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Lorient Completes The Route
The French city of Lorient will return as the penultimate stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race for the 12th edition in 2014-15, completing a route that will test the world's best professional sailors to the limit in a race around the world lasting almost nine months and 40,000 nautical miles.

The route will take in 10 cities in nine countries - Spain, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, United States, Portugal, France and Sweden - and will require the teams to cover 39,895 nautical miles - equivalent to 45,910 miles or 73,886 kilometers.

The Race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, and finish with a final In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.

Lorient, the Breton city on the west coast of France, hosted the Race for the first time in 2011-12. French team Groupama sailed into Lorient as winners of the penultimate leg from Lisbon and had another emotional success in the In-Port Race. The team skippered by Franck Cammas went on to seal their debut victory in the Volvo Ocean Race at the finish line in Galway.

"Lorient is France's sailing capital and the response we had during the last Race was phenomenal," said Race CEO Frostad. "It will be a real pleasure to come back to this stunning part of the world, where the people are so knowledgeable about the sport and the whole set-up suits the Race so perfectly. Lorient will be a real highlight on the route."

Winter's Escape
With winter weather persisting in northern parts of the U.S. and Europe, sailors could be envied for heading to the Caribbean to extend their racing calendars. As it is, over 60 yachts and crew are currently on the island of St Barths, in the French West Indies, preparing for tomorrow's start of Les Voiles de St. Barth. The fourth edition of this regatta will offer up four days of racing on a mix of courses and a social schedule equally as demanding, with dockside entertainment each evening and a lay day (Thursday) full of activities at Nikki Beach on St. Jean Bay.

As it has for its prior three editions, Les Voiles de St. Barth again has drawn a competitive mix of international yachts and crews from the UK, USA, France, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and South Africa, as well as a strong Caribbean contingent from Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, and Trinidad.

Event Director Francois Paul Tolede: "Luc Poupon (Course Director) has come up with some new courses, slightly longer in some cases, as many of the sailors wanted to spend more time on the water, and so racing will start a little earlier. We expect anywhere between 15 to 20+ knots of wind this week -- ideal conditions for the fleet, which ranges from 24 feet (Melges) to 100 feet (the Swan 100 Varsovie)."

The fleet is divided into eight classes: Maxis; Spinnaker 1, 2, and 3; Melges 24; Non-Spinnaker; Classics; and Multi-hulls. Organizers can chose between 28 course variations, from 11 to 40 nautical miles. Racing begins tomorrow, Tuesday April 9, with the first signal at 1100.

Henri Lloyd Osprey Inshore Jacket & Hi-Fits
Henri Lloyd Part of the Henri Lloyd coastal / inshore range for 2013 is the all new Osprey Jacket; constructed from Henri Lloyd's own TP fabric, this jacket is 100% waterproof and windproof and is an extremely versatile jacket for both multi purpose shore side and water based activities.

The jacket further benefits from a high-vis foldaway hood, internal Dartex storm cuff, whilst the internal collar is marl fleece lined to provide comfort for sensitive areas of the face.

Available in both a men, women's and junior fit, the jacket features a back waist adjustment channel to offer a superior fit whilst the inter dartex storm cuff and the hoop and loop external wrist adjusters help reduce water influx.

Available in a range of different colours and men, ladies and junior sizes.

Ruffian 23 Design Makes The Big Four-O
Squally weather in Strangford Narrows. In order not to exaggerate the Ruffian 23's small size, the crew crouched down as best they could while Dickie Brown remained totally relaxed at the helm. Photo by W M Nixon. Click on image to enlarge.

Ruffian 23 Congratulations, Ruffian 23s - you've passed your 40th birthday. It was the Springtime of 1973 when we were invited by Dickie Brown to go down to Portaferry for a sail test of the prototype of the new 23ft Quarter Tonner which his brother Billy had designed, working at the drawing board in creative bursts around three o'clock in the morning "when I can think most clearly, as at that time the ether isn't cluttered up with other people's ideas".

