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The Clock Ticks
With 760 miles to go until the boats arrive at the first mark Gough Island, which they must leave to starboard, everything is still to play for in this climax to the gateway of the southern ocean. If the fleet compresses it means a drag race through the mountainous swells of the icy south seas and leaves the race wide open.

1992 Vendee Globe winner and French sailing legend Alan Gaultier, explained the position on the web tv show, Vendee Globe LIVE He said, "the skippers have been thinking hard for three days now, looking for the right strategy. Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) and the "West Group" (Francois Gabart (MACIF) and Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) are doing all right, maybe better than Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) in the end, but it's easy to say that now. When they actually made their choices, things weren't that obvious."

Gaultier continued to say that it's hard for skippers when there is no wind, not only because they are not moving, but also because they know their opponents are probably getting different conditions and maybe doing better than they are, so psychologically, it's difficult.

He added "the next few days will be very exciting for the sailing enthusiasts who follow the Vendee Globe, because there's a big group that will enter the South together."

The skippers are now committed to their definitive strategy and the first five are all possible winners. It is now a matter of luck and speed as who will gain and lose around the edges of the high pressure the anticyclone of St Helena casting her windless nets in the South Atlantic.

If the Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) and the "West Group" (Francois Gabart (MACIF) and Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) are fast over next couple days, and the hole of the high does not extend east then they might edge by in front and make their escape below it. The models are showing the advantage with them and they could make a rapid advance below into the favourable winds, before the High can suck them into its windless car park. If they are successful they will compress the fleet, and make gains towards the ice gate.

The situation for Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) depends on how much boat speed he can make in the circling lighter winds 10-12kt winds. If he can sail a shorter course he may be able to bypass the high but the risk is that he could end up with less advantageous wind direction and handcuffed by a high pressure.

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is nervous that he will lose the 200 mile advantage that he has in the bank over Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel).

* Riou made it to Brazil

Vincent Riou arrived in Brazil on Wednesday afternoon. PRB is now moored at the pontoon of the Mercado Modelo marina in Salvador de Bahia, where some of the members of his shore crew will join him in the next few days to work on repairing the orange monohull.

The top 5 ranking 5 hours (16h UTC)

1. Armel Le Cleac'h, Banque Populaire
2. Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss, 146.7 nm to leader
3. Bernard Stamm, Cheminees Poujoulat, 200.3
4. Francois Gabart, MACIF, 248.2
5. Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac-Paprec 3, 287.8

vendeeglobe.org

The Bank Of Beirut Chairman's Cup
Photo by Louay Habib. Click on image for photo gallery.

Bank Of Beirut Chairman's Cup The RORC recognised 230-mile Bank of Beirut Chairman's Cup Race came to a dramatic conclusion on Tuesday, 27th November. A 40-knot rainsquall ripped through The Strait of Hormuz, just as the bulk of the IRC Racing fleet approached the finish line. Under pewter skies with thunder and lightening lighting up the steep mountain province of Musandam, it was an electrifying finish to the race. After three nights at sea, all of the yachts competing in the Bank of Beirut Chairman's Cup Race are all accounted for and the feisty finale was in stark contrast to the majority of the race, where calm seas and gentle breeze had provided sublime sailing conditions for the best part of three days.

First to finish was the Royal Navy of Oman's Farr 30, skippered by Qais Saif Al Marmari, which had chosen to sail well offshore for the majority of the race. The team made a big gain, especially on the second night, to open up a sizeable lead. However, the Royal Navy of Oman team had failed to keep inside a virtual mark of the course and shortly after the finish gracefully retired from the race. It was a noble gesture and the team was roundly applauded for their honesty.

In sharp contrast to the Royal Navy of Oman's offshore route, Sonke Stein's A35, Dust Devil stayed inshore in the Gulf of Oman and the tactic truly paid off, as Dust Devil took line honours and recorded the best corrected time under IRC to win The Bank of Beirut Chairman's Cup. Sonke was understanderbly delighted to pick up the lion's share of the cash prize; $22,000 generously donated by the Bank of Beirut for the first prize and line honours.

There was heartache for the Two handed team from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club of Matt Britton and Joel Bryant racing J/92, Privateer. The team had been in contention throughout but was caught out by the brutal windstorm within sight of the finish. Short-handed, they struggled to reduce sail and were forced to bare away and run with the wind, after sailing away from the finish, Privateer lost precious minutes and the delay cost second place by just 20 minutes, in a race lasting over three days. However their smart action in difficult conditions was recognised by the award of the Seamanship Prize for the race. -- Louay Habib

www.muscatregatta.com

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

Skandia To End British Sailing Team Sponsorship
The British Sailing Team will enter a new commercial chapter on the road to Rio 2016 as Skandia, the long term sponsor of the team, has announced it is to end its successful partnership when the current contract comes to an end in March 2013.

Skandia's parent company, Old Mutual, is to rebrand its Skandia branded businesses in Europe to Old Mutual Wealth over the coming year, and due to the changes, existing sponsorship contracts will be not be re-signed while this rebrand is underway and the group determines its new sponsorship strategy.

