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Francois Gabart Has Rounded Cape Horn
Vendee Globe race leader Francois Gabart (MACIF) rounded Cape Horn on Tuesday, January 1st at 6.20PM (UTC) after 52 days, 6 hours and 18 minutes at sea.

Racing in his first ever Vendee Globe Francois Gabart, the youngest skipper in the solo non stop around the world race, passed the longitude of Cape Horn this evening at 1820hrs UTC (1920hrs French time) setting a new record for the passage from the start line in Les Sables d'Olonne of 52 days 6 hours 18minutes.

Gabart, 29, solo skipper of Macif, broke the existing record, which was set in January 2009 by his mentor Michel Desjoyeaux, by a significant margin, 4 days 8 hours and 50 mins.

As he passed Cape Horn the young French skipper lead second placed Armel Le Cleác'h (Banque Populaire) by around 25 miles, approximately two hours.

Michel Desjoyeaux, the only skipper to win the Vendee Globe twice, whose company manage Gabart's campaign, commented:

" I exchanged text messages with Francois, very short messages. He told me the visibility was under two miles, he's sailing ahead of a (cold) front and approaching Cape Horn. So he has his hands full right now."

" It is a very emotional moment, but I'm afraid he doesn't have time to enjoy it because the data collected by CLS shows there's ice all over the area. It's hard to tell exactly what type of ice blocks, growlers and icebergs there is but they definitely need to be out on the deck and visually check. You need to stand next to the helm, even if the autopilot is on, because you can grab the helm if necessary or work on the sails if you need to change the heading of the boat very quickly. Radars aren't enough because they can't detect smaller objects."

Armel Le Cleac'h on Banque Populaire passed the longitude of Cape Horn at 1935hrs UTC (2035hrs French time) in second place. 1 hour and 15 minutes after Francois Gabart on Macif.

Top Ten Rankings as of Tuesday 01 January 2013, 20h00 (FR)

1. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 7012.2 nm to finish
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac´h, 24.9 nm
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 468.9 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 928.0 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2092.7 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2553.0 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2628.6 nm
8. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2684.6 nm
9. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 2782.7 nm
10. Cheminees Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm , 2797.1 nm

ORC Announces 2013 Calendar Of Events
In the last few weeks of this year, rating offices and event organizers around the world have been sending in their dates so that the 2013 ORC Calendar of Events is now available at . To date there are 121 national and international regattas listed in 16 countries, with more expected in the coming weeks as organizers and sailors do their planning for the 2013 season, while in the southern hemisphere their summer season is already well underway.

In the coming year the most important event for ORC will be the 2013 ORCi World Championship, sanctioned by ISAF as the Offshore World Championship, which in 2013 will be held in Ancona, Italy over June 21-29. This event will feature a week-long mix of inshore and offshore racing on the Adriatic coast from the event venue based at Marina Dorica. As in the last two years, the number of entries is expected to exceed 100 boats, and even now there are already 28 entries from 7 countries on three continents.

Another major event for ORC is the ORCi European Championship 2013 to be held in Sandhamn, Sweden over August 3-10 and hosted by the Royal Swedish YC (KSSS). This regatta will also have a mix of inshore and offshore racing conducted on the Baltic coast east of Stockholm in the beautiful Swedish Archipelago. There has been strong initial interest in this event as well, with 21 entries from 7 countries pre-registered from throughout Europe.

Wharington Urges Sydney-Hobart Changes
Wild Thing skipper Grant Wharington has urged Sydney to Hobart organisers to heed lessons from the 2012 event, insisting race management needs to be tightened in a number of areas.

Wharington didn't want to comment much on Tuesday about whether he would consider taking any action over being prevented from racing. Advertisement

"Nothing much happens between Christmas and the New Year other than sailing. We'll just look at our options over the next week or two and see where it leads us," Wharington said.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Howard Piggott said there was nothing to be resolved with Wharington.

He remained upset he wasn't notified of any documentation shortcomings at the final Boxing Day briefing and was also puzzled at the breakdown in procedure that meant Ragamuffin Loyal wasn't recalled after the super maxi clearly broke the start.

