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Spectacular Conditions
Carkeek 40 'Spookie'. Photo by Ingrid Abery, www.ingridabery.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Key West Race Week With four days of racing complete, it is not difficult to identify the stars of Quantum Key West 2013: The sun and the wind!

Even the most veteran sailors have been amazed by the fact every day of the regatta has brought spectacular conditions with warm temperatures and solid breezes. Wednesday brought 18-22 knot winds and Thursday was equally ideal as the breeze held steady between 14-18 knots.

Over the past 20 years, the annual regatta off the Florida Keys has lost just six days of racing. Barring some unforeseen situation, this will be another year that Premiere Racing has completed the target number of 10 races. More remarkable is that Division 2, under the direction of principal race officer Dave Brennan, is likely to get in 12 races.

It's been a knockdown, drag out fight in IRC 2 (52 Class) all week and the winner probably won't be decided until the last leg of the last race on the last day. Azzurra and Ran are tied atop the standings with 21 points apiece while Quantum Racing is just one point behind.

Helmsman Guillermo Parada and tactician Vasco Vascotto led the Italian entry Azzurra to victory in Race 7 on Thursday while skipper Doug DeVos and tactician Ed Baird led the American boat Quantum Racing to victory in Race 8. Ran, the Swedish program skippered by Niklas Zennstrom, also had a strong day with a second and third.

There's a tight two-boat duel in the High Performance class between the Carkeek 40 sister ships Spookie (Steve Benjamin, Norwalk, CT) and Decision (Stephen Murray, New Orleans). Spookie was walking away with the regatta until blowing out its spinnaker in both races on Wednesday. That opened the door for Decision, which won both races on Wednesday to take the lead.

Spookie rebounded to win both races on Thursday, but Decision notched two seconds and maintains a narrow one-point lead. Spookie beat Decision by just one second in Race 7, crossing the line nine seconds behind and getting 10 seconds of time on handicap.

Full Throttle and hedgehog are engaged in a heated battle in Melges 24 class, second-largest of the regatta with 23 boats. Skipper Brian Porter and Full Throttle opened the series with a seventh, but have been able to throw that out and have finished no lower than third ever since. Skipper Alec Cutler and the hedgehog crew had put up a steady string of firsts and seconds before sailing their throw out on Thursday, an eighth in Race 7.

Cutler was annoyed because hedgehog had come back from dead last at the start to second place by the leeward mark, but subsequently missed a shift and lost six boats in Race 7. Full Throttle won two races on Thursday and now leads by four points. -- Bill Wagner

www.premiere-racing.com/KWRWLive/

Carry On Keel-Less
Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac Paprec 3) today on the French version of Vendee Globe LIVE explained his predicament. "I'm in the high, so there's only 12-13 knots of wind, in a situation that's not easy for a boat without her keel. I can't use large sails but the ballasts are full to keep some stability. I've talked to Bilou and Marc Guillemot, who had to experience the same situation in the past. Of course, I'd go faster if I had a keel but right now, I'm not thinking too much about my third place.

I'll see if I can finish the race, if the conditions allow, but I can't take too much risk for myself, or for the boat. I should sail off the Azores coast around the 27th, there should be around 25 knots of westerly wind there and that will help me see how the boat is doing when the sea and the wind are tougher. Then I'll try to make the right decision based on those elements and some people's opinions. So let's wait until the 27th.

Sometimes I feel like I'm windsurfing, you need to completely change the way you work on the boat. I've talked to some boat designers who told me about the calculations they had made, helping me choose what to do and what kind of sail to use. Also, because I've had hook issues, I don't want to use big sails because if they get stuck, the boat would capsize without her keel, and I would end up stuck inside my boat like Jean Le Cam in the last edition."

* It is a sign that the conclusion is imminent as the support teams of François Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) arrived today in the sleepy French port of Les Sables d'Olonne, in the Vendee region of France. The port is about to explode into life as tomorrow at 10am the race village will open in eager anticipation of the race winners. The support teams are preparing for the reception of their respective skippers. François Gabart is expected to arrive in the Vendee port on Saturday night. Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) as it currently stands 6-7 hours later. He will be greeted by a wintry, cold southwest wind, switching to the northwest, into a blustery front, gusting up to 30 knots with rain

Rankings as of Thursday 24 January 2013, 20:00 (FR)

1. MACIF, Francois Gabart, 1013.5 nm to finish
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac´h, 101.7 nm to leader
3. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 675.2 nm
4. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 728.0 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 2204.3 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2223.0 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2659.0 nm
8. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 2859.8 nm
9. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2918.4 nm
10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 3102.3 nm
11. Initiatives-coeur, Tanguy De Lamotte, 3400.6 nm
12. Team Plastique, Alessandro Di Benedetto, 4267.8 nm

www.vendeeglobe.org

2013 ORC Rules and VPP Now Available
After a process of verifying all the new improvements made by the International Technical Committee (ITC), the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) is pleased to announce its 2013 VPP is ready for use by Rating Offices around the world. Use of the VPP by owners, sailors, sailmakers and other industry members will also be available to run test certificates in ORC International and ORC Club at the Sailor Services feature on the ORC website.

