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Trucks And Ferraris - It's Not A Level Playing Field Without Some Rules!
In the first part of a two-part article (the second of which will run tomorrow, the RORC Rating Office, a world-renowned centre of excellence for measurement, outlines how IRC is trying to find some equanimity when dealing with the equivalent of trucks and Ferraris competing on the same race course.

IRC is for all. This simple statement embodies a fundamental and clear message from the RORC Rating Office to racing sailors that IRC is for the standard cruiser/racer, for the sportsboats, for the latest modern race boats and the more traditional racing and cruising boats. Whilst it might look as though the grand prix racing yachts are all that anybody cares about because of their ability to attract the lion's share of the publicity, the reality is that the focus of IRC is on the mainstream.

However, there are almost as many different types, styles and ages of boats racing as there are owners. No rating rule (not even IRC!) is ever going to deal equitably with all of them, every day, on every race course and in all wind and sea conditions; not even 'multiple handicap' rules. Nobody in their right mind would try and race trucks against Ferraris and yet that is precisely what the sport often persists in doing.

In the past, the RORC Rating Office has tried to separate the types of boats by introducing rules appropriate to those boats. There was IRM during the early 2000s, but that never had enough boats to achieve critical mass. The RYA/RORC Sportsboat Rule was very successful, but with the growth in one-design sportsboats, withered through the late 2000s to the point where with just 40 boats rated, it could not be justified. This leaves IRC trying to reduce the inequities, make allowances for the slower speed of the trucks, and rein in those Ferraris.

IRC gives the cruisers, and the ever-increasing band of cruiser/racers, proper allowance for the furniture and fitout that they carry. It recognises the speed and nimbleness of the Ferraris. It sees and accounts for the mass production nature of the cruiser/racers, and the hi-tech aerospace materials in the grand prix yachts.

IRC must remain up to date and continue to embrace the new and the modern - to be permissive and progressive. But its gatekeepers, the UK-based RORC Rating Office and UNCL in France, should also reach out to those who are to some degree marginalised by the current structures of the sport. For example, those who do not wish to spend money on the latest sailmaking sensation, or fairing the keel to within an inch of its life every weekend during the winter. We're talking 'ordinary' club racers.

In the second part of its article about IRC running tomorrow, the RORC Rating Office sends out a rallying cry to clubs to adopt dual scoring and also poses the question: Should there be a separate rating rule for the grand prix and sports boats? -- RORC Rating Office / Peta Stuart-Hunt

ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami
Miami, Florida, USA: A strong contingency of the top sailors in the world are in Miami testing themselves against familiar rivals and incoming talent from a new generation of racers. The RS:X Men's and Women's events are back in Miami for 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup and these two fleets feature the best of the best in an early season clash of Olympic medalists and new challengers.

Most elite board sailors enjoyed some much needed time off following their intense Olympic campaigns for London 2012. However, a quick turn around and immediate focus is in order with the RS:X World Championships in Brazil this February.

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe of The Netherlands surged ahead of the fleet with two wins today to take a two point lead over Brazil's Ricardo Santos. Great Britain's Nick Dempsey dropped two spots from Monday, and is in third. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2004 bronze medalist commented on the upcoming schedule and training for Rio 2016. "Following the World Championships in February and March, it will be about focusing on the Olympic campaign for Rio 2016," said Dempsey. "I'm just trying to get back out on the water now and get as fit as possible for the World Championships."

Dempsey is intrigued about the venue in Rio. "If you look at Rio as a light wind venue, as windsurfers we're going to have to be light, strong, fit, and technically good. It's going to be a difficult venue. There is a lot of current and with it being light winds it's going to be very physical. I like to mix up my training, because it can be a bit monotonous. Anything you can do to keep it interesting and different to keep you inspired."

Similar to Monday, breezes were relatively consistent and strong at 13 to 15 knots throughout the day. Sunny skies were accompanied with temperatures in the high 70s.

