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"Moving Day" At Quantum Key West 2013
Wednesday has always been critical at this  annual race week off the Florida Keys. By the time Wednesday is complete, the racing is usually more than half over. Event veterans have even given it the moniker of "moving day."

This year, Wednesday brought what is predicted to be the strongest winds of the five-day regatta, challenging crews to really ramp up their performance. There were some sail and gear failures in the heavy air, which held steady between 18 and 22 knots.

Several teams made major moves on Wednesday at Quantum Key West 2013 - none more dramatic than that pulled by Decision in the High Performance Class.

Spookie, skippered by North Sails professional Steve Benjamin, opened the regatta with four straight victories - all in convincing fashion - and it appeared the rout was on. However, Decision, skippered by Stephen Murray of New Orleans, turned the tables big-time on Wednesday by winning both races. Meanwhile, Spookie finished last in Race 6 after shredding its spinnaker on the last downwind leg.

Decision and Spookie are identical HPR Carkeek 40 designs with the former having been launched in March and the latter in September of last year. Murray said the boats, which have subtle differences in terms of sails and crew weight, have been evenly matched this week.

Suddenly, Decision now holds a three-point lead over Spookie with two days and four races remaining. "We certainly feel better about our chances now, but there is still a lot of racing to be done. With no throwouts, you're one bad race away from going from the penthouse to the outhouse," Murray said.

Another climber on Wednesday was Arethusa, which moved from third to first in Swan 42 class. Skipper Philip Lotz (Newport, RI) steered Arethusa a first and a fifth on Wednesday and now leads the seven-boat fleet by virtue of tiebreaker over Stark Raving Mad VI (James Madden, Fort Lauderdale, FL).

It appeared there was a new leader in J/70 class after racing concluded on Wednesday. Newport-based pro Tim Healy and his Helly Hansen team won Race 6, finished third in Race 7 and threw out a 23rd suffered in Race 1. That briefly allowed Helly Hansen to overtake Moxie for the overall lead in the regatta's largest class with 39 boats.

However, Healy lost a protest and was hit with a penalty that changed the seventh race result to 19th and dropped Helly Hansen to fourth in the overall standings. Moxie, sailed by brothers Cole and James Allsopp (Annapolis, MD), remained the leader for the second straight day with 34.5 points, 1 ½ better than Relative Obscurity (Peter Duncan, Rye, NY).

New 49erfx Teams at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami
The 49erFX makes its second appearance in the ISAF Sailing World Cup. For all competitors in the eight boat fleet it will be their first competitive action in the women's skiff.

America's Anna Tunnicliffe has teamed up with her former match racing crew Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer. Tunnicliffe has sailed on her own and as part of a trio at the Olympic Games and now she's in a duo, and aiming for Rio 2016.

Joining Tunnicliffe and Vandemoer in the fleet is Italian pair Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich. Both sailors competed at London 2012 with Conti stepping away from the 470 and Clapcich taking the leap from Laser Radial to the 49erFX.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) recently won gold at the 49erFX North American Championship as they got acclimatised to the venue. Despite early success in the boat Grael knows where her rivalries lay, "I think Anna and Italy's Giulia Conti will be our greatest enemy. With light wind it is hard to say who is the best, but with a little more wind it will be difficult for all."

Three Canadian crews, Erin Berry and Danielle Boyd, Laura Bordenand Marie-Pier Alary and Kristine Williams and Jen Braem will join the fleet as will Americans Allison Blecher and Helena Scutt and Kristen Lane and Molly Carapiet.

Portuguese 49er Olympian Francisco Andrade will be teaming up with Andre Fonseca to fly the Brazilian flag in Miami whilst Swedish 470 Olympian Sebastian Östling makes a transition from 470 to 49er to sail with Kalle Torlen.

Gretel II To Race In 177th Australia Day Regatta
Gretel II competing in the Australia Day Green Island Race on Hobart's River Derwent tw years ago. Photo by Peter Campbell. Click on image for photo gallery.

Australia Day Regatta One of the most famous yachts in Australian yachting history, Gretel II, heads a fleet of more than 160 yachts and skiffs entered for the 177th Australia Day Regatta to be sailed on Sydney Harbour and offshore on Saturday, 26 January 2013.

The one-time challenger for the America's Cup, when the contest was between classic 12-metre class yachts, has been fully restored and modernised by her current owner, Sydney yachtsman Mike Maxwell.

Gretel II will be unchallenged Queen of the Fleet when she contests the Classic Division 1 of the 177th Australia Day Regatta.

To quote author David Salter in a feature article in the official programme of the 177th Australia Day Regatta, Gretel II still retains "the powerful mystique of a genuine international classic racing yacht", and will make "any true sailor's heart miss a beat as she sweeps past in all her majesty."

The Australia Day Regatta, proudly acclaimed as the oldest continuously-conducted annual sailing regatta in the world, has been held each year since 1837 to commemorate the anniversary of the first European settlement of Australia.

