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The Cutting Edge
Click on image to enlarge.

wow. just wow. Valencia Sailing spoke with Phil Rogers, CEO and President Catch the Wind, a company that's providing BMW Oracle with a laser sensor that could measure the wind up to 1,000 meters ahead

Valencia Sailing: What does the Racer's Edge exactly do? Phil Rogers: It's a laser device, about the size of a large pair of binoculars, that can measure the wind up to a distance of 1,000 meters in multiple ranges, enabling to you to get a map of the wind up to 1,000 meters, at multiple ranges. So, a sailing team has a tactical advantage because they can see where the best wind is, one kilometer ahead of them.

Racer's Edge measures wind speed and direction at 400m, 700m and 1,000m ahead. As a result, you just point the device where you want to and you'll get wind speed and direction along that line of sight in those three different distances. You just push the fire button and you instantaneously know that data at those three different distances. The intervals (400m, 700m and 1,000m) of this particular device BMW Oracle are using have been preset at the factory but it's something that can be adjusted.

The device has Bluetooth wireless capability, so it can be connected to an onboard computer....

It also has a wing-profiling mode, depending on how far up you point it. If you point at different angles up from the horizon it will also provide a vertical profile of the wind. So, depending on where you point it, you'll get a horizontal and a vertical profile of the wind. There's two modes of operation.

Valencia Sailing: Is this device custom-made for BMW Oracle or is the first piece of a commercial product?
Phil Rogers: It's a combination. It has some features that we worked with BMW Oracle, that we were specifically asked to incorporate, especially in the software side, but it was basically something that we built to our own specifications as a general device for yacht racing.

Valencia Sailing: How much does it cost?
Phil Rogers: The model BMW Oracle is currently using is called the Racer's Edge Professional Model. It is the very top of the line, high end version of the device with cutting-edge technology, a lot of built-in features specifically for the very high-end professional sailors and is offered for sale at US$ 149,500. It's not only aimed at yacht racing but some of the top cruising yachts could certainly benefit from this technology. We will have in the very near future, other models of this device, including one much more geared towards the general sailor.

Full article at

IRC / PHRF / Key West
The Summit 35 is designed as a good all around boat, with an emphasis on IRC racing. A lot of people asked why they raced PHRF [at Key West Race Week] instead of IRC. There were several reasons. Frankly we looked at the size range in IRC 2 where they would have been the smallest boats by at least 5 feet. The Summit 40's would have been tough to beat under any condition, not to mention the J-122's, who would always have the size advantage upwind. The rest of the class was even larger, so finding clear air up wind would be nearly impossible. There were a lot of "one way beats", so ultimately size did matter in keeping clear air on the favored side of the course. The Summit 35's would have struggled to find a lane toward the favored side among the larger IRC 2 boats.

More importantly, MC was right out of the factory. She was weighed and measured out of water for IRC, but with trucking issues and abysmal weather in Key West, we just couldn't get her rigged and pull off proper flotations to get an IRC certificate in time. Eric Battinger at US Sailing and Jim Miller, the local measurer (thank you both) went out of their way to make it happen, but we ran out of time. Both A-1 and MC wanted to race against each other, so the choice was made to race PHRF One. A-1 had a rating of 60 in her home waters, but the Key West rating consortium chose to lower that by 6 sec/mile. PHRF does a good job of protecting existing fleets against new racing designs, and they tend to be very conservative first time out, as they should. I guess we should have been flattered that they rated the 35's 6 sec/mile faster than the Narragansett Bay rating and 15 sec/mile faster than the larger J-109. We weren't. But that is PHRF, and you pay your money and take your chances...

...What would the results be if the same class had been scored IRC? The results are interesting. First the results are much closer, only 24 points separate the first five boats in IRC instead of 39 points in PHRF. The difference between first and third is 5 points under IRC vs. 21 under PHRF. SRM still wins four of ten races under IRC, but now the Summit 35's win the remaining six races.

