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The America's Cup On TV
With less than two weeks until the first races of the 33rd America's Cup, a massive TV broadcast reach has already been secured which should ensure that the dramatic, never seen before multihull races between the Defender Alinghi and the Challenger BMW Oracle Racing have the capacity to reach a huge global audience.

Through the agreements with the European Broadcasting Union, which reaches 56 territories and has an audience of over 650 million and,globally, with Sports News TV spanning 160 territories, broadcasting to over 1.4 billion people and also with Transworld Sport with a global audience of over 302 million, the America's Cup News packages are assured of a massive international audience of over 2 billion viewers

Among the broadcasters are Great Britain's BSkyB, TVE/Teledeporte and Canal 9 in Spain, French based Eurosport and Showtime in the Middle East. Broadcasters will take all of the America's Cup output, including the 26 minutes race day Highlights package, Race News package as well as the 52 minutes summary wrap up programme at the end of the event.

Also, for the first time in the history of the America's Cup, races will be broadcast live free of charge on www.americascup.com

* Editor: I just can't help myself, I really must say this: The three scheduled races are on Feb 8, 10 and 12. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On what planet are those ideal sports media days?

Drawing comparisons between the America's Cup and Formula 1 is a popular rhetorical device, let's just look at the 2010 F1 calendar, shall we? See www.formula1.com/races/calendar.html

Nineteen events. Oh look, they're all Friday-Saturday-Sunday. So that means Friday is a good day, right? No. Friday (Thursday in the case of Monaco, no racing at all on Friday there) is always a practice day. Saturday? Kind of... if you consider qualifying races to be huge media events. They're not. Except on specialty TV channels and in the most rabid Formula 1 crazed nations (hello Italy...). The real action is of course the Race, which is always on a Sunday. That's when the media circus comes to town. That's because a large percentage of the world's population, particularly in Formula 1 loving nations, has the day off work on Sunday.

Who decided to run these races on Monday, Wednesday, Friday? Could SNG not get broadcasters to show up on a weekend? Hotel rooms cheaper for cameramen on weekdays? Someone wanted to be done racing and get back home for a can't-miss February 13-14 weekend chocolate eating and yodeling festival? Yes, I know the Superbowl is Sunday the 7th, but that game starts many hours after racing would have finished that day. And the following weekend is the opening ceremony and a number of high profile Winter Olympic events... but again consider the time difference... those are in Vancouver, 8 hours off Valencia time and start well after sailing would have completed for the day, so those really don't smack up against an America's Cup weekend race.

Only if reserve days are needed is there a chance of a race on a weekend. They run from February 14 through the 25th. Two Sundays and one Saturday in that mix. But what are the odds that we'll see any racing on a weekend? In a best of three series?? Slim to none. The America's Cup could be over with races on Monday and Wednesday. Done. And that's really beyond idiotic.

A Passion For Sailing
by Anne Hinton.
Nick Fry, CEO of Brawn GP (now Mercedes GP), in a panel discussion at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco. Photo copyright Anne Hinton - all rights reserved. Click on image for photo gallery.

The World Yacht Racing Forum (WYRF) organisers, James Pleasance (event director) and the Informa Yacht Group, are to be congratulated for their foresight in bringing professionals in the sailing industry together for quality time, away from other meetings and events, to discuss matters relevant to the sport. A wide range of different interests was represented, with presentations/panel discussions on topics including:

- approaches for sponsorship
- selling a 'visitor experience' for a Volvo Ocean Race stopover
- how a team sponsor set about maximising the returns (more than six-fold) on investment
- virtual graphics to aid spectator understanding of the racing
- virtual games to enable armchair sailors to 'participate' alongside the actual racing
- development of existing and new events, many with their own class of boat as part of the branding
- evolutions in boat design
- sail-design technology

under the common theme of 'yacht racing'.

Excellent presentations on their respective team's preparations for the 33rd America's Cup were given by both Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth. The issues surrounding the Match have already received much publicity and, through the Deed of Gift, the New York Courts' introduction of an expert panel, which formed the core of the subsequently-appointed international jury, to assist with addressing outstanding points, has provided sailor input to resolution of same.

