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Hitting The Pause Button Again
Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup Match has been postponed until Friday. Today's attempt to commence the best-of-three Deed of Gift Match between Defender Alinghi and Challenger BMW Oracle Racing was postponed due to rough sea conditions on the Mediterranean outside Valencia.

"The waves were the biggest problem. I think they were about 1.3m average size in the start area," said Alinghi strategist Murray Jones. "That means we could've had a peak of 1.8m and that's the biggest issue.

"There was a swell coming from one direction and waves from an offset of 90 degrees to that. We've been out in conditions not quite that bad, but it's heinous. I think they've done the right thing by not sending us out there," Jones said.

Jones explained that strong winds in the north of Spain near France were churning up the sea, which was confirmed over the phone by Will McCarthy, an Alinghi sailing team member, out spotting at noon: "It's very bumpy out here, confused, cold and we have seen 20knots this morning."

The next attempt to commence the match is scheduled for Friday at 10:06. The race schedule is for one day to intervene between each race day as agreed with the Challenger. Paragraph 6.5 of the Notice of Race states that: "If a race is cancelled, abandoned or postponed that race will be sailed on the next scheduled date and the subsequent races shall be postponed for the day accordingly."

The first attempt on Monday was postponed until today due to unstable wind conditions.

www.americascup.com

An Integration In The Works?
A set of proposals have been drafted by the World Sailing Teams Association which organises the Louis Vuitton Trophy established last year.

They include a reinstatement of a challenger series, which as the old Louis Vuitton Cup was part of the America's Cup for 25 years before a major falling out between them and Ernesto Bertarelli, the owner of Alinghi.

The French luxury goods maker withdrew their support and in conjunction with WSTA, created in 2008 with Britain's Team Origin as one of its founding partners, set up a rival regatta series known confusingly as the Louis Vuitton Trophy, which started in Nice last November.

Much now depends on the outcome of this best of three Deed of Gift match since according to Bruno Trouble, who manages Louis Vuitton's multi-million euro sponsorship programme, the options if Alinghi win are limited especially if the Swiss continue with multihulls rather than revert back to the traditional 25m monohulls.

"If the Americans win, there is more chance to continue because the Louis Vuitton Trophy could become the preamble but if Alinghi win, there is less chance of that happening because we are not very good friends," he admitted.

"If Alinghi win, there is uncertainty over the future of the Cup since no one knows what Bertarelli is going to do but if BMW Oracle win, there is a clearer vision."

Paco Latorre, spokesman for Alinghi said a win would be followed by a cooling off period before any decisions were taken over the 34rd America's Cup.

"We are discussing all possibilities if we should win starting with the challenger of record but we will wait to see what happens," he said. -- Kate Laven in The Telegraph,

www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/

DN Iceboat Worlds
Photo by Oskar Kihlborg, www.kihlborg.se. Click on image for photo gallery.

DN Iceboat Worlds Originally scheduled to be held at Lake Balaton, Hungary, unfavorable conditions there saw a move to Austria - Neusiedlersee. Three races were held on Monday, 4 races in the Gold Fleet on Tuesday. 55 sailors in Gold Fleet, 56 in Silver and 58 in Bronze.

Final top ten:

1. Michal Burczynski, 28 points
2. Adam Baranowski, 36
3. Lukasz Zakrzewski, 37
4. Bernd Zeiger, 43
5. Vaiko Vooremaa, 49
6. Graczyk Robert, 49
7. Fredrik Lonegren, 50
8. Ake Luks, 58
9. Jakob Schneider, 63
10. Tomasz Zakrzewski, 66

Full results and blog: www.thinkice.de

MY Vita Mothership to J Class Yacht 'Ranger' for Sale or Charter - La Dolce Vita!
Click on image to enlarge.

MY Vita Mothership to J Class Yacht 'Ranger' for Sale or Charter Ocean going or Caribbean island hopping MY Vita, at 150' LOA with her semi-displacement hull and zero speed stablisers, makes the ideal yacht for a few close friends or a large party group.

She is ABS classed and MCA compliant.

Her luxurious interior caters for formal sit down meals and her sundecks allow areas for less formal occasions - barbeques or watersports in a beach environment with sunbeds beside the spa pool. With a comfortable cruising speed of around 17 knots in most seaways, she can accommodate up to 12 guests. The owner's suite is on the main deck, with an integral office, as well as 'his and hers' bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes.

