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Rolex Sydney Hobart Start
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart got underway in exceptional conditions. The forecast southerly breeze providing the perfect angle for a spinnaker start and run down the harbour. The angle would prove less kind as the yachts exited the Sydney Heads and made their turn towards Hobart, finding the 20 - 25 knots now firmly on the nose

Mark Richards and Wild Oats XI looked to be in no mood to be interrupted in her bid to claim a sixth line honours, blasting off the line and showing Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin Loyala clean pair of heels before popping out of the Heads comfortably in the lead.

An interesting night lies ahead. The decision how far to head out to sea was the first conundrum facing the crews. So far the bulk of yachts appear firm in the belief that staying inshore, and inside the rhumb line will pay better. Only, one or two boats have shown a determination to head offshore for any length of time.

Leading five boats for Line Honours
Racetime : 00:22:40 - 27 December 2012, 11:40 AM

1. Wild Oats XI, Robert Oatley
2. Ragamuffin Loyal, Syd Fischer
3. Lahanaa, Peter Millard & John Honan
4. Loki, Stephen Ainsworth

* Wharington's Wild Thing is out...

Earlier today, Grant Wharington and his Wild Thing crew had turned off their mobiles to conduct their pre-race briefing in silence. Here they were in familiar territory, with a lot of the old crew, a new aft section on the boat and a sail wardrobe that was virtually straight from the loft.

On Wednesday, they had lodged their documentation regarding the now elapsed American Bureau of Shipping guidelines, as pertains to the design and construction of the 100 foot super maxi. At that time, they allege they had been told that they were cleared for racing, so it is no wonder that at around 0900hrs this morning they thought they were off to Hobart once more.

An obviously devestated Wharington emerged from the Sailing Office inside the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) at about 1145hrs AEDT. The majority of the crew were also outside, in a sign of solidarity. His first comments were clearly taking aim at the Race Committee and Chairman, Tim Cox, in particular, 'We are absolutely devastated to be told at the eleventh hour that we are unable to race to Hobart.

'We are a bit stuck for words as to why this situation has happened. We have provided the documentation - I have got it in my hand. We were given approval on Wednesday saying that we were able to go, then it's subsequently withdrawn, so we are obviously devastated by the news', added Wharington.

Asked if he still maintains that the documentation was up to scratch, Wharington replied very emphatically,

'Absolutely.' As to where the miscommunication came from, Wharington added, 'I think it is all in the wording. The requirement is that the design has to be signed off by a naval architect. The original design was done by a (now retired) Melbourne engineer (in 2005) and he claims to have not done the final design, so this is why we engaged a naval architect (Fred Barrett) to actually provide a report on the boat, which says that it was assessed and approved and the requirement under the race rules is that the design has to be done accordance with the American Bureau of Shipping Guidelines.'

In essence, what this may well boil down to is that as Wild Thing's designer is now just short of 80 years of age and in all probability, is likely to be without further indemnity insurance, which is why he simply cannot sign off on his own work, whether he wanted to or not.

rolexsydneyhobart.com

Stamm At Anchor, Le Cleac'h Leads Again
Ready to start the second phase of his attempts to repair his broken hydrogenerators Vendee Globe solo skipper Bernard Stamm completed his 350 miles detour north from the Auckland Islands when he is reported to have dropped Cheminees Poujoulat's anchor in Kaikai Bay, just to the north of Dunedin on New Zealand's South Island around 0100hrs UTC this morning.

After being thwarted in the remote Auckland Islands first by the incessant rain which hampered the composite repair work required, and then having to move because of the threat of storms Stamm made the difficult choice to head north to seek more suitable shelter and better weather.

The skipper is now anchored close to the secluded beach north of Dunedin's Tairoa Head and has light winds, partial sunshine with the threat of some light rain, but temperatures are in the 20's.

In his third Vendee Globe campaign Stamm has yet to finish this ultimate solo round the world race and faces a very tough challenge to complete his repairs. His hydrogenerators have been broken for much of the race and the Swiss skipper needs them to be functioning if he is to carry on across the Pacific to Cape Horn.

Since their passage into the Pacific Ocean leaders Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) and Francois Gabart (MACIF) have been virtually inseperable but an opportunity for the twosome to part company in what could be a key stage of the race is emerging. Behind them Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) were slowed through the night but the chasing duo should get the chance to accelerate again today and reduce some of their deficit on the leaders.

