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Alex Thomson Hits Object, Has To Make Rudder Repairs
British skipper Alex Thomson has reported that he has hit an unidentified object at high speed during Sunday night, damaging one rudder mechanism and a hydrogenerator on his IMOCA Open 60 Hugo Boss.

Thomson holds fifth place, 160 miles behind the leader Francois Gabart this morning, and is back making 18-19 kts after 24 hours of enforced slow down whilst he effected the rudder repairs. He reports that he is now down to only one working hydrogenrator - his primary source for generating electrical power.

Racing an older generation design Thomson has earned enormous respect for his ability to stay in the leading pack of newer IMOCA Open 60's throughout the first month of racing. On Saturday he was lying in third place.

His team comment: "The hydro generators are the primary power supply on board and with only one of them working Alex now has to conserve his power by limiting the use of electronics on board. This will unfortunately mean a reduction in his communications, including communication with family back at home. The remaining hydro is working but only usable on one tack and will charge the batteries when the conditions allow, but it will restrict the amount of power available."

After yesterday's manic Monday when 24 hour distance records tumbled seemingly at will, the two Vendee Globe leaders passed the Amsterdam gate early this morning just eight miles apart. Francois Gabart on Macif lead the way, passing closest to the 'mark' at 0142hrs UTC with Armel Le Cleac'h some eight miles to to the east on Banque Populaire some 17 minutes later. Meanwhile Spain's Javier Sanso on Acciona 100% EcoPowered is closing on the Crozet gate, whilst the three solo skippers who are in closest pursuit of the leaders should also pass the Amsterdam gate over the course of today.

Top Ten Rankings as of Tuesday 11 December 2012, 20h00 (FR)

1. MACIF, Francois Gabart
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac'h, 14.4 nm to leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 89.7 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 177.7 nm
5. Cheminees Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm, 192.6 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 737.8 nm
7. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 755.3 nm
8. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 943.8 nm
9. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 1609.8 nm
10. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissières, 2051.5 nm

www.vendeeglobe.org

World Yacht Racing Forum
The fifth edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum started this morning, Tuesday December 11, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Over 250 delegates from all over the world attended the presentations, collected precious information and met the industry's key actors during the networking breaks.

Most of today's sessions focused on sponsorship, and were aimed at bettering the relationship between sailors, events or teams and their commercial backers.

"Sailing sponsorship, and sponsorship in general, should be envisioned in a long term perspective", said Sven Osterberg, General Manager, Volvo Event Management Sweden. "And it is essential to plan a long time ahead; at least 1 - 2 years."

"The market is changing", insisted Mark Turner, Executive Chairman, OC Sport. "Today's potential is in the so called emerging countries; India, China, Brasil... In fact we should rather call them fast growing countries; we are the ones stagnating. In order to guarantee the success of projects in those new markets, we must ensure that new talent emerges. Today's crewmembers will be tomorrow's stars. It will take time but it is essential to develop tomorrow's talents."

Some interesting sessions focused on the revenue streams that can be generated through the sport of sailing. Media visibility, public participation and brand activation are amongst the obvious answers, whilst TV doesn't seem to be. "All sports struggle to sell TV rights, and sailing is virtually impossible to sell", commented Dominique Curchod (Curchod Communications). "The revenue therefore lies in a free distribution, and the visibility associated to it."

"The sailing industry has an obsession with television", added Richard Moore, CEO, Capitalize. "Does sailing have a strong appeal to a wide audience on TV? The answer is no."

Many of today's speakers highlighted the fact that the sport needs more creativity to appeal to a wider audience. New media and social networks are at the heart of the sports development; they will be discussed during tomorrow's sessions.

www.worldyachtracingforum.com

Eileen Ramsay - The Queen Of Yachting Photography
Eileen Ramsay - The Queen Of Yachting Photography Eileen Ramsay was at the centre of a unique period in yachting history, and this wonderful book, featuring her classic photography, celebrates an extraordinary woman and her extraordinary subjects. Eileen's heyday was between 1950 and 1970 - a time when eccentrics ruled, records were there for the setting, and women weren't often to be found behind the lens.

But Eileen established herself as one of the greatest yachting photographers of her time, taking famous portraits of sailing icons like Francis Chichester and Eric Tabarly, Olympians, including Rodney Pattisson and Keith Musto, and historic pictures from the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic (OSTAR) Races.

Her unique archive records the explosive growth in dinghy and offshore sailing during post-war years, and includes pictures of the first Enterprises, Mirrors, Ospreys, Optimists and the first America's Cup 12 metres Sceptre and Evaine.

