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IRC Form Guide - 300 Boats Fight For The Fastnet Challenge Cup
While the headline grabbing big boats may romp away come Sunday's start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the world's largest offshore yacht race, a longer more intricate battle will play out between the 300 boats competing for the handicap prize, the Fastnet Challenge Cup, for the winner under IRC rating.

This year there is one obvious favourite. Niklas Zennstrom's Judel Vrolijk 72 Ran 2 is run with all the precision of an America's Cup team and the result has been her winning the last two Rolex Fastnet Races. The team is gunning to claim it a third time and if this pans out, Ran 2 will become the first boat to win three times in a row.

This time Ran 2 faces her stiffest competition. "It is getting tougher," acknowledges Ran 2's skipper, Tim Powell. "Obviously Bella Mente is a newer version of us. There are the VO70s which have proven to be good IRC boats. Plus with long offshore races like the Fastnet you always need an element of good fortune on your side in terms of the weather favouring your size of boat."

Journeying all the way from Australia to compete, Geoff Boettcher's Reichel Pugh 51 Secret Men's Business 3.5 is something of an unknown. Boettcher no doubt fondly remembers winning the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, when Ran 2 finished eighth overall.

And who's looking good in the smaller classes? French boats dominated in 2011 and look to do so again. Gery Trentesaux, this year campaigning the 34ft Courrier Vintage, believes this is because: "We prefer offshore and coastal races because we compete in so many Figaros and Tour de France la Voiles.

While the French first and second placed winners in IRC 1 return in the Grand Soleil 43, Codiam, and Laurent Gouy's Ker 39, Inis Mor, the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 of 83-year-old Dutchman Piet Vroon is favourite. Tonnerre de Breskens 3 was overall RORC champion in 2010 and 2011 and is on track to repeat this in 2013.

"If I was a betting man I'd put my money on the 72 footers, Ran 2/Bella Mente, but it depends on what the weather is going to do," says Vroon, who won the Rolex Fastnet Race overall in 2001 with his previous 52ft Tonnerre de Breskens 3.

Denmark And Australia Through To Nations Cup Semi-Final
Click on image to enlarge.

Nations Cup Denmark's Nicolai Sehested and Australia's David Gilmour skippered their countries into the semi-final yesterday at the Nations Cup in Middelfart, Denmark.

Australia were unbeaten in all five matches to jump to the top of six-nation Group B. They finished the round-robin stage level on 8 points out of 10 with Brazil's Henrique Haddad, who won four races for the second consecutive day. But Gilmour qualified by virtue of having beaten Haddad on Thursday.

That victory in the second flight of the day was particularly satisfying for Gilmour as his new team began to gel and they were able to turn Haddad's aggression against him, laying a second, vital, penalty as the Brazilian came back. As he himself predicted Japan's Wataru Sakamoto, who won four of five on Wednesday in the Match28 boats, struggled in the larger DS37s and won only two of five on Thursday. But he will still qualify for the repechage with Australia's Ashlen Rooklyn. Canada's Peter Wickwire and America's Dustin Durant did not make the cut.

In the seven-nation Group A in the Match28s, local boy, Sehested, 23, is definitely through to the semi-finals with 10 wins from 11 races over the two days.

But the other two qualifiers from Group A are less clear. Sweden should take one but Denmark's other team, skippered by Rasmus Viltoft and France's Arthur Herreman, have a showdown for the final spot tomorrow morning.

Weather forecast: Westerly 8-10 knots

Leaderboard Shuffle
Some major changes in a shuffle of the leaderboard top 10, with a tricky day of racing delivering contrasting results for teams, as the wind shifted and the pressure continually changed. An incredibly hard to read race course, with inconsistency in results keeping the scoreline close with only a few points between teams on this first day of finals.

Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) briefly lost the lead to Great Britain's Luke Patience/Joe Glanfield after the day's opening race. The same story for Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) in the 470 women, with Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie stepping up to the front after the first race, but by the end of the day, the scoreboard ended where it started with the Australians and French on top.

470 Men - Provisional Top 10 Overall

1. Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) - 10 points
2. Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox (NZL) - 18
3. Sofian Bouvet/Jeremie Mion (FRA) - 18
4. Luke Patience/Joe Glanfield (GBR) - 20
5. Pierre Leboucher/Nicolas Le Berre (FRA) - 23
6. Onan Barreiros/Juan Curbelo (ESP) - 24
7. Lucas Calabrese/Juan de la Fuente (ARG) - 30
8. Nicholas Rogers/Elliot Willis (GBR) - 37
9. David Bargehr/Lukas Mahr (AUT) - 38
10. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) - 43

470 Women - Top 10 Overall

1. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) - 16
2. Xiaoli Wang/Xufeng Huang (CHN) - 18
3. Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO) - 20
4. Xiaomei Xu/Chunyan Yu (CHN) - 21
5. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan (BRA) - 28
6. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) - 28
7. Annika Bochmann/Elisabeth Panuschka (GER) - 29
8. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) - 33
9. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes van Veen (NED) - 33
10. Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) - 36

Helena Lucas Wins Ladies Day Trophy
Photo by Rick Tomlinson, Click on image to enlarge.

