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Giovanni Soldini And Maserati Set New Record on the Golden Route
Photo by Erik Simonson, www.h2oshots.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

Maserati It's a record! It took Giovanni Soldini and his crew aboard Maserati 47 days, 0 hours, 42 minutes and 29 seconds to sail from New York to San Francisco via Cape Horn. They crossed the finish line under San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge at 18h 31' 59'' GMT (19h 31' 59'' Italian time, 10h 31' 59'' local time), establishing a new record time reference on the Golden Route, in the monohull category.

Giovanni Soldini and a crew of eight sailors left New York at 17h 49' 30'' GMT on December the 31st, 2012 aboard Maserati, to challenge the New York-San Francisco record.

The challenge is being sponsored by Maserati as main partner and inspiration for the boat's name, by the Swiss bank BSI (Generali Group) and by Generali itself as co-sponsor. Suppliers for the attempt include Vodafone Italia, Bulgari as Official Time Keeper, Boero Bartolomeo S.p.A., Eataly e Great Circle.

The website www.maserati.soldini.it monitored the record live, 24 hours a day, with videos and photos sent from the boat together with news and comments from the crew members. On the Cartography page, the position of Maserati was updated in real time.

The 13225 nautical miles that separate New York from San Francisco via Cape Horn, are an historic route, widely travelled by clippers that were involved in the gold rush, which had started in the second half of the 19th century. The best result of the time was set in 1854 by Flying Cloud, an exceptional vessel from the Boston shipyards, which reached San Francisco in 89 days and 8 hours, a record that stood for more than 130 years.

After several attempts by many boats, Warren Luhrs brought his 60-foot sloop, Thursday's Child, under the Golden Gate Bridge after 80 days and 20 hours in 1989. In 1994, Isabelle Autissier aboard Ecureuil Poitou took 62 days and 5 hours. Then, in 1998, Yves Parlier on board Aquitaine Innovations lowered the record to 57 days, 3 hours, 2 minutes. This was the reference record for Giovanni Soldini and his crew who beat it aboard the VOR70 Maserati by over 10 days.

maserati.soldini.it

Blast Off!
Photo by Tim Wright, www.photoaction.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

RORC Caribbean 600 A flash of smoke, high above the 'Pillars of Hercules' announced the start of the 5th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. Before the start 25 knots of trade winds, gusting close to 30, provided feisty conditions.

First to go were the multihulls. Peter Aschenbrenner's ballistic trimaran, Paradox, chose to start on port and had to dip Austin Hearst's Gunboat 66, Slim. Meanwhile Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66, Phaedo, looked to have a mainsail issue with the crew battling to gain control in 25 knots of brisk trade winds. Phaedo fell behind but quickly rectified the problem and took chase.

The second start had 22 yachts barrelling towards the start line. Joseph Mele's American Swan 44, Triple Lindy, got a cracking start but the bigger yachts soon passed them, notably Christian Reynolds' Swan 53, Northern Child, who went inshore to benefit from a great lift back out to lead on the beat.

Next to go were the Class40s and CSA. Peter Harding's British Class40, 40 Degrees, was over eager and was OCS and had to return to the start line. Christof Petter's Austrian Class40, Vaquita, got away to a flyer at the pin end but Marc Lepesqueux's Sensation headed inshore and tacked back to cross in front of Vaquita. The Class40s are very close in speed and have a great battle in store.

The penultimate start for the Class Zero and Canting Keel was delayed due to the race committee elected to relay the line.

Mike Slade's Maxi, ICAP Leopard and Hap Fauth's, Mini-maxi Bella Mente got away well, but Leopard's prowess upwind was a telling factor as they rolled Bella Mente to leeward

Last to go where the Superyachts; Filip Balcaen's 112 ft Baltic, Nilaya was dwarfed by two mighty schooners, Athos and Adela.

Race tracking with Yellowbrick:

caribbean600.rorc.org/2013-fleet-tracking.html

* Update at press time: At 1700 local time, Peter Aschenbrenner's American trimaran, Paradox and Mike Slade's British Maxi, ICAP Leopard were both averaging 18 knots covering the first 100 miles of the course in an astonishing seven and a half hours.

Paradox is eating up the miles, after literally getting airborne in the upwind leg after the start. Paradox pulled the trigger on the windward side of Antigua, flashing through the Atlantic swell like a scalded cat. By 1700 local time, Paradox had passed Nevis and blasting to leeward of St.Kitts, still achieving over 20 knots of boat speed. Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66 Phaedo, nearly twice the weight of Paradox, was being pushed hard by Britain's Brian Thompson on the helm of Phaedo. Paradox was only 12 miles astern giving the Lamborghini Orange Gunboat the class lead on corrected. Sadly Austin Hearst's Gunboat 66, Slim has been forced to retire after rudder damage.