Eileen, now into her 90s can remember just about every photograph she has taken and relate an anecdote or story about each one. Many of these memories are also recorded in the book.

Eileen Ramsay - the Queen of Yachting Photography, is a spectacular celebration of a pioneering photographer and a fascinating time in yachting history.

160 pages, 123 classic pictures. £25 + postage & packing

southatlanticpublishing.com/er_intro.htm

Lord Nelson has Crossed the Equator and Made Landfall in Brazil
Click on image to enlarge.

Lord Nelson Tall Ship At 12:41:11 GMT on 22 November 2012 the big moment arrived; Lord Nelson's bell rang out as the ship crossed the line into the southern hemisphere for the very first time. We watched as the GPS counted down the latitude to zero at the Equator and the 'N' changed to 'S'." extract from Lord Nelson's crew blog

The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST)'s tall ship Lord Nelson was built to sail anywhere in the world by a mixed crew of disabled and able-bodied people, but until the close of 2012, had never before ventured beyond European and North Atlantic waters. Now the ship is on her way to becoming the first disability-accessible tall ship to sail around the world.

Lord Nelson set off from the UK on 21st October and recently made landfall in Recife, Brazil.

Next stop is Rio de Janeiro, the host city of the Olympics and Paralympics 2016. Alexandra Rickham, Paralympic sailing bronze medallist and Vice-Patron of the JST, waved off the ship and her crew in Southampton and will be in Rio to welcome them to Brazil. There is enormous interest in the Paralympic movement in Brazil and Alexandra's participation in Lord Nelson's Rio programme will be key to attracting interest from the press and others. Alexandra's role in Rio will be to raise awareness of the JST's work with disabled people and help spread its ethos to a much wider audience in Rio and beyond.

Lord Nelson will welcome a new crew in Rio who will have the opportunity to see Copacabana's famous New Year's Eve fireworks before setting sail for Tristan da Cunha and Cape Town.

www.jst.org.uk

Take a virtual tour of Lord Nelson: www.vp360.co.uk/Lord_Nelson

EUROSAF 2013 Events Calendar
The coming year will see the introduction of the new European series for Olympic Classes, the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup, plus the second edition of the EUROSAF Youth Sailing, European Championship, being held in Tavira Portugal in August. This follows the very successful inaugural championship held in Aarhus, Denmark, in August this year. In addition, we have our popular and successful series of continental match racing championships, the Open, Women's and Youth, being held in St Petersburg RUS, Gdynia POL and Konstanz GER, respectively. There is also a new variation of an event first held in September this year, when we will be holding the first Club Championship of Europe, in Lelystad, Holland.

All the event NORs will be available in the coming weeks at www.eurosaf.org

There will also be a new website dedicated to the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup, details of which will be announced soon. -- John Friend, Secretary General, EUROSAF

Dun Laoghaire May Bid for Volvo Ocean Race Stopover
The Irish Independent reports that Dun Laoghaire is considering a tender for the Volvo Ocean Race to cash in on the success of the event in Galway this summer.

Despite attracting nearly one million spectators to the City of the Tribes and brining tens of millions of euro into the local economy, Galway is not expected to bid for the next edition of the race in 2014-2015, with race organisers Let's Do It Global citing the need to concentrate on paying off its outstanding debts to suppliers.

That decision paves the way for Dun Laoghaire to table its own bid for the round-the-world yacht race in 2016, after Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council passed a motion to enter consultations with Failte Ireland.

With both Failte Ireland and the Government potentially stepping up €5 million of the expected €8 million total cost, Dun Laoghaire's hosting of a VOR stopover would be predicated on raising the remaining €3 million.

Councillor John Bailey, who proposed the motion, told the Evening Herald in June: "We need to bring the 2016 race to Dun Laoghaire. It's too late to apply for 2014, but we could make it a great success in 2016."

afloat.ie/sail/

Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar Voting Is Open
Click on image to enlarge.

Navi Bar Menu Less than 24 hours since voting opened, and nearly 700 votes in so far. In the lead with 181 votes is Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Sint Maarten. In second place is Navi Bar, Glucksburg, Sweden with 135 and the bronze so far goes to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Hong Kong with 107.

Tonight's featured bar: Navi Bar, Glucksburg, Germany

Some of the submissions received:

* The owners are very friendly and spontaneous. Open for customer's life stories and new drinks to be created. The opening hours can vary so that the bar is suddenly open for the whole night if there are many people willing to stay. Furthermore, the supplied pizzas and Tarte Flambee are awesome!

* They have drinks called starboard and portside in green and red. The owners are very nice and fulfill every desire. The atmosphere is great.

