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America's Cup Begins Saturday
The "September Showdown" for the 34th America's Cup begins this weekend. ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill has cast his team as the underdog. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says nothing less than victory will do. Such are the storylines for the defender and challenger with the biggest race of their lives set to begin Saturday.

Spithill and Barker are familiar foes, having raced against each other for many years. And the two teams have long tenures in the America's Cup arena: Emirates Team New Zealand can trace its genesis to the 1987 Cup off Fremantle, Western Australia. ORACLE TEAM USA has been racing since the 2003 Cup in Auckland, New Zealand. Collectively they've won the America's Cup three times with ORACLE TEAM USA winning most recently in 2010 and Emirates Team New Zealand winning in 1995 and 2000.

The first race is scheduled to start at 1:15 pm PT on Saturday.

"I think the development of both teams' boats has effectively come to the pointy end of the spear," said Emirates Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby. "We've come from one direction, they've come from another, but foil wise, aerodynamically, both boats are quite evenly matched, and I think the sailing teams are evenly matched as well."

ORACLE TEAM USA may or may not be an underdog, but Spithill does have in his crew one of the most experienced sailors to ever race on San Francisco Bay, tactician John Kostecki. Kostecki estimates he's raced on the Bay for more than 45 years, and labels it one of the best sailing venues in the world.

The winner of the 34th America's Cup will be the first to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means nine race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 11, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Racing is scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two races per day scheduled to start at 1:15 and 2:15 pm PT.

Coutts Blasts The Jury Decisions
Oracle chief executive Sir Russell Coutts has labelled the punishment meted out to his syndicate in the wake of a cheating scandal as "outrageous".

Coutts broke his silence on the decision by the international jury that has cost his team points, sailors and fines ahead of Sunday's opening America's Cup race, and suggested the New Zealand media "had a win" out of the jury.

Coutts offered little more than a three-paragraph statement after jury yesterday delivered the heaviest punishments in the 162-year history of the cup, saying his syndicate "disagreed" with the penalties.

But he opened up to the local San Francisco Chronicle today, clearly angry and worried about the precedent that had been set.

"I'm astounded, to be honest with you, that they penalised the whole team for this," Coutts told the city's biggest newspaper.

"It sets an outrageous precedent for the future. Imagine an Olympic team, and one member infringes a rule. Does that mean the whole team gets penalised?"

The paper also felt Coutts thought the jury might have been swayed by the New Zealand media, which, he said, "had a win out of all this."

Invest Africa Wins Race 1
Invest Africa has won Race 1 of the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race by five miles after race organisers had to shorten the course because of prevailing conditions.

Great Britain beat Qingdao by just 0.07 miles to come in second and third place respectively. In addition, two teams received time penalties for infringing the Dover Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). This resulted in Mission Performance and Old Pulteney slipping from potential podium places in second and third respectively to the bottom of the table.

Race Director Justin Taylor made the decision that the yachts were to cease racing yesterday afternoon because of a lack of wind and strong tides.

The boat positions were then used to calculate the rhumb line distance to Creac'h Lighthouse on Ushant off the French coast. 

The result is still provisional until evidence of positions is verified.

Regarding the penalties, Race Director Justin Taylor explained: "Although Mission Performance and Old Pulteney finished second and third respectively, they both admitted to infringing the Dover TSS, and as per the Course Instructions have both been given a six hour time penalty plus an added time penalty for not returning to the position of the infringement before starting to re-race.

"This resulted in a seven hour 20 minute penalty of Old Pulteney and a nine hour penalty for Mission Performance, putting them at the bottom of the table. It will be very tough on the teams but an important lesson that the Course Instructions must be followed to the letter."

The remainder of the fleet will arrive in Brest, France, this afternoon (local time) for a four-day stopover before the race to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, starts on Monday from the Rade du Brest.

The final provisional results are therefore as follows:
1. Invest Africa
2. Great Britain
3. Qingdao
4. Team Garmin
5. PSP Logistics
6. One DLL
7. Switzerland
8. Henri Lloyd
8. Derry Londonderry Doire
10. Jamaica
11. Old Pulteney*
12. Mission Performance*

* After time penalty applied

Seahorse October 2013
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

Sails at the extreme
Bill Pearson draws attention to some of the significant milestones in the evolution of the latest offshore racing sails

Quietly evolving
Andy Rice catches up with foiler Moth guru Kevin Ellway ahead of this year’s worlds

Living the dream
America’s Cup sailor Peter Holmberg gives a step-by-step guide to planning a successful programme of racing in the Caribbean (mon...)