Top three by class after 2 days of racing:

Men RS:X
1 Dorian Van Rijssbelberghe, NED, 4
2. Ricardo Santos, BRA, 6
3. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 7

Nacra 17
1. Sarah Newberry/John Casey, USA, 3
2. Sarah Streater/Matthew Whitehead, USA, 5
3. Enrique Figueroa/Carla Malatrasi, PUR, 9

Women RS:X
1. Demita Vega, MEX, 6
2. Tuuli Petaja-Siren, FIN, 7
3. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 10

49er FX

1. Giulia Conti/Francesca Clapcich, ITA, 10
2. Martine Soffiatti/Kahena Kunze, BRA, 11
3. Erin Berry/Danielle Boyd, CAN, 12

470 Men's
1. Matthias Schmid/Florian Reichstaedter, AUT, 6
2. Stuart McNay/David Hughes, USA, 6
3. David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr, AUT, 11

470 Women's
1. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA, 8
2. Xiaomei Xu/Chunyah Yu, CHN, 10
3. Renata Decnop/Isabel Swan, BRA, 18

1. Bruno Fontes, BRA, 3
2. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, FRA, 4
3. Charlie Buckingham, USA, 5

1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen.Marie Solberg/Per Eugen Kristiansen, NOR, 5
2. John Twomey/Ian Costelloe/Bradley Johnson, IRL, 7
3. Rick Doerr/Brad Kendell/Hugh Feierd, USA, 8

Laser Radial
1. Annalise Murphy, IRL, 7
2. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN, 7
3. Isabella Bertold, CAN, 8

1. Caleb Paine, USA, 3
2. Brendan Casey, AUS, 8
3. Bruno Prada, BRA, 9

1. Bruce Millar, CAN, 4
2. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR, 6
3. Allan Leibel, CAN, 8

1. Fredrick Strammer/Zach Brown, USA, 10
2. Sebastian Oestling/Kalle Torlen, SWE, 11
3. Ryan Pesch/Trevor Burd, USA, 15

Full results:

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Speaking recently at the Monaco Yacht Show, TENDACENTRE Managing Director Simon Billington said, "Our mission is to partner with the world's foremost tender builders to ensure that our clients receive the best advice, products and service in the industry."

Final Furlong To A Podium Finish
British skipper, Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is due to arrive in Les Sables d'Olonne between 6am and 7am early tomorrow, Wednesday morning, and to process down the canal at approximately 8am. He is enduring similar conditions to those that were experienced by François Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire), battered in the Bay of Biscay by 35 to 45 knots and very confused, unpleasant seas. The last 48 hours of his race will be some of the worst he has experienced as he enters a congested maritime motorway.

"I didn't see any ships until the Azores and now I see ships every hour. I am expecting to see more and more as I get closer to the finish. I am not worried about the ships as they AIS (Automatic Identification System) and my alarm goes off every time once comes near. It's the fishing boats that concern me more. I crossed with in a mile and a half of a fishing boat and the sea was so bad I couldn't see it. I am hoping they will all be put off by the terrible weather and that the fisherman stay in their beds tonight."

* Mike Golding onboard Gamesa has been working for the past 24 hours to resolve an issue with his keel. Investigations over the side of the boat with a camera yesterday evening revealed that the front fairing of the keel olive has been lost. With only ten days remaining for this, Golding's fourth Vendée Globe, solo, round the world race, a solution needs to be sought immediately to ensure Golding can reach the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne, France.

Gamesa Boat Captain Graham Tourell explains, "Mike discovered this late yesterday whilst trying to use the bilge pump which empties into the keel box. The pump didn't work and this then led Mike to the keel box which he found was full of water, over the level of the keel head and the rams.

"There is a lot of turbulence at the front of the keel and without the fairing, water is being driven up into the keel box, faster than the water can drain out by the Venturi system.

"Last night Mike used a horseshoe life ring which he cut up and wedged in the front of the keel to stem the flow, which initially worked, but then was popped out by the turbulence. At this point Mike had to rig up the boat hook to brace it in place, which worked for a period of time, but ultimately that came free as well.

"Even at this late stage of the race, this is possibly a race-ending situation; several of the boat's vital systems are in close proximity to, or directly plumbed into the keel box, which normally has a negative pressure inside it. If the water level and pressure is not reduced, the rubber gaiters which seal the hydraulic ram could burst and the boat could flood, shorting various electrics, or causing other system failures including potentially irretrievable engine damage.