The WYRF was arranged to be held at the same location as the Formula One equivalent meeting, and those present benefited from Nick Fry, CEO of the 2009 F1 champion's winning team, Brawn GP (now Mercedes GP), participating in a WYRF panel discussion. Fry, an amateur yachtsman, listened to the diversity of opinions from the panel and audience, and then called on the sailing community as a whole to "unite". The sport needs governance which will focus, decisively and positively, on forward movement for the general good for sailing, and thereby draw in the mutual trust, respect and support of sailors, so benefiting the entire sailing industry, as Fry indicated.

My first recollection of sailing is at the age of four in relation to my father's OK dinghy, which he launched off the beach to sail around to the club for the start of the sailing season. The boat, OK 222, with my father sailing it, is pictured in Paul Elvstrøm's book Expert Dinghy and Keelboat Racing. My father was one of the best OK dinghy sailors of his day in the early 1960s. However, he had a break from sailing, and it was only when I was taken to Cowes Week at the age of eleven that I fell in love with sailboat racing. I have been absolutely wedded to the sport ever since, writing about it (commencing with every school essay, no matter what the title), pointing a camera at boats (initially as an amateur and then later as a professional), reading about it, and, of course, sailing myself, plus helping with the administration, organisation and all aspects of running and supporting the sport.

As a teenager, I returned to Cowes, became a national champion and, with the same team, also well-nigh cleaned up in our class at Cowes Week that year. Having competed in a few races the previous year, we found that Beken had snapped us with the kite on the Squadron line, and the image had been used to advertise Cowes Week! I went on to represent the country in which I was living internationally, and sail in an Olympic class, in both fleet and match racing: the Soling... such a great boat to sail, plus the quality of competition and camaraderie of sailors in an Olympic class - something never to be forgotten. It has never interested me to be the best female at something, but, rather, aim to be the best I could be - whether in a team or individual situation - with my sights set on Olympic Gold and the America's Cup. This requires focus, persistency, determination, preparation, practice, experience, good organisation, etc.

What was it that grabbed me about sailboat racing, never to let me go? Difficult question! In the mix is Sea Fever (the poem by John Masefield: 'the flung spray and the blown spume...'), the boat itself and the sensation of sailing (wind and sea), the mixture of physical and mental effort needed for racing, and the shared experience of the enjoyment this brings when doing so in the company of others - to whom one can also talk about the experience on one's own boat/team compared with theirs on conclusion of the racing, plus a certain je ne sais quoi - a sense of mystery - that forever keeps me coming back for more. It's never the same twice!

Not long ago I was invited to help out umpiring a team racing regional qualification event. A couple of days beforehand a heavy snowfall blanketed the country. Other qualifiers were postponed, but teams, with their boats, struggled valiantly across the country to this one. On arrival, they were told that the inland water was closed as the slipway was covered in ice. The host team captain called everyone together. The forty or so sailors were directed to clear the slipway of ice with anything they could lay their hands on, while the organisers re-jigged the schedule to fit the shorter timeframe and ensure a fair result. After half an hour the slipway was clear and permission was granted to launch the boats. In another half hour, all were on the water and racing was underway. The positive, decisive, leadership led to everyone having fun sailing on the water, despite the bitterly cold conditions, and perhaps it is also unsurprising, given the attitude displayed, that the host team prevailed and won the event.

What was it that led everyone to focus in working together on land so that they could have fun racing hard against each other on the water? A passion for sailing!

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The Big Bucks...
London, United Kingdom: The incentive to compete in the world's premier sailing series just got bigger. A US$250,000 overall prize pool for the top nine teams with a $50,000 bonus for the outright winner of next year's World Match Racing Tour is now on offer. Tour Chairman Patrick Lim announced the news at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco in December to add to a tour that already offers the biggest prize money of any yacht racing series in the world.

The Tour's final event of the year, the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, has always been an exciting but tense and nervous affair for the teams still in with a chance of lifting the coveted ISAF World Match Racing Tour trophy. But in 2010 sailors will also be fighting it out for their share of the quarter of a million dollar bonus, just to add to the pressure on what will be a down to the wire fight for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.