Originally known as the Anniversary Regatta, this colourful event is held on Sydney Harbour, where it began, and also at other locations in New South Wales and offshore.

In recent years some 700 vessels have taken part in the Australia Day Regatta, making it one of the highlights of the celebrations on Australia Day, 26 January each year. With this extension of the Regatta, boats taking part range from large ocean-racing yachts to 18 foot skiffs, both modern and historical, and radio controlled model yachts.

Gretel II's competition in Classic Division 1 including former Sydney Hobart racing yachts Margaret Rintoul and Anitra V and Weene, a Tasmanian One Design class yacht built in Hobart more than a century ago.

Among the entries in Classic Division 2 are Ranger, skippered by octogenarian Bill Gale, and Solveig, owned by ABC television and radio presenter Angela Catterns and Charlie Chan. Adding the nostalgia of the 177th Australia Day Regatta, sponsored for the tenth year by Commonwealth Private, will be a fleet or ten Historical Skiffs, exact replicas of the iconic Sydney 18-footers that raced early last century. They are named after famous skiffs of that era, such as Scot, Britannia, Australia IV and Yendys. -- Peter Campbell, on behalf of the 177th Australia Day Regatta Management Committee

Marinepool Revolution Nx Racing Top - Introducing A New Generation Of Sailing Clothing
Marinepool What if there was a sailing top light weight like a shirt, super comfortable, made from highly flexible fabric, waterproof like the best offshore sailing gear and more breathable than anything you have ever seen or worn?

Impossible? Too good to be true? Well, not any longer!

The new Revolution NX top by Marinepool combines all the above mentioned highly regarded qualities in one new revolutionary garment with Dermizax NX technology. This high-tech and high-end racing top is one of the stars in the Marinepool 2013 collection. The Marinepool design team and Toray, the producers of the Dermizax NX fabrics have been working behind the scenes to bring this new product to market, while the world class athletes on the Marinepool Racing Team put the gear through a thorough testing programme.

Their feedback was inspiring the name of this racing top: Revolutionary!

Never before has a racing top ticked off the boxes like Revolution NX with unrivaled comfort, ease of movement and a breathability at 30,000g/m2/24h - 50% higher than any other product in our comprehensive product range. 

Athletes who turn every stone to reduce weight and who always are in pursuit of a competitive advantage will look no further: Revolution NX

Visit us during the final weekend at "boot" Düsseldorf on Jan 26th and 27th and experience the new 2013 collection. Learn why Energy Team, Oman Sail and many more world class teams, events and national sailing federations trust in Marinepool.

Across The Line This Weekend
The fleet leaders are expected to arrive in Les Sables d'Olonne, Vendee, France either Saturday evening, or Sunday morning. Please visit the website for regular updates. The current plan is that the first three boats crossing the finish line and making their way down the canal will receive LIVE coverage on the Vendee Globe web TV channel hosted by Daily Motion.

Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) has delayed his decision whether he will abandon the race, or to try and make it back to Les Sables d'Olonne until after the Azores. He is currently talking with his architects (Guillaume Verdier and VPLP) and considering whether or not he can use the water ballast system effectively to provide greater stability to his boat.

Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) and Mike Golding (Gamesa) will cross the Equator in around 36 hours, followed 24 hours later by Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud) who told web tv show Vendee Globe LIVE that it could be his 20th crossing. In fact he had crossed it so many times that he was unsure of the exact figure.

* Bernard Stamm continues his progress home... and is now 600 miles from the equator and off the coastline of Brazil.

Contacted by the team at the beginning of the afternoon, he returned to the conditions of navigation and its short-term objectives, confirming that even out of the race, he kept an eye on the progress of his classmates: "Obviously, I look where are the other (Mike Golding and Jean Le Cam). they shifted I'm more in the east and I'll keep this gap. I am reaching as they are near. and suddenly, I should also have a more open they a bit further north, once I catch the winds. But it will not be easy to catch, you must scrounge, we're no longer in the south with speeds of 20 knots, we can not really play on the speed differential with the current conditions Anyway, I'm super happy with my boat.

He took advantage of the fine weather to cut away part of the very bushy beard he's been sporting for the past few days.

Rankings as of Wednesday 23 January 2013, 20h00 (FR)

1. MACIF, François Gabart, 1334.9 nm to finish
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac´h, 94.5 nm to leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 569.4 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 690.4 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2231.8 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2254.3 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2594.1 nm
8. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 2727.1 nm
9. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2728.4 nm
10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 2971.1 nm
11. Initiatives-coeur, Tanguy De Lamotte, 3331.5 nm
12. Team Plastique, Alessandro Di Benedetto, 4151.7 nm

Goss Goes Overboard
Pete Goss and Andy Warrender have rounded the Southern Capes of Tasmania that mark the halfway point in their 1500 km circumnavigation of the Australian island state by sea kayak. Despite tough conditions that could have ended their voyage early, the paddling pair are continuing their voyage.