The first glimmerings of the idea had probably started back in 1969, when we were all doing the Fastnet Race aboard Ronnie Wayte's Mayro of Skerries. Ronnie had built this 35-footer to designs of his own in fibreglass in his factory in Carrickmacross, where their normal product line was steel domestic oil tanks. Weird enough, you'd think. But I - whose experience of glassfibre boat-building was absolutely zilch - was much involved from the start, simply on the strength of having won overall in the Round Isle of Man Race in 1964 in an old wooden boat.

Things moved slowly down Carrickmacross way, so it was nearly five years after that minor Isle of Man triumph before the new boatbuilding project actually started. But we made it to the Fastnet start of '69, and finished 122nd in a fleet of 250 boats. The smart alecs remarked that it had taken a helluva lot of boats to beat us. But we could point out that we in turn had beaten another 122 boats, and it certainly still stands as the best Fastnet placing ever achieved by an amateur-designed boat built in Carrickmacross. -- WM Nixon's full article in Afloat magazine:

Congressional Cup Starts Tuesday
Some of the world's best match racing sailors from six countries and the U.S. Virgin Islands are competing in Long Beach Yacht Club's 49th Congressional Cup starting Tuesday.

Two round-robin rotations will be followed by sailoffs through Saturday. Competition will be at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier on the Long Beach outer harbor starting at noon daily, conditions permitting.

Monday's conditions didn't even permit practice sailing. Uncommon northwest winds well above 20 knots---the limit for exposing the Catalina 37s to potential damage---kept all competitors ashore. Plans are for a limited practice period before racing starts Tuesday.

The field has Great Britain's Ian Williams, the world's top-ranked match racer, trying for his third consecutive win in the event against New Zealand's Laurie Jury, the U.S. Virgin Islands' Taylor Canfield, Switzerland's Eric Monnin, Italy's Simone Ferrarese, Australia's Jordan Reece, France's Mathieu Richard and New Zealand's Adam Minoprio.

Baird-Hutchinson and Dickson and, in a slight stretch of national definition, Canfield will carry American hopes. Canfield, director of the Chicago Match Racing Center and winner of three major events on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour last year, flies the flag of his homeland.

Baird said, "Match racing has never been as big in the U.S. as some of us would like to see it, although more young sailors are taking up match racing with the development of the Chicago Match Race Center."

The Congressional Cup is not a part of the world tour, but older competitors are aware of its contributions to developing the game, such as on-water umpiring with penalty turns that did away with late-night protests at the end of too many days.

The Congressional has a $60,000 purse, including $15,000 to the winner, along with the traditional Crimson Blazer.


Ian Williams, Royal Lymington YC, UK, Team GAC Pindar, World rank: 1
Laurie Jury, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, World rank: 7
Taylor Canfield, St. Thomas YC, U.S. Virgin Islands, World rank: 8
Eric Monnin, Yacht Club Immensee, Switzerland, World rank: 13
Simone Ferrarese, Circolo Della Vela, Italy, World rank: 15
Jordan Reece, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, World rank: 16
Mathieu Richard, APCC Voile Sportive, World rank: 18
Adam Minoprio, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, World rank: 217
Ed Baird, St. Petersburg YC, World rank: Unranked
Scott Dickson, Long Beach YC, World rank: 465

Honours Even
Winter relented for just a day to allow the first two races of the Royal Lymington's Portmore Insurance Spring Series to be sailed in bright sunshine with a brisk Easterly breeze. In the Folkboat Class honours were even with Peter Tunney's 'FlutterBy' recording a 1st & 3rd and Jeremy Austin's 'Tak' improving on his 3rd place in the first race to take the gun in the 2nd.

The series continues for the rest of April and if the weather warms up no doubt the fleet will get bigger. -- Eddie Mays, Folkboat Association

Full results at

Sovereigns Cup - 26th - 29th June 2013- 'Gourmet Racing'!
Sovereigns Cup UK-based boats account for over 25% of current entries of the Covestone Asset Management Sovereign's Cup, and with further cruiser-racers, quarter tonners and 1720s anticipated, will form an impressive armada spearheaded by the likes of the Ker 40 Keronimo, Corby 37 Impetuous and quarter tonner Aquila. Foreign raiders will likely be at the forefront for trophies in the spectacular waters off the Old Head of Kinsale this June.