Mike Slade's British Maxi, ICAP Leopard and Hap Fauth's Bella Mente are seriously on the charge. Race fans may have noticed that the race tracker page has Rambler 100's record run from 2011 overlaid and at 1700, ICAP Leopard was ahead of the imaginary rival and the 72 foot Bella Mente less than 2 miles behind.

www.caribbean600.rorc.org

Abu Dhabi Back In Volvo Ocean Race
Alicante, Spain: Abu Dhabi will return to the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-15 with a team once again skippered by Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker and a stopover in the United Arab Emirates capital.

Monday's double announcement gives the race a third confirmed team for 2014-15 more than 18 months before the start and sets up a massive challenge for the sailors on Leg 2, with the route from Recife in Brazil to Abu Dhabi set to take the teams and their brand new Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts deep into the Southern Ocean.

Abu Dhabi staged a groundbreaking stopover during the last race - its first in the Middle East. The 2011-12 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team, skippered by Walker, was also the first Arabian team to contest the race.

"The leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi will be one of the longest and most challenging in the 40-year history of this race. Heading into the Southern Ocean is never easy and this route will test the sailors to the limit. The finish line in Abu Dhabi will be one of the most eagerly awaited in the race."

Abu Dhabi will be the third Host Port along the route after the start in Alicante and the Leg 1 finish line in Recife, in the state of Pernambuco in northeast Brazil. The other two teams so far declared are the all-women's Team SCA and a Brazilian boat.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing scored some notable successes under Walker, including an emotional victory coming into Lisbon on the transatlantic leg from Miami and three in-port race wins, including one on home waters in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is the seventh Host Port to be announced on the route.

The race will start in Alicante in Spain before visiting Recife and going on to Abu Dhabi. Later in the route, the teams will race from Auckland in New Zealand to Itajaí - a second Brazilian stop - before heading to Newport, Rhode Island in the United States.

The Race will finish in Gothenburg, Sweden, with the remaining ports to be unveiled over the coming weeks before a final announcement including leg distances and timings.

www.volvooceanrace.com

It's Still Winter for Ocean Safety Servicing
Ocean Safety Spring is only a few weeks away and when the first sunny day beckons you to go sailing don't step on board to find out that your safety equipment is out of date. It's still winter and the best time to get your liferafts, lifejackets and Jonbuoy equipment serviced.

"We advise customers to get their equipment in to us while their boat is laid up for the season," comments Ocean Safety's Charlie Mill. "It's important to check that liferafts, lifejackets, fire fighting and man overboard equipment is all in date and in working order ready for the following season."

Equipment can be delivered back to one of the three Ocean Safety approved service stations at branches in Southampton Glasgow and Plymouth, or to any of Ocean Safety's network of service agents across the UK.

The company also offers free winter storage for safety equipment. During the liferaft service Ocean Safety also encourages people where possible to come in and familiarise themselves with their liferaft, however an appointment will be required. All of the branches also offer servicing for Survival Suits, EPIRBs, SARTs, Fire Safety Equipment and Man Overboard Systems.

For branch location details visit www.oceansafety.com

Annalise Murphy Is Irish Sailor Of The Year For 2012
The young sailor was recognised for a remarkable 12 months of incredible achievement, capped off by her stirring performance at the London Olympics - and topped a shortlist that featured fellow Olympic challengers Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, and such up-and-coming talents as Sophie Browne, Finn Lynch and Fionn Lyden.

Murphy's simply outstanding fourth-place finish in the Laser Radial at the London Games was Ireland's best Olympic result in 30 years in any class. Despite the heartbreak of so narrowly missing out on Olympic bronze in the medal race, her accomplishment was appreciated far beyond the Irish sailing community, and raised the profile of the sport in Ireland immeasurably.

afloat.ie

Return Of The Gambler
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron's Ian Kenny has made a surprise return to contest the 65th QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone race over the Easter Weekend.

Skipper Kenny who proudly raced The Gambler to win the physically and tactically demanding 308 n/ml classic 23 years ago has applied some advanced modern technology to guarantee the former champion will be on the pace to match race her more modern rivals when the start signal is fired at 11 am on Good Friday.

He has told Race Director Herb Prendergast that a suit of new sails and sleek new paint work will enhance the chances for the older generation yacht to set the required handicap rated pace against her more modern rivals.