Cowes Week Helena Lucas, MBE, was awarded the Ladies Day Trophy at the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week Ladies Day ceremony earlier this evening.

Lucas was chosen as winner of this prestigious Ladies Day award from a strong line-up of nominees, but it was her sheer determination that has encouraged many other women to become involved in sailing that contributed to her being presented with the 2013 Ladies Day Trophy award.

Lucas, who was born with no thumbs and limited extension in her arms, made history claiming 2.4mR Paralympic gold medal at London 2012, becoming the first ever female winner of the male dominated Paralympic class and Britain's first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist.

She is also in the unusual position of having completed both Olympic and Paralympic campaigns. Having sailed 470s since 1997, she moved into the Paralympic 2.4mR in 2003 before making her Paralympic Games debut at Beijing 2008, finishing seventh. Lucas is continuing on the road to Rio 2016 on a quest for her second gold medal.

This week Lucas is sailing an SB20 with her coach Ian Barker - Olympic Silver Medallist in Sydney 2000 in the 49er class, and Vicky Rawlinson - former 420 youth world champion and Olympic 470 trialist.

Ocean Safety Supplies Toe In The Water For Fastnet Race
Ocean Safety Ocean Safety has provided Kru Sport Pro lifejackets and Kannad R10 Survival Recovery Systems to each of the 16 crew of 'Team Endeavour' who are taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race aboard a Farr 52. But this is no ordinary crew. 'Team Endeavour' will have a number of military personnel on board who have suffered life changing injuries, despite which they are all still servicing members of the armed forces.

The campaign is being managed by tri-service charity Toe in the Water which has provided the yacht, generously donated to the charity by its former owners, that will be on the August 11th start line.

"Kru Sport Pro from Ocean Safety is the best choice for long distance racing in terms of comfort and compact design," says Ocean Safety's Charlie Mill. "We are pleased to be partnering with Toe in the Water for one of sailing's iconic races."

Each crew member is also equipped with the Kannad SRS R10 AIS man overboard recovery system which will hugely increase the chances of recovery in the event of a man overboard.

Williams Heads To Quarter Final
Photo by Brian Carlin / AWMRT, Click on image to enlarge.

WMRT Chicago, USA: Ian Williams and his team GAC Pindar lead the field at the end of a long and intense second day at the Chicago Match Cup. Last year's winner at this event and the reigning World Champion of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour has already won Qualifying with 8 wins and 2 losses, with a final match against Keith Swinton still to come.

The Windy City was just that today, delivering an ideal 10-15 knot northeast breeze that kept the course area pinned right up against the east end of Navy Pier in perfect placement for the thousands of spectators that were on hand today to watch all the action.

The only team that could match Williams' 8 wins is the qualifying team from Australia, Jordan Reece and his Estate Master Sailing Team on 6 wins and 3 losses.

Canfield and USone along with Bjorn Hansen and eWork Sailing Team are also looking well placed, although no one has had it all their own way. The other Qualifier team, Don Wilson and his local team representing Chicago Match Race Center, have done a good job of taking some big scalps - Williams, Reece and Adam Minoprio among them - yet have lost out to some of the lower-placed crews.

Adam Minoprio's fishing adventure with race officer Peter 'Luigi' Reggio's committee boat looks to have cost him a guaranteed place in the Quarter Finals. Instead the 2009 Tour World Champion will have to battle it out with the rest of those who finished in the bottom eight of the 12 teams in Chicago in tomorrow's repechage.

Results after 15 out of 17 Qualifying
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 8-2
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 7-4
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team 6-4
Jordan Reece (AUS) Estate Master Sailing Team powered by Etihad Airways 6-3
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX 5-6
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 5-4
Gavin Brady (USA) Team Vesper 5-6
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 4-6
Don Wilson (USA) Chicago Match Race Center 4-7
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 4-6
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 4-5
Will Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket 2-7

Let's Do The Time Warp Again
ORACLE TEAM USA's AC45 yachts have withdrawn, retrospectively, from the last four AC World Series regattas.

This follows an internal investigation led by CEO Russell Coutts, which determined that prior to racing in the regattas the yachts were modified without the permission of the Measurement Committee. The withdrawal is in spite of the fact that the modifications had no impact on the performance of the boats.

The AC45s are a class of 45-foot training yachts used in previous world circuit regattas and have not raced since Naples in April 2013. They are distinct from the AC72 yachts (72-footers) being raced in this year's Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup.

The modifications were made over a year ago by a small number of team members involved in the AC45 circuit, without the knowledge of management or the skippers, and without having followed standard internal procedures.