Cast your vote at scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html

Artemis Offshore Academy Squad Start Winter Training
Since trucking three of the Artemis Offshore Academy Figaros 864 miles from the UK to France, 2013 Development Squad sailors Jack Bouttell and Mark Andrews have been reunited with their boats and are settling into their new home in La Grande Motte, France. Third full-time Academy Figarist Ed Hill, along with graduate sailors Nick Cherry and Henry Bomby, joined Andrews and Bouttell at the Centre d'Entrainement Mediterranee (CEM), an elite Figaro training centre in La Grande Motte on the Mediterranean coast, for the start of the winter training programme on Monday 10th December.

Joining the squad for the first two weeks of training will be Artemis Offshore Academy graduates Cherry and Bomby, both of whom trained at the CEM before competing in the 2012 Solitaire du Figaro.

Both Bomby and Cherry are now working on developing their own solo Figaro campaigns, with an aim to start training in January 2013, in preparation for the Solitaire du Figaro on the 2nd June.

As well as the Artemis graduates, the 2013 Academy Figarists will train alongside new kid on the block, Irish Figaro sailor and Solitaire du Figaro competitor David Kenefick, experienced Figaro sailors Jean-Pierre Nichol, Laurent Pelcuer, Xavier Macaire, Christopher Pratt, Gwenael Gbick and 2012/13 Vendee Globe skipper Kito de Pavant after he was forced to retire from the early stages of the race due to an unfortunate collision with a fishing trawler.

www.artemisoffshoreacademy.com

Spinnaker Tales
A painful knee injury has forced champion Sunshine Coast sailor Rod Jones to reluctantly become an interested spectator when the World's best SB20 One-design racing crews duel for the 2012 UON World championship at Hamilton Island.

The injury which occurred away from the water during his personal fitness program meant that he would be restricted and virtually become a 'passenger' alongside skipper and master tactician Glenn Bourke and the talented Sunshine Coast bowman Greg MacAllansmith. All three sailors who finished fourth overall in the 2011 World championship held in England have since made a clean sweep of all major regatta trophies including the Australian championship on Hobart's River Derwent and the SB 20 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week series.

These results confirmed the Glenn Bourke, Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith Club Marine racing teams ranking as a front line contender to end the domination by the English fleet who have won the past four World championships.

However while Rod Jones who introduced this exciting One-Design sport boat class to the Australian sailing scene has stepped aside with his sheet-hand role filled by former champion New South Wales Laser sailor and Americas Cup crew member Andrew York.

The exceptionally talented Andrew York while being unfamiliar with the demands of SB20 fleet racing has spread his experience over a number of classes and will quickly adapt to 'learning the ropes' for skipper Glenn Bourke to race Club Marine in the fast lane.

However class racing history at the World championship level places England's Geoff Carveth as the pre-regatta favourite.

He has won two of the four SB 20 World championships all of which were decided at Northern Hemisphere venues.

How Geoff Carveth and crew will adjust to racing in a warm tropical climate and sailing on an unfamiliar tactical 'play ground' laced with swift flowing current and short white crested waves will be revealed when the battle lines are drawn for the proposed 18 race 6 day regatta starting on Friday December 14th with the 2012 champion crowned after the final race on Thursday December 20th.

While England's Geoff Carveth and the Australian class champion Glenn Bourke remain as the pre-championship favourites they will need to be on the pace to protect their reputations against an impressive list of top line crews including former Olympian Ian Brown and his One Design racing team including London Olympic Gold Medallist Malcolm Page and Noosa Laser sailor Klade Hauschildt.

This trio along with Rodion Luka who has escaped from the freezing winter in Ukraine to enjoy some sun drenched racing in the Whitsunday Islands have the tactical skill to attract respect but the tactical demand for racing on unfamiliar waters in possibly strong trade winds should favour the Glenn Bourke skippered Club Marine who has an enviable undefeated record in racing over the physical and mentally demanding Hamilton Island race track. -- Ian Grant

ISA Statement on Peter O'leary
Following publication of the report by the International Olympic Committee's Ethics Commission, the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) has responded to the findings relating to Peter O'Leary during the 2008 Beijing Games.

The ISA notes that the facts found present a vastly different picture than the story portrayed on the eve of O'Leary's opening race of the London 2012 Olympics with team-mate David Burrows at Weymouth.

While the report clearly shows that O'Leary made a mistake which he freely admitted, it is clear that the rule concerned was a recent development unknown to many athletes, not just O'Leary. While he had been a competitor in the event on which he placed a bet, the report states that this was done on the day of the race for which he had not qualified. Therefore he was not in a position to affect the outcome of the competition which is the purpose of the ban on betting by athletes.