There is no doubt skipper Kenny will make a reference to his tactical notes which produced his only Courier-Mail Cup win in 1990 after he steered The Gambler to record the impressive score of 2-2-5-3 in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989.

The return of the past champion has attracted interest however her skipper known among the offshore racing circles as 'a quiet achiever' understands that The Gambler will have to be raced harder and faster to stand a chance of repeating her star performance from 1990.

The experienced owner skipper has not entered the historical 65th race just for the glory because he believes the Old Girl will be competitive. -- Ian Grant

The Tour Reaches Dubai
Photo by Mark Lloyd, www.lloydimages.com. Click on image for photo gallery.

EFG Bank Sailing Arabia The Tour Setting off from Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club at sunrise and arriving at Dubai as the sun set over the city, yesterday's leg of EFG Bank Sailing Arabia The Tour, the Gulf region's only long distance offshore sailing race was as spectacular for its scenery as it was for the quality of the racing.

Having held the lead in the race since the first leg from Manama to Doha, team BAE Systems under the command of skipper Cedric Pouligny was finally caught up by the relentless professional crew of America's Cup skipper Bertrand Pace and Dubai based Team AISM.

Leading almost from the start of the leg, AISM kept their cool under the blazing February sunshine and held off all challengers in the light breeze all the way to Dubai. Having been just a quarter point behind BAE Systems after the in-port racing in Abu Dhabi, their win gives them a slender lead of three quarters of a point as they head off for Ras Al Khaimah this morning. Bertrand Pace's AISM crew proved that they can not only perform inshore, but offshore as well when they won today's third offshore leg of the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour, the GCC's longest yacht race.

As a result of their victory, AISM has finally pulled into the lead overall ahead of BAE Systems, albeit only by 0.75 points.

Dee Caffari's team on Al -Thuraya Bank Muscat was holding fourth place for most of the race but got pipped at the post by the capable Dutch student team on Team Delft Challenge - Tu Delft.

After an overnight pitstop, the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour continues on up the UAE coast today with the short 53 mile leg from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah due to start at 10am. With a forecast that includes rising winds under an overcast sky, the racing looks to be faster than yesterday's leg, and AISM will be looking to use their experience and the momentum of their win to extend their lead. EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour will reach Ras Al Khaimah around 8pm tonight, where the crews will rest overnight before taking part in in-port racing on Tuesday morning.

www.sailingarabiathetour.com

Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 Australian Championship
Photo by DLSPORTFOTOS. Click on image to enlarge.

Farr 40 Australian Championship Following today's series win in the Aberdeen Asset Management NSW State Title, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and his crew on the prizewinning Sydney based Farr 40 Transfusion are closing in on a clean sweep of the class' Australian Championship.

First there was the Queensland state titles in October, then the Tasmanian states last month and today the former Farr 40 world champion sailed away with the NSW crown after five races on Sydney Harbour this weekend.

Canadian born tactician Mike Leigh, an Olympic 470 representative, hit the right side of the course and it paid both times, Transfusion claiming the final two race wins.

On next weekend's John Calvert-Jones Trophy, the climax of the Aberdeen Asset Management Australian Championships, the Australian Farr 40 class president is not getting ahead of himself. "We have set the point system up so that the final regatta counts for double points. This means if we don't do well at next weekend's nationals we won't win the Australian Championship," Belgiorno-Nettis added.

Shifts of 15-20 degrees made it another tricky day on the racetrack. Throw an enormous tanker, slow moving tall ships, the JJ second heat of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for the 18 footers, Manly ferries and weekend warriors, and that was what tacticians again had to factor into their decision making.

There was a collective giggle on the media boat when a chartered cruising boat skipper wandered into a start within seconds of the gun and tried to call starboard on two powered-up Farr 40s.

The John Calvert-Jones Trophy will be conducted on Sydney Harbour this week, February 21 - 24, Thursdays night's invitational race kicking off the three-day, 11 race national series. "Bring on next weekend" said Belgiorno-Nettis, rubbing his hands.

Full final results www.rsys.com.au

Video highlights from both days: www.farr40.asn.au/videos/

Collision In Race 2 of the 2013 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Photo by Thomas Quigley. Click on image for photo gallery.

JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship Thomas Quigley, son of 1996 Giltinan Championship-winning skipper and Class Measurer Stephen Quigley, was on hand to snap an incident during Sunday's Race 2 of the Winning Group 2013 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.

The budding young photographer was on the Australian 18 Footers League spectator ferry with his dad when race leader Team Daly met an unfortunate end.