"It just seems like the race management has a lot of lessons there that they need to go and reflect on themselves and I think the thing needs to be tightened up in a lot of areas," Wharington told AAP. -- Adrian Warren and David Beniuk in The Age

Full article:

Never Say Never
In the world of professional sport we are well used to the return to competition of numerous personalities who have previously 'retired' in a fanfare of farewells and accolades from their colleagues.

So why should the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race Yacht Race be any different?

Well in truth it's not. There has been no shortage of skippers and crew who after many years of pulling on their sea boots on Boxing Day have declared it's time to consign their sailing gear to the wardrobe and spend time with their families during the festive season; only to appear on the start line rather sheepishly the following Boxing Day, or at best after a respectable break of a year or at most two.

There are of course those who will give no hint that they are retiring; one year they will simply not show up. The legendary Tony 'Glarke' Cable - founder of the famous QLD (Quiet Little Drink) - who has just completed an astonishing 47 races to Hobart is probably one such. He doesn't believe in records. When asked in an interview by the Hobart Mercury yesterday if he thought he would get to 50 races he simply said

'It's not a goal. If you get to 50, someone will ask you to do 55, it's just relentless. It becomes crazy after a while. You wouldn't want to do a Hobart race to win any sort of a record, that's for sure.'

But as to whether he would go to 50, Cable was sensibly evasive,

'It's a possibility I could do it,' he said. -- Crosbie Lorimer in

Seahorse February 2013
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

Ben Ainslie tells Blue Robinson about life after London 2012 and of the changing demands of sourcing an America’s Cup sponsorship deal

Rod Davis - Passion
And some good ideas on how to go about rediscovering it…

ORC column
A chance to play together at last? Jason Ker

Design - Strictly practical
Tim Houghton reports on a pragmatic effort to deliver a foiler for mass consumption

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Titanic Belfast
Until I visited the new Titanic Belfast exhibition this week I'd never been one of those fascinated with the history of the great ship or the terrible tragedy of her loss in 1912. But after going round this cleverly organised and very beautiful new museum, I'm flabbergasted by the enormity of its fate - everything: the ambition and scale of the ship's build to the unfathomably hopeless loss of more than 1,500 people.

The history of RMS Titanic has been so mythologised the story seemed to me slightly unreal even though there's a very hands-on family connection: my grandfather was a caulker at Harland & Wolff and worked on the ship, his job being to cut clean heads on finished rivets and check that the steel plates were watertight.

During his long, hard working life at the Belfast shipyard my grandfather helped build many of the big ships. The one he was proudest of was Titanic, the biggest ocean liner then ever built. To him, as to many of the shipyard men a century ago, it was indescribably luxurious and grand. When the news broke that she had sunk on her maiden voyage he said it was like hearing your own mother had died.

Elaine Bunting, her full blog post at


Spinnaker Tales
Bob Robertson announced he was on a mission when the flamboyant Sunshine Coast Ocean racing veteran cracked the traditional bottle of champagne over the bow of his new Beneteau first 40 in July 2012.

His primary mission was to have another crack at the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart race hoping to better his career best result of third overall with his Farr 40 Queensland Maid. Both Bob Robertson and his team of experienced offshore sailors including experienced helmspersons Adam Brown, Mal White, Andrew Wiklund and Shannon Hart were in the box seat provisionally leading the fleet on overall handicap when they slogged into the solid southerly breeze during the first night.

But the forecast arrival of the spinnaker sailing wind swung the race for handicap in favour of the speed sailing maxi's Wild Oats X1, Ragamuffin/Loyal, Lahana and the inform maxi chasers the inform 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart champion Loki and the 2011 QantasLink Brisbane-Gladstone race winner Black Jack.

When the Mark Richards helmed Wild Oats X1 weathered Green Cape (the entrance to Bass Strait) she was on track to break her 1 day 18 hour 40 minute 10 second race record set in 2005.

Wild Oats X1 left her line honours rivals struggling when she regularly logged speeds in excess of 25 knots as the crew enjoyed a 'sleigh ride' towards the notorious Storm Bay and the entrance to the River Derwent to further lay down their claim for a 'triple treat' line honours, race record and fastest corrected handicap time.

