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Ready To Race
Photo by Luna Rossa / Carlo Borlenghi. Click on image for photo gallery.

America's Cup Racing kicks off for the final event of the 2012-13 America's Cup World Series tomorrow, Thursday 18th. After a six month break from racing nine teams are back to battle it out for the overall title.

Today has been the final practice day for the team, who after such a long break are looking forward to racing again.

Naples presents a very different challenge to the two previous events in San Francisco. J.P.Morgan BAR has been adjusting to the light Mediterranean conditions.

Skipper Ben Ainslie, "It's definitely a different environment to race in, it means we're learning some new skills, we have to get our head around sailing in a lighter breeze, it's a challenge but we are adapting well".

There will be three races for J.P.Morgan BAR tomorrow, one match race in the first quarterfinal against Team Energy, followed by two fleet races.

"The gennakers present a number of key differences for us as a crew, in particular handling. Unlike most boats that get harder to sail as the wind increases, the AC45s are almost the opposite. The gennakers are much larger than the code zeros and are therefore trickier to gybe. When the breeze gets towards the upper limit for these sails they do become a handful. We've had little experience of this so we've still yet to get our systems sorted on board. Add to this the forecast sea breezes of around 10 knots or maybe a little more and we're into the top end of these sails making it just about as difficult as it gets for the crew."

Current 2012-13 America's Cup World Series Championship leaderboard

(Teams participating in Naples - skipper - points)
ORACLE TEAM USA (Slingsby) - 165
Luna Rossa Piranha (Draper) - 121
Artemis Racing White (Ekberg) - 120
J.P. Morgan BAR - 116
Energy Team - 102
Emirates Team New Zealand - 100
Luna Rossa Swordfish - 71
China Team - 43
HS Racing - 0

www.americascup.com

Closing In...
The Class 40 in the colours of the German publisher "Mare", skippered by Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur, took control of the 2013 Normandy Channel Race fleet overnight. Natives of Germany and France's Picardy region, the duo boasts a 1.5-mile lead over the former leaders of the competition, Nicolas Jossier and Alexandre Toulorge. On the third step of the current podium, "Campagne de France" skippered by the Norman-English pairing of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron, is hanging on in there, but is battling for supremacy with "Geodis" helmed by reporter-racers Amedeo / Tripon.

A 25-knot south-westerly wind is continuing to push them along and the top four Class 40s are expected off Guernsey at around 1400 hours. As they make headway along the Norman coast, past Raz Blanchard and Barfleur, they'll have a favourable current until 1800 hours.

The winners are expected to cross the finish line at around 0100 hours local time on Thursday.

www.normandy-race.com

ISAF Match Race Rankings
Claire Leroy (FRA) has moved to World #1 in the Women's Match Race Rankings, knocking Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) off the top after the American held top spot since 7 September 2011. In the Open Match Race Rankings Ian Williams (GBR) maintains a healthy advantage over the chasing pack.

Great Britain's Ian Williams remains a mainstay at the top of the Open Match Race Rankings whilst there has been some shifting of places in the top 25.

Congressional Cup, winner Simone Ferrarese (ITA) moves to World #11, a personal best for the Italian match racer. In a light wind finish in California, USA the Italian overcame the experienced Ed Baird (USA) in a one-race championship showdown. Ferrarese defeated Baird by 54 seconds to secure his first ISAF Grade 1 victory.

Baird moves back into the rankings for the first time since February 2011 counting only his second place in the Congressional Cup which puts him at World #266.

Claire Leroy's last match racing appearance at a Graded event came at the ISAF Grade 1 Busan Cup Women's International Match Race in October 2012 whereas Tunnicliffe's was the ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds in June 2012. Based on the 24-month rolling system both sailors count eight regattas but Leroy has shown more consistency in the current period which reflects in the April 2013 rankings release.

Just one Grade 2 event was sailed in the latest rankings period, the ISAF Nations Cup 2013 Regional Final South America. The final was sailed between Brazil's Juliana Senftt and Argentina's Martina Silva in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.

The Brazilian took the honours by four races to two and qualified Brazil for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final in Middelfart, Denmark. The result also bumped Senfft up two places to World #14 and the Argentinean up three places to World #19.

Top Ten Open
1. Ian Williams, GBR
2. Bjorn Hansen, SWE
3. Pierre-Antoine Morvan, FRA
4. Philip Robertson, NZL
5. Taylor Canfield, ISV
6. Keith Swinton, AUS
7. William TIller, NZL
8. Laurie Jury, NZL
9. Johnie Berntsson, SWE
10. Peter Gilmour, AUS

Top Ten Women
1. Claire Leroy, FRA
2. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA
3. Ekaterina Skudina, RUS
4. Lucy Macgregor, GBR
5. Sally Barkow, USA
6. Camilla Ukrikkeholm, DEN
7. Olivia Price, AUS
8. Tamara Echegoyen, ESP
9. Silja Lehtinen, FIN
10. Julie Bossard, FRA

Full rankings: www.sailing.org/rankings/match/index.php

Marinepool Automatic Life Jackets - Test Winners Around The Globe
Marinepool Marinepool is widely regarded as one of the leading sailing clothing and maritime lifestyle brands and is the largest producer of life jackets for the leisure market in Europe.