"This year there was a tremendous improvement made in the Residuary Resistance formulation in the VPP, and along with the improvements also made in the aero model the ITC needed to verify that all these changes applied as intended for all boats, and that the programming also worked without problems," said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. "But we are very happy with the work of the ITC, and are confident this will make for better racing throughout this season in ORC regattas around the world."

The new VPP will also help define new GPH limits used for various events on the ORC calendar, including the 2013 ORCi European Championship in Sandhamn, Sweden in August, and the 2013 ORCi World Championship in Ancona, Italy in June.

The 2013 ORC Rules for IMS, ORC Rating Rules, Championship Event Rules, and the Sportboat and GP Class Rules are also now available at www.orc.org/rules. A Summary of the changes to the rules and the VPP made from 2012 is available here, and a Frequently Asked Questions document about the new VPP and new Rules appears here.

www.orc.org

Problems With Keels
Why do the Vendee Globe solo designs, the IMOCA 60s, keep having keel failures? There have been two keel failures on this race: Safran and now Paprec-Virbac 3, and the breakage of a keel ram on Maitre Coq.

If you look more broadly at the class, you're bound to reach the conclusion that the flaws leading to these catastrophes have been endemic. There were six keel failures in the race four years ago and 17 in total dating back to the shocking images of Tony Bullimore's boat upside-down in 1997.

How can it be that these keep happening and what's the reason? How come designers and engineers still cannot manage to ensure keels stay on for the duration of a round the world race?

The subject is immensely complicated, but the simple place to start is that no one - no designer, no engineer and certainly no sailor - wishes to take big risks in this area.

While they are trying not to be handicapped in terms of performance, most teams would be prepared to accept some compromise if it provided a guaranteed solution and over the years many teams have swapped materials back and forth several times in search of it.

The other issue is that keel fins are made out of one of a variety of materials, so there is no one answer. (Safran's was from fabricated titanium; JP Dick's of fabricated steel.) Each fin material has its pros and cons, and the problem is that there have been failures in every material. -- Elaine Bunting, an excerpt from a must-read at

www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/elaine-bunting/

First 300 Entries Are In
Cowes, Isle of Wight: After opening for business on 4th January, Race entries at 0900 Monday 21st January numbered 289. As ever, the Race organisers at the Island Sailing Club (ISC) in Cowes are taking a keen interest in who is signing up for the 82nd edition of this iconic Race and selecting a few entrants to mention in its series of monthly entry news updates. This is a Race for All and the updates will feature a variety of boats and competitors from across the classes.

First timers are always especially interesting to follow on Race day and the first of many already signed up this year is Rumpleteazer, a Scanmar 33, owned and skippered by Eric Bates from Plymouth, Devon. He may be new to the Race but is certainly no novice to racing! Eric is an RYA Yachtmaster and has competed in three Rolex Fastnet races (2007, 2009 and 2011) and the 2010 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Another first time entrant but with 20+ trans-Atlantics, the Indian Ocean (Qatar - Cairns, Hong Kong - London), Cape Town - Gibraltar included on his sailing CV, is John Kitchen from Bristol who is racing Blue Mango. Lacoste, the high-fashion label, commissioned Sparkman & Stephens to design this 42 footer and Dufour to build them in the 1980's. Only 12 were produced. Six are in the USA, two in the UK and the remainder are in France, Portugal, Canada and Venezuela.

A highly experienced Round the Island Race skipper is Peter Morton from Cowes with 20 RTI Race circumnavigations under his belt. Salvo, a Corby 33 (ex-Salamander XX) was built in Poland in 2007 and is one of a series of John Corby designs built at the same yard and a sister boat to Banshee and No Retreat, also both Cowes-based.

If you haven't already entered the Race which takes place on Saturday 1st June, do remember that Early Bird entries close at midnight on February 2nd! -- Peta Stuart-Hunt

You can enter securely here: rtir.me/entries

www.roundtheisland.org.uk

Gathering Cruise Around Ireland
2013 is designated as the year of the Gathering in The Republic of Ireland, in which the diaspora and friends are being invited from all over the world to visit during an amazing year-long celebration. One of the events being organized is The Gathering Cruise, a cruise in company from Dublin to Dingle around the eastern and southern coasts of the island.

