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Practice Makes...
Photo by Mark Lloyd, Click on image for photo gallery.

Route des Princes As the final dress rehearsal for Friday's first points scoring inshore races of the Routes des Prince, two training races Thursday gave an immediate insight into how close the short, sharp round the buoys course racing will be.

Two days of these inshore races, totaling up to six contests, are scheduled before the fleet leaves Sunday for Leg 1 from Valencia to Lisbon, Portugal.

Honours, little as they may be worth, proved to be pretty even after the Route des Princes fleet took to Valencia's waters off Malvarossa beach for the first skirmish in perfect conditions, 12-15knots of sea breeze and sunshine.

It was the newest MOD70, Jean Pierre Dick's Virbac Paprec, which made the best start until Sebastien Josse's crew on Edmond de Rothschild took over the lead. But they could not defend against the advances of Oman Air Musandam and it was Sidney Gavignet's international crew which took the first winning gun with Spindrift in second and Edmond de Rothschild third. In the Multi 50's it was Erwan Le Roux's, FenetreA-Cardinal which won the training race.

There was little change in the conditions for the second race and after Oman Air Musandam lead early on, this time it was Spindrift which triumphed while FenetreA-Cardinal completed the double.

The major dates for the Route des Princes

Valencia (Spain)
Inshore races: on 7 and 8 June
Start of leg 1: on 9 June

Lisbon (Portugal)
ETA: on 12 June
Inshore races: on 14 and 15 June
Start of leg 2: on 16 June

Dùn Laoghaire (Ireland)
ETA: on 20 June
Inshore races: on 22 and 23 June
Start of leg 3: on 24 June

Plymouth (England)
ETA: on 26 June
Inshore races: on 28 and 29 June
Start of leg 4: on the evening of 29 June

Roscoff (France)
ETA: on 30 June

Perfect Conditions On Day 2 Of Racing In Porto Cervo
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta If anyone had thought that the lighter airs on Day One of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta were an indicator of a light regatta in general, they were proved resoundingly wrong on Day Two. The regatta, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and co-organised by Boat International Media, hit its stride on Thursday as the wind built gradually during the day to offer the fleet of 21 sailing superyachts a perfect day on the water.

For Day Two's race, the race committee reversed the starting sequence sending the fastest rated yacht off first. With 10 knots of breeze blowing across the start line from the southeast, the medium wind rating band was selected and Peter Craig - Principle Race Officer for the event - picked three similar courses for the three classes. It was a great course, sending the fleet downwind across the start line, through bomb alley - the channel between the main island of Sardinia and the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena - before heading round the back of La Maddalena and beating to the finish line off Porto Cervo.

When the provisional results came in, the 25.4m My Song claimed her second bullet on corrected time in Class A, while Salperton's charge meant she took victory in Class B, ahead of the Southern Wind Cape Arrow and Zefira, who suffered a torn spinnaker during the race. In Class C, the 27m yawl Bequia held on to take her second win of the regatta, putting her in a great position for the final two days of racing.

Even for the yachts that didn't do so well on the results sheet, today was still a magical day, full of the beauty and power of sailing these magnificent yachts in ideal conditions.

Racing continues Friday with the first start scheduled at 12:00.

RNLI Lifeboats Celebrate 50 Years Of Service
D class at Aberystwyth. Photo by RNLI/Kirsti Pawlowski. Click on image to enlarge.

RNLI This week the RNLI's D class inshore lifeboat will be turning 50. The charity's longest serving type of inshore lifeboat has come a long way since it was used to rescue two men and a dog in Aberystwyth in June 1963.

Half a century later it is still going strong. David Davies, now RNLI Station Treasurer at Aberystwyth lifeboat station, was crew there in the 1960s and was one of the first to launch the D class lifeboat on a rescue to a person who had drifted out to sea on an inflatable.

He said: 'The introduction of the D class lifeboat was exciting for the younger crew. The new boat had the capability of 20 knots which was much faster than the 8 knot Liverpool class lifeboat.

He continued: 'The D class was exhilarating and exciting; the fastest most of us had ever travelled on sea. It also attracted younger people to join the crew - some of the older crew said it would never replace the bigger boats, but they were wrong, in 1964 the D class replaced the Liverpool class Lifeboat at Aberystwyth.'

Having been refined and improved over the years, there are now 111 D class lifeboats serving in the RNLI fleet. During its 50 years saving lives at sea, the D class lifeboat has played a vital role for the RNLI because of its manoeuvrability and design which allows it to work in shallow water and broken surf; areas in which other lifeboats are unable to operate.

Last year D class lifeboats launched 2,335 times (28% of all launches) rescuing 1,649 people and saving 100 lives.