Tour Standings
1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing, 138 Points
2. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 97
3. Ben Ainslie, (GBR) Team Origin, 95
4. Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR, 93
5. Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team Racing, 89
6. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 83
7. Sebastien Col, (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 55
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 48

2010 Tour Schedule
1 April 6 - 11 Marseille International Match Race Marseille, France
2 May 19 - 24 Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany
3 June 8 - 13 Korea Match Cup Gyeonggi, Korea
4 June 22 - 27 Portugal Match Cup Troia, Portugal
5 July 5 - 11 Match Cup Sweden Marstrand, Sweden
6 August 31 – September 5 St Moritz Match Race St Moritz, Switzerland
7 September 8 - 12 Danish Open, Bornholm, Denmark
8 October 4 - 10 Argo Group Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda
9 November 30 – December 5 Monsoon Cup K. Terengganu, Malaysia

www.worldmatchracingtour.com

Sailors Hit Their Stride At Halfway Mark
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, www.oceanimages.co.uk. Click on image for photo gallery.

Miami, Florida, USA: More than 600 athletes representing 45 nations have hit their regatta halfway mark after today's racing at US SAILING's 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation, ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010.

Today was a picturesque light-air day on Biscayne Bay, but many sailors worked the conditions to their advantage. The unstoppable SKUD-18 team of Scott Whitman, Brick, N.J.) and Julie Dorsett, West Chester, Pa./Boca Raton, Fla.), who hope to have a repeat gold medal performance of last year's Rolex Miami OCR, added two more bullets to their collection today in the talented seven-boat fleet.

Norway's Aleksander Wang-Hansen and crew Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg led the nine-boat Sonar fleet after five races, with a 1-3 today. "We've been trying to sail conservatively and consistently, and it has paid off so far," said Wang-Hansen. "It's been very shifty, and we've been trying to tack on the shifts and stay on the right side of the fleet. We had fantastic down wind legs, and I think that helped a lot."

A complete roster can be viewed at the event web site, rmocr.ussailing.org, where real-time regatta results, photos and updates are posted daily. Video highlights, produced by T2Productions, will air Wednesday through Saturday and can be viewed on the event web site. Fans can also visit the Facebook fan page and Twitter page.

Top three by class:

49er, 36 boats) - 9 races
1. Manu Dyen/Stephane Christidis, FRA, 35
2. Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch, AUT, 46
3. Will Phillips/ Sam Phillips, AUS, 50

Laser Radial, 57 boats - 5 races
1. Paige Railey, USA, 9
2. Alison Young, GBR, 23
3. Cecilia Carranza Saroli, ARG, 25

Laser, 104 boats-6 races
1. Bruno Fontes, BRA, 15
2. Nick Thompson, GBR, 22
3. Andreas Geritzer, AUT, 22

Elliott 6m, 24 boats
1. Lucy Macgregor, GBR, 3
2T. Sally Barkow, Nashotah, Wis.,USA, 2
2T. Anna Tunnicliffe, Plantation, Fl., USA, 2
4T. Claire Leroy, FRA, 1
4T. Nicky Souter, AUS, 1

Finn, 37 boats - 5 races
1. Edward Wright, GBR, 8
2. Giles Scott, GBR, 9
3. Zach Railey, Clearwater, Fl., USA, 13

470 Men, 34 boats - 6 races
1. Nic Asher/Elliot Willis, GBR, 23
2. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis, GRE, 27
3. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela, ISR, 31

470 Women, 26 boats - 6 races
1. Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin, USA, 13
2. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron, FRA, 14
3. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux, FRA, 20

Star, 26 boats - 6 races
1. Andy Horton/James Lyne, USA, 11
2. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pederson, NOR, 16
3. Andrew Macdonald/Austin Sperry, USA, 28

RS:X Men, 37 boats - 4 races
1. Dorian Rijsselberghe, NED, 11
2. Ivan Pastor, ESP, 16
3. Kevin Stittle, CAN, 24

RS:X Women, 25 boats - 4 races
1. Marina Alabau, ESP, 10
2. Charline Picon, FRA, 12
3. Laura Linares, ITA, 13

2.4mR, 28 boats - 5 races
1. John Ruf, Pewaukee, Wis.,USA, 8
2. Thierry Schmitter, NED, 9
3. Paul Tingley, CAN, 13

