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Worst South Atlantic Ever
The toughest South Atlantic that any of the skippers stuck in it can remember is beginning to turn the screw on supplies. Being dropped by a fickle wind or battered by a north one is one thing, but sixth-placed Mike Golding (Gamesa) has revealed that just having enough to run his auto-pilots in the busy shipping lanes for the finish is increasingly becoming a worry.

"We are looking at 5 days added to the route, potentially, by the problems in the South Atlantic," Golding, who has 4310 miles to the finish, told Vendee Globe TV. "That puts extra pressure on everything - fuel, food, and this has been a very hard period for the boat as well; going upwind in strong breeze, fully ballasted puts extra pressure on the boat.

"Things have not been easy as we have not had hydro generators since the Southern Ocean."

* Third-placed Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) continues to be the fastest in the fleet on Sunday night, edging back on the two in front and away from Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) in fourth. Dick averaged 15.5 knots in the last four hours since the last ranking.

The gains were small, but with two knots boat advantage and even better VMG, Dick could make more significant against overnight. Dick is 508.5 miles behind the leader Francois Gabart (MACIF) and has won 44 miles back since the 0400hrs ranking on Sunday. But he has only moved 13 miles further ahead of Thomson in the same time, to lead him by 259 miles.

* Bernard Stamm has been facing a depression for three days and he has had to deal with an agitated sea, sailing upwind in conditions that are demanding for both the boat and the skipper. Manoeuvres have kept the Cheminees Poujoulat skipper busy in the Atlantic.

The Swiss talked to his team two days ago, saying his current situation was going to last for a few more days:

"I'm sailing along the west part of the depression, this is a better angle. It's a crazy situation, really, the wind can disappear in 100 metres. If the depression starts moving, we could be in trouble.

A few miles east, there's quite a lot of northerly wind, but the angle is not as good. The sea is rougher here, though, because of the easterly wind. We should be sailing upwind for 48 more hours but at least today has been calmer than yesterday.

Cheminees Poujoulat is currently sailing close to the Brazilian coast and, as of Sunday morning (10.30AM UTC), she is 4429.73 miles from Les Sables d'Olonne (19°19 South / 37°11 West).

Tracking for Stamm's progress (he has retired from the race):

Rankings as of Sunday 20 January 2013, 20h00 (FR)

1. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 1930.6 nm to finish
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac'h, 141.8 nm to leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 508.5 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 767.6 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2333.6 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2347.9 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2537.5 nm
8. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2568.5 nm
9. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 2715.4 nm
10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 3410.7 nm
11. Initiatives-coeur, Tanguy De Lamotte, 3617.8 nm
12. Team Plastique, Alessandro Di Benedetto, 4387.1 nm

More Than A Thousand Sailors
Key West, Fla - All the docks around the Conch Republic were alive with activity and anticipation on Sunday as more than a thousand sailors aboard 121 boats prepared for the start of Quantum Key West 2013.

At the marina basin in front of the Westin and Hyatt hotels, crews were busily loading sails and rigging sheets aboard the two largest entries in the 26th annual midwinter regatta. It will be an America's Cup style match race when Bella Mente and Shockwave cross tacks on the beautiful azure waters off the Florida Keys and Key West.

That is what happened when the two 72-footers met at the Palm Beach Regatta hosted by the Sailfish Yacht Club. Shockwave, a Reichel-Pugh design skippered by George Sakellaris of Framingham, Mass., won that encounter. However, Bella Mente, a Judel Vrolijk design owned by Hap Fauth of Minneapolis, Minn., raced that regatta with old sails that have since been replaced.

"We will approach it just like a match race because that is essentially what it is," Fauth said. Obviously, the starts are going to be very important and then it's about all the little details to generate boat speed."

Both owners have a gentlemen's agreement to not get into high-risk pre-starting maneuvers in hopes of getting off the line safely and letting the race be decided out on the course. "The last thing we want to do is get tangled up during the start and have a crash that causes major damage and ruins the regatta," Fauth said.