Top Ten Rankings as of Wednesday 26 December 2012, 20h00 (FR)

1. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac´h, 9154.2 nm to finish
2. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 1.6 nm to leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 680.2 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 1047.0 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 1969.1 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2320.5 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2372.6 nm
8. Cheminees Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm , 2474.5 nm
9. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2632.2 nm
10. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 3057.8 nm

vendeeglobe.org

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Steve Clark (USA)
‘One of the absolute greats’ - Shirley Robertson; ‘So generous with his time and his knowledge’ - Dick Klein; ‘We rocked up with some carbon, he put us up and helped us build an A-Cat!’ - Bailey White; ‘Steve’s contributions are beyond comparison’ - Bill Pearson; ‘He helped me, hired me and taught me it all. Thanks, buddy’ - Chip Johns; ‘This one man pushed sailing forwards’ - Peter Stoneburg; ‘To think I used to be his babysitter…’ - Nina Campbell; ‘Steve’s done more for sailing than anybody I know of’ - Magnus Clarke.

This month's nominees:


Paul Larsen (AUS) & Malcolm Barnsley (GBR)
‘We’ve ripped the arse out of it,’ screamed Paul Larsen after Vestas Sailrocket smashed the world speed record in Namibia. Two days later and Larsen raised his own mark by another 10 per cent to over 65kt. In the final analysis, virtually every one of Sailrocket designer Malcolm Barnsley’s calculations had proved correct, down to the final tweak on the final day. And it all held together.


Giovanni Belgrano (ITA)
Somebody else for whom so far it has all stayed in one piece is the chief engineer to Emirates Team New Zealand, who passed on the memorable yet wholly constructive advice to the sailing crew for the final day of testing with their first AC72: ‘better you break it now.’ They may not win the Cup but that ETNZ won the first battle is beyond dispute; and only because their boat was not only fast but it was strong too.


Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at
seahorsemagazine.com/sailor-of-the-month

WSSRC Celebrates 40 Years
The year 2012 has been in many ways a momentous one for sailing. The Olympic regatta was contested at Portland, which was also the birth-place of speed sailing and of the WSSRC, which was set up to provide fair and accurate measurement of speeds achieved under sail. Shortly before the 2012 Olympics, our governing body ISAF announced that for the next Olympics in Rio kite-sailing would be added to the list of events. May we modestly point out that it was in a WSSRC event at Portland that kite-sailing was first seen in competition, and, following the usual tantrums that accompany the creation of any new sport, was welcomed into the ISAF family. Today, the fastest speed under sail is 55.65 knots, achieved by Rob Douglas of USA in a WSSRC supervised event at Luderitz, Namibia. And if anyone visiting the 2012 Olympic regatta needed to see what this fantastic new sport looks like, they only had to glance towards Chesil Beach where local enthusiasts could be observed zooming up and down the old 500m speed course, whenever the breeze was up.

It is somewhat ironic that the creation of the World Sailing Speed Record Council resulted from the boastful claim of a paint company. This outfit, which made a special soft graphite paint, announced that the C-Class catamaran Lady Helmsman, (which was indeed a very fast boat) had sailed at 30 knots. This so annoyed Bernard Hayman, editor of Yachting World that he demanded to know how this speed had been measured and was told that by sailing close to the promenade of Southend- on-Sea, the boat could be paced by a car.

That was ridiculous, but inspired the magazine to propose a new event, devoted entirely to measured speed. The Royal Yachting Association agreed to organize it and after an extensive search Portland Harbour was selected as the best venue and, because of its geography, 500m was determined as the distance to be sailed.

An excerpt from "A Short History of Timing" on the World Sailing Speed Record Council

Download the PDF:
sailspeedrecords.com/a-short-history-of-timing.html

Junior Offshore Group
JOG's inaugural 1000 mile BNY Mellon Challenge from Cowes to Cascais due to start on 14 June has been boosted by the announcement that the Single Handed Offshore Racing Club ('SORC') intend to run a single handed return race back from Cascais to Falmouth, via Camaret. This will start on the day after the BNYMC final party in Cascais.

Roger Townsend, BNY Mellon Challenge Race Director commented: "The level of interest in the second Leg of the BNY Mellon Challenge from La Trinite to Cascais is already very encouraging, but I welcome being able to work with SORC to build entry levels for both races still further".

Entry forms for both races will be available in January, but for further details please visit www.jog.org.uk and www.offshoresolo.com or to register your interest in competing, please contact

Spinnaker Tales
Steve Jarvin the highly respected Rolex Sydney Hobart sailor firmly believes that the Bob Oatley owned and Mark Richards helmed Wild Oats X1remains as a strong chance to rewrite the race record on Friday morning.

This prediction is based on the modest sailor's hard core Sydney to Hobart racing experience backed by a personal log book which records ten line honours victories.

He will be going for his 11th first to finish title as a member of the 18 person Wild Oats X1 crew who will experience being drenched in spray as they chase down the record time of 1day 18 hours 40 minutes 10 seconds set in 2005.

His passion about racing in the international acclaimed blue water classic is clearly evident with the figures 07-40-09 marked inside his wind and wave tormented sailing cap.

That's the time which Wild Oats X1 needs to finish and having the chance of eclipsing her previous best triple trophy (Line Honours, race record, and corrected handicap) from seven years ago.