Further information at:
www.jclassyachts.com/ranger/index.html and www.njyachts.com

ISAF Match Race Rankings
Great Britain's Lucy MacGregor has finally toppled Claire Leroy (FRA) who has enjoyed a four and half year unbroken run at #1 in the Women's ISAF World Match Race Rankings. Adam Minoprio (NZL) maintains his position at the top of the Open Rankings.

Adam Minoprio (NZL) holds on to world #1 spot for the fifth consecutive release of the Open Rankings and there are no changes to the next eight positions below him. Shooting back into the top ten at #10 is Paolo Cian who moves up from #22 after claiming the bronze medal a the V Trofeo Match Race Puerto Calero in the Canary Islands, the only grade 1 event logging results to this rankings release.

The big mover in the top 20 is winner of the V Trofeo Match Race Puerto Calero, Eugeniy Neugodnikov of Russia, competing at his first graded event since August 2009 and moving up 21 places from #41. Philippe Presti (ITA) completed the podium in Lanzarote and he moves up five places to #13.

Results counting for this release include a flurry of ISAF Grade 3 national championships. Jon Brecelj claimed his first national match racing title in Slovenia to climb seven places up to #85 whilst multiple 470 wold champion and double Olympic medallist Sofia Bekatorou saw off the boys to win the Hellenic Champonship on the Saronic Gulf and move up to #270 on the open rankings. In December the Portuguese and Brazilian titles both went to 2008 470 Olympians with Portugal's Álvaro Marinho staying just inside the top 20 at #19 whilst Brazilian Samuel Albrecht climbs 228 places to #261.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings for 2010 will be on 10 March.

Top ten, Open:

1. Adam Minoprio, NZL
2. Torvar Mirsky, AUS
3. Damien Iehl, FRA
4. Mathieu Richard, FRA
5. Ian Williams, GBR
6. Sebastien Col, FRA
7. Ben Ainslie, GBR
8. Bjorn Hansen, SWE
9. Johnie Bertsson, SWE
10. Paolo Cian, ITA

Top ten, Women:

1. Lucy Macgregor, GBR
2. Claire Leroy, FRA
3. Nicky Souter, AUS
4. Katie Pellew, AUS
5. Silke Hahlbrock, GER
6. Anne-Claire Le Berre, FRA
7. Julie Bossard, FRA
8. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA
9. Anna Kjellberg, SWE
10. Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen, DEN

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - www.sailing.org/mrrankings

La Solitaire Du Figaro 2010: Promising Line Up Of 73 Pre-Entries
With 73 pre-entries and the participation of veritable mainstays of offshore racing, La Solitaire du Figaro 2010 has one of the most impressive line-ups of the past forty editions of the race. Le Havre will host the start of La Solitaire for the first time on July 27th The skippers will set sail from Le Havre, host start port for the first time, on July 27th on a 1,717 nautical miles mix of inshore and offshore racing over a four stage race.

Feared by the greatest, La Solitaire remains one of the toughest races and yet each year, it attracts professional and amateur sailors from all walks of life. The 73 pre-entries, of which 17 are rookies, 3 are women and 8 are foreigners predict an exceptional Solitaire.

No less than five previous winners will attempt to go for a second title, following in the steps of Jeremie Beyou, Armel Le Cleac'h, Kito de Pavant, Eric Drouglazet and Nicolas Lunven, the 2009 winner. "Used to being on the podiums over the years, Yann Eliès, Gildas Morvan, Corentin Douguet, Thierry Chabagny and Frederic Duthil will be on the start line and setting out to try and get that overall win," comments race director, Jacques Caraës just a few hours before he set off on the Jules Verne Trophy record. "And La Solitaire would definitely not feel the same without the unconditional entry of the talented most senior member, Jean-Paul Mouren, who will be racing his 24th Solitaire!"

The Beneteau ranking will welcome 17 rookies this year, proof that the race still attracts fresh talents. "Amongst them, the Swiss Bernard Stamm, a big name in offshore racing, will be the most unusual of the rookies" notes Jacques Caraës. Also to be counted on are the young talents such as Damien Cloarec and Arthur Le Vaillant as well as Anthony Marchand, last prize-winner of the Brittany Region espoir selection. The ex mini racers will be in the game with the three promising skippers Laurent Bourgues, Charlie Dalin, and above all the winner of the mini transat 6.50 series Francisco Lobato, the first Portuguese to enter La Solitaire du Figaro.

