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A Slowdown In The Indian Ocean
That the boat was offered most of the bubbly is in part tribute to the fact that it is his evergreen 1998 built Finot-Conq design's fourth successive passage of the Great Cape in a Vendee Globe, finishing the last three editions successfully in the hands of Thomas Coville, Sebastien Josse and Arnaud Boissières.
Though he has had his small problems to deal with in recent days, Di Benedetto remarked that his boat in perfect shape, ready to take on the remaining two great Capes. With his transit of Good Hope all 13 Vendee Globe competitors are now in the Indian Ocean.
They might now all be in the same ocean but today it is becoming increasingly clear that several of the groups which have been largely intact, the leading triumvirate included, are disintegrating. There is little that the skippers can do, especially when they are tackled from behind by a weather system which brings them light winds.
Of the leading group, first victims to fall from fast rolling low pressure were Alex Thomson, then Bernard Stamm who now are more than 310 miles behind the leader.
Mike Golding's split from his French rival Jean Le Cam is looking increasingly costly and, for the British skipper on his fourth Vendee Globe, very frustrating. Caught in a low pressure trough, he was hopeful that there might be breeze to get him out of the 'ditch' by this evening but Gamesa was making just 3kts this afternoon while Le Cam now sixth was still making 11kts.
Top Tenn Rankings as of Thursday 13 December 2012, 20h00 (FR)
1. MACIF, Francois Gabart
Kiwi Spirit Departs Bermuda For Antigua
Following the launch of his Farr-designed Kiwi Spirit, he immediately began sea trials, tweaking the boat to optimize all systems for short-handed and solo sailing. Only 2 weeks after launching the custom-designed monohull at the Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding facility in Maine, Paris took off for Newport, Rhode Island. A few days later, and Paris was off again, immersing Kiwi Spirit in her first truly offshore experience sailing some eight hundred miles from Newport to St. George's, Bermuda.
"In 24-hours we covered 238 miles, averaging 10 knots," said Paris. "My fastest sail ever! At one point we reached 27.1 knots. This boat is just awesome!"
As dawn came to Bermuda this morning, Stanley Paris and his crew of 3 released the lines and headed out to sea once again, headed for Antigua. This time, esteemed yachtsman Cabot Lyman, owner of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Company, is aboard. It is the first time that Lyman will sail Kiwi Spirit offshore since his team in Thomaston, Maine poured thousands of hours into the planning and construction of the yacht.
Paris will train for the next twelve months aboard Kiwi Spirit readying himself for the circumnavigation. He intends to compete in a variety of racing events, including the Caribbean 600, Charleston to Bermuda, Bermuda 1-2, and Marblehead to Halifax regatta, in addition to deliveries and other sail training. Paris aims to best the benchmark set by Dodge Morgan in 1986 when he sailed the cruising yacht American Promise around the world from Bermuda to Bermuda in 150 days.
Key responsibilities include:
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Rolex Swan Cup - Caribbean
The regatta is open to all Swan yachts built by the Finnish shipyard and is based on the concept of the highly successful Rolex Swan Cup, which has been held biennially in Porto Cervo since 1980.
The YCCS regatta course in Virgin Gorda, where the islands and islets of the surrounding archipelago are used as natural buoys, provides a stunning backdrop for the racing.
Nautor's Swan Chairman, Leonardo Ferragamo: "The Rolex Swan Cup has for many years proven to be an incredibly successful formula and we look forward to expanding our partnership with both Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in the BVI. Swan owners have a longstanding tradition of cruising and racing in the Caribbean and we look forward to welcoming new and old friends alike to Virgin Gorda in 2013."
A Tribute To Joe Adams
Rob Fisher's Helsal III will sail the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's annual race with decals on each side of its hull in tribute to the man responsible not only for designing three of the Fisher family's four Helsals, but the highly successful Australian marque of Adams 10s and 12s.
The 81-year-old Adams was murdered at his home in Baguio City in the Philippines in October. Adams spent most of his life in Sydney before moving to Port Macquarie and then to the Philippines, where he eventually sold his design business and retired.
In 1972 Rob's father, Sydney surgeon Tony Fisher, was attracted to the idea of a ferro-cement yacht to replace his boat Derwent Hunter. He figured he wouldn't have to worry about woodworm or osmosis with a concrete hull. To Tony's mind, there seemed to be a lot of positives, despite the prevailing view that concrete yachts would never be up to racing.
