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New Vendee And Solo Monohull Record*
Flying Francois Gabart (Macif) smashes 24hr solo sailing record at 545.3 miles, average Flying Francois Gabart stepped up his Vendee Globe challenge with an unprecedented display of lightning fast sailing in the middle of the Indian Ocean today.

The youngest skipper in the race who, remarkably, is a rookie to solo sailing in the Southern Ocean has set a set a truly electric pace - consistently at a level which none of his rivals have matched - to send the 24 hours solo monohull distance record soaring to a seemingly stratospheric 545.3 miles over the 24 hours to 1500hrs UTC this afternoon.

By 0800hrs UTC this morning 29 years old Gabart had already bettered the recent mark of rival Jean-Pierre Dick, set only ten days ago at a yet to be ratified 502.9 mm when he made 515.6 miles.

This new best 24 hours distance, riding at the front of a generous low in a good sized, orderly swell reflects an average speed of 22.3 kts and also surpasses easily the two handed record of Dick and Loick Peyron at 506.333 nm set in the last Barcelona World Race.

For a solo ocean racer on a 60 footer, 30 days into a non stop, no outside assistance three month race, the distance even compares impressively against the outright crewed monohull record of 596.6 miles set in the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race by Ericsson, and is only 21 miles shy of the best 24 hour run on the last Volvo Ocean Race.

"I can't really explain why I'm going so fast in the same weather conditions as the others… Maybe my sail settings are different from Armel's. I'm sailing at 22-26 knots, and it should be like that for several more hours. It's very noisy but you get used to it, same for how much the boat shakes. These things become familiar conditions, the norm." reported Gabart .

"The autopilot is just fine, the boat is perfectly balanced, so I'm not even worrying about that. That's what allows us to sail fast and effortlessly."

While the leading group are well established on their low pressure ride which will stay with them for some days to come, it is more complex now for the trio Mike Golding, Jean Le Cam and Dominque Wavre who have high pressure and lighter winds chasing them, forcing open their separation to the pacemakers.

*All new record speeds need to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Records Council

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Australia: A fleet of 79 yachts has been declared for the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. The eclectic mix ranges in size from 10.3 metres (33.8 feet) to 30.48 metres (100-feet), and includes three international entries, 9 former race winners, the defending overall champion, yachts representing each and every Australian state and the Australian Capital Territory, and four yachts to have tasted line honours success.

Four 100-foot Maxi yachts - Ragamuffin-Loyal, Wild Oats XI, Wild Thing and Lahana - look likely to form a breakaway group at the head of the competition, with old adversaries preparing to lock horns. Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI has won line honours five times and is the current race record-holder, having set the standard of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds in 2005. Conditions in the intervening years have proved frustrating, denying a serious tilt at this benchmark time.

Last year, Investec Loyal beat Wild Oats XI to the finish line by a mere three minutes, eight seconds; racing this year as Ragamuffin-Loyal, under the leadership of the legendary Syd Fischer, she once again poses the biggest threat to Wild Oats. Fischer is set to compete in the race for a 44th time and his crew will benefit from the shrewdness and expertise of one of Australia's great yachtsmen, twice a line honours winner (in 1988 and 1990), and an overall race winner in 1992.

The Tattersall's Cup, awarded to the overall race winner, remains the coveted prize, and all 80 boats start with a theoretical chance of victory. The conditions, teamwork, skill and an element of luck will all help determine the eventual result. Since Rolex began its sponsorship of the event in 2002, all but one overall race winner have come from the 40-65ft range, where the majority of the fleet lies. Defending champion Loki, on the back of another successful season, is seeking to become the first boat to defend the overall title since 1965.

The race start, as is tradition, will take place on 26 December at 13:00 local time.

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.

Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar: Let The Voting Begin!
Wight Vodka The team at Scuttlebutt Europe and Wight Vodka certainly have some fun in helping determine the World's Favourite Yachting Bar, and 2012's contest was no exception to the rule.

Previous winners have set the bar very high:

2009: Peter Cafe Sport in the Azores
2010: The Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI
2011: IYAC in Newport, Rhode Island USA

Alas, it's a hard job for the team at Wight Vodka and Scuttlebutt Europe, but in the end, we have narrowed the list down to the Top Ten based on the sheer volume of submissions as well as the quality and passion of your entries. Without further adieu, here are your Favourite Yachting Bars for 2012!

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Hong Kong
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Hamilton Bermuda
Gladstone's, Long Beach California, USA
Pierview, Cowes, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Navi Bar, Glucksburg, Sweden
Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Sint Maarten
Sailor's Inn, Gocek, Turkey
The Candy Store, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
King & Queen, Lymington, United Kingdom


Sally Barkow Victorious In St. Thomas
St. Thomas, USVI: The USA's Sally Barkow played the 'comeback kid' by defeating the USA's Dave Perry 3-0 in the Finals at the fifth Carlos Aguilar Match Race (CAMR), presented by Ulysse Nardin/Trident Jewels and Time. Barkow, who has raced this regatta four times, took second last year after a narrow defeat by Finland's Staphan Lindberg. The sorrow of that defeat made this year's win for Barkow and her crew – Annie Lush, Alana O'Reilly, Erik Champaign and Maggie Shea – all the sweeter.