The Gathering Cruise will see 100 boats congregate in key Gathering Ports before sailing together to the celebrations. Cruisers from Scotland, Wales, England, Brittany, Norway, and Sweden will assemble in a series of Gateway Ports along the East and West coasts of Ireland, including Malahide, Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Wicklow, Kilmore Quay, Cork, Dingle, Fenit, and Galway. Trans-Atlantic sailors will gather in the West Coast Gathering Ports.

The Gathering Flotilla will leave from the most northerly Gateway Ports and travel south. As the flotilla passes the other Gateway Ports, the assembled boats there will move out to join the growing flotilla. The Cruise in Company will be joined by Irish boats at the various Marinas, Clubs and Training Centres located along the coast. A celebration is planned for Dun Laoghaire

The Gathering Flotilla will finally assemble in Kinsale, Co. Cork for the main Gathering Cruise Welcome Reception featuring local artisanal foods and music.

Vessels will then have an opportunity to explore the remarkable coastline of West Cork and Kerry for a week of unscheduled cruising. Gathering Welcome Ambassadors will be on standby to welcome boats as they arrive. All boats will then gather again in Dingle, Co. Kerry for a Farewell Gathering.

Vessels wishing to take part should review the Irish Cruising Club's excellent publications, including two volumes of Sailing Directions and a new companion book 'Cruising Ireland' which contains comprehensive information about what to do when you get there www.irishcruisingclub.com -- Daria and Alex Blackwell

For more information, visit www.thegatheringcruise.ie

Daria & Alex Blackwell's website is to be found at www.coastalboating.net

EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour
As excitement builds around the third edition of EFG Bank Sailing Arabia -The Tour and with 3 weeks to go until the competitive fleet sails into Start line in Bahrain, Oman Sail announces another team's re-entry. Oman's Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat returns with record breaking British skipper Dee Caffari as the only all-female crew taking part in the unique off shore sailing race. The team will include four pioneering Omani women aged between 21 and 28, two of whom competed in last year's race.

Abdullah Al Rahbi, Head - Events & Sponsorship, Bank Muscat said: "Bank Muscat is proud to continue the support for Al-Thuraya all-women crew, aimed at contributing to women empowerment and creating a sustainable sailing future for women in the country. The sailing event manifests a striking parallel to the bank's determination to take on challenges and prove its capabilities."

"Members of the all-women team have just had 400 miles of offshore experience which has been brilliant because it has demonstrated the massive progress they are making," said Caffari, who became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in both directions after completing the Vendee Globe in 2009 and her own single-handed westward circumnavigation three years before.

All four women who will be racing on board Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat for each leg, are part of the Oman Sail Women's Sailing Programme which was launched in 2011 as part of a national effort to celebrate Oman's rich maritime history and empower women in the world of sport. The programme puts a large emphasis on family support, encouraging parents to inspire their young daughters to pursue a sporting skill such as sailing, giving them the confidence to learn and compete in these exciting regional events.

www.sailingarabiathetour.com

Industry News
Exhibitors of the 2013 Tullett Prebon London Boat Show reported an attendance of 93,327 over the nine-day show at ExCel London closed on Sunday. Last year 102,841 visited over 10 days (a day was cut from this year's proceedings to curb exhibitor costs). Early signs had been positive. The show had looked to be on course to get somewhere close to that 10-day figure - attendance had been up 3 per cent by mid-point Thursday - but heavy snow over the final weekend de-railed any chance of breaking the 100,000-mark.

This year's event was for the first time located in one hall (South) rather than being split across two. The North Hall was home from the Thursday (17th) to The Outdoor and London Bike Show. The result was busier aisles and more of the 'buzz' that seemed to have been missing from recent editions of the show.

A statement from the organizers said that the show's new layout and attractions increased visitor activity and "satisfied industry demand." The show hosted 10 world debuts of new boats, with 33 European and UK launches taking place during the show.

Though the inclusion of peripheral lifestyle products on the show floor - supercars, high end watch brands and hot tub manufacturers - might be an anathema for die hard boaters, there's no denying that they remain a pull for the general public and were undoubtedly a major lure for visitors from the neighbouring show.

ibinews.com

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As one of the 11 judges for these awards, now in their 10th year, I have just attended the awards presentation during the first evening of the Dusseldorf boatshow. With hundreds of guests and representatives from most European yards attending it was an impressively high profile event.

The winners for the 2012/13 European Yacht of the Year awards are:

Family Cruiser - RM1260
Performance Cruiser - Dufour 36 Performance
Luxury Cruiser - Italia Yachts 13.98
Special Yacht - J/70
Multihull - Outremer 5X

There was also a new award given out by German Publishers Delius Klasing entitled 'Seamaster 2013', and I'm delighted to say it went to the incredibly accomplished and equally amiable Loick Peyron, who traveled from San Francisco to collect the plaque to the cheers of an extended standing ovation. -- Toby Hodges in Yachting World

www.yachtingworld.com

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2013 looks like being another busy year for superyacht racing, the first regatta of the year will be the Antigua Superyacht Challenge at the end of this month. In March there are two events virtually back-to-back, in the British Virgin Islands and then in St Barth's, where more racing yachts are expected to be racing than ever before.