He engaged Bob Miller, later to be known as Ben Lexcen, to design a racing boat capable of taking line honours in the Sydney-Hobart. Joe Adams was working with Miller at the time.
"Bob teamed up with Alan Bond in preparation for the 1974 Southern Cross America's Cup campaign, so Joe took over the design work of Helsal," Rob Fisher recounts.
The first Helsal, named after Tony's wife Helen and daughter Sally, was launched in April 1973 and went on to take line honours in that year's Sydney-Hobart race in a little over three days. It has always been referred to since as "the Flying Footpath".
* The team at Ragamuffin Loyal are pleased to say that the assessment of damage to the 100 footer's rigging, sustained on Wednesday evening, is a positive one and repairs are underway.
The repairs should be complete within the next few days, and all are looking forward to being on the start line for the Rolex Sydney Hobart on Boxing Day and are disappointed to be missing this weekend's CYCA Trophy Passage Series.
The 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet currently stands at 78 yachts, following the withdrawal of Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson's Beneteau 45) and Terra Firma (Nicholas Bartels' Cookson 50).
ARC: Fastest Ever?
Happily, it has been so speedy that the 194 crews who took advantage of the option to start two days later from Las Palmas made up for all that lost time - or more.
The wait gave them strong north-easterlies and a turbo boost for the first few days and many skippers arriving here are reporting that they never saw less than 20 knots of true wind all the way. Even those who took the traditional southerly route and spent a day or two working their way through a trough with light winds in mid-Atlantic have had a quick crossing...
... It has also been suggested to me that the improvement in performance of autopilots is having an effect. On dark, moonless nights and in light winds they generally steer better than most helmsmen; even professional sailors I spoke to admitted this.
We're seeing the same thing going on in the Vendee Globe, of course, where daily runs up to 540 miles are being done under pilot as solo sailor blast almost as quickly as the fully crewed (and bigger) boats in the Volvo Ocean Race.
This is an interesting theory, and there's more to be said about the top end pilots - but more of that in the February issue of Yachting World. If you're planning an ocean passage or an ARC crossing, dare I suggest you shouldn't miss that? -- Elaine Bunting, her full blog post at www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/elaine-bunting/
* Editror: About that February issue? Subscriptions on special offer at www.magazinesdirect.com
Wight Vodka Favourite Yachting Bar
Voting continues apace with 2 weeks go to... Over 2000 votes to date. Cast your vote at scuttlebutteurope.com/sailors-bars.html
Tonight's featured bar is one of your humble narrator's favourites... but there is a twist to the story. There are really two bars, and I favour the one less travelled.
The main terrace bar at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has seen thousands upon thousands of sailors, including a few thousand Opti sailors who don't get the sample the famed Dark 'N Stormy... yet.
But there's also a small interior bar just off the cloakroom (which is nearly always jammed with sailor's bags, particularly in bad weather). Stepping into it feels like stepping into the days of Britain's colonial empire. Lots of old cedar, burgees everywhere, it could be a club bar in Burma in the 30s, Hong Kong in the 50s. It's timeless. It's best enjoyed, frankly, on a blustery and rainy day when you can look out the windows, across the terrace to Hamilton Harbour and drink fine Rum. Dress is casual soaking wet foulies on the best days and nights there. The barkeeps are friendly and the drinks are strong. Perfect.
Soldini and Maserati in NYC
Soldini, who became a sporting hero in his home country after winning the 1998 Around Alone singlehanded race, is banking on strong winds to arrive from Canada for the start of the record attempt, as well as a split in the Azores high pressure system to enable him and his crew to set a new record time on the 13,225 mile passage from New York to San Francisco, via Cape Horn.
As he waits and watches the weather models, Soldini has put the crew of Maserati (formerly the Volvo Open 70, Ericsson 3) on standby to leave some time around the 19th December.
The Maserati crew are aiming to smash the existing record of 57 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes from New York to San Francisco, set by France's Yves Parlier aboard the monohull Aquitaine Innovations back in 1998. -- Justin Chisholm
Fine Art Classic Boat Prints
Each edition within the Classic Boat range is limited to 100 numbered prints, individually produced using the Giclee fine art printing system. This matches high quality archival standard inks with selected 300gsm fine art photo rag textured paper to produce outstanding black & white and colour images.