Busy Day On San Franciso Bay
Defender ORACLE TEAM USA and challengers Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand practiced on San Francisco Bay today. The defender and Kiwis were foiling in their AC72s, while Artemis was out in its foiling AC45.

Emirates Team New Zealand supremo Grant Dalton said the crew was still learning the intricacies of the Bay.

"The tide is going out now and really the first week or so we had the tide coming in so the look is a bit different, the waves are a bit more but nothing dramatic. I think we saw 20 knots on the dial today so it was just more of the same out there," Dalton said.

The new foiling AC72s enlivened an America's Cup luminary last week. Australian John Bertrand, who won the 1983 Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup as skipper of the 12-Meter Australia II, visited ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand during a trip to San Francisco.

"The boats are sensational," Bertrand said. "The technology blows me away. It's extremely sophisticated and very interesting. The rules never intended for the boats to be foiling, but the Kiwis clearly found an elegant solution, which all the other syndicates have followed. That will have a fantastic trickle-down effect into the sport of sailing. The combination of speed and technology is exciting."

Fastnet Focus
Quantum Sailmakers The Rolex Fastnet Race is often a light-wind affair. But as anyone who knows their Fastnet history is aware, the race of 1979 was very different indeed, while the 1985 edition was also no picnic with severe gales and driving rain for more than 80 per cent of the event's duration. Quantum Germany's Sven Krause, a veteran of 'four and a half' Fastnet races, recalls the '85 event very well. 'The "half" was in '85 when we were caught in Force 10 winds; all our electrics were wiped out and we had to retire,' he says. 'We later found out we were just a few miles from where the Maxi yacht Drum had capsized in the same storm.'

Still, Krause's four and a half Fastnets stand him in good stead for designing sails for those taking part in this summer's 605-mile classic. 'We have designed some new sails for a Swan 441 Racing version, Best Buddies. The owners, Kay and Susann Wrede, have put a lot of time and energy into getting as much speed out of her as they can. We have focused on sails that are fast and strong enough for a busy season.

The sails are constructed from Quantum's Fusion M membrane technology. 'Rather than building the sail on a shaped mould in 3D form,' explains Krause, 'we laminate the membrane sail in flat form on a workbench. This enables us to apply more pressure and direct heat and use a thermo-setting adhesive that achieves superior lamination.

Full story in Seahorse:

Belle Aventure Withdraws From Marion to Bermuda Race
The 90 foot ketch Belle Aventure has withdrawn from this year's Marion Bermuda Race, leaving local sloop Spirit of Bermuda as the sole entry in the new Classic Yacht Division.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances with the owners' schedules, S/Y Belle Aventure will not be able to sail to Bermuda this year during the Marion to Bermuda Race," read a statement from Belle Aventure captain Dave Thompson. "We were looking forward to racing but will have to delay for another year. Both the crew and owners apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and wish all the participants luck in the race this year."

Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) Commodore Allan Williams added: "I don't know the reasons (for the late withdrawal) but notwithstanding I'm very disappointed." Belle Aventure's withdrawal has reduced this year's overall Marion Bermuda race fleet from 39 to 38 boats.

Flying the Island's banner along with Spirit of Bermuda in the biennial 645 mile ocean race is the 40-foot Hinckley, Alice Kay, that is competing in the Founders Division.

This year's race is scheduled to get underway on June 14 in Buzzards Bay, Marion, Massachusetts and finish off St David's Head, Bermuda. -- Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette

IRC Small Boat Regatta
Following last year's successful launch of this new event, focused entirely on small keel boats with an IRC rating below 0.960 and less than 35 feet long, this year's event is sponsored by SailSpy ( ), the GoPro camera sailing specialists.

Last year saw 29 entries over two classes, and some really tight racing, over a mix of courses. This year, races will again be based on the Solent 'plateau', to reduce the effect of tides even more, and entry numbers are expected to be even higher.

There will be 5 races over Saturday and Sunday, on a weekend chosen for its neap tides - to favour these smaller racing yachts - with hospitality at the Island Sailing Club on Saturday evening and the prize giving on Sunday afternoon.

Berthing, at discounted rates, has been arranged at Shepards Wharf marina in Cowes. Book with Chris Thomas at the Island Sailing Club or 01983 249 431 giving boat name, draft, beam, LOA and the dates staying. Payments direct to Shepards Wharf.

On-line entry is available at or via the Island Sailing Club on or telephone 01983 296621.

Royal Southampton Two-Day Double Handed Regatta
Celebrating its 6th birthday, the Sharp's Doom Bar Double Handed Regatta will be held over the weekend of Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June. There will be two races on Saturday and one on Sunday, all in the central Solent and with classes for IRC, RSYC, and MOCRA rated boats.