With the finish line almost in sight, Mike is doing everything he can to find a solution which will ensure he can complete his race. After 5 hours upside down in the keel box, Mike hopes that he has found an adequate solution.

* Bernard Stamm is far from being done with technical problems. On Sunday, while Francois Gabart was crossing the Vendee Globe finish line, the Cheminees Poujoulat skipper had to climb up the mast to fix his main sail traveller in very rough weather conditions: Last night was a complicated day, so I had to lower the main sail and climb up the mast. It was a tricky operation, it was shaking so much I couldn't feel my arms at one point and now I have bruises all over. I was dead tired when I came down, I could barely walk. But I just couldn't get some rest immediately. I hoisted the main sail but I still have no winch column, so it wasn't easy.

Once it was all over, I just crashed in my bed, I so needed to recover. Conditions are getting a little better but the sea is still terrible, I had never seen that before in the trade winds. There is a three-metre swell and the boat keeps crashing in the waves. The weather for the next few days is very uncertain, I'm not sure whether the anticyclone is going to be in our way, we'll need to wait for a couple of days until we know more. Let's see what we get and keep our fingers crossed so the boat can take it ".

Rankings as of Tuesday 29 January 2013, 20:00 (FR)

1. MACIF, Francois Gabart, Arrival : Sunday 27 January 2013, 14:18:40 TU
2. Banque Populaire, Armel Le Cleac'h, Arrival : Sunday 27 January 2013, 17:35:52 TU
3. HUGO BOSS, Alex Thomson, 203.8 nm to finish
4. Virbac Paprec 3, Jean-Pierre Dick, 565.9 nm
5. SynerCiel, Jean Le Cam, 1990.9 nm
6. Gamesa, Mike Golding, 2070.9 nm
7. Mirabaud, Dominique Wavre, 2428.1 nm
8. AKENA Verandas, Arnaud Boissieres, 2573.6 nm
9. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, Javier Sanso, 2685.1 nm
10. Votre Nom Autour du Monde avec EDM Projets, Bertrand de Broc, 2958.3 nm
11. Initiatives-coeur, Tanguy De Lamotte, 3553.5 nm
12. Team Plastique, Alessandro Di Benedetto, 4513.1 nm

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Paul Larsen (AUS) & Malcolm Barnsley (GBR)
'Gio [Belgrano] is so totally cool but what a time to be nominated, competing with 65 knots!' - Dave Halladay; 'There can't be two more deserving winners' - Fraser Brown; 'Farewell, kiters' - Euan Ross; 'Sensational result!' - Nick Bubb; 'It's taken Malcolm 30 years since we first worked together on a speed project; that is dedication... not to mention the sheer genius of his design' - Mike Urwin; 'Paul never once wavered in his self-belief' - Ian Finlay; 'Heh, Paul, nice to be the King! I am ready as co-pilot' - Cam Lewis.

This month's nominees:

Syd Fischer (AUS)
Persistence - or patience - either could be described as the theme of this month's contest. Syd Fischer crossed the line second on his latest, chartered Ragamuffin in what was his 44th Sydney-Hobart race. It says a lot about offshore racing that even at the age of 85 Syd Fischer never gave a thought to missing the traditional Boxing Day start. Though, to be fair, he's been smart enough for his boats to get a little larger with the years...

Alex Thomson (GBR)
Shortly after rounding Cape Horn Thomson and his six-year-old but well-prepared Farr design were just 356nm behind Vendee Globe leader François Gabart. That gap has since widened but Thomson was still over 1,200nm in front of his closest rival on a boat of a similar age. Whatever the final weeks of the Vendee bring, Thomson has already shown that all those painful previous lessons were well learnt...

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

Spinnaker Tales
Tropical storm Oswald forced the champion group of Sunshine Coast laser dinghy sailors to revise their training schedules for this weekend's Queensland championship on Moreton Bay. The storm tormented waters of the Noosa and Maroochy Rivers reluctantly forced the skippers to take the safer option and remain ashore when the gales and torrential rain turned the river systems into a no go zone last weekend.

The destructive storm initially generated into a cyclone from the tropical monsoon in the Gulf of Carpentaria to weave a path of record breaking floods and unparalleled destruction along Australias's eastern seaboard has finally blown out in the Tasman Sea.