"Our team is very disappointed by this turn of events, and I believe that voluntarily withdrawing from these past AC45 regattas is the appropriate corrective action," Coutts said. "Going forward we remain focused on our AC72 training in preparation for the upcoming America's Cup this September."

A Sailing App To Log Your Voyage - Alert Friends, Coastguard
Now here's an App that could change the boating habits of a generation of sailors, but for now it's just for Ireland. An App which logs your voyage directly onto your Smartphone so that friends and the local coastguard can monitor your voyage.

The Irish Sailing Association has just announced the introduction of ISA SafeTrx. It's free, and it's certainly smart. Other Coastguard organisations take note.

This App is so revolutionary it might go a long way to taking the anguish away from friends and family worrying about sailors on voyages, and could be destined to save lives on the water by having a yacht logged and the information easily accessible throughout their voyage.

Developed in association with Irish Coast Guard and DeCare Systems Ireland, ISA SafeTrx allows boat and leisure craft owners to log their voyages directly from their Smartphone which can then be accessed and monitored by their chosen contacts as well as the Coast Guard.

Available for both Android & Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad), ISA SafeTrx logs position reports every kilometre (or every 5 minutes if stationary). Should the user fail to return on time their Emergency Contacts will be alerted via SMS and advised to initiate the appropriate action. How Smart is that!

For more information and to download the app for free go to

Early Leaders Back On Top At Avantime ORC European Championship
Sandhamn, Sweden: After a long postponement awaiting wind to start, the third inshore race of the Avantime ORC European Championship finally got underway in the mid-afternoon today, with results that have placed the early series leaders back on top.

A light and shifty 6-7 knots gave race managers enough breeze to set a course and get the race started, and those that did well in Classes 1 and 3 did so by convincing margins, while Class 2 ended being quite close.

In Class 1 Thomas Nilsson's Norwegian team on their TP52 Trucknor Wolfpack used their speed advantage to get away from the pack and take the race by 1 minute 41 seconds in corrected time over local favorite Ralf Aspholm's Landmark 43 Datacom. The win has put Trucknor in the lead in the class by a 4.5-point margin over fellow Norwegian Ole Martin Vordahl's Cookson 50 Camilla, who rose through the rankings after their twin victories in yesterday's two offshore races.

Class 3 was also won by an even larger margin - 4 minutes 24 seconds - by Estonian Aivar Tuulberg and his Arcona 340 Katarina II, with the remaining finishers left to fight amongst themselves for the remaining 2-3 minutes in corrected time. The early class leader - Mihkel Kosk's Estonian team on his NM38 Sugar 2 - had their worst race of the series so far, losing 6th place by only 2 seconds, but their finish was still good enough to regain the class lead by only one point over Katarina. The top three entries in this class are currently within only 2.5 points.

But Class 2 was won by the closest margin, where Heinz-Peter Schmidt's green Evento 42 Silva-Hispaniola from Germany, 2011 ORC European Champion, defeated the early series leader, Priit Tammem├Ągi's Estonian X-41 Premium, by only 36 seconds. But Premium's 2nd place was good enough to launch her back into the lead, though only by a 1-point margin over Bengt Falkenberg's Swedish First 40 Teknova/Albatross.

Two more inshore races are planned for tomorrow, with only one more is needed for a discard in scores that may further shuffle the results.

Nab Tower Make-Over
Photo by Barry Pickhall, Click on image to enlarge.

Nab Tower The Nab Tower is half way through reconstruction to extend the structure's life for a further 50 years.

The iconic tower has marked the eastern end of the Solent for close to a century, survived countless storms and the impact from several ships that have run into it.

So far, the top sections of the outer external steel tower, which had badly deteriorated, have been removed, in a plan to reduce the tower's overall height - and with it, maintenance costs.

The tower will be equipped with a fixed light with a 12 nautical mile range, together with AIS and RACON beacons. The work is scheduled to be completed in October.

Originally, the 10,000-ton Nab Tower was one of 12 planned to be floated out and sunk across the Varne Shoal in a line from Dungeness to Calais during World War 1 to form an effective wall to stop German U boats from entering the English Channel.

Construction began in 1918 in Shoreham Harbour, where they became known as the 'Mystery Towers', for though 5,000 people were employed on their construction, very few knew what the towers were destined for.

By the time the war ended in 1918, only two towers had been completed, and after much discussion the first was named the Nab Tower and floated out to act as a navigation mark off Selsey Bill. Her sister tower was demolished.

Featured Brokerage
Featured Brokerage Boat 1997 ILC 40. EUR 78,000. Located in Netherlands.

ILC 40 reset to original design and weight distribution 2008 by Standfast.

World champion, European champion in 1997 as Mean Machine
2009 winner of the Bloodhound cup in the RORC Fastnet-race
2010 Winner of the North Sea Race in ORC 1. 2nd in the North Sea Regatta

Brokerage through Bach Yachting International:

Complete listing details and seller contact information at

The Last Word
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