A prizegiving will proceed a racers' dinner on the Saturday evening at the RSYC's Ocean Village clubhouse where MDL will provide berthing concessions for competing boats. Sponsor's prizes will be awarded by RSYC club member Mike Golding who will be attending the Club for a celebration of his recent Vendee Globe circumnavigation.

Mike will give an after-dinner talk about his Vendee race for competitors and guests.

Whilst the Sharp's Doom Bar Double Handed Regatta is a stand-alone event, it is part of the now full annual programme of RSYC double handed races. The RSYC pioneered double handed racing in the UK with the first 'Island Double', a race around the Isle of Wight, in 1981. Their programme has strengthened such that the club now offers a season-long series of inshore and offshore races. The popularity of these events is reflected in the consistently high entry levels with the Island and Nab doubles regularly attracting in excess of 100 boats.

AC Naples Probes
Naples, Italy: Probes into suspected contract rigging for the America's Cup events that took place in Naples in 2012 and 2013 were opened and police searched government buildings on Thursday.

Investigations include the brother of the city's mayor, Claudio de Magistris, along with the mayor's chief of staff Attilio Auricchio, the Chamber of Commerce President Maurizio Maddaloni, president of Naples Industrial Union Paolo Graziano and the Naples America's Cup manager Mario Hubler.

Not Your Average Fiji Race
David Nathan's 52 foot race yacht, V5, is the first keelboat to finish the Auckland to Musket Cove, Fiji Ocean Race.

V5 crossed the line just after midday today, in a time of five days, five minutes and two seconds - or 125 hours, five minutes and two seconds.

Crewman Blair Tuke says it was not the average Auckland to Fiji race.

"It was a tricky race, with different weather systems," he says.

V5 was fortunate to stay ahead of some of the rougher seas. To finish in five days it maintained an average speed of 9.5 knots, but was peaking well in excess of 25 knots yesterday and today - two sail reaching in squally conditions yesterday, and then blitzing the trade winds today.

"We toughed out the bad times to get into the good systems," says Blair.

There are now only two boats left in the race: Andrew and Ray Lodge's Wild Card, and 49nm behind, the Tauranga entry, Squealer.

For Squealer to beat V5 on PHTF Handicap, they will need to finish before 0600hrs on Saturday 8th June. For Wildcard to beat V5, they will have to finish before midnight on 7 June. At current boat speeds, it is an achievable target but there is no room for error.

Two boats, Outrageous Fortune and Equilibrium, have retired.

Polynesian Canoe On World Sail
Hokule'a is a full-scale replica of a wa'a kaulua, a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Launched way back in 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, she is best known for her 1976 Hawai?i to Tahiti voyage performed with Polynesian navigation techniques. Many thousands of miles later she is to embark on a much more ambitious voyage.

She began the first leg of a worldwide voyage this week with a 'Malama Hawai'i' statewide sail. There are 22 legs planned for Hokulea's voyage around the world, but the first and final are both right at home in Hawaii.

Over the next four years, Hokule'a and her escort boat and sister canoe, Hikianalia, will travel to 28 countries and stop at 85 international ports - sailing more than 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

But before they set sail for international waters, Hokule'a and Hikianalia will spend the first five months of their journey right sailing around Hawaii.

'Around Hawai'i sail is the first leg. It's only a thousand miles, probably the shortest of all of them, but it's the most important,' described Thompson, before adding this portion of the voyage is crucial to making sure all 250 crew members are trained and prepared before heading to the South Pacific next May.

Hokule'a has already sailed 137,000 miles, but crew members say this journey is her biggest undertaking since they landed in Tahiti in 1976 on her maiden voyage. -- Mileka Lincoln, Hawaii News Now/Sail-World

Thanks To The Irish Navy
An elderly Norwegian couple last night paid an emotional 'thank you' to the Irish Naval Service for saving them from horrendous seas after a dream voyage turned into a nightmare.

Erik (62) and Gretta (62) Ostberg from Haugesund in Norway were enjoying warm food and drinks in Castletownbere after they were escorted there when their yacht was badly damaged by raging seas in the mid-Atlantic.

"We are very happy to be ashore. We were very worried when the mast came down," Mr Ostberg said.

"We are very grateful to the Irish Navy. I do not know what we would have done without them."

Their yacht, the 10m wooden-hulled 'Alice II', lost both its bowsprit and main mast in raging seas three days ago.The accident happened as they were en route from the Azores to the Hebrides and then back to Norway.

Featured Brokerage
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The Tarac 33 designed by Hakan Sodergeren, is the ideal daysailor for coastal cruising or racing. Single handed or sailing with family or friends the Tarac 33 has race performance and big boat comfort. A brilliantly planned package.

Brokerage through S.D.Marine Ltd.:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break. -- Robert Anton Wilson

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