Scored under IRC: the Summit 35's finish first and second. Mariner's Cove would narrowly beat Act One with Stark Raving Mad a close third. The results are very encouraging considering this was virtually the first races for the 35's. -- Barry Carroll

Full article and a spreadsheet with the same boats re-scored under IRC using actual boat ratings or if those were unavailable, IRC ratings from sister ships are at

Audi Victoria Week
Secret Mens Business. Click on image to enlarge.

Audi IRC Series Geelong, Victoria, Australia: Having led Division 1 of the Audi IRC Series at Audi Victoria Week until yesterday, Geoff Boettcher and his Secret Mens Business crew from South Australia had just one last chance to regain control in the final Race 6 sailed today on Corio Bay - and their second place overall was enough to overcome yesterday's leader, Terra Firma, to win the trophy.

Boettcher sailed his Reichel/Pugh 51 to second place overall in a building breeze that steadied at around 20 knots from the south in Race 6. The Sydney TP52 Quest won its third race of the Series today, notching up more wins than any other yacht, but a disqualification after a protest by Living Doll and a 16th in Race 1, left Bob Steel out of contention.

Melbourne yacht, Terra Firma, a Sydney 47 owned by Nicholas Bartels, scored her worst result today, with a ninth place finish, but she had enough in the bank to finish second overall from a second Melbourne yacht, Rob Hanna's TP52 Shogun with veteran American champion Dave Ullman calling tactics, after Living Doll, the Farr 55 owned by Michael Hiatt, accepted an arbitrary penalty and dropped to fourth in what was billed as "the best 50ft and over grand prix fleet around."

An elite field of 27 yachts competed in Division 1 of the Audi IRC Series, which is Round 1 of the Audi IRC Australian Championship. Secret Mens Business is the leader on 1 point from Terra Firma on 2, Canute, the Division 2 winner is third.

Three events in the Championship remain, with three of the four to count in each yacht's point score. The next event is the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.

* Canute and Surprise have finished off the job they came to do at Audi Victoria Week today, Australia Day, respectively winning Division 2 and 3 of the Audi IRC Series after sailing the final windward/leeward race on Corio Bay this afternoon.

Peter Horn brought his brand new King 40 to Victoria for its first major regatta hoping, but never guessing, that Canute would be an out-and-out thoroughbred. "Being a new boat, you don't know how you will go, but I never dreamed Canute would be this good," Horn said.

Leading into today's final race from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Canute had a four point lead over nearest rival, Two True, the Beneteau First 40 Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner owned by South Australian orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Saies. Only one further point separated them from Just a Minor Hickup, Peter Coleman's Hick 39 from Melbourne.

Starting in a light 5 knot breeze that increased to 15-16 knots and moved to the south, Canute proved capable. Her third place finish was enough to win the series, once the race drop came into play.

There really was no 'surprise' to David Ellis winning the Division 3 trophy. Today the Melbourne yachtsman completed the series with a perfect score by winning Race 6. It's not often you see a perfect scorecard, so Ellis, who won Division 3 last year, is ecstatic he was able to successfully defend his title in such convincing fashion.

With the race drop thrown in, Ellis' six straight wins with his beautiful 20 year-old BB10 from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria resulted in a five-point total for the series. His nearest rival throughout the event was Harvey Milne's Archambault 31, Aroona from Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, which finished second today for second overall. -- Di Pearson

Complete results for all the classes at

Yachting Monthly February Issue Out Now
Yachting Monthly Tom Cunliffe has some top tips on radar safety set against the background of a disastrous 'radar-assisted' collision in which a 47ft yacht was sunk in fog in the English Channel by a P&O container ship. Also in our seamanship skills section, weatherman Simon Keeling looks at the jet stream and how it shapes our weather, while Tim Thornton reports on a comeback for Loran satnav.

On the cruising front, we have a comprehensive guide to one or Ireland's cruising gems, Strangford Lough, plus a family cruise around the spectacular Lofoten islands in Norway, and an encounter with Mike Peyton, 'the world's greatest yachting cartoonist', with an extract from his biography by YM's Dick Durham.