Sailing remains one of Great Britain's most consistently high-performing sports, winning seven medals across the 13 sailing classes at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and winning 51 medals at World and European Championships in this current cycle since 2009.

The RYA is looking to replace Skandia with another partner or multiple partners, but is looking to have a continuity of sponsors across the grassroots sector of sailing through to the Olympic and Paralympic Classes sailing scene and potentially other areas of the RYA's extensive activities.

Royal Yachting Association:
www.rya.org.uk

www.skandiateamgbr.com

Unmanned Boat Wrecked During Attempt to Cross Atlantic
A five-foot British boat that was attempting to become the first unmanned vessel to cross the Atlantic has been 'wrecked' near The Needles, just hours after its departure.

Retired NATO scientist Robin Lovelock's boat, Snoopy Sloop, left Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire on Tuesday at around 11.30am.

But by 6.45pm strong tides had pushed the boat onto land near The Needles.

Snoopy Sloop cost Mr Lovelock £450 to build and he has spent four years developing it on Bray Lake, Berkshire, where the boat has logged about 5,000 miles of sailing.

It has eight solar panels on its deck, powering a five-volt battery that runs a motor to control the rudder and the GPS.

Mr Lovelock was hoping it would make it to the Bahamas, via the Azores - a voyage that was scheduled to take six months.

Several teams have tried - and failed - to cross the Atlantic unmanned in recent years, as part of a competition started by French hobbyists a few years ago. Their rules state that boats must be wind-powered and can report their position by GPS.

From Practical Boat Owner:
www.pbo.co.uk

Apprentice Sailors
With the main event of the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 looming, the organizers have joined forces with a Cascais school to bring their students into contact with the sea, sailing and classic yachts. In addition to the educational pack they are already working on,the kids will be able to study the crossing, send messages to the crews at sea, ask them questions about life aboard, and follow their progress in real time via the Panerai Transat Classique website.

To add some excitement to the project, five lucky "ambassadors" came to the marina to observe the yachts and will be reporting back to their fellow pupils about what they have seen.

Mathilda, Denis, Andre, Guillermo and Francisco were welcomed aboard The Blue Peter by owner Mathew Barker and all the crew. The tour of the oldest boat in the fleet, built in 1930, was conducted by Alex, the youngest sailor aboard.

A similar educational project has also been set up with students in Barbados and they will be welcoming the boats when they cross the finishing line. The organizers of the race, the Atlantic Yacht Club assisted by Comet Organisation, welcome projects like these because they are an opportunity to bring classic sailing and offshore racing to the attention of a much younger generation.

www.transatclassique.com/Panerai.html

G.L. Watson - The Art and Science of Yacht Design
The Art and Science of Yacht Design The genius of yacht designer G.L. Watson shines through Martin Black's profusely illustrated biography. Watson was born in 1851, the year the schooner America led the cream of British racing yachts round the Isle of Wight. By age 22, he opened the world's first yacht design office in Glasgow.

Designing four challengers to bring the America's Cup home might be a lifetime's work for mere mortals, but during the Golden Age of yachting G.L. Watson became widely recognised as the greatest all-round designer.

From racing cutters and schooners heavy with clouds of canvas, via pro-bono pioneering work on lifeboats, to sumptuous steam yachts - the super yachts of their day - and America's Cup challengers, Watson's adage: straight is the line of duty, curved is the line of beauty... was consistently evident.

Perhaps uniquely, the book also describes the emergence of the modern independent designer, of any discipline. Watson's career spanned a seminal period of transition from instinctive and evolutionary craft work to the application of disciplined technological innovation, using new materials and tank testing.

It's a passionate combination of knowledgeable sleuthing, high production values, sheer good looks and a rattling good yarn.

496 pages, over 300 images, €89 including worldwide shipping.
www.peggybawnpress.com

Wight Vodka Best Yachting Bar
Wight Vodka's 2012 Favourite Yachting Bar Competition Some recent entries (and a LOT from Gladstones, the word is out there..). Be sure to tell us about your favorite at www.scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html

Favourite Bar: Gladstones Long Beach, CA

This restaurant "carries" the rest of the merchants in Rainbow Harbor. Great waterfront views and dock accessible! Food is always cutting edge and the sailing videos combined with a great Vodka Bar make this establishment a leader in the dining experience for sailors. Not to mention the restaurant's willingness to support financially and physically all aspects of the yachting community, from dinghy races, one design, offshore distance racing, and local buoy racing.

Favorite Bar: The Salty Dog, Ithaca NY

In the summer of 2011 the bar celebrated its 40th Birthday with "DogFest", a bit of a geriatric Woodstock for aging Ithaca hippies. Located on the inlet in Ithaca, and thus accessible by boat (a must requirement in my book), it was more than a sailor's bar. It was a biker's bar, a musician's bar, incubator of some world class bands, most notably Orleans who played Dog Fest.

Where else would you find Nobel laureates from Cornell University shooting pool with members of The Agnostics bike gang (best name ever) and denizens of the marinas that surrounded the place.