In what proved the final match of the Finals, Barkow lead at the start and stretched her advantage to eight boat lengths by the windward mark. She lengthened her frontrunner position into a commanding 10 to 12 boat lengths by the finish even though her team battled through a kink in the spinnaker that cost them a few seconds in boat speed in the last downwind run.

This four-day Grade 2 match race was sailed in Inter-Club (IC)-24s. Forty-nine flights or 135 races were sailed in total.

The St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) and the Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) are organizing authorities for the CAMR, namesake for the late Carlos Aguilar, who was an avid sailor and match racer.

Final Results:

1. Sally Barkow, USA
2. Dave Perry, USA
3. Peter Holmberg, ISV
4. Dave Dellenbaugh, USA
5. Henrique Haddad, BRA
6. Christopher Poole, USA
7. Stephanie Robles, USA
8. Tyler Rice, ISV
9. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN
10. Renata Decnop, BRA
11. Sven-Eric Horsch, GER

From Carol Bareuther in

Event site:

COLREGS and Culture
When French sailor Marc Guillemot appeared in court today to answer charges of sailing the wrong way in the Dover Strait and Sunk TSS, the case highlighted what may be a (costly) cultural chasm. Other professional sailors beware.

Guillemot joins an elite group of other prosecuted sailors over the years who flouted the regs at Dover: Angus Primrose; Grant Dalton; and Antoine Koch.

There seems to be a difference of perspective on the importance of collision regulations. I say this because I see a connection between the long-running Guillemot saga and the more recent protest brouhaha in the Vendee Globe over boats that entered the TSS off Cape Finisterre.

That resulted in much vitriol being poured on poor Alex Thomson, who raised the protest, on the French website while the English version was, by contrast, all reasoned acceptance and even praise that Thomson was sticking by the rules of the race and of the collision regulations.

So please anyone French correct me if I'm wrong, but the division of responses makes me think perhaps the English are more content to accept the letter of the law and the French somewhat more inclined to think of it as 'guidance'.

Elaine Bunting's full blog post at

Lose Weight By Part Exchanging to Ocean Safety Ultralite
Ocean Safety Ocean Safety's Ultralite liferaft is up to 30% lighter than standard liferafts, so isn't it time to swop over to find that extra bit of boat speed? At the same time it would be a great chance to replace old bulky uncomfortable lifejackets for the Ocean Safety Kru Sport Pro.

Ocean Safety is able to offer trade-ins of old liferafts and lifejackets to raceboats helping to upgrade to better lighter equipment. This is a great time to cast off weight and recycle your old equipment at the same time.

The Ocean Safety Ultralite Liferaft not only saves vital weight as part of the critical specification required by a serious racing yacht but is also low profile so as to be in no one's way. Housed in a carbon fibre casing it doesn't detract from the yacht's aesthetics either.

Contact for more information.

Big Air for Final Day at Sail Melbourne
It had been blowing from the South at various angles and strengths all week, so it seemed only appropriate that for the Gold Medal race day, Melbourne should turn on the hot Northerlies. For the afternoon it would be between 18 to 26 knots with the occasional gust hitting about 30.

ISAF IRO, Athanasios Papantoniou (Sulis), said whilst out on the water, "The conditions for this event were fantastic, as they allowed for the sailors to have a mix of light and heavy weather sailing, so something for everyone. Everyone got something that they would enjoy. The medal racing today could not be better - warm, windy and a fairly flat sea. A really good championship!"

The ISAF World Cup, which is part of Sail Melbourne has finished for 2012. Well done to sailors, support staff, the Sandringham Yacht Club, volunteers and race management for a great event.

Final top three, Olympic Classes at Sail Melbourne:

1. Tom Burton, AUS
2. Matthew Wearn, AUS
4. Ryan Palk, AUS

Laser Radial
1. Krystal Weir, AUS
2. Manon Luther, SUI
3. Elizabeth Yin, SIN

1. Brendan Casey, AUS
2. Oliver Twedell, AUS
3. Jake Lilley, AUS

470 Men
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS
2. Jim Asenathi / Roger Hudson, RSA
3. Angus Galloway / Tim Hannah, AUS

470 Women
1. Sasha Ryan / Jaime Ryan, AUS
2. Lucy Shephard / Aurora Paterson, AUS
3. Jacqueline Gurr / Georgie Toner, AUS

1. Steven Thomas / Rhys Mara, AUS
2. Luke Parkinson / Jasper Warren, AUS
3. William Phillips / Nicholas Brownie, AUS

1. Alex Maloney / Molly Meech, NZL
2. Tessa Parkinson / Kate Lathouras, AUS
3. Olivia Price / James Sly, AUS

Crunch Day for Sailing Olympic Funding
Tuesday, December 18 is crunch-day for GBR sailing and the other Olympic and Paralympic sports. It is then they will find out what funding they will receive for the next Olympic Games cycle leading to Rio de Janeiro 2016. Since the introduction of Lottery funding via UK Sport, GBR sailing has boomed on the International scene. Ben Ainslie, who recently announced his retirement from Olympic competition, won four gold and a silver during this golden period for British sailing.

