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Sirocco Wind Baptizes the Moth European Championship
Chris Rast. Click on image to enlarge.

Moth Europeans 18 knots of Sirocco wind with gusts up to 23 knots greeted the sailors at the first day of the Moth European Championships 2013. Marsala has a particular coastline shape, thanks to Cape Lilybeo, that allows for sheltered conditions and flat water in a Sirocco. Under these conditions, the practice race was held but only 16 of the 36 participants completed the trial. As tradition, the practice race is not addressed with the same competitive spirit as a standard race, then finioshes do not really show real values and do not allow predictions. Despite this you can see who is fast and who is not... there may be 4/5 knots of difference.

Chris Rast (SUI 3990) ruled yesterday in training setting the new world speed record of the Moth Class, Saturday morning, equipped with a Velocitek Chris recorded a top speed of 32.2 knots and an average of 29.1.

Of the Italians the only one to finish the race was the great Stefano Rizzi, team leader of the italian Mothers, with a respectable fourth place. Lanulfi Mark, Luke and Thomas Rizzotti Freddi, the other Italians, abandoned the race before the end not to risk their equipment.

The European championship trophy is on display at the sailing club Marsala, the name of Chris Rashley, reigning European champion, has already been twice engraved. Since 1955 the trophy changed hands and on it are inscribed the names of sailors like Simon Payne, Mark Thorpe, Rohan Veal : they are famous not only for the Moth but for the active contribution given to the world of sailing and its evolution.

* Update on Monday: winds were too intense to allow for racing today

ISAF World Sailing Rankings
The ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 29 April 2013 have been released.

- Fifteen countries take 30 of the top three ranking positions
- Consistent 12-month period for Alonso brothers gives them World #1 spot in the 49er
- Mat Belcher and Will Ryan march on with perfect ranking score
- Kiwis regain World #1 49erFX spot

Top sailor by class:

470 Men: Mathew Belcher / Malcolm Page and William Ryan, AUS
470 Women: Fernanda Oliveira / Ana Luiza Barbachan, BRA
49er: Federico Alonso Tellechea / Antonio Arias Watson and Arturo Alonso Tellechea, ESP
49er FX: Alexandra Maloney / Molly Meech, NZL
Laser: Tom Burton, AUS
Laser Radial: Tatiana Drozdovskaya, BLR
Finn: Brendan Casey, AUS
NACRA 17: Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
RS:X Men: Ivan Pastor Lafuente, ESP
RS: X Women: Bryony Shaw, GBR

Events Included in this Ranking release:

The full ISAF World Sailing Ranking lists, results from all ISAF Graded events, lists of Graded events throughout the year, Ranking release dates and the method of calculation for the Rankings can be found on the ISAF website at

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Sean Langman (AUS)
Hobart in under 30 hours! 'It's always an adventure with Sean!' - Larry Jamieson; 'The mighty Maluka always gets the biggest cheer in Hobart' - Shaun McKnight; 'Sean has walked the walk and on a vast range of boats' - Owen McKenzie; 'An inspirational guy, it's all about the love of sailing and not about the bloke' - Andrew Wheatley; 'Self-funded and usually on a shoestring, Sean has shared his passion for the sea with so many people - Lisa Ratcliff; 'The fastest and slowest trips to Taz in one year!' - Peter Davidson.

This month's nominees:

Sir Keith Mills (GBR)
Considering the vast expenditure of both effort and money that he has put into sailing - particularly since the end of the 2007 America's Cup - it was very gratifying, first to see Mills's longtime protege Alex Thomson make the Vendee Globe podium and then for the man himself to top IRC 1 at the helm of his own TP52 during the RORC Easter Challenge in Cowes. Long may the good fortune continue.

Luca Devoti (ITA)
Another man heavily invested in sailboat racing, Devoti has been tireless since retiring from the Finn class with a silver medal at Sydney 2000, first launching an - admittedly turbulent - America's Cup campaign, then a modern new singlehanded dinghy for fat boys and most recently a new dinghy sailing academy in Valencia. He also, of course, has long been lending his name to the dominant Finn marque of the modern era

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

Mini-Transat Race Qualifications Launched
The Open Demi-Cle (double handed) and Pornichet Select (single handed) open the batting for this season's racing for the Atlantic Ministes, whilst in the Mediterranean competitors are offered the four races of the Mini-Golfe au Gran Premio d'Italia. With 112 pre-registered for 84 available starting slots, the battle for places for the October Mini Transat will be fierce.

The Mini Golfe 2013 saw twenty competitors come together in La Grande Motte in March to begin their battle. The rest of the program in the Mediterranean will be focused on the Italian races with between 15 and 20 competitors, including the American Jeffrey Mac Farlane who steps aboard Henry-Paul Schipman's old boat which finished 3rd in the Transat 6.50 in 2009.