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Laser European and World Championships
Photo by Richard Langdon/Ocean Images, Click on image for photo gallery.

Laser Europeans Ireland's Annalise Murphy goes into the final races of the Laser European and World Championships tomorrow (Friday) on her native Dublin Bay with a comprehensive 17 point lead ahead of Holland's Olympic silver medallist Marit Bowmeester.

With the prospect of a breezy finale on the waters off Dun Laoghaire Murphy is looking to resume the same kind of form which has led to seven wins from her nine starts here and convert her big lead to her first major Laser Radial title. A disappointing 27th in today's light breezes is her discardable result.

In contrast the contest for the titles and trophies in the Olympic men's fleet is very delicately poised after two tricky races in light and unpredictable northerly winds today which made consistency very elusive. Indeed of the top ten sailors in the Men's fleet all sailed one good result and one poor, discarded race.

As Britain's Nick Thompson promoted himself to the top of the standings with a second place in the second of their pair of races today to earn a two points margin ahead of Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic and three up on Holland's Rutger Schaardenburg, Brazil's Robert Scheidt returned to shore frustrated to have scored his second poor result in consecutive days. After winning the first race he fell into a wind hole in the second contest and struggled to a 24th.

Top three by class

Laser Radial Women's European Championship
1. Annalise Murphy, IRL, 9 points
2. Marit Bouwmeester, NED, 26
3. Alison Young, GBR, 29

Laser Radial Men's World Championship
1. Tristan Brown, AUS, 12
2. Finn Lynch, IRL, 30
3. Marcin Rudawski, POL, 32

Laser Standard Men's European Championship
1. Nick Thompson, GBR, 29
2. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 31
3. Rutger Schaardenburg, NED, 32 for full results.

Cherbourg Race
Pascal Loison's JPK 10.10, Night And Day. Photo by Rolex / Kurt Arrigo. Click on image to enlarge.

Cherbourg Race The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Cherbourg Race this weekend is the penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points Championship with next month's Rolex Middle Sea Race bringing the championship to a conclusion. The sprint from Cowes to Cherbourg will be the last race across the English Channel and for many competing yachts it will mark the end of the nine month series which started in February.

The overall winner of the RORC Season's Points Championship will have accumulated the most number of points over the season. Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, is the current overall leader and is likely to win the Championship for the third time in four years. Edward Broadway's Ker 40, Hooligan VII, is in second place but only just ahead of Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum III, which closed the gap after scoring well in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Whilst Tonnerre de Breskens 3 looks to have won the RORC Season's Points Championship overall, the IRC Class results are yet to be decided. A boat's best five races are to count with only one carrying a points factor. Due to the discard rule, the Dutch flyer is currently third in IRC One. Magnum III is sitting in pole position for class honours with last year's class champion and 2012 RORC Yacht of the Year, Laurent Gouy's Ker 39, Inis Mor, lying second, just 16 points behind.

The star of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race will also be racing to Cherbourg. Pascal Loison's JPK 10.10, Night And Day, has had an astonishing season racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The Cherbourg Race will be their fifth of the season and the French team is looking to secure first place in both IRC Three and the Two-Handed Class for the RORC Season's Points Championship. -- Louay Habib

America's Cup - Why Is Anyone Surprised At Charges Of Cheating
Bob Fisher's America's Cup Book Why is anyone 'surprised' at charges of cheating against Larry Ellison and his men from Oracle Racing? The America's Cup has a 162 year history packed with deceit, gamesmanship and vast sums of money poured into winning this bottomless ewer at any cost.

You have only to read Bob Fisher's definitive 2-volume history  'An Absorbing Interest' to learn how this trophy has driven men on both sides of the world with otherwise unimpeachable records to go well beyond the bounds of sportsmanship in their efforts to win or defend this infamous Garrard fashioned ewer.

Bob, who has devoted the past 4 decades to writing about and researching the Cup says that the reasons why ultra-rich industrialists and traders have been prepared to throw Millions at a 58oz silver cup worth a fraction of each man's investment, remain as varied as their origins.

In 1893, the Earl of Dunraven was outdone by what he considered to be the deliberate actions of the defenders. A man, whose inherited wealth from landowning provided him with the opportunities to indulge his catholic tastes, was a figure of considerable erudition. Having studied Naval Architecture under Dixon Kemp, the leader on his side of the Atlantic in the late 19th century, Dunraven had the understanding to be certain of his facts when he accused the American crew of Vigilant  of altering their boat after measurement, to make it faster. The US crew took on extra water in the bilge to increase waterline length – a lot more than the paltry 5lb of weight Larry Ellison's boys have been found guilty of adding to their AC45 catamarans!  It caused the New York Yacht Club to hold an enquiry... which took the form of a kangaroo trial against Dunraven in order to exonerate its actions.