During the London Games, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that sport funding would be maintained for Rio 2016. UK Sport, the body that distributes money to the Olympic and Paralympic sports, is set to receive £125m per year. The level of funding from the National Lottery will be an estimated £87m per year, with around £40m coming from the Government. Given the recent tight Autmn Budget statement it is not known if the government will be able to keep this promise of no cuts to elite sport funding.

Sailing received £23.39m in the four years leading up to the London Olympics, up from £22.29m in the four years leading up to the 2008 Beijing Games. -- Gerald New, full article in Sailweb:

For Kito De Pavant, One Adventure Ends and a New One Begins
Kito de Pavant has not lost a minute, since he came ashore after the collision of his boat with a fishing trawler during the Vendee Globe. Surveys were carried out on Groupe Bel, still safely moored in the port of Cascais (Portugal). The architects are also studying the question and the good news is that the boat did not suffer more than what was visible to the naked eye.

Damaged on the forward port side, the monohull will be repatriated by truck to France early next year and then repaired before taking to the sea in spring. After an eight-year partnership with Bel, the program was to stop after the Vendee Globe and it will end as of June 2013. In the meantime, the skipper will return to the helm of his boat to sail and race, as is his wish. Kito is already getting down to organizing this program, and he is also looking for new sponsors to continue racing.

Since 2005, Bel and Kito have shared a remarkable and highly-remarked adventure.

The 60 foot monohull has sailed more than 100,000 miles since it was launched in 2007, i.e. the equivalent of four round-the-worlds. Flying the Bel colors in Figaro racing, the skipper also won the Transat Ag2r, Solo Mediterranee and obtained three places in the top 10 of the Solitaire Le Figaro, including a podium.

The skipper from Languedoc has always been driven by the desire to assist young sailors in their training, convinced of the wonderful potential of sailing and watersports in a maritime region such as his own. This approach led him to start the Mediterranean Training Centre in 2003.

This past Friday the skipper was at the Nautic boat show in Paris, Porte de Versailles, to meet the public, journalists and the first sponsors to have shown interest and this with the intention of writing a new page in the story of this sailor with so much to share.

Mike Balmforth
Mike Balmforth, who died suddenly at the beginning of December after fighting long-term illness, was one of Yachting Monthly's longest serving writers. He joined the magazine in the 1960s and recalled his early days in an article published in our centenary issue (May 2006), entitled 'What the Dickens!'

'Only a thorough grounding in Dickens' London could have prepared me,' he wrote. 'Yes, there was an electric light and telephones. 'But one felt they had not been there long!' In those days the office was in Clements Inn, overlooking the Law Courts in The Strand. Maurice Griffiths had just retired after 40 years as editor, to be succeeded by Des Sleightholme.

The rest of the 'crew' in those days included Murlo Primrose (in accounts), later to become Mrs Angus Primrose, and Brian Pilcher, later to become a well-known marine PR man.

Mike wrote many cruising articles for YM over the years, as well as being our Scottish correspondent for the Around the Coast news section. He worked for seven editors.

In recent years Mike endured a quadruple heart by-pass and suffered from a debilitating kidney malfunction that required overnight hospitalisation and dialysis every 48 hours. He had to sell his yacht, Greenheart, a Dawn 39, but despite his incapacitating condition, he remained a wonderful example of total dedication to a cause - Scottish sailing.

Mike is survived by his wife Alison, sons Des and Robin, both of whom sail, and three grandchildren. His funeral will be held at 3pm on Thursday, December 13 at Greenock Crematorium and there will be a gathering afterwards at the Royal Gourock Yacht Club.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1990 French Yacht Design Academy Orion 39. GBP 49,500. Located In Gibraltar.

ORION is one of a pair of very special yachts, designed by AN Michel who is famous in France and president of the French Yacht Design Academy. As far as can be ascertained, he built two of these yachts: one for himself and another for his son. Launched in 1990, ORION sailed around the world and was then used for sail training and made several transatlantic crossings before being purchased by the present owner.

Orion was lifted for cleaning in January 2009 following the oil spill in Gibraltar bay. A Lloyds surveyor (Neil Wilkinson) was again asked to check the hull under the waterline while out, and all was well. Another full report was not deemed essential at the time, but can be obtained if necessary to avoid another lift for inspection.

Brokerage through Interyachting Ltd.:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts. For support rather than illumination. -- Andrew Lang

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