In the Atlantic, the Open Demi-Cle saw adverse weather conditions force a postponement for the race between Locmiquelic and Pornichet. In the prototypes Gwenole Gahinet (Watever-Nautipark) sailing with Gregory Mouly eventually got the upper hand after long struggle against Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian) and Sebastien Josse. A week later the two sailors, this time sailing alone, finished in the same order in the Pornichet Select.

For the series production boats, the winning move went to Justine Mettraux (TeamWork) who crushed the competition in the Pornichet Select. The Swiss sailor refused to engage, unlike the rest of the pack, in the currents off Belle Isle, giving it a wide berth instead. The result was a lead of several hours.

During the month of May the Ministes will cross the English Channel on the occasion of the La Trinite -Plymouth followed by the UK Fastnet, before returning to Douarnenez for the Trophee Marie-Agnes Peron from 10 to 15 June, which, with 91 registered, has a full entry. On 17 June, the fleet will head out once again from Douarnenez for the Mini-Fastnet, racing around the legendary lighthouse at the southwestern tip of Ireland.

Otterbox Melges 32 Virgin Islands Sailing Series
Photo by Joy Dunigan. Click on image for photo gallery.

Melges 32 Peter Island, BVI: Congratulations to Roberto Tomasini Grinover aboard Robertissima, as he is the first ever and newly crowned 2013 OtterBox Melges 32 Virgin Island Sailing Series (M32VISS), Caribbean Champion Tomasini Grinover was accompanied by tactician Vasco Vascotto and crew comprised of Gaetano Figlia di Granara, Giovanni Cassinari, Gunnar Bahr, Armin Raderbauer, Pablo Torrado and Nevio Sabadin.

Second overall in the Series was Dalton DeVos on Delta with tactician Jonathan McKee, followed by Ryan DeVos with Ed Baird as tactician on Volpe in third.

The last day of racing concluded in the British Virgin Islands under simply gorgeous conditions. A beautiful 8-10 knots held steady for the teams to squeeze in four final races, in which the youngest DeVos, Dalton claimed bullets in Race Four and Seven. Other race winners included the BVI's own Mark Plaxton on INTAC who ended up in third overall at the event. Alex Jackson's Leenabarca championed Race Five.

Top Three Results (Final - After Seven Races)
1.) Roberto Tomasini Grinover/Vasco Vascotto, Robertissima, 14 points
2.) Dalton DeVos/Jonathan McKee, Delta, 15
3.) Mark Plaxton/Richard Clarke, INTAC; 2-3-6-[7]-2-1-6 = 20

View Full Results

Team Beau Geste Mounts Stunning Tp52 Southern Cross Cup Defence
Beau Geste's owner Karl Kwok and skipper Gavin Brady. Photo by Teri Dodds. Click on image to enlarge.

Karl Kwok The internationally crewed Team Beau Geste from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club mounted a stunning defence of their first round result in the TP52 Southern Cross Cup, wrapping up stage two this afternoon on Melbourne's Port Phillip by a whopping 15 points.

In a repeat of the stage one finishing order, second on the ladder to Team Beau Geste's final score of 11 points was Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan on 26 points. Coming in third, in the eight-race round, was Jason Van Der Slot's Calm 2 on 29 points.

The partnership of successful Chinese businessman Karl Kwok and his trusty helmsman Gavin Brady, who grew up in New Zealand the son of a commercial fisherman and went on to sailing greatness, has been a match made in heaven for close to two decades.

Eleven different boats called Beau Geste, soon to be 12 with an 80-foot existing maxi being revamped by Kwok, have delivered the Hong Kong skipper and his classy crew countless line honours and handicap victories around the world. The latest came today in the innovative four-stage circuit devised by a passionate bunch of Australian owners.

In WSW winds, which started out at 16 knots moderating to 10 knots by the final race, plus a nasty chop at times, Team Beau Geste used the final four races to put daylight between them and second on the IRC overall pointscore.

Event organisers New Tack are excited to be taking the remaining two rounds of the inaugural Australian TP52 series to Sydney later in the year. The venue and dates are yet to be announced. -- Lisa Ratcliff

Results at

Groupe Bel Launched In Port-La-Foret
Kito de Pavant is taking to the sea again on the new Open 60 Groupe Bel. Completely repaired following its misfortunes during the Vendee Globe, the red hull which sports the smile of The Laughing Cow was relaunched in Port-la-Foret (Brittany). Following an extremely thorough refit, Groupe Bel will be put through her paces before embarking on a fine programme of races and a record attempt.