Way at the end of the maze of piers in front of the Galleon, Steve Benjamin sat in the salon of his 66-foot motor yacht and went over computer charts for the new High Performance Rule. That handicap rating system will make its Key West debut this year and Benjamin, a North Sails professional, was going over final calculations for Version 4.

Decision, a Carkeek 40 owned by Stephen Murray of New Orleans, is the highest-rated entry. Spookie, Benjamin's entry that is an early version of the Carkeek 40, stands second. Both boats are hoping heavy air predominates during the week.

"We won't have our advantage of being a bigger, more powerful boat unless it's windy. Anything less than 10 knots will not be good for us," said Benjamin, who created and developed HPR along with Annapolis-based professional Dobbs Davis.

* Editor: Dobbs has posted HPR v4 here:

The Grid Is Full
OC Sport Executive Chairman Mark Turner & The Wave, Muscat skipper Leigh McMillan at the official Marinepool press conference in Dusseldorf. Photo by Michaela Schaefer. Click on image to enlarge.

Extreme Sailing Series Organisers of the Extreme Sailing Series, OC Sport, announced details of the eight-strong fleet for the 2013 Series at the Dusseldorf Boat Show today. The announcement was made from the stand of Marinepool, Official Clothing Partner to the Series, as they also confirmed a new three-year extension to their contract with the pioneering Stadium Sailing Series.

In 2013 the Extreme Sailing Series' award-winning stadium racing format will see eight world-class teams, including a 'home nation' invitational team at each venue, compete in the seventh edition of the Series.

The 2013 Series is to be contested once again by sailors from all over the globe, partnered by a host of strong commercial brands. The Wave, Muscat, Oman will host the Series opener for the third consecutive year where new faces and new teams will meet the more seasoned sailors for the first time. Five of the teams who will be on the start line in Muscat on 5th March are returning teams: Red Bull Sailing Team, Alinghi, The Wave Muscat, SAP Extreme Sailing Team and GAC Pindar.

A new team for 2013 comes in the form of the second Swiss entry. The team sponsor will hold an official press conference to announce the entry and crew details on the 8th February. An invited team, 'Team X - Invitational', will provide a platform for a home team to compete at each of the eight Acts, in the way that sailing legend Torben Grael skippered Team Brasil in Rio last month. The individual Act entries will be combined to make one overriding Series entry with details of each team to be confirmed before each respective Act.

The official Marinepool Extreme Sailing Series merchandising range is sold at events, in Marinepool's extensive network of retailers, and can be viewed online at

Further Series and local event partners will be announced within the next month along with a full 2013 calendar to be confirmed on the 31st January.

Clipper Round The World Race Sailors Secure With Ocean Safety
Ocean Safety 252 amateur sailors and their twelve skippers will set sail in a brand new fleet of 70 foot yachts that the pundits consider will raise the game as never before in terms of speed and performance, when they circumnavigate the globe in the 2013 Clipper Race starting later this year. So safety is more important that ever, and that is why Clipper Ventures have secured the UK's largest independent marine safety equipment supplier, Ocean Safety, as a Gold Partner and official supplier not just to this edition but to a 2-race contract that will run for 8 years.

Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "With a race that visits the most dangerous oceans in the world safety has to be a prime concern. We are delighted to welcome Ocean Safety as a partner."

Ocean Safety is leaving nothing to chance to protect the amateur sailors that will crew each boat - the company is supplying liferafts, Kannad EPIRBs, lifebuoy lights, lifebuoys, survival suits, flares, radar reflectors, fire extinguishers, thermal protective suits, grab bags and more. Ocean Safety has also developed a custom lifejacket to meet the highest safety requirements specifically for this challenge.

Ocean Safety, who has already supplied the past four Clipper Races, will also provide product training for safety and survival and will supply a service package too.

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Race 2
The old and the new on Sydney Harbour. Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship Sydney Harbour: Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took another step towards defending her Australian 18ft Skiff Championship with her second all-the-way win in Race 2 of the Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

The Thurlow Fisher team of Michael Coxon, David O'Connor and Trent Barnabas were superb again as they powered their way to a brilliant 3m12s win in a light SE wind.

Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage, Peter Harris) were second again today, but it took some great work by the crew on the final leg to gain this placing, just 12s ahead of Pure Blonde (Tom Clout, Jared Smith, Matt Wark).

Fourth place went to Marcus Ashley-Jones' Asko Appliances, followed by Smeg (Nick Press) and Rabbitohs-Kenwood (Brett Van Munster).

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, with her two wins, leads the series on two points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 on 4, Pure Blonde 10 and Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) on 11.

A video coverage of the race can be seen on

Race 4 of the Australian Championship is next Sunday. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

French Yachtsman Lifted From Liferaft In Southern Ocean
After three days drifting in a life raft in the Southern Ocean south of Tasmania, French round-the-world solo sailor Alain Delord has been rescued by a Zodiac crew from the Antarctic cruise ship Orion.

Delord set off a distress beacon on Friday after his 11-metre yacht, Tchouk Tchouk Nougaton, was dismasted in bad weather, 500 nautical miles off Tasmania's south-west coast. The jagged end of the rig then apparently holed the hull.

The 63-year-old abandoned ship and took to the Southern Ocean in his life raft, his distress signal being picked up by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the cruise ship PV Orion.

The Orion, which was scheduled to visit Macquarie Island as part of an Antarctic expedition, made a 50-hour diversion to come to the Frenchman's aid, rescuing him Delord about 9:30pm (AEDT) last night.

AMSA coordinated the rescue and said Mr Delord "was recovered safely and without injury". "He is currently receiving medical attention and early indications are that he is healthy," an AMSA statement said.

This morning the Orion's captain, Mike Taylor told ABC News Breakfast: "Following the initial distress AMSA found him with a plane and then set up a relay so that they had somebody overhead pretty much all the time.

"The raft he was in from the yacht was pretty small and he didn't have any food or water, and he just had a marine band radio, which the battery died on after a day.

"So they dropped him another raft with food and water, and also with an aviation band radio so he was able to talk to an interpreter in the plane.

"When we got up to him - I mean, conditions were pretty bad. We had 25 knots of wind from the north-west.

"There was a long swell from the south-west, you know, probably about 3.5m to 4m, and the cloud ceiling was probably only 500 feet.

"We couldn't have done it without guidance from the planes."

The ship is now on its way to Hobart. -- Peter Campbell

Running The Rhumblines
Teenage Whitsunday Sailing Club dinghy skipper Klaus Lorenz again expressed his skill to show he will again be knocking on the door for selection in the Australian World Youth Sailing team in 2014.

Klaus and his new crew mate James Scott handed this notice to Australia's best 420 Dinghy crews when they finished 4th overall in this month's OAMPS INSURANCE BROKERS World championship selection trials hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on the windy River Derwent.

The talented West Australian crew of Lachlan Gilmour and Thomas Blaauw proved they deserved the honour to represent Australia at the 2013 World Youth championship in Cyprus later this year when they piloted Novo Rapid to an impressive performance winning five of the eight selection races including a Black Flag disqualification in race 1.

Both Lachlan Gilmour and Thomas Blaauw who have been sailing together for some time showed the benefit in gauging their technique and boat speed from racing against a high standard club fleet in Perth.

They were in a class of their own while the self taught Klaus Lorenz and James Scott overcame the important lack of big fleet racing finished the 8 race championship with a 6-4-4-2-4-3-3-6 score card with their dinghy Rock Star.

Klaus a member of Yachting Queensland development team has progressively developed his career from racing and training alone on the warm tropical waters of Pioneer Bay to earn the respect from his fellow 420 dinghy class rivals.

He has shown the class to overcome the added expense of owning two 420 dinghies one for training on his home club course off Airlie Beach while his National championship boat is based 1150 kilometres away in Brisbane and promises to remain as a determined challenger when the sails are tensioned for the 2014 World Youth selection trials.