The international sailors are resolutely turning to La Solitaire: English, Swiss, Italian, Irish, Portuguese and Franco-German, 6 nationalities will champion their colours this summer. We will mention notably Jonny Malbon, Nigel King, Paul O'Rian and Pietro d'Ali. For the women, the very young Katie Miller, 9th of the OSTAR in 2009, will sail her first tacks on the race while Isabelle Joschke will be returning for the 3rd time.

Complete pre-entry list at www.lasolitaire.com

Seahorse March 2009
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Paul Cayard looks ahead... and is this the moment to take a little time?

Mark Mills and Robert Ranzenbach have a new kid in town... it's a big step up (and also hopefully a major step forwards)

Seahorse build table – Hawaii on a budget: Jim Antrim did not quite get his all-singing all-dancing carbon baby, but a good-looking and innovative new canting keel 49-footer has emerged from the California stable nonetheless

RORC news from Eddie Warden Owen

If you haven't subscribed to Seahorse already we're keen to help you attend to that! - Please use the following promotional link and enjoy the hefty Scuttlebutt Europe discount... and it gets even better for 2 and 3 year subscriptions...

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Groupe Bel and Kito De Pavant - Course Set for the Vendee Globe 2012/2013
Bel Group, represented by its Chief Executive Office, Antoine Fievet, has announced the renewal of its sponsoring program. The Group's signature, "Sharing smiles", will therefore travel the oceans until 2013 and take part in the next Vendee Globe. The saga continues and you will soon find Kito at the helm of his 60' monohull Groupe Bel, as well as on board her new "little sister" on the Figaro circuit.

Kitos's Vendee Globe 2008 campaign came to an abrupt end when Groupe Bel's mast broke in the storm in the Bay of Biscay. This was a trauma which had to be overcome, to rebuild and to move forward. After the year 2009, marked by the Single-handed Mediterranean Crossing record, a second place on the Istanbul Europa Race and a memorable trial of strength between these almost sister boats - Groupe Bel and Safran - leading the Transat Jacques Vabre, all eyes are now looking towards the future.

Kito is preparing for the Route du Rhum (starting from Saint-Malo on 31 October 2010), however, the skipper will also take part in the next Vendee Globe 2012/2013 "to loop the loop" he says modestly. "We have a good intensive project which works. The adventure will continue for two years with the aim of taking part in the next Vendee Globe. With Groupe Bel, I am lucky to have a very enthusiastic sponsor who provides me with the means to make my dreams come true. I have a wonderful team and a very good boat. It is a daily joy that we share with a great number of people. I am aware that I am extremely lucky".

Calendar 2010
Jan-Apr: Winter yard work for the 60 footer and Figaro training sessions
18 April: Start of the Transat AG2R (Concarneau-Saint-Barthelemy)
May: Visit of the Bel Group subsidiary in the Azores
June: Visit of the Bel Group subsidiary in Morocco and Giraglia Rolex Cup
July: "Sharing smiles regatta", Group Bel inter-subsidiary regatta in Port Camargue
Jul-Aug: Solitaire du Figaro (Le Havre-Gijon-Brest-Kinsale-Cherbourg Octeville)
31 Oct: Start of the Route du Rhum (Saint-Malo-Pointe a Pitre)
Nov: Bel public relations West Indies
Dec: Return trip to Port Camargue

www.groupe-bel.com
www.beltchiztour.com

Two Aussies v Two Kiwis In Hardy Cup Semi-Finals
Josh Junior receives double penalty against Walker. Click on image to enlarge.

Hardy Cup Semi-Finals Two Australians and two New Zealanders will sail off tomorrow in the semi-finals of the Hardy Cup 2010 ISAF Grade 3 under 25 match racing regatta on Sydney Harbour after another day of intense competition between young sailors from New South Wales, Western Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Meeting tomorrow will be Evan Walker from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Hardy Cup winner in 2008, Jordan Reece from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, sailing in his first Hardy Cup, and the two New Zealanders, defending champion Adrian Short from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, and Olympic Laser aspirant Josh Junior of Wellington's Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.

All four finished the two round-robins with a dozen wins apiece, but a countback of flight victories placed Walker as number 1, Short number 2, Reece number 3 and junior number 4. David Chapman, also from the RSYS, placed fifth, while early favourite Will Tiller, also from the RNZYS, finished in sixth place.

