 on Brisbane's Moreton Bay.

He has excellent people skills and besides being an exceptionally talented sailor has many friends within the sport.

Sailing alone has been his career choice however he has valued the challenge of fighting for uncontested space on the Laser sailing circuit to progressively gain the respect as a talented tactician who can sail calmly under pressure in other One-Design classes including the exciting Farr 30.

Just before Christmas he will pack his bag and head to the international award winning tourist destination of Hamilton Island not to enjoy a well earned holiday but to represent Australia in the UON SB20 World championship.

This will be no ordinary challenge for Klade Hauschildt who will gain valued hands on experience sailing in the bow of the New South Wales entry One Design Sailing.

He will be joining a highly successful crew including skipper Ian Brown the 1976 Olympic 470 Bronze Medallist and Australia's most successful Olympic sailor dual 470 class Gold Medallist Malcolm Page.

Klade has won this opportunity on personal merit and while skipper Ian Brown, sheethand Malcolm Page and for'ard hand Klade Hauschildt have had little time to 'tweak' their combined crew skills they remain as one of the favourites.

But they will be ready to race when the battle lines are drawn to decide the 2012 UON SB20 World championship on the tactical and physical testing Whitsunday waters from December 12-20.

During an interview while contesting the Airlie Beach Race Week Farr 30 class championship Klade expressed his interest in becoming more recognised in the top echelon of yacht racing. "I have the career target to hopefully become a professional sailor one day that is my goal ". He said.

Meanwhile the experience of racing with Olympic veteran Ian Brown and London Olympic 470 Gold Medallist Malcolm Page against the best SB20 crews will become a special entry in Klade's personal log book.

They are listed among the major contenders along with multiple World championship winning skipper Glenn Bourke representing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and the defending champion Geoff Carveth of England.

This championship challenge which has attracted a very competitive fleet representing England, United Arab Emirates, Russia, The Ukraine, Italy, France, The Netherlands and Australia has the potential to provide 22 year old Klade Hauschildt with a chance to become better known on the international sailing circuit and another important step to fulfilling his personal ambition. -- Ian Grant

GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series Starts with Draycote Dash
Photo by Malcolm Lewin, www.malcolmlewinphotography.co.uk. Click on image for photo gallery.

SailJuice The GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series gets under way this weekend at the Draycote Dash, the first of six major winter handicap events in this tough Series.

The previous Draycote Dash brought last year's Series to a controversial conclusion as a Fireball attempted to match race its rival Phantom and Scorpion out of overall contention. But in the end it was the Scorpion sailed by Peter Gray and Rachael Rhodes who prevailed to win the 2011/2012 winter handicap championship.

With the Great Lakes group of handicapping experts having further refined the PY numbers since last year, predicting a winner has become much more difficult. Last year's Series saw nine different classes filling the top 10 places of the SailJuice Series, showing how far the handicapping system has come in just the past three years when two or three classes were dominating event after event.

Among those entered already are Olly Turner in a Merlin Rocket, the winner from the first SailJuice Series three years ago, Ian Morgan who finished 2nd in last year's Series in his Laser Standard, and former Bloody Mary winner Andy Couch in his Phantom.

The Series incorporates these six big winter events, with competitors counting their best four scores, one of which must be the Tiger Trophy:

- Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club - Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November 2012
- Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club - Thursday 27th December 2012
- Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club - Sunday 30th December 2012
- Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club - Saturday 12th January 2013
- Steve Nicholson Trophy, Northampton Sailing Club - Saturday 26th January 2013
- John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club - Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd February 2013

There are prizes up for grabs for early entry via the Series website at www.SailJuiceSeries.com, and even if you're not coming to the Draycote Dash but plan to race in other events in the Series, it still pays to enter now.

Sign up to the Series here: www.SailJuiceSeries.com

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2001 42' Custom Racer. EUR 250,000. Located In Germany.

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Sarnade is more than just a fast racer. Her luxurious interior design provides comfortable cruising with two separate double cabins and a huge forward cabin berth. She offers easy and fast sailing for just a couple as well as for a whole family with children. For a skilled sailor Sarnade is also easily to handle in single-handed racing.

Brokerage through Berkeley Yachts: www.yachtworld.com/berkeleyyachts/

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

The Last Word
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -- Carl Sagan

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