The trip so far has seen a variety of conditions; some days the duo made excellent progress - but on the edge of control - using the innovative sails designed by Pete.  At other times it has been hard paddling, plugging away against wind, tide and mountainous swell running in from the Southern Ocean. Big waves nearly ended the trip when the paddling pair both went overboard, thrown out of their kayaks by breaking seas as they made their way past reefs and into the mouth of the Giblin River. 

Pete described the moment he capsized: "There's that moment of truth when you know you are absolutely stuffed. No time to worry, just go with it and see what happens. I was conscious of a vertical wall engulfing the back of the boat and the next thing I know I am standing on my rudder pedals looking down the face of a big breaker and going over, pitch-poling. I didn't know which way up I was as the water pulled me in every direction at once - even under water it was noisy."

Pete hung on to the kayak though and managed to make it into the river mouth.  He was worried about Andy as he lost sight of him several times in the tumbling torrents of water: "There was just nothing I could do though; it was every man for himself." 

Pete says it has been quite a challenge but a rewarding experience so far. The remote south western coast of the island may have brought an abundance of wildlife, but they went nine days without seeing another person and were completely out of communication range.

Now the canoeing colleagues are looking forward to making their way up the East coast and back to their starting point at Devonport, Tasmania, from where they left 25 days ago. 

You can follow Pete's progress through a live satellite tracker and read his daily blogs on his website at

Iker Martinez Leaves Luna Rossa AC Challenge
In a tightly worded statement on their website, Luna Rossa Challenge have announced the departure of one of their helmsmen, Iker Martinez from the team.

The statement reads in full:

'We decided together to close our working relationship. The entire Team has enormous respect for Iker, he is a great sailor, which is why he was selected to enter the Luna Rossa Team ' Max Sirena declared.

We thank Iker very much for making a great contribution to the Team with his talent and his technical and tactical skills in this sport. We wish him all the best for his future challenges.

Martinez (ESP), a double Olympic Medalist - Gold in 2004 and Silver in 2008 in the 49er skiff class, joined the Italian Challenge soon after the conclusion of the 2012 Olympic Regatta where he represented Spain, again, and from skippering Telefonica in the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race. He joined another Olympic medalist in the 49er class, Chris Draper as a helmsman on the Italian Challenger.

First major assignment for Martinez was to take the helm of one of Luna Rossa's two AC45's for the last round of the America's Cup World Series, where his crew finished 11th in the 11 boat fleet. -- Richard Gladwell

Britain's Worst Sailor
At the helm of his 16ft catamaran, Glenn Crawley has been riding the waves for almost a decade - to the utter frustration of his local sailing community.

Now he has well and truly earned the nickname Captain Calamity after the RNLI was called out to rescue him for the 15th time.

Mr Crawley, described as a 'bloody menace' by one harbour master, is believed to have run up costs of almost £40,000 for the charity after repeatedly flipping his boat while pursuing his hobby - or 'pushing the boundaries of sailing', as he puts it.

But he has no plans to hang up his wetsuit. Explaining his latest error, the retired electrician said: 'It would have been much easier for me to grab a rope but it's my little adventure and I feel it has to involve an element of risk.

'The problem the RNLI have is that if some granny walking along the cliffs calls them saying I'm in danger, they have to act on it. They're not thrilled about it and neither am I.

'My boat has been in mortal danger many times but that's replaceable. I'm not in danger.

'I know what I do is a little bit different but it's my way of being in tune with nature. If you ain't got adventure in your life, you ain't got nothing.'

An RNLI spokesman said they would continue to respond to all mayday calls.

Read more:

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 Tim Thornton: Delving back into the history of IRC, when we first developed the formulae in Channel Handicap (as it then was), there was an intentional bias towards the moderate displacement cruiser, and against the lightweight flyers. And moderate displacement in those days was a bit heavier than it is nowadays. This was done intentionally to stop light displacement racers dipping into Channel Handicap to go pot hunting.

Technically, it is not possible to develop a handicapping system with a singe handicap rating that will rate all types of boats fairly in all wind conditions. There will always be boats that perform better than the fleet mean upwind or down, in light or heavy conditions. And different sailing areas obviously have different average conditions, and the fleet design norm also changes with time - the old early IOR boats from S&S and others would still beat most boats upwind in a seaway, but be left standing once the windward mark is rounded. So, for a given sailing area and a given handicapping rule, designs will always congregate around part of the design space for those competitors who select their boat to get good race results, and these will inevitably be at an advantage over the rest of the fleet.

IMS tried to solve this with their system of different handicaps for different wind speeds and points of sailing, and there is no reason why this couldn't be done without going down the VPP route of IMS (which only realistically predicted speeds for a small sector of the design spectrum).

The race committees  had problems in determining the conditions to use in the days of IMS, but technology has advanced since then with simple, low cost data loggers like SmartLog available from the TeamSurv project making it possible to determine the correct handicap for each boat according to the conditions encountered in the race. However, for the committed, this opens up a whole raft of tactical opportunities on offshore races, picking the route to encounter the conditions that optimises the boat's performance:calculated handicap ratio.

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The Last Word
Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him. -- Groucho Marx

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