However Klaus Lorenz is proud to call Airlie Beach home and has shown his personal dedication and skill to win a bronze medal in the Australian Optimist class before stepping into the highly competitive 420 Olympic training class where is career focus and ambition remains with the distinction of becoming the first North Queensland sailor to win selection in the Australian Youth team. -- Ian Grant

* Editor: The author is a freelance covering major regattas in Queensland since 1964. A career in marine journalism followed from being a winning crew member in Australian 12ft and 18ft skiff championships and the 1960 Brisbane to Gladstone race in the yawl Mouse of Malham formerly raced by inaugural Sydney Hobart race winner Captain John Illingworth in Rani.

We're very pleased to have "Stripey" as a regular contributor to Eurobutt.

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 James Struth: Maybe I was not clear my point is not about OD sailing, it is about not wanting to race a boat that was designed primarily for cruising and I am sure that I am not alone in this view. Further more for the majority who do not live on the south coast of England there is almost no OD sailing and there is almost no option other than IRC therefore changing clubs is not an option. Leaving the majority of people with no choice other than racing cruising boats if they want a fair playing field.

Turning to the point on raiting could someone please explain to readers why it is possible to rate a TP52 against a heavy displacement cruiser but not a Melges 24 or SB20 against a heavy displacement cruiser? There must be a reason for this but it is not immediately obvious!

I appreciate that there is no perfect solution but at present it appears that to be competitive big boats need to be high performance and small boats need to be low performance. This does not encourage all the sailors who grow up racing dinghies (and are passionate about racing) to move into bigger boats all it does is to encourage cruising sailors (who are passionate about cruising) to try their hand at racing. The net result is that most dinghy sailors never buy a small yacht and the cruising sailors generally sticks with cruising because that is what they enjoy.

Maybe this calls for a proper article from someone who is in possession of all the facts.

* From Jochem Visser: The key thing about IRC is that is has made a substantially change in attitude towards the general fleet. In the past the IRC aim was "to rate every boat fairly" as described in the introduction of the rule. But this phrase was replaced a couple of years ago with one which currently reads " to protect the existing fleet". This is a fundamental change and is clearly visible in how smaller light displacement boats have been rated. They are not given a rating in which they might be competitive under the right conditions but one which by default relegates them to the back of the fleet. It's a bit like handing a red card to a player before he even entered the playing field.

I understand Peter Morton's argument that they present a different performance spectrum but the difference he describes is no further apart than a TP52 versus a Swan 65. Actually a TP52 has a lower Displacement Length Ratio than most sportboats and also seamlessly transit from displacement sailing into planing. Off course they can sail one design, just like TP 52 's can, but the reality is that not every region can generate fleets. Yes Mr Struth could find another club but the truth is that no club currently provides a reasonable platform for these boats to race under.

If we are smart we should embrace all of these boats and try to make IRC a tool which promotes, encourages and embraces as many in the sport as possible. In the end all owners want is a fair and stable platform to play their game. With the current trend of sailors wanting smaller, more sportive boats and a new style of owners which like high adrenaline sailing we can only hope we create a breeding ground for a new generation of big boat sailors. More importantly we badly need them. In the last IRC nationals we only had 45 entries... highlighted by class 4 with only 5 entries.

I would like to take the opportunity to announce the creation of the Sports Boats Class uk.

More info on this link:

The aim is to unite all interest in sportsboats and create a class which could govern and stimulate a fair rating platform for these boats to race under.

The class constitutions are currently under review and membership will only be £5.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2006 Ker 37. EUR 149,950. Located In Crosshaven, Ireland.

Currently on the hard in Cork, after an active and successful summer sailing - this Ker 37 is looking for a new home and campaign. Comes with a full specification and is ready to go. Maintained to a high standard.

Brokerage through MGM Boats:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Fitting, somehow, that two comets, both in sharp and fatal decline, on the point of full dispersion, should intersect at this moment. When you need Lance Armstrong as a guest, or you need Oprah as a confessor, well, for both of you, the orchestra has packed up, the curtain is down, the audience has gone home. -- Rex Murphy

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