Finally, Graham Snook looks at the options for fitting a wide-screen, touch-screen chart plotter in the cockpit - and examines all the pros and cons after cutting a big hole in the bulkhead of his Sadler 32. 'It's now an indispensable member of the crew,' is his verdict.

YM's February issue also has a free 28-page RYA sailing schools' guide.

Subscribe to Yachting Monthly and save up to a whopping 40%! Take advantage of this great offer and get your favourite boating magazine conveniently delivered direct to your door every month.


Shifty Wind Made For Challenging Racing In All Classes
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Miami OCR Miami, Florida, USA: Today counted as a perfect day at US SAILING's 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the International (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010. Especially after yesterday's weather interruptions, no one minded this morning's slight cold snap that gave way to brilliant conditions on Biscayne Bay and allowed multiple races to be completed in the 13 Olympic and Paralympic classes represented here.

Israel's Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela took pleasure in "three good races" that launched them to the top of the scoreboard in the 470 Men's class that runs 34 teams deep. (Racing was cancelled for this class yesterday.)

Only four points separated the top seven Women's 470 teams, proving how experience ruled the day as sailors played to the shifty conditions.

In the 24-boat Star class, four American teams finished in the top five after three races today, with Andy Horton (South Burlington, Vt.) and James Lyne (Granville, Vt.) in the lead. On their course, the wind shifted 60 degrees right by the end of the day.

Full results for all classes at

174th Australia Day Regatta
Gaff riggers racing in the 174th Australia Day Regatta. Photo: John Jeremy. Click on image to enlarge.

Australia Day Regatta Today marked the 174th running of the world's oldest continuous sailing regatta, the Australia Day Regatta on Sydney Harbour.

Yachts competing included the iconic gaff-rigged Ranger, helmed by octogenarian Bill Gale from the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club, and the classic International 8-metre class sloop Erica J, skippered by Les Goodridge from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The Historical Skiffs are all hand-crafted replicas of the hugely over-canvassed 18-footers that raced in the early 1900s.

Sydney turned on a superb mid-summer day, with the temperature peaking at 30°C and an easterly seabreeze reaching 10-12 knots, ideal for the fleet of modern and vintage yachts and skiffs that raced on the Harbour and for the ocean racers competing in a short offshore race in the Tasman Sea.

The 60-year-old International 8-metre class yacht Erica J took pride of place in the Classic Yacht division.

Erica J was built of Tasmania's renowned Huon pine on the shores of Hobart's Battery Point by Max Creese to a Norwegian design and launched in June, 1949. During an illustrious career of racing, she represented Tasmania in six challenge matches for the Sayonara Cup during the 1950s, winning for The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania against the Victorian defender Francis on Melbourne's Port Phillip in 1953.

Erica J finished second across the line today to Nigel Stoke's Fidelis, line honours winner of the 1966 Sydney Hobart Race, but lost first place on corrected time to Ian Kortlang's Antara, another classic metre-style boat. Fidelis placed third.

The Gaff Riggers division saw a win for Gary Ferres' Intrepid from Reverie (John Barclay) and Nigel Berlyn), third place going to Hoana (Martin Van Der Wall) which took fastest time.

The traditional Australia Day ocean race from Sydney Harbour south to Botany Bay and return to Sydney Harbour, retracing the passage north of the First Fleet 222 years ago to hoist the Union Jack and begin the European colonisation of Australia, attracted a fleet of near 40 yachts.

The short ocean race started at 11am in a 6 knots east-south-easterly breeze, which freshened for the return leg to 10-12 knots, giving the fleet a shy spinnaker reach back up the coast.

Line honours went to Ludde Ingvall's 90-footer YuuZoo which recently contested the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, winning the Geoff Lee Trophy. The City of Sydney Sesquicentenary Cup, for the lowest PHS corrected time among yachts specifically entered for the 174th Australia Day Regatta, was won by Leslie Green's Swan 55 Ginger which finished third in fleet. -- Peter Campbell

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SNG Wins In Optimists!
The Societe Nautique de Geneve may be in the news for other reasons but proved that it does also do other things by winning the first Monaco Optimist Team Race held last weekend.