Limited edition prints are supplied unframed and deliverd in art tubes.
We also offer a mounting and framing service, but due to the irregular size of many of these prints, prices have to be quoted individually and orders can ony be taken over the telephone or via e-mail.
- America's Cup
Available from 10x8 to 60x40 ins.
Order online: pictures.classicboat.co.uk
The World Cruising Club will introduce show visitors to the practicalities of ocean sailing at the London Boat Show 2013 held from 12th - 20th January.
Visitors can climb aboard two yachts that have completed the ARC and see how to prepare a boat for ocean sailing.
Former ARC skippers will be on hand to explain what life is really like to be an offshore sailor.
Two free one-hour Bluewater Cruisers Question Time sessions held on Saturday 12th and Saturday 19th January at 14:00 hosted by a panel of experienced cruisers and industry experts.
A must for anyone considering an Atlantic crossing or offshore cruising, the Bluewater Cruisers Question Time sessions will cover all aspects of life at sea including great boat gear, cruising essentials, sailing with family, and choosing a boat.
Sign up free at www.worldcruising.com/training
Dubois Yachts has announced that Matthew Fisher has joined the company. Operating in the Mediterranean and UK head office, Fisher has a wealth of experience with over 20 years in the industry and the company anticipate that he will be a "valued asset" in the sales and marketing of Dubois yachts.
Fisher will be working closely with managing director, Toby Walker, on the expansion of the brokerage business into other pedigree designs.
Lewmar has announced a new supply agreement with the Beneteau Group, which will see its steering system installed on 5 different models. Jeanneau's Sun Odyssey 30i and 33i yachts, together with the Beneteau Oceanis 31, 34 and 37 will be fitted with a custom single pedestal design featuring integrated wire sheaves for quick and easy installation.
Stena has signed a new 5-year agreemen as title sponsor for Stena Match Cup on Marstrand Stena will continue as title sponsor of Stena Match Cup Sweden. Ever since the start 18 years ago, the event has been one of the highlights on the Swedish West Coast.
Today, Swedish Match Cup is one of Sweden's largest public sports events and continues to grow in both sporting and media terms. It is one of several races in the match racing world cup, Alpari World Match Racing Tour and many of sailing's biggest names have participated since the start in 1994. Stena has been the title sponsor since 2010 and has now decided to make along-term commitment to the event.
A total of 115,000 visitors on Marstrand during the week of the competition watched the Swede Bjorn Hansen sail to victory.
North Sails announced today that Volvo Ocean Race skipper and veteran sailmaker Ken Read will return to North Sails in the role of president in early January, 2013. Read will take over for current president Gary Weisman, who has served at the helm of the world's largest sailmaker for 16 years, and who plans to retire within the next 4 months.
"Gary has done an absolutely fantastic job and he will be missed dearly by not only me, but all North Sails employees who have gotten to know him so well during his 39-year career at North," said North Technology Group CEO Tom Whidden. "Gary plans to stay involved with the company in the short-term and he and Kenny will work closely to make the transition as seamless as possible."
Read started working for North Sails in 1996, yet has taken four sabbaticals to participate in some of sailing's elite events. He was the CEO of PUMA Ocean Racing and skippered PUMA's Mar Mostro during the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and il mostro in the 2008-09 edition of what is known as the "world's toughest sailboat race." Prior to the Volvo Race, Read skippered two America's Cup teams for Dennis Conner on Stars & Stripes in 2000 and 2003.
* From Alistair Skinner: Every sport needs its elite, and as the name suggests - that costs. Without money (sponsorship) there would none, that's Not One of the top sailing events that we either enjoy to watch OR enjoy to play in ourselves. Whether it is the Volvo Ocean Race, the eXtreme Series, Cowes Week or most club regattas some corporate (of varying sizes)will have put their hand in their pocket so we can have fun while their name gets exposure to social classes A,B &C1.
So with that in mind, sponsorship and those sponsors R.O.I. Is extremely important to, certainly the sort of events that bring our sport to the attention of non sailors. Priority One for yacht racing? You better believe it
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The Last Word
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