Sonar, 9 boats - 5 races
1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Per Eugen Kristiansen/Marie Solberg, NOR, 6
2. Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, FRA, 8
3. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas, GBR, 10

SKUD-18, 7 boats- 5 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett, USA, 4
2. Alexandra Rickham/Niki Birrell, GBR, 10
3. John McRoberts/Brenda Hopkin, CAN, 10

Full results for all classes at rmocr.ussailing.org/RMOCR_Home.htm

Seahorse March 2009
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Grant Simmer puts the finishing touches to his most extraordinary Cup campaign yet

It really is all change for the Spanish Barcelona Race entries as Jocelyn Bleriot finds out

How did it all look ten years ago and what can that tell us about where we are now headed... Andrew Hurst fires up the crystal ball

All to play for (probably)... Russell Coutts thinks so, certainly... but he's not entirely convinced we're going sailing yet

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

www.seahorse.co.uk/shop/subs


A New Design Takes The Formula 18 Aussie Championship
Click on image to enlarge.

Steve Brewin and Jack Benson have won the Club Marine Formula 18 Australian Championship at Audi Victoria Week with a masterful display of tactical sailing in a brand new C2 design called BO.

Brewin and Benson were always in the top three finishers in the 25-boat fleet while their rivals were less consistent in the tricky wind conditions across the series.

In today's four races they added two firsts, a second and a third to their scorecard to complete the series on 14.8 points, well clear of second placegetters Greg and Brett Goodall on 32.6 points. The Goodalls were also sailing a new C2.

The Club Marine Formula 18 Australian Championship was the selection series for the eight places available for Australian crews at the 2010 worlds.

The Australian contingent will include the new C2 design, designed by Greg Goodall at AHPC in Bendigo and developed using AutoCAD and 3D computer modelling work by his son Brett, who is studying industrial design and mechanical engineering.

The new design has more volume in the forward sections of the hulls, and Steve Brewin said he had found it more forgiving and less inclined to nosedive downwind than the previous generation of Capricorn F18, while being very fast in stronger breeze.

Greg Goodall said that a large amount of time has gone into making the C2's control systems "as simple and clean as possible, to reduce the number of tangles and have systems that work in every condition."

Also planning to contest the Worlds are the developers of the new Windrush F18 design, who had two boats racing for the first time at this championship. A joint effort by Brett Burvill, Josh Fugill (racing with Cara Lithgo in the other new Windrush F18 here) and Victorian multihull designer Stuart Bloomfield, the new boats showed form especially downwind and in the lighter conditions.

Burvill and Duffield finished fourth overall, while Lithgo and Fugill managed 11th in spite of Lithgo suffering a broken middle finger during the first day's windy racing. -- Vanessa Dudley

www.victoriaweek.com

Alex Bennett Signs On For Round Britain And Ireland Race
Click on image for photo gallery.

International professional yachtsman Alex Bennett from Devon has today announced his entry into the historic Round Britain and Ireland Race 2010. Alex will once again team up with sponsor Fujifilm for the project with his distinctive, green Class 40 boat.

Joining Alex in this famous two handed race will be friend and fellow Devon sailor Malcolm Dickinson. Malcolm is the Managing Partner at leading law firm Michelmores Solicitors, another of Alex's long term business partners. Malcolm is well known in local sailing circles as organiser of the Michelmores Challenge Cup.

In the coming months they will be training off the south Devon coast getting ready for the race start in Plymouth in June. Alex and Malcolm will be a formidable team. The 2010 race will be the second time Alex has competed in the RBI. In 1998 he skippered Modi Khola and managed to secure third place monohull in Class 5, also setting a record for the youngest team to ever complete the arduous course. Malcolm has competed in the last two events and finished second in Class last time around.

The Round Britain and Ireland Race was established in 1966 by Blondie Hasler. It is hosted every four years by the Royal Western Yacht Club and has its start and finish in Plymouth. There are four compulsory 48 hour stopovers in Kinsale, Barra, Lerwick and Lowestoft. The 2010 race has classes for two person crews on mono and multi hulls between 30 and 50 feet. It starts on Sunday 6th June.

www.alexbennett.co.uk

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The Last Word
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