Favorite Bar: Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Main Bar

That is where I heard the best stories - and they got even better with each San Mig that went down my throat. And I was not drunk... I really saw someone climb over that bell without ringing it!

Favorite Bar: Creoula, Ilhabela, Brazil

Waterfront, top class Food, infamous vodka Caipirinhas from Classic to exotic local fruits, ice cold beer, hard core sailors from all over the world and The most beautiful Brazilian girls dancing from dusk till dawn. You go you love you vote!

Bacchante's 75th Birthday
Bacchante in 1938. Click on image for photo gallery.

Bacchante Bacchante is the oldest Australian built 30 SQM yacht. Believed to be built in Careening Cover Sydney and designed by Kune Reimers, she is constructed with Tasmanian Huon Pine, mahogany and other hard woods.

It was certainly a historic date in November 1937 when the first ever Australian built International 30 Square Metre was launched at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and raced in the waters of Sydney Harbour.

This historic occasion was repeated when Bacchante's 75th Birthday was celebrated at the main wharf and the Athol Hobbs room of Royal Freshwater Bay YC.

Bacchante has a colourful past of estimated 10 owners, 2 sinking's of other craft, at home at Sydney Harbour sailed by Ben Lexcen, Sir James Hardy, Pittwater, Lake Macquarie (where she sank and was resurrected) and finally the Swan River.

She was the clubs magazine front page beauty and is a regular centrefold on the square metre website www.asqma.com

Her class celebrated recently the 100 year anniversary and has fascinated owners and followers mainly in Europe but as passionate worldwide.

A 2 year overhaul and restoration in 2007 and a recent 3 week Botox gave her a new life and revealed her breathtaking current beauty and speed.

She recently scored a respectful 3rd podium place in the Governors Cup 2012. Won the 'Doc of the Swan' and clubs winter Frostbite Series and causes 'Uhhhs and Ahhs' at Midweek racing and the Swan River Retro Series (never mind being fastest).

Sailing a square metre yacht in fresh conditions is described as: 'The most stylish way getting wet'. Other compliments: ....the 'most beautiful connection between wind and water'; 'whoever sailed on a Square Metre - will never forget it, especially if it has been a thirty square.

www.asqma.com

Google's Phantom Island
A Kiwi librarian may have discovered the origin of a nonexistent island that's been outfoxing cartographers for more than a century.

Sandy Island, still visible as a Manhattan-size void in the Coral Sea on Google Earth, was officially "undiscovered" last week after a group of Australian scientists gingerly navigated their research vessel directly through the spot where it should have been.

The researchers, who were on an expedition to study plate tectonics, decided to make a detour to Sandy Island after noticing that their ship's navigation charts made no mention of it, even though it showed up on both Google Earth and the world coastline database.

"We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island," Steven Micklethwaite, a scientist at the University of Western Australia who was on the voyage, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Then we started compiling information about the seafloor, which we will send to the relevant authorities so that we can change the world map."

Shaun Higgins, an intrepid librarian at the Auckland Museum in New Zealand, caught wind of the story and started digging through the museum's map collection to try to find out when and where the island first entered the Western imagination, as detailed on the museum's blog.

The earliest mention of the island Higgins found was on a chart created by the Hydrographic Office of the British Admiralty in 1875 and last updated in 1908.

Some have speculated that Sandy Island may have been intentionally invented by a cartographer as a copyright trap; drawers of urban maps are known to add so-called "paper streets," which don't exist in reality, so that plagiarists will reveal themselves by the inclusion of a signature error.

But Mike Prince, the director of charting services for the Australian Hydrographic Service, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the authors of nautical charts didn't generally booby-trap their work, as such a practice could have had damning implications on sea maps' reliability.

From LiveScience.com:
www.livescience.com/25046-sandy-island-origin.html

Crewsaver Technical Safety Bulletin No. 40
In keeping with Survitec's commitment to the highest levels of quality and safety, we are notifying the public of a safety alert for specific Crewsaver 290N manufactured during date June 2011 to October 2012.

These Lifejackets may be subject to loosening of the bladder webbing straps which may result in the stability of the jacket being affected.

In order to determine if you are impacted, Survitec Group is instructing the return of the Crewfit 290N Advanced Life jacket ONLY for inspection.

No other crewsaver products are affected.

The serial numbers of the potentially affected jackets at www.crewsaver.co.uk

These should be returned for inspection, and where appropriate, repair or replacement.

Owners of the lifejackets should:
- Not use them
- Return them to the nearest Survitec Service Centre or to Survitec Gosport, to have them inspected and tested.

Owners of these lifejackets seeking further information on the returns process can call the Survitec Helpline on 023 9252 8621

International +44 (0) 23 9252 8621
Email
Website www.crewsaver.co.uk

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2004 Grand Soleil 45. 150,000 GBP. Located In Burnham on Crouch, Essex, United Kingdom.

Rare opportunity to acquire a Grand Soleil 45 at a very competitive price, well equipped and seriously for sale.

Brokerage through Clarke & Carter Interyacht Ltd.: www.yachtworld.com/clarkeandcarter/

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

The Last Word
Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on. -- Billy Connolly

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