Renowned for its warm welcome, Sovereign's Cup provides racing under IRC fleets as well as the Irish Performance handicapping system 'ECHO', on both windward leeward and round the cans courses. Renowned for its competitive yet fun ethos, Sovereign's Cup has seen entries ranging from TP 52s to GK 24s, all of whom are extended the same hearty welcome.

Entries for this year's event are registering at an unprecedented level which is testament to the value for money and reputation of the event. Over 75% of the entries are visitors representing clubs from all over the British Isles, looking forward to the magic of Kinsale's historic setting and fine dining, while enjoying a program of racing presented by a team of internationally recognised race management officers.

Taking place from 26th - 29th June 2013, The Covestone Asset Management Sovereign's Cup offers competitive IRC racing in the picturesque "Gourmet Capital of Ireland" and the perfect regatta destination this year.

For more information or to register see or contact

Triumph For Reigning RYA Youth National Champions
It was a day of triumph Friday 5 April) for four of last year's RYA Youth National champions as they all reclaimed their titles on the final day of the  RYA Youth National Championships at Largs Sailing Club.

Ellie Meopham in the Laser Radial stole the show as the Welsh sailor not only finished top girl but dominated from start to finish topping the overall leaderboard by a staggering 30 points.

The Laser Radial boys fleet was a tight affair with Welsh sailor Thomas Williams claiming the event victory on the final day of the regatta, finishing second overall. Williams stole top spot off of Edward Jones who led most of the regatta and managed to clinch the honours with a second and a discard of 31 in the two races completed today.

In the larger Laser Standard class, Michael Beckett, last year's champion in the Laser Radial, continued the Welsh dominance of the Lasers as he sailed to an empathic 10 point victory over Henry Wetherell who finished second and Andrew Green rounding off his regatta in third.

In the RS:X Windsurfing fleet Kieran Martin and Saskia Sills were clinical in claiming consecutive RYA Youth National Championship titles.

The 420 fleet provided the most excitement across the five days of racing with continual movement at the top of leaderboard. Tim Riley and Luke Burywood's consistent set of scores was enough to give them event victory while Annabel Cattermole and Bryony-Bennet Lloyd finished third overall to take the female title.

The 29er class saw a masterpiece in sailing in the shifty conditions from the events international competitors as New Zealand's Marcus Somerville and Jack Simpson finished with an impressive score line. Mimi El-Khazindar and 2012 RYA Youth National champion Ben Batten finished second overall.

In the girls 29er fleet, Vikki Payne and Stephanie Orton have made it a hat trick of RYA Youth National titles as the girls from the South Coast finished seventh overall, nine points in front of Charlotte Hooper and Molly Brown in ninth, and second girls.

The Spitfire class has been a continuous battle from start to finish between Tom Britz/Abbie Hewitt and James Henson/Olivier Greber. Trading places thoughout the week, Britz, who won gold at the ISAF Youth Worlds in 2012, and his crew Hewitt kept a cool head going into today's final races to clinch the under 21 championship title by a single point.

Full results:

Portmore Insurance Spring Series
Unseasonably cold weather did not prevent a good turn out for the first morning of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club's Spring Series, sponsored by Portmore Insurance.

In IRC Class 2, Ray Mitchell's Swan 411, Accomplice and Bob Baker's Brightwork both got good starts towards the upwind mark at Solent Bank. Winds were a light 6 to 10 knots with big shifts and holes with a strong ebb tide. Accomplice sailed to the left and in better tide to tack first on to the layline for the mark, followed by Brightwork.