Using only the best materials and state of the art production technologies, no detail is omitted to ensure every product is optimized before it reaches the market. More than 20 years of experience and design excellence, plus the invaluable input of the world class athletes proudly wearing Marinepool garments, guarantee the products are at the cutting edge of technology.

Uncompromising, highly functional and extremely light weight; Tested and approved by many of the world's finest sailors.

Our 300N ISO Premium offshore automatic life jacket has come out on top as the best overall product on the market in a test of German magazine YACHT (issue 12/12) while the same and other lifejackets of our wide range have won recent tests in NED, FIN and AUS.

No wonder they are the choice of Oman Sail´s MOD70 trimaran and scores of other offshore racing crews.

Marinepool offers performance automatic life jackets for racing where weight is absolutely crucial. Our Aero automatic life jacket weighs only 600g, that is 500g (!) less than other life jackets claiming to be "lite". Why go for second best?

Go for the test winner and learn more about the Marinepool life jacket range on marinepool.comcentrica.it/buyersguide2013/#/138/ or

www.marinepool.com

Hydroptere's Pacific Record Quest
Yves Parlier, Alain Thebault and Jean Le Cam. Photo by Hydroptere/Francis Demange. Click on image to enlarge.

Hydroptere On Wednesday 17th April, in the Parisian workshop of the architect Jean Nouvel, Alain Thebault and his teammates Jean Le Cam and Yves Parlier announced the continuation of the ocean program for Hydroptere. In a few weeks, they will try to beat the record of the Transpacific crossing between Los Angeles and Honolulu.

This winter, Hydroptere gained two additional sponsors. The French investment company Capital Fund Management and the editor of driving assistance solutions Coyote System joined as official partners Lanson Champagne, the innovative companies CLIP Industrie and Atheos. "The budget of the record is almost complete. The project is still open to other partners who wish to join the adventure and get a historical record with us" said Alain Thebault.

Hydroptere is currently based in Alameda, east of San Francisco Bay. Thanks to Warren Fitzgerald and Jeff Mearing, the trimaran was lifted ashore by crane on Monday 15th April. She will receive a complete check-up before being launched in early May and then brought to Los Angeles where she will be positioned in standby for the record.

From the end of May, the period of stand-by will start.

www.hydroptere.com

Curious Stone Shown To Be Mythical Navigation Tool - The Sunstone
Click on image to enlarge.

Sunstone The milky white stone found in the remains of a ship dispatched to France in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, which foundered off the Island of Alderney in the English Channel, IS a sunstone, researchers say, a near-mythical navigation tool used by Viking sailors.

In a theory first aired 45 years ago, sunstones were clear crystals which were used as navigation tools by the great Viking mariners to navigate their way during the Viking heyday of 900-1200AD, a long time before the magnetic compass was introduced to Europe in the 13h century. Sunstones assumes near-mythical status as the theory couldn't be proven.

The discovered stone has been confirmed to be made of Iceland spar, a transparent, naturally-occurring calcite crystal that polarises light and can get a bearing on the sun.

British and French scientists have long argued that the find could be a sunstone - a device that fractures the light, enabling seafarers to locate the sun even when it is behind clouds or has dipped below the horizon.

However, in a study published recently in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, investigators carried out a chemical analysis on a tiny sample, using a device called a spectrometer, which confirmed that the stone was a calcite.

The original stone is about the size of a small bar of soap whose edges have been trimmed at an angle.

Other factors provide evidence that this is a sunstone, according to the investigation, led by Guy Ropars of the University of Rennes, in France's western region of Brittany.

The crystal was found in the wreckage alongside a pair of navigation dividers. -- Nancy Knudsen in SailWorld.com

www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=108407

Buying A Blue Water Cruiser?
Sailing Rallies Ever wanted good unbiased, impartial advice about buying a blue water cruiser? At the Transatlantic Forum weekend hosted by Sailing Rallies in London 11th /12th May, you will get just that - and much more besides!

We have all been bamboozled by the vast array of blue water yachts on the market, and have lacked an opportunity to discuss the boat of our dreams or how good it will be for its intended use. At the Transatlantic Forum there will not only be opportunity to hear about what makes a good blue water cruiser, but also discuss the boats with seasoned long distance sailors and other boat owners, as well as yacht brokers.

The Transatlantic Forum weekend, being held at the Cruising Association, Limehouse Basin, London, which will cover lots more than just buying a blue water cruiser, will be an informative and enjoyable weekend covering preparation, planning and what you are likely to experience during an Atlantic crossing. Whether you are planning to buy your boat and sail the Atlantic this year, next year or if you have only just started dreaming about it - the Transatlantic Forum will provide expert advice and plenty of hints and tips to make your trip a success.

The all-inclusive price of £75 (discounted to £50 for most sailing clubs and organisations) includes a full programme of speakers coving all aspects of transatlantic and long distance sailing.