Optimist team racing is catching on big time. With supplied boats it is cheap, takes only a couple of days and is enormous fun. The Y.C. Monaco initiative is now the fifth major European event for the discipline, along with established events in Venice, Berlin, Goeteborg and the IODA European Championship in Ledro, Italy. The new venue attracted 12 teams from eight countries including clubs like the C.N. Antibes, Royal Cork, SNG and Y.C. San Remo which might more commonly be associated with rather larger yachts. A dramatic final saw the Societe Nautique de Geneve edge out the Russians from St. Petersburg under the watchful eye of Alfredo Ricci, chair of the ISAF Team Racing Committee. -- Robert Wilkes

Final Ranking:
1. Societe Nautique de Geneve (Suisse)
2. Saint Petersburg Sea Yacht Club (Russie)
3. Club Nautique d'Antibes (France)
4. Go Sailing (Belgique)
5. International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (Irlande)
6: Royal Cork Yacht Club (Irlande)
7. Yacht Club de Monaco (Monaco)
8. Yacht Club Sanremo (Italie)
9. Dabchicks Sailing Club (GB)
10. International Amber Coast Yacht Club Pionerski (Russie)
11. Royal Yacht Club Moscow (Russie)
12. Circolo della Vela Sicilia (Italie)


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 Daniel Charles: Yesterday's serie of letters re: John Rousmaniere's affidavit, seems to go in all directions. It is worth remembering that in 1987-88, Mr Rousmaniere found that history supported the New Zealanders'position, and that opinion was repeatedly contradicted with success in court (I was in charge of San Diego's historical researches then); but the fact that he was wrong then doesn't mean that he is wrong now. Contrarily to what a reader wrote, America did have a British-made sail (which they found unsatisfactory) at the start of her historic regatta. The "constructed in country" was inserted in the second deed after the Canadians had brought a challenger built from a half-model designed by an American in 1882. However nothing says that "constructed in country" extends to sails .

In most cases, sails are regarded as consumables, not part of the "construction" (as was the crew: after 1887 the defender used Norwegians with a Scottish skipper, albeit living in the USA). The XIXth and early XXth British challengers had their fabric made with cotton from Egypt (but woven, cut and sewed in Britain). Also, some US defenders had, posterior to the (third) 1887 DoG, sails made by the Ratsey loft in NY, with maybe some British fabric and certainly British design know-how.

It would be worth checking what the US press said in 1894 when the Cowes Ratsey loft refused to sell British made sails to the US Vigilant, when she paid a visit here: maybe it would bring some light on the customs at the time. The fact that these were mutual agreement matches is a moot point: I don't remember having ever seen a reference to the nationality of sails in the letters preparing for a mutual agreement. Anyway, the whole actual dispute is meaningless, since both teams used designers living outside "the country" (and USA's rigid wing was designed by a French group), a development which would probably have made George Schuyler go ballistic. Clearly both the defender and the challenger only call history to their help when it serves them, and not with any deep-rooted intention to apply all the intentions of the donor.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1949 Sussex Shipbuilding Laurent Giles Design 104, US$260,000. Located in France.

Gulvain is an opportunity to own a legendary sailing yacht. Built in 1949 and fully restored in 1991, and again refitted in 2006, this most famous Laurent Giles vintage ocean racer is presently lying in France and is available for sale for a small fraction of the cost spent to restore this historic yacht.

Designed by Laurent Giles, the foremost post war naval Architect in England, Gulvain was the world's first sailboat constructed of aluminum.

Gulvain is one of the most famous sailing boats in yachting history, and is a two time Trans Atlantic Race winner, and winner of many, many ocean races. Gulvain is featured in books and magazine articles including a 1960's photo album by Beken of Cowes of the world's greatest sailboats, "Beauty of Sail" and a 1950's oil painting by Montegue Dawson, "Ocean Racers". Gulvain is prominently described in The Encyclopedia of Sailing and is the subject of a book, "Gulvain: Fast off the Wind", written by John Tassos.

Brokerage through Robert Christopher Yacht Sales:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice - there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia. -- Frank Zappa

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