The aeronautical pioneer and aircraft manufacturer, Sir Thomas Sopwith, and his three challenges in 1899, 1903 and 1920 were undoubtedly of a sporting nature matched by that of his opponent, Harold Vanderbilt, a scion of the railroad building and operating family. Both men engaged the latest technology to challenge and defend this sporting trophy, yet there were undercurrents of less-than-proper behaviour by the defending yacht club in failing to hear a protest by the British skipper.

It was Bond, later disgraced over business corruption, who encouraged the promotion of technology within his syndicate. It proved to be the way to go, even if it was outside the literal terms of the Deed of Gift, and led to the most acrimonious America's Cup summer in 1983. This victory, which ended the longest sporting run in history in 1983, simply stirred others to seek the same glory

Subsequent economic improvements world wide have seen mega-changes in the structure of America's Cup racing, albeit still within the restrictions of the Deed of Gift. It was this legal instrument that Sir Michael Fay used in 1988 in order to end a conspiratorial effort by members of the San Diego Yacht Club to manipulate the America's Cup for their own benefit. The Court cases raged on long after the match had ended.

In 2003 Swiss multi billionaire, Ernesto Bertarelli, bought his way to success by hiring the sailing and design teams that had contributed to New Zealand's success to win the Cup for his landlocked yacht club in Geneva. Despite having passion for sailing, his efforts were motivated by a desire to profit commercially. When he took the Cup to Europe, he began with a bidding war for the venue that resulted in one of the nastiest of business negotiations.

After changing much of the structure of the Cup racing for the 30th edition in 2007, Bertarelli then attempted to extend his control further for the 31st edition by promoting an unqualified yacht club to run the challenger trials. Friendly hip pocket challenges were nothing new, but this attempt by Bertarelli to control both challenger and defender trials, led to considerable legal activity in the New York Courts. His defeat in the Court at the hands of one of America's richest men, Oracle head, Larry Ellison, led to an equally bitter challenge in multihulls, and to the Cup residing in San Francisco for this year's match with a class of 72ft catamarans – a long way from the schooners that raced in 1851 but just as testing both in terms of technology and sportsmanship.

The America's Cup, so full of connivance and intrigue, makes Bob Fisher's Bible such a good read. Only 150 copies remain of these numbered limited edition tomes, signed by the author. Once they have gone, there will be no more. They will be as rare and valued as Lawson's History of the America's Cup penned over a Century ago. -- Barry Pickthall

To sample some chapters and order your copy, visit

Fickle and Fervent
Action resumed Thursday at the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. While the verdicts in some of the classes are almost sealed, competition in others, including the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, is intensifying.

Following yesterday's lay day, the 37-strong fleet was put through its paces in stifling heat and with some fickle wind shifts in Porto Cervo. Mini Maxi and Wally classes contested two dramatic windward/leeward races. The remainder of the fleet completed a 31-nm coastal course taking in some of the highlights of the Maddalena Archipelago.

Today's winners were: Bella Mente (USA) with a second and a third in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship; Rainbow (NED) in J-Class; Morning Glory (GER) in Maxi Racing; Altair (ITA) in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Nilaya (GBR) in Supermaxi; and, J-One (GBR) with a first and a third in Wally.

Coastal courses are planned for all classes tomorrow.

Position, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races- Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. Shockwave (USA), George Sakellaris 4.5–1–3-(6)-3; 11.5
2. Alegre (GBR), Andy Soriano, 1.5–5–1-(11)-5; 12.5
3. Ran 2 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 3-4-2-10-7-; 16

Maxi Racing
1. Highland Fling (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1–1-2; 4
2. Morning Glory (GER), Hasso Plattner, 2-2-1; 5
3. Aegir (GBR), Brian Benjamin, 5–3-3; 11

Maxi Racer / Cruiser
1. Altair (ITA), Paolo Scerni / Roberto Tomasini, 1-1-1; 3
2. Nefertiti (GBR), Anders Nordquist, 2-2-2; 6
3. Freya (USA), Donald Macpherson, 3-4-3; 10

1. Velsheda (GBR), Tarbat Investment Ltd, 1-1-2; 4
2. Rainbow (NED), Chris Gongriep, 2-2-1; 5
3. Ranger (CAY), Rsv Ltd. , 3–3-3; 9

1. Nilaya (GBR), Filip Balcaen, 1-1-1; 3
2. Firefly (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 2-2-2; 6
3. Only Now (TUR), Chelsea Yachting Ltd., 3-3-4; 10

1. J One (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1–2-1-1-(3); 5
2. Magic Carpet 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 6–1–2-(6)-1; 10
3. Inti (ITA), Lauro Buoro, 3–6-3-2-5; 13

Auckland To Bluff Ocean Race Postponed
The Board of Directors of the Auckland to Bluff Ocean Race have decided to postpone the inaugural sailing of the race.