Anyone interested in ocean sailing is welcome to attend. Places are limited! Contact Mikaela on 0845 257 5004 or or visit www.sailingrallies.com

Helena Lucas MBE to Campaign SB20 In 2013
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, www.oceanimages.co.uk. Click on image to enlarge.

Helena Lucas Paralympic sailor Helena Lucas MBE will campaign a SB20 during 2013. Lucas' SB20 programme will include the Hyeres Grand Slam, Royal Southern Yacht Club June Regatta, the UK Open Championships in Falmouth and the Cowes Grand Slam which takes place during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

Lucas has a busy season in the 2.4mR class and will balance her SB20 campaign around her commitments to Team GBR. Lucas will not sail with a core crew, rather "a host of stars," as many of her crew options are also committed to Olympic programmes. Alison Young (Laser Radial), Lucy Macgregor (helm of Team GBR's Match Race Girls), Penny Clark (ex Laser Radial sailor), Richard Mason (470 crew), Ian Barker (Sydney 2000 49er silver medallist) and Barbara Watson (ex 470 crew and original member of SB20 all girls team, Team Maclaren) will all sail with Lucas during the season.

"I sailed with Mark Rushall in a Solent event a few years ago and loved it. I was looking to do some other sailing this year alongside the 2.4mR and the SB20 came up as a good class to get involved with. Jerry Hill from Sportsboat World made his boat available to me and it's all gone from there!"

Class suppliers Harken who also sponsor Lucas have donated a suit of sails. Volvo and Henri Lloyd will continue to support Lucas during 2013.

Lucas dominated the 2.4mR class during London 2012 and finished with the gold medal and a nine point lead over silver medallist Heiko Kroger of Germany. Lucas is the first British sailor to win a Paralympic gold medal.

sportsboatworld.com
www.facebook.com/SportsboatWorld

Feds Shoot Down CUBAR Rally
You probably didn't know the U.S. government has formally ruled that Cuban kids in sailing dinghies are "detrimental to U.S. foreign policy interests." And I don't mean a gang of young Scarfaces sailing across the Florida Straits to terrorize the good folks of Florida. Nope. These kids just want to learn how to race little sailboats inside Cuba's territorial waters.

The guy who wanted to deliver Optimist prams to Cuba is Bruce Kessler. He's a former Formula One racer who went on to a career in Hollywood, directing baby boomer faves such as "The Monkees" and "The Flying Nun."

Kessler organized FUBAR, a biannual powerboat rally from California to La Paz in the southernmost region of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. FUBAR (of course) stands for Fleet Underway to Baja Rally.

So when Kessler conceived of CUBAR, he innocently figured that he would extend the franchise to benefit the youth sailing program operated by the Hemingway International Yacht Club in Havana.

In Kessler's mind, a mighty fleet of trawlers would arrive at Marina Hemingway, each with an Opti lashed to the foredeck.

Although the Obama administration has loosened the rules allowing whole classes of people to travel freely to Cuba - Cuban Americans, for example, and anyone wealthy enough to afford an organized culturally based tour - it has left in place Bush-era policies directed at U.S. boaters, a crackdown that began in 2004.

Ultimately, CUBAR organizers scaled down their proposal to just a handful of boats, hoping a small project was more likely to be sanctioned. CUBAR was supposed to sail later this month, but as is usual in these cases, the bureaucrats let the clock run, then announced that they would be issuing a denial.

U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba is FUBAR in the original sense of the acronym, and that's why Kessler's idea for a friendship fleet was probably "Mission Impossible" from the start.

Yep, that's another show he directed. -- Peter Swanson

Full article in Soundings Online:
blog.soundingsonline.com

Northshore Future Uncertain
The industry has been reverberating with rumours for the last month abut Northshore Yacht Yards, the Itchenor based manufacturer of the Southerly Yachts range.

The rumours were given the foundation of truth when Martin Rye from Tek Tanks posted a comment on the Boating Business LinkedIn site telling the UK leisure marine trade on Tuesday this week: "I went to Northshore Yachts yesterday to collect unpaid for goods and was told to expect a letter from the liquidators on Wednesday. I thought anyone in the same position as us should know."

Since then, other Northshore suppliers have come forward with tales of being owed various sums of money and being unable to collect goods after the yard was sealed on Monday 15 April.

The workforce was, apparently, laid off on Friday 12 April and received redundancy notices in the post on Saturday 13 April.

When Mr Rye went to collect his not paid for goods he was told he would be getting a letter from the liquidators on Wednesday of this week - 17 April. At the time of writing on that Wednesday, no letter had been received at Tek Tanks.

Boating Business: www.boatingbusiness.com

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 2011 Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200. EUR 71,500. Located in Kenese Marina-Port, Hungary.

The Sunfast 3200 makes for a great cruiiser/racer yacht for the family or ideal yacht for shorthanded sailing. This one is brand new and although was part of a charter fleet has been very well looked after and not used much. Good oportunity to buy an almost new Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 at a super price.

Brokerage through Nicolle Associates: www.findaboat.co.uk

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

The Last Word
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. -- Mark Twain

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