IRC Class 1 had a heavy entry bias towards asymmetric boats. The first beat as in IRC Class 2 to Solent Bank proved very tricky with the fluky winds. Cornel Riklin's J111, Jitterbug was first round and was never troubled by the rest of the fleet to finish first, with Peter Scholfield's Zarafa sporting a new mainsail coming 2nd and Chris and Hannah Neve's Beneteau 35, No Chance third. In the second race, No Chance had a much better start and was able to keep up with Jitterbug, winning by over a minute on corrected time

The RS Elite season kicked off with a training day on Saturday, focussing on rig set-up and gear changing across the wind range – a good way to get the fleet back into racing mode just ahead of the Portmore Insurance Spring Series.

In the light winds on Sunday for the first two races of the series you could see the effect of much closer attention to the finer details resulting in very similar speeds between most of the boats. Martin Wadhams' Kiss managed to get away on the first beat, but the next four boats rounded the top mark in a bunch and were in a line abreast down the run. New members of the Lymington fleet, the Duggans (Anthony, Alice and Andrew) in Flying A actually pulled back from a late start to finish second, with the Proctors in Wombat third. In the next race, Kiss won the start and again found an edge upwind which was crucial in the strong adverse tide and this time Wombat clinched second.

Full results:

Vendee Globe Skippers Honored at the Elysee
Monday, April 8 at 12:30 pm, the President of the French Republic received all of the Vendee Globe skippers and handed on this occasion the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur insignia to Francois Gabart, winner of this year edition.

For Bruno Retailleau, President of the SAEM Vendee and present at the Elysee today: "The ceremony was a great way to enhance the sporting and human values of exceptional men and women. The audacity and the dream they gave take every single French people in their wake".

This recognition of the highest authorities of the State also shows the success and influence of the Vendee Globe. The Vendee Globe is at the top of the French sporting heritage and is one of the few events that make France pride internationally. It is an element of national pride that the Vendee is pleased to have been able to create.

Bruno Retailleau
President of the Conseil General de la Vendee
President of the SAEM Vendee

Eight Bells
It is with great sadness that I have heard that Warwick Collins, the author, screenwriter, inventor and yacht designer has passed away. Warwick wrote many excellent books and screenplays and designed a series of fine wood epoxy cruising boats and was, of course, the inventor of the tandem keel.

He was the main instigator of the British America's Cup Challenge in Fremantle. He persuaded Admiral Sir Ian Easton to use his contacts at British Aerospace to raise the required deposit at the eleventh hour and without which there would have been no challenge. The reins were later taken up by Harold Cudmore who persuaded Graham Walker to finance the challenge. Warwick bowed out fairly early on but by that time the challenge was well under way. However, without his foresight, belief and quick action there would have been no challenge.

I also owe him a huge debt of gratitude, as it was he, together with Ian, who had sufficient faith in my ideas and design skills to have me installed as one of the lead designers. It was my prediction of the winged keel for Peter de Savary's previous challenge that persuaded them that I might just be the man to design a radical 12 Metre.

He was also a ready font of wisdom regarding the written word and I must have bored him silly with requests to check articles and important documents to make them read better or be more convincing, but he was never too busy to oblige. If I have any small literary talent it is largely due to his tutelage.

Like many strong characters it was easy to fall out with Warwick and many did including me. For many years we did not talk and Christmas cards were not returned. However, we eventually, about two years ago, got back on speaking terms and the last time we met was at a very pleasant lunch he had arranged in Lymington with Ian Williams to discuss the America's Cup, a subject that was never far from his heart.

Andy Ash-Vie who did the detail design work on Warwick's cruising boats and who must take a fair amount of credit for their success, once mentioned to me in conversation that, as if I didn't already know, Warwick could be a very difficult character to work with. "Yes" I said, "but the world would be a very much poorer place without him". And now it is. -- Dave Hollom

Featured Brokerage
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This Farr 11s is fully rigged for top level racing. She needs a paint as the Porsche GT silver colour is showing marks. The boat can be shipped on a 40 foot flat rack, mast separates to fit in the 40 foot footprint. This is a boat with good gear and lots of it.

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The Last Word
The medium is not the message - the message is the message. -- Penn Jillette

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