While several Australian boats had made expressions of interest to be part of the inaugural race and  there has been a wide range of NZ yachts keen to be part of this sailing challenge, many of these teams have found the lead time to organise their participation too short to mount a campaign.

Significant work has been done by the race organisers since the December announcement and  a mooring plan for the boats arrival in Bluff, which will allow safe moorings of the yachts, and allow the public to view the yachts in port has been developed. Plans for race villages in both Auckland and Bluff were on track with events programmes that allow the public to get involved with the event and farewell the boats from Auckland, and welcome them into to Bluff. These plans will be carried forward.

The additional time gives the organisers the opportunity to work with the sailing community both in NZ and offshore to ensure the long term success of this major NZ sailing event, and provide the opportunity to bring further stakeholders on board. Both Major Events NZ and the Invercargill City Council, as the key stakeholders, have been consulted in making this decision.

An announcement on the inaugural A2B Ocean Race will now take place in the new year.

Five Must See Yachts at the PSP Southampton Boat Show
This year's PSP Southampton Boat Show seems to have a very healthy number of new launches. It's hard to single out just five... but we made ourselves do it and here are our top picks...

- Gunfleet 58: Marina berth M250
- Wylo 35.5: Marina berth: M330
- Beneteau Oceanis 38: Stand: F016, Marina berth M451-473
- J/88: Marina berths: M342 and M350-354
- Corsair Dash 750 Mark 2: Stand: E013 and Marina Berth M150

Full article by Rupert Holmes in

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Laurence Mead: Daniel Charles who wrote yesterday " Penalizing a team for something which happened in another class in another set of regattas (from which the culprits have auto-expelled themselves in repentance) is incomprehensible for a general public" 

I have news for him. The general public don't know about the penalty and don't care about the event. What most events now forget is that the first people they should appeal to are the enthusiasts as they are the ones which keep things alive. 

This very modern chase for "viewers" is alive and kicking in many many sports. Darts, BMX bike racing, skiing even. Does anybody reading this WATCH any of those sports unless they are an enthusiast? Thought not!! It's a forlorn hope. Ken Read has a facebook picture of him racing a Formula 40 catamaran in the last century, brilliant circuit, amazing boats. Didn't survive. Eddie Owen had Ultra 30's (9 man trapeze boats!) on daytime TV for a while, Amazing boats, great racing. Didn't last. Dennis Conner launched his Formula 1 series way back when, Didn't survive. I hate to break it to people but sailing will never be a prime-time TV, pro-sport. It's for Corinthians having fun and rich dudes in big boats paying for pro's, and more and more in the future, never the twain shall meet.

* From Iain McAllister, Peggy Bawn Press

In Butch Dalrymple-Smith's otherwise excellent letter (ScuttlebuttEurope #2909), he makes the typical yacht designer's cardinal sin of imagining that everything of any worth happened in his own lifetime.

In the history of international match racing, the Congressional Cup, at 50 this year, is a mere fledgling.

The Seawanhaka Cup (1895) and Canada's Cup (1896) were already well established by the time of Sir Thomas Lipton's first two challenges for the America's Cup, with Shamrock (1899), designed by William Fife, and Shamrock II (1901), designed by G.L. Watson.

It was because Watson's Shamrock II came so close to winning in 1901 that Nathanael Herreshoff felt compelled to design and build the super-extreme cutter, Reliance - to leave no excuse for failure to successfully defend the "auld mug".

Despite - and perhaps because of - Reliance's easy success against the William Fife designed Shamrock III, Herreshoff's next defender Resolute only scraped through against the Charles Nicholson designed pure racing machine, Shamrock IV, in 1920.

Would Shamrock IV have beaten Reliance?

If Reliance had had to cross the Atlantic before racing against William Fife's beautiful but flawed Shamrock III, would she still have been the victor? Here are some of the great and as yet unexplored what-ifs of America's Cup history.

These were the truly great years of the America's Cup, because the technology in every department - including materials, and the art of match racing - was being pushed to the extreme limits of knowledge without the benefit of computer aided analysis.

Until now.

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The Last Word
I enjoy inventing things out of fun. After all, life is a game, not a career. -- Brion Gysin

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Editorial and letter submissions to

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