Walker, finishing at the top of the leaderboard after two round-robins, has first choice of his semi-final opponent and he won't make a decision until tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow's semi-finals which will be followed by the best-of-five match final of the Hardy Cup 2010. -- Peter Campbell

www.rsys.com.au/sailing/hardycuphomepage.php

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 Paul Cayard: Another frustrating day in Valencia. No racing today.

The writing was on the wall last night when the Race Committee postponed the start time for today from 1000 to 1200. Then at 0900 this morning they postponed again all the while keeping the teams at the dock. Finally at 1200 they cancelled racing for the day. The reason given was that the sea state was too rough for these boats. Next chance for a race is Friday at 1000. The sentiment around the media center is that the first race will be held on Sunday. Many feel the forecast for Friday is poor also. I would say that the weather is too variable to predict accurately and with the criteria for racing requiring both wind and wave accommodation, the acceptable window is quite small.

With these delays, we are losing some media and fans I imagine. It is getting difficult to keep the energy up and to create content for television. There are only so many stories that can be written about the cool technology contained in these two boats. After a certain point, the people want to see a race. Eurosport will cover the race on Friday if there is one but today's cancelation means that we wont be here to cover the final race, as the team is leaving for Vancouver on Saturday. I am heading to Dubai Friday night for the RC 44 event there.

I am very frustrated by all this as I feel we are not putting our best foot forward as a sport. Obviously, February in Valencia is going to be tough with the weather criteria as tight as it is for these boats. Maybe Alinghi and BMW Oracle should agree to postpone racing until May. That would allow for better weather and therefore a higher likelihood of racing when scheduled, and more time for sponsors to organize their visits and hospitality. Considering that they haven't agreed on one thing yet, this is not likely to happen

* From Gunther E. Hering: When the Twelves raced last in Australia for the cup, we had winds of 25 knots plus and heavy seas of 2m wave height.

The Twelves proved themselves seaworthy and able, no damage, no life threatening emergency.

When the new AC class boats raced in San Diego, some broke and sunk. In New Zealand more of the same, seaworthiness impaired with the Kiwi boat getting swamped and nearly sunk.

And now we have these monster multi hulls that are not seaworthy in anything more than 10 knots of wind and 50 cm of wave height ?? the floating hull submerges and the boat turns a somersault, explodes and the crew go swimming if they are lucky ? This is state of the art ???

How much nonsense are we going to endure with this ego match. Let's just close the book on it and go on to better and bigger things, like real sailing.

* From Digby Fox: Daniel Charles's damning of no racing on day 1 of the Cup in Valenica is a little rough on Race Officer Harold Bennett. He had a 100 degree difference between the top and bottom of the course, so could hardly set a level playing field. Humility goes a long way in this game, no?

Incidentally, half the fun of being here is the buzz and speculation and sheer rumour mongering going on in the media centre and portside bars. It's hilarious. How fast? How much money? What secret technology?!

Among the TV crew we have a sweepstake on the time of the winning boat from top to bottom in race 1, ie how fast are these boats downwind. I've picked an average speed over 26 nautical miles (with gybes) of 40 knots, so 39 minutes. But who knows, it's a complete guess.

That's the beauty of this Cup. No one really knows what's going to happen. We wait with humility and patience...

* From Adriaan Brink: I answer to Daniel Charles:

The argument goes that the race would be a lottery since the wind varies so much from end to end of the course. On the counter side one could argue that these boats are capable of sailing in these conditions, and if the race is not an "up and down" it really doesn't matter given that both boats have the same conditions.

Finding a nice steady breeze of the range desired with the sea nice and flat in Valencia in winter may take a while. I tend to agree with you - let the games commence and if it ends up being an uneven match because the tactics determine the outcome then isn't this a part of racing anyway? Certainly anyone watching Eurosport on Monday would sympathize with the plight of those trying to broadcast this ephemeral event!

I say - bring it on whatever the weather!

* From Owen Sharpe: I have just finished four great years living and sailing in Hong Kong. I think the Louis Vuitton Cup there will be a terrific event. I can't wait for it. Thank you again Mr Trouble (sorry, gmail won't do the accent) and Louis Vuitton.

Sailors should allow themselves a chance to get used to the very heavy chop that is generated within the harbour by the busy traffic and reflected off the steep harbour walls giving dramatic 'bounce' wave effects. Some bowmen may end up in the drink otherwise.

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The Last Word
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