From now until the end of June when Bel's sailing sponsorship comes to an end, the skipper will be at the helm of Groupe Bel at the Grand Prix Guyader in Douarnenez (3-6 May), at the prize giving of the Vendee Globe in Les Sables d'Olonne (11 May) as well as the Giraglia Rolex Cup (Saint-Tropez-San Remo, Italy, 9-16 June). And lastly, "if the Mistral kicks in properly," Kito would also like to better his own Mediterranean Record solo on a monohull between Marseille and Carthage, Tunisia (1d 21h20').

Three maritime festivals are in the programme, two on the Atlantic coast and one in the Mediterranean. "It is with great pleasure that we will be taking part in the Grand Prix Guyader, an event which brings together sailing boats of all sizes, from Vendee Globe competitors to Kite Surfing and Stand Up Paddle aficionados on the splendid Bay of Douarnenez," stated Kito, who took part in the event in 2008. "Groupe Bel will then be delivered to Port Camargue with a possible stopover in Les Sables d'Olonne if the weather allows for the Vendee Globe prize giving which is a fine occasion to be shared with the public in the Vendee region. I'll certainly be there anyway, with or without the boat!

And lastly, the third rendez-vous which we really wanted to attend with Bel: the Giraglia Rolex Cup where over 200 exceptional sailing boats come together, A race between Saint-Tropez, Corsica and San Remo which combines competition and enjoyment to perfection. We put in a good result in 2009 (7th on elapsed time), and so competing in this event again is a fitting way to conclude the programme with Bel, all the more so because the long race finishes in Italy, not far from where the boat was born in 2007."

Kito and Groupe Bel will also be on standby in Port Camargue in late May and early June. "We will keep a close eye on the weather between Marseille and Carthage to be ready to pounce on any opportunity to have a go at the solo record.

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For more information, visit the dedicated page:

Jason Ker's New Class40 Design for Team Concise
With the 130th boat due to be launched this year, the Class40 represents one of the most successful ever genres of offshore racing yacht. Joining the fleet this year will be a new designer who has combined forces with an old team in a new initiative.

Jason Ker, former Principle Designer for the Team Shosholoza America's Cup challenge, has penned the Forty(1)Design to a brief from Tony Lawson's UK-based Team Concise. In addition to complying with Class40 rules, the aim of the new boat to become a one design within the Class40, while at the same time bucking the trend of escalating costs.

"At present one-off Class 40s cost more than 500,000 Euros to put on the water," says Team Concise skipper Ned Collier Wakefield, who is managing the project. "The aim of the Forty(1)Design is for it to be competitive with the latest one-offs, but at a similar price to the racing spec production Class40s."

300,000 Euros (ex sails, electronics, running rigging, shipping and tax) is set to be the price tag of the Forty(1)Design. Complete it will therefore cost a fraction more than the racing versions of existing production Class 40s, but will have a much higher spec as standard, including epoxy construction, optimised kick-up rudders, a high strength steel fin, premium deck gear package, premium mast, etc.

The Forty(1)Design cockpit stops short of the transom. This provides a optimised place to stack sails, removes flotation that inhibits the 90° test, while helping the boat achieve the mandatory 180 degree inversion test required for the Global Ocean Race.

At the transom there are VO70-style 'batwings', elevating the chainplates for the runners/spinnaker sheet turning blocks. As Jason Ker explains: "The higher you can get your sheeting point, the more range you can get out of each sail and the more evenly you can trim your sails through different wind angles."

The boat features twin kick-up rudders.

Team Concise is getting hull no1 of the Forty(1)Design. This is due to arrive in the UK in July. Its first regatta will be the Class40 Worlds in Plymouth over 17-20th August.

Somers Payne
Somers Payne, the quiet genius of Cork sailing, has died at the age of 87. From a long-established Munster sailing family going back several generations, he was raised in a household where Corinthian sport afloat was a natural part of life - his father had been a noted international medallist in the International 12s, and was renowned as one of Cork Harbours most talented helmsmen when Somers was born.

He was christened John Somers Payne, but there was no way he was ever known as John or Jack. To people of all ages and in all walks of life (for he was very much part of his community), he was simply 'Somers' - quiet and friendly, unassuming in everyday life, yet very positively an ace in a boat. The records will show that in an era when Olympic aspiration in Irish sailing was a lonely calling, he doggedly kept at it in sailing a Finn, and represented Ireland with credit in both the Melbourne Olympics of 1956, and the Rome games in 1960.

But it was in the focused local enthusiasm of National 18 racing in Cork Harbour that he was most truly himself, and he was able to transfer this skill in style to national and international championships, winning more National 18 titles than any other skipper. He was also much in demand as a helmsman on keelboats, and listed Admirals Cup campaigns among his many accomplishments.

Our sympathies are with the family and friends of Somers Payne, and with his many shipmates, who cherish the fond memories of a quiet man with a pleasant sense of humour who was an asset to any boat he sailed on.

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The Last Word
The more walking-around money I have, the less I walk around. -- Iggy Pop

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