'O'Leary and Burrows placed tenth overall in Weymouth. Their form prior to this indicated at the very least fifth was attainable. They regularly placed higher than the eventual Gold medallists. The effect of this malicious campaign achieved someone's aim.' stated James O'Callaghan, ISA Olympic Performance Director.

The IOC report did not refer to the manner in which this matter was brought into the public arena except to state that it arose from an anonymous email. The motive and timing of this matter, some four years after it occurred has left many unanswered questions.

The ISA regrets that these questions have never been properly probed prior to, during or since this summer's Olympics.

The full report can be read here (PDF):
www.olympic.org/Documents/

Smoken' Down Derwent
Photo by Peter Campbell. Click on image for photo gallery.

Hobart Combined Clubs A powerful, hot and smokey northerly wind, bringing heatwave conditions to Hobart, sent the fleet 'smoken' down the Derwent in today's final pre-Christmas Combined Clubs harbour racing series.

The temperature in Hobart peaked at 33 degrees, the north to north-westerly wind averaged 25 knots, gusting to more than 30 knots and more as it funnelled down the river below the Tasman Bridge.

The wooden mast of the 77 year old Derwent class yacht Gnome broke under the pressure, but Derek Adams and his crew quickly recovered the broken rig and sails and were towed ashore by the Bellerive Yacht Club patrol boat.

The gusty wind saw some spectacular broaches under spinnaker, including the Farr 40 War Games, skippered by Wayne Banks-Smith, and the sports boat Ellusive (Roly Huddlestone). Ellusive was forced to retire after a mid-river broach as she planed downwind.

The strong breeze contributed to some last day changes in the final pointscores for the Combined Clubs pre-Christmas harbour series.

The Farr 40 and Group 1 series results were predictable and unchanged after today's racing, with the Farr 40s sailing three races and Group 2 two windward/leeward races.

Stephen Boyes' Wired did not win a race today but won the pre-Christmas series comfortably with a net 16 points after discarding two of today's results, a 5th and a DNC.

Voodoo Chile, with Lloyd Clark on the helm, won all three races today, the closest being race two in which she beat War Games (Wayne Banks-Smith) by 17 seconds.

Group 1 ended with three different winners of each of the three handicap categories after two final windward/leeward races today.

The J35 Mem, skippered by Paul Boutchard, finished with a 2nd and a 4th to win the PHS category with a net 15 points, ahead of Don Calvert's Castro 40, Intrigue, on 22 points and Darren Clark's Farr 1104, Invincible, on 28 points. Intrigue had a 1st and a 2nd today.

Under AMS scoring, Invincible maintained her dominance with a 1st and a 2nd today, taking the series with a net 12 points. Intrigue placed second overall on 19 points, also recording a final day 1st and 2nd place for 19 points while Sally Rattle's Archie took third place with 29 points.

Intrigue, which took line honours in both Group 1 races, notched up a 1st and a 2nd on IRC corrected time to win that category with a net 12 points.

The Combined Clubs post-Christmas harbour series will start on Saturday, 12 January 2013. -- Peter Campbell

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 Jean-Louis Fabry: As Mrs Bunting asks for some frenchman to answer her on the TSS problem, I would like to point out that races passing Land's End or the Fastnet rock should be abandoned if boats should follow TSS regulations. Round the Scillies, there are three TSS.  With a southwesterly wind, I doubt many competitors of the Fastnet race or Round Britain race will not sail a direct route from Runnel Stone to the Fastnet, or on the return from the Fastnet to Bishop rock.

Either they are infringing rule 10 (b) (i) and (iii) - "proceed in the general direction of the traffic flow"; or " join or leave the lane at the termination of the lane" - or rule 10 (c) -"cross on a heading as nearly as practicable at right angles"; and this happens east of the Scillies, south of the Fastnet and north west of the Scillies ! 300 boats three times for the Fastnet race = 900 infringements. And nobody says anything except a few protests on the last race for the NW Scillies TSS which were dismissed - the protestor was crossing at 100° under genoa when the protestee was crossing at 110° under spinnaker.

A racing boat should only be penalized in its race only if the authority which has implemented that rule or regulation prosecutes the infringing boat and wins its case.

Some years ago, on a Quebec - St-Malo race, a competitor approached an oil rig and the petrol authorities (I don't remember its name) started prosecuting the boat; it was then discovered that this oil rig had moved position without informing the maritime authorities ! No prosecution was carried on against the competitor.

The coastguards acted well against Safran.

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The Last Word
When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown. -- Stephen Jay Gould

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