Skipper Nick Daly and his crew of John Walton and 'Pistol' Pete Nicholson were more than half-a-minute ahead of their nearest competitor on the second spinnaker run when the incident occurred.

Daly said afterwards: "We were being followed by a camera boat when we hit a wave and slowed dramatically".

"The camera boat hit the back of our boat causing damage in the form of a hole in the transom". The team were forced to retire and the incident has become a subject of protest to be held later this week.

Repairs will now have to be done in time for tomorrow's Race 3 of a closely-fought championship. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League, www.18footers.com.au

Photos and more at the new Skiff site: 18footskiff.com

Open European Match Racing Championship
The 2013 EUROSAF Match Racing, Open European Championship is taking place from 29th May to 2nd June, in St Petersburg, Russia, in association with the long established Sails of White Nights - National Congress Palace Cup Regatta.

Notice of Race at www.eurosaf.org

EUROSAF are delighted to be partnering with the St Petersburg Regional Sports Social Organisation, St Petersburg Yacht Club and the Russian Yachting Federation, in this Grade 2 Continental Championship of Europe. Twelve of the top ranked European based match racers will receive invitations to compete in the event, which has become a well-established event in the European match racing calendar.

Each year EUROSAF organise three European Match Racing Championships, the Open, as above, the Women's and the Youth Open events. The Open and the Women's Championships, which have taken place for many years, were joined by the Youth Open Championship in 2011, when the event, for under 22 year old sailors, was first organised in Sicily. This year, the third occasion the youth championship has been sailed, the age limit is being increased to 23, in line with recent decisions taken by ISAF on youth match racing.

The EUROSAF Match Racing, Women's European Championship is to take place in Gdynia, Poland, from 17th to 21st July, and is sponsored by Volvo. The EUROSAF Match Racing, Open Youth European Championship is to be held on Lake Constance, under the burgee of the Konstanzer Yacht Club from 24th to 28th September, and is being managed by Jugend Regatta Förderverein, an organisation well versed in the organisation of match racing events. The Notice of Race for both these events will be published soon.

eurosaf.org

Mike Golding On The Vendee Aftermath
It's been 12 days since I finished the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe and at last my sleep patterns are beginning to return to something approaching normal - though I am still requiring catnaps in the day. The out-of-condition legs are strengthening daily but my upper body, which had been in a constant workout for 88 days, aches from the absence of the tough physical regime. I am heading back to the gym to let the muscles recover more gradually and hopefully with less discomfort.

Another residual symptom is the tough skin on my hands and feet; it's dry and hard as leather during the day, but when I shower or bath the skin turns white and melts. Basically there's a general discomfort in recovering and I know it's going to take some time yet, probably months, to be symptom free. This is normal following a Vendee Globe.

Still it is great to be back at home. I'm looking out over the River Hamble, on a bright, spring day enjoying the warmth of central heating and with all the comforts I have missed for three months now readily to hand.

Rumours of my retirement are premature! Sorry but at 52 I am still way too 'young', fit and fundamentally competitive to retire. I simply would not know what to do with myself! What is true, however, is that I don't plan to do the Vendee Globe in 2016 and my focus may ultimately move away from the IMOCA class. For 16 years the Vendee Globe and IMOCA have been my primary focus and perhaps it's time for a change.

For now, options remain open. We still have our Owen Clarke Design IMOCA 60 as well as an Extreme 40 and if we can assemble a competitive project in either direction, we will. Personally I would like to participate in the Transat Jacques Vabre in November this year and maybe even the solo Route Du Rhum in 2014, but in these challenging economic times this may well be tough to realise.

I know how fortunate we have been to compete in the 2012 /2013 Vendee Globe under the sponsorship of Gamesa, a global wind power technology leader. When we signed with Gamesa, I could not believe the positive synergy between their business and our sport. I would like to thank all those within the organisation, particularly Peter Pantlin, David Blunt and Emma Davies, who have followed and supported the sailing project. While our two year contract comes to an end in May, I hope that in the future, Gamesa will continue their involvement with sailing and capitalise further on the shared values. -- Mike Golding OBE

www.mikegolding.com

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 Ross Hobson: I may be wrong but San Salvador is in Brazil.... Not the Bahamas as has been widely reported in the sailing press. As in San Salvador de Bahia being the same place we raced to in winning the 50ft multi class in the 2003 TJV I'm sure Francis Joyon is a far better navigator than I and went to the right country

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

The Last Word
If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out. -- Mark Twain

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