Weather modules also suggest a record challenge but as all crews who have raced over the storm tormented Tasman Sea on numerous occasions understand that the record challenge relies on the wind direction and velocity that blows over the deck also the nature of the sea way will be a crucial factor.

This is not the weather forecast which veteran Mooloolaba skipper Bob Robertson was expecting when he suggested his well raced sloop Lunchtime Legend deserved to be ranked among the top contenders to win the race overall.

Unfortunately the fast race forecast suggests it will be all guts but no glory for the tenacious Sunshine Coast veteran and his Lunchtime Legend crew.

However the forecast which is embedded with at least two crucial wind direction and velocity changes, the first expected within the initial 100 nautical miles slants the race for the fastest corrected handicap towards the longer waterline and larger sail carrying yachts.

These conditions will propel the super maxi Wild Oats X1 and her serious challengers Wild Thing (Grant Wharington) and the line honours champion from 2011 the Syd Fischer skippered Ragamuffin Loyal onto a spray drenching ride.

But a question mark hovers over their chance to log the required boat speed to outpace the smaller and equally well sailed maxi chasers Ichi Ban (Matt Allen), last year's overall winner Loki (Stephen Ainsworth) and the 2011 Qantaslink Brisbane to Gladstone champion the Mark Bradford skippered Black Jack.

Brisbane's Black Jack has the race proven potential to become the first Queensland yacht to win the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart trophy but her crew who have capped an impressive season will need to be up to speed to roll over their rivals and record the fastest corrected handicap. -- Ian Grant

The Good Guys 2012 Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race
One of the favourites for handicap honours in The Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, the Victorian yacht Penfold Audi Sport, has suffered hull and rudder damage at Beauty Point and may have to withdraw from the race around Tasmania's east coast.

With only two-and-a-half hours to the start off Inspection Head on the Tamar River, owner/skipper David Ellis and his crew are attempting to repair a crack in the hull and set sail in pursuit of the fleet.

Because of shipping movements out of Bell Bay, the start has been postponed from 11am to 11.45pm, leaving Ellis until 3.45pm to get to the start line as a late starter.

"At the moment the tide is not high enough to get the boat out of the water, and then we will have limited time to satisfactorily repair the crack, which is near the rudder post," Ellis said at 9.30am.

"We will do our best to get to the line and set sail in pursuit of the fleet, but things are not looking too good at the moment," he added.

Penfold Audi Sport, an Archambault 31 from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria was being put back in the water at the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club slipway yesterday afternoon when it apparently tilted back in the cradle, damaging the its rudder.

The rudder damage appeared minimal, but this morning crew members climbed inside the hull and discovered the crack near the rudder stock.

Event site: l2h.com.au

The progress of the fleet in The Good Guys Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race can be followed on Ocean Tracker:

oceantracker.net?event=l2h2012

Italy Launches 2K Keelboat Team Racing
Click on image to enlarge.

2K Keelboat Team Racing Keelboat Team Racing has moved in grand style to Italy as the ultimate Christmas stocking filler. 32 fleet and match racers from around Italy converged on Anzio (South of Rome) for a pre Christmas weekend of training and racing. Italian teams got their first taste of 2K competition in London in October at the Royal Thames invitational event. It was love at first sight. The intensity of the action, the heart stopping battles that dominate the races from beginning to end determined the Italian sailors to bring the game to Italy and in style. Under the leadership of Edoardo Barni and Filippo Molinari the superb fleet of Platu 25's based at Anzio were made available and 32 top sailors, including well known Match Racers assembled over the pre Christmas weekend for an intensive Clinic led by Bruce Hebbert from the UK.

The clinic comprised two days on the water in glorious sunshine developing tactical skills and racing and theory sessions ashore in preparation for the start of the 2013 European Circuit. First event being in Monaco in March followed in May by the first Italian 2K Regatta at Anzio. The Dutch will be hosting the Eurosaf Championships in June at the Bataviahaven, followed by a series of events across the late summer and autumn in the British Isles.

2K which originates in Holland sees two teams of two boats each racing on the standard windward leeward match race course. Racing without spinnakers places massive emphasis on fast tactical racing for the crews. Using standard team race rules, which are virtually identical to fleet race rules allows any sailor to quickly move across the disciplines while on the course umpires settle disputes. The 2K formula uses a maximum gender rule to encourage participation by both men and women.

The photo taken at the club house of Reale Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo at Anzio also includes sailors from Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Circolo Nautico Vela Argentario and the Rome Racing Team. -- Bruce Hebbert

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2011 Hanse 400. EUR 139,000. Located In Szczecin, Poland.

We are happy to present our boat, that was presented in major Polish boatshows and made a great impression. It was used also for a few, short sea trials but we will sell it with full warranty.

Brokerage through Horyzont Sp. z o.o.: www.yachtworld.com/hanseyacht/

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

The Last Word
Poverty can teach lessons that privilege cannot. -- Jack Klugman

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