Predictably it has left a return to the normal hot and humid weather and moderate sea breezes which promise to provide prefect tactical racing conditions for the high performance Queensland Laser fleet when they tension the sails for the honour of winning the 2013 Queensland championship on the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron's Waterloo Bay courses this weekend.

Unfortunately the flood run off from the Brisbane River and Lota Creek has littered the racing venue with debris including tree, branches palm fronds and plastic bags which presents the fleet with an added challenge.

Noosa Skipper Ryan Palk a member of the Australian High performance sailing team coached by London Gold Medal winning mentor Michael Blackburn is the nominated favourite to win the blue ribbon event.

However he can expect to face a challenging tactical encounter form his Queensland Academy of Sport training partners Klade Hauschildt (Noosa) and the younger Maroochydore Sailing club helmsman Mitchell Kennedy.

All three skippers have the proven tactical skills to win the championship however Ryan Palk the Bronze medallist from the recent Australian championship held on the windy River Derwent remains as the skipper to beat.

He first sailed into prominence when he won the Australian Laser Radial Gold medal on Waterloo Bay and has gained valuable experience form racing against and training with London Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Slingsby.

His results from this weekend's Queensland championship will be watched with interest as the Australian Olympic campaign continues to defend the Olympic Laser Gold Medal in Brazil in 2016.

The championships will also present a guide to the form of the talented Sunshine Coast teenager Madison Kennedy who already has the career distinction of representing Australia at the junior Olympics held in Singapore.

Madison who has the benefit of growing up in a laser family with older Brother Mitchell and her Australian Masters championship winning father Mark remains focused on improving her ranking as one of Australia's most talented and respected junior female Laser skippers.

She is poised to add another important Laser trophy to impressive list of career achievements this weekend while Father Mark is the short priced favourite to win the Master trophy with Mitchell expected to claim a minor medal in the open championship. -- Ian Grant

The 21st Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium
Annapolis, Maryland, USA March 15-16, 2013

The Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium is the world's longest running technical forum dedicated to advancing the study of the art and science of sailing yacht design technology.

Registration for the 2013 Symposium is now open with special discounts available for early registrants. Details of the preliminary program can be viewed at

Please join us in Annapolis for what promises to be an exceptional program of technical presentations and an excellent networking opportunity.

For additional information please contact us at:

RNLI's Lifeboats Launch Over 8,000 Times In Year Of Extreme Weather
Port Isaac lifeboat inshore lifeboat. Photo by RNLI / Nathan Williams. Click on image to enlarge.

RNLI 2012 saw RNLI lifeboats launch 8,321 times around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland, rescuing 7,912 people. Meanwhile the charity's lifeguards responded to 14,519 incidents and helped 16,414 people on beaches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The RNLI's Flood Rescue Team had their busiest year on record, deploying 12 times to flooding in England, Wales and Ireland.

Last year the RNLI launched a lifeboat, on average, 23 times a day and the charity's volunteer crew spent a collective 67,352 hours at sea on service - that's over 7 years in total. Weymouth lifeboat station volunteers spent the longest combined time at sea - 2,980 hours - and this was probably due to increased need for search and rescue cover to ensure the safety of visitors in Weymouth for the Olympics.

Tower lifeboat station on the Thames was the busiest with 499 launches, while Southend-on-Sea was the busiest coastal lifeboat station with 137 launches.

The overall launches are down by 7% from the 8,920 launches in 2011. With the Met Office reporting that 2012 was the second wettest year for the UK since records began, this slight drop in launches is probably due to fewer people heading out onto the water in the poor summer weather.

However, the wet weather has meant the RNLI's Flood Rescue Team had their busiest year since their creation in 2001, deploying 12 times

95% of the RNLI's crew members are volunteers. The RNLI has 4,600 volunteer crew members, 3,000 volunteer shore crew and station management, 35,000 volunteer fundraisers and, of its 900 lifeguards, 120 are volunteers.

Featured Brokerage
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Hullnumber 48
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Variable depth 0.75-1.70m.

Brokerage through Bach Yachting International:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go. -- Margaret Walker

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