Palma, Mallorca is preparing for a full line up of 20 entries this year and with the confirmation of the J Class yachts the spaces are being taken up fast. Last year saw numbers in Palma reduced as several yachts made the decision to head to the UK for the London Olympic celebrations and the Superyacht Cup Cowes, but this year the focus will once again be on Palma. The Notice of Race is now available on the website www.thesuperyachtcup.com/palma/ and entry forms can be obtained from

The Palma fleet so far includes several boats who will have competed in the Caribbean, such as the 35m sloop P2 (Briand/Perini), Athos (Hoek/Holland Jachtbouw 62m) as well as Velsheda (Nicholsons/Dykstra/Camper & Nicholsons, 38m), Ranger (Burgess & Stephens/Dykstra/Danish Yachts, 42m) and Lionheart (Hoek/Claasen Jachtbouw 42m). The latest yacht to register is the new modern-classic 26m Tulip, designed by German Frers and built by K&M Yacht Builders in Holland. Tulip was launched in the Autumn 2012 and with her lightweight interior and carbon rig is likely to be a competitive entry.

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The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) has won an important marine industry award commending the sports venue's continued commitment to environmentally aware practices.

Presented at the BB / Marine Trades Association Dinner to Mike Scott from leading lawyers, Charles Russell, a major sponsor of the Academy, the 'Boating Business Environment Award' marks the importance of the WPNSA's sustainable event management work.

As well as hosting one of the world's largest sporting events last summer, the Olympic Games, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy worked tirelessly to ensure they were the first UK sailing venue to meet the British Standards Institute for sustainable event management 'BS 8901'.

The WPNSA identified the effects that the venue's activities have on the environment, society and economy both within the Academy organisation and the wider economy. Measures were then implemented to ensure best practice is always followed in a sustainable context. Mike Scott Partner at Charles Russell LLP was delighted to receive the trophy on behalf of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Venue.

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SLAM UK has announced their partnership with GBR Youth Challenge, the British entry for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2013. The team will compete at the selection series in San Francisco between the 18th and 24th February, using the same AC45 catamarans as the America's Cup World Series. Team GBR will be competing against 11 other nations for the opportunity to race in the first Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

The partnership between SLAM UK and Team GBR Youth Challenge ensures that the team have access to SLAM'S latest Skiff Collection currently warn by the Australian and New Zealand Olympic teams. SLAM UK will be backing the team on and off the water to support them to be best placed to reach their goal of competing at the inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

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www.SuperyachtCaptains.com went live just four weeks ago. On launch day we had just under 400 founding members, who through word of mouth had asked to join. We are, this week, installing our first update to this site. No Captains can now join without being proposed and seconded by existing members and new Captains are joining daily.

This site is a part of www.SuperyachtWeb.com, which we launched during 2012. Superyacht Web comprise 108 websites, all linked together. Totally unique. This is our online Superyacht show. The only links from within Superyacht captains is to superyachtweb.com and our professional yachtsman's magazine which you can view at www.YachtingMatters.com. There are sites for media and magazines to register as well as the large yacht industry worldwide.

We are soon to launch similar sites for Engineers, Chefs, Crew, Industry Professionals, Brokers and an array of other sectors within our industry. -- Colin Squire, www.ColinSquirePublishing.com

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US Sailing's Olympic Sailing Program named Grant "Fuzz" Spanhake (Annapolis, Md.) Technical Director of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. Spanhake will work directly with High Performance Director Charlie McKee to direct the performance program in the Olympic and Paralympic classes. Spanhake brings top-level experience as sail designer, trimmer and technical expert across six America's Cup campaigns, four Round the World races and two Olympic Games with Team GBR and one with Team Greece.

Spanhake will begin his role with US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami this week. "I'm really excited to get to work," said Spanhake, who also is a member of the North Sails Performance Research Group (PRG), advising and designing sails for professional teams. With the Team, he will oversee all aspects of technical development, with a particular emphasis on rigs and sails. "We'll do our best to get the sailors the very best technology the U.S. can provide," he added.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1932 49' Wooden Sailing Ship. EUR 139,000. Located in Helsinki, Finland.

Ingrid was built in 1932. She was totally rebuilt to specifications as new in 1994-2002 in Sweden by her owner.

Length 15 meter, total length inclusive bowsprit 21.7 metres.

When rebuilt, a total of 40 cubic metres oak, 15 m3 Oregon Pine and 4 m3 Teak was used. 90 - 95% is new material.

Brokerage through Lohman Oy: www.yachtworld.com/lohman/

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

The Last Word
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. -- Robert Hanlon

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