It is now history that the outstanding Wild Oats X1 crew handed their 76 rivals another lesson while many veterans including the former Mooloolaba Yacht Club commodore Bob Robertson were again forced to nurse some wounded pride when Wild Oats X1, Loki (Stephen Ainsworth) and the Mark Bradford steered and Peter Harburg owned Black Jack were officially named as the top three corrected handicap performers.

Unfortunately the change in wind direction and velocity ended the overall handicap challenge for Lunchtime Legend but their good start laid the foundation for them to hold a positive chance of winning their Division 3 class trophy overall.

However when the veteran Queensland skipper stepped onto Constitution Dock for the 12th time there was a spring in his step even after spending a mentally and physically tormenting 3 days 23 hours 43 minute and 41 seconds at sea.

His element of confidence was rewarded when Lunchtime Legend claimed a deserved handicap win in the highly competitive division three.

"It was a tough race, the weather had a few tricks up its sleeve although we did enjoy a 12 hour period of perfect spinnaker sailing conditions". The veteran skipper said During the traditional post race celebrations he threw his salt encrusted sailing boots in a dockside dumpster and joyfully announced that was his last ocean race.

Many of his close friends have heard the same story before and believe Lunchtime Legend will contest the 65th QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone race and the Mooloolaba 200 later this year. -- Ian Grant

For The Record
The WSSR Council announces the the establishment of 2 new World Records.

Record: World 10 Sq m/Windsurfer Division
Venue: Luderitz, Namibia.
Name: Antoine Albeau. FRA
Equipment: RRD Custom board. NP evos 5.4 sail
Dates: 21st November 2012.
Course length: 501 metres
Current: Nil
Start time: 13;32;04;13
Finish time: 13;32;22;84
Elapsed time: 18.71
Speed: 52.05 kts

Comments: Antoine Albeau broke his own previous record on 7 occasions over 3 days of attempts.

Record: World 10 Sq m/Windsurfer Division Women's Record
Venue: Luderitz, Namibia.
Name: Zara Davis. GBR
Equipment: Mistral 41 board. Simmer Sail 5.5 SCR
Dates: 17th November 2012.
Course length: 501 metres
Current: Nil
Start time: 12;38;35;42
Finish time: 12;38;56;67.
Elapsed time: 21.25 secs
Speed: 45.83 kts

Comments: Current record: Karin Yaggi. SUI, 41.25 kts in 2005 at Les Saintes Maries. Zara Davis broke the record on 4 occasions over 3 days of attempts.

John Reed
Secretary to the WSSR Council

International Laser Australian Championships
Worlds No 1 ranked Laser sailor Tom Burton shows how to sail downwind. Photo by Dane Lojek. Click on image to enlarge.

Audi Australian Laser Championship Sailing a Laser dinghy at its optimum performance at national championship level not only requires seamanship and tactical skills, but also physical fitness, and yesterday the 141 competitors in the Audi Australian championships certainly needed to be fit.

With the west to south-westerly winds ranging from 5 to 30 knots, and more, during their five hours on the water to complete two races, the fittest sailors got the top results in all three Laser divisions, Standard Rigs, Radials and 4.7.

The three fleets spent more than five hours on the water today, sailing in two races totalling nine nautical miles, as well as having to re-start several races because of general recalls.

At least they have a lay day today because of the King of the Derwent keelboat race on the river.

After eight races in the Standard Rig (Olympic class) division, Burton heads the leader board with a net 11 points after a third and a second place yesterday. On 15 points is another NSW sailor Ashley Brunning on 15 points who also had a second and a third.

However, honours on the day went to Singapore sailor Colin Cheng with two wins, but he is still sixth overall.

In the Laser Radial class, still being sailed in two fleets, world champion Tristan Brown from Western Australia had two firsts yesterday to hold a one point lead over Victorian Thomas Vincent who also won both races in his fleet.

Heading the Laser 4.7 division is Australian champion Jack Felsenthal from Victoria continued to dominate the results, yesterday adding to more wins to his early five first places. -- Peter Campbell

UKFA Training Weekends
The UK Fireball Association has organised two training weekends for 2013. The weekends are designed for everyone and take place in April and June.

On April 6/7 at Alton Water Reservoir, Ipswich, Mark Rushall will be giving a 'not to be missed' tactical training weekend. Camping will be available at the country park. Mark is the author of RYA Tactics, is an Olympic sailing coach and an International and National Champion in many dinghy and sports boat classes, including Larks, 1720 and Laser 5000.

On June 15/16 at Castle Cove SC, Weymouth, Adam Bowers will be running two days of sea training. Adam Bowers is a former Fireball World Champion and RYA National Cadet coach and has run many training sessions for the Fireball Fleet.

Full details of both weekends will appear shortly on the UKFA website, where you can express your interest in attending. Don't delay as places will be limited!

Lynn Watters
It is with great sadness I tell the sailing world that my dad, Lynn Watters, died on Christmas day at the age of 96. He made significant contributions to the sport we all love. During his tenure as head of the IYRU (ISAF) Rules Committee he shaped the way we all race today. He created the International Judging system which is now universally used for all major regattas. As an International Judge himself he officiated at almost every major regatta world wide at one time or another. The list is far too long but some standouts are the Americas Cup and the Olympics. Dad sailed in two Olympics, 1960 and 1964 in the Dragon class. He was universally known as one of the great tacticians in our sport.

He gave much to the sport and the sport gave back to him. He called a number of Royalty his friends, he was one of a select group of 400 invited guests (including the Queen Mother) who attended King Olaf's 80th birthday.

Alex Watters

From Paul Henderson
Although I had met Lynn Watters at several regattas I did not really get to know him till we were both on the 1964 Canadian Tokyo Olympic Games Team. Lynn crewed and really was the glue behind the Royal St. Lawrence YC Dragon Class Team skippered by Ed Botterell with Joe McBrien. We spent one month together at the sailing venue at Enoshima under the shadow of Mt Fuji in a beautiful hotel by the ocean. At the 1968 Mexican Olympics, sailing was in Acapulco, Lynn was the team's Technical Director and Racing Rules advisor as he had shown great interest in that part of sailing administration.

Our lives really changed in 1970 when Montreal got named as host for the 1976 Olympic Games. There was only one Canadian on any International Yacht Racing Union committee and that was Paul Phelan. Beppe Croce, IYRU President, asked the CYA to send delegates to sit on standing committees. Lynn was appointed to the Racing Rules Committee . Lynn became Vice Chairman of the Racing Rules Committee under Gerald Stambrooke Sturgess and then in 1980 became Chairman of the most important IYRU Committee which dictates how all racing sailors in the World race, a position he held for 10 years. Lynn also served as Chairman of the Olympic Protest Committee during those years and upon retiring was honored by being awarded the IYRU Gold Medal and remained as Consultant to the Racing Rules Committee. It was not until Lynn retired did everyone realize what all he had done. Owning Plow and Watters Printing Ltd. he would personally set the type for the Racing Rule changes and get the books printed as his contribution.

From Bruce Kirby
Lynn jumped into the yacht racing scene as a young man immediately after World War II by forming the St. Lawrence Valley Yacht Racing Association with his friend Art Thompson. The association brought together clubs from Montreal, and along the St. Lawrence to Kingston, Ont. and up the Ottawa River to the Hudson Y.C. and Britannia Boating Club in Canada's capital. The first SLV regatta was held at Pointe Claire Yacht Club west of Montreal and was a resounding success, bringing back to the sport many war veterans, and introducing regatta sailing to the younger set.

But he wasn't just a regatta organizer. With two younger friends he led a Lightning Class campaign for years, scoring high throughout North America, but never quite winning the continental or World championships. Lynn directed operations from the middle, with Edward Botterell at the helm (later to become a prominent sailmaker) and Sicotte Hamilton on the foredeck. Lynn was the middle man, tactician, sail trimmer for two Olympic Dragon campaigns, in 1960 in Naples and 1964 in Tokyo.

But his most important time on the world stage was as chairman of the IYRU Rules Committee, and we are all still sailing under the influence of Lynn Watters when we hit the starting line.

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 Malcolm McKeag: While with everyone else I am delighted at Ben's knighthood it is very gratifying to see David Howlett honoured with an MBE. I believe I am correct in thinking that Sid is probably the most successful individual sailing coach not just in British sailing (in terms of Olympic medals, world and European titles) but in the world. Doubtless there will be someone better informed than I to correct me if I am wrong.

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The Last Word
May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall. -- Aleister Crowley

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