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Transat Jacques Vabre Start Delayed
Weather which has blown the first leg of the Mini-Transat to bits, kept Thomas Coville pinned in Brest waiting to start a round the world record, but released Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli's 131-foot trimaran on its Route of Discovery record attempt, on Friday threw uncertainty into the start on Sunday of the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race from Le Havre to Itajai, Brazil.

The organisers and race director Silvie Viant were due to brief all the skippers on Friday morning but instead imposed a 24-hour delay on their decision to start.

And now the postponement to Monday has been pushed further back:

With a worsening forecast for difficult weather thorough Monday night into Tuesday and immediately thereafter, (squalls to 50kts) the race direction of the Transat Jacques Vabre have decided to further postpone the start to a later date.

On current forecasts Thursday is considered a possibility.

Manfred Ramspacher explained:

"Winds 30 to 50 knots which could endanger the skippers and their boats are forecast. We are well aware that classes such as IMOCA could start. But our main concern is the overall safety of the crews."

"Our decision is based on the forecast that we could get away from Le Havre  but with difficult conditions and some uncertainly at the ras Blanchard, at  Ushant, and some very difficult conditions at the start of the Bay of Biscay. Our first aim is to ensure we can get maximum number of boats finishing at Itajai."

"We must maintain this solidarity in the event. The possibility of starting Wednesday or Thursday not for certain. We think it can happen, but it is still uncertain. The MOD 70 are still scheduled to start on Wednesday or Thursday, we will decide in consultation with them. An IMOCA race  might have been able to start, and I can understand their disappointment, but we are a multi-class race."

Mini Transat: Killing Time
From Gijon to Sada, the Ministes are in the queue to go. The little colony has organised itself with typicl good humour and is prepared to wait it out while watching for a favourable weather window.

The experiences of theose arriving after this first leg have varied considerably depending on how far to the west they were in in the Bay of Biscay, their reserves and resourcefulness to cope with this unexpected period ashore and their ability to deal with the the speed with which the situation is changing.

The five single handers who had managed to make it to Sada should soon be joined by Stan Maslard, who is trucking his boat there by road. Following the international rules, the first leg was abandoned and there is nothing to stop the competitors who dropped out of the first attempt from coming to the new start line. The leg from Douarnenez to Sada no longer exists, all decisions regarding this section of the course should be considered null and void. The return of Stan, and perhaps some other competitors in the same situation, sets a precedent for the organisation of the Mini Transat.

For now, the competitors are obviously torn between the pleasure of seeing their colleagues, who made a huge comitment to the race, have the opportunity to continue chasing their dreams; and feeling slightly uncomfortable about them being placed on an equal footing despite the fact that they have not crossed the Bay of Biscay in the at times harsh conditions, putting their equipment to the test as others have had to.

Negotiating The Transition
Making the most of a powerful trade wind, Spindrift 2 continues its Atlantic crossing at full speed. On a starboard tack throughout the day yesterday, the team did a double jibe overnight to plunge into the stronger winds blowing from the east. The most delicate moment of the Discovery Route is coming up, with the transition zone to negotiate in approximately thirty hours, between the trade wind and the strong low-pressure system settling in along the North American coastline and to the Bahamas. The situation is being closely monitored by Richard Silvani ashore and the trio Guichard-Bertarelli-Israel on board the maxi multihull. From tonight they will have to apply their seamanship and regatta experience to manoeuvre a double gybe approaching the weaker wind zone in order to reach the strong north-easterly flow and finish the record attempt on a starboard tack.

"The problem is twofold," explains Yann Guichard. "If we cross the low pressure area from the north, we will be out of the zone of light winds sooner, but for this, we will have to sail further north. If we cross it from the south, we will remain on the most direct route, but will have to negotiate the calm waters for longer". The good news for the 14 men and one woman on board, is Spindrift 2's lead – described as "interesting" – over the current record holder, Franck Cammas' Maxi trimaran Groupama 3, racing in 2007 and at this point of the race, more than 330 miles in their wake. "Reason enough to take it calmly", said Richard Silvani.

Racing at full speed to break the Discovery Route record, Guichard, despite the significant lead gained from the first miles, is far from complacent. "There are still over 1500 miles to be covered and we must remain extremely focused and vigilant. The wind will ease and we are going to have to navigate, helm and trim with even greater precision to maintain the pace and speed if we want to beat the record."

At 14:30hrs GMT this morning Spindrift has a 311.99 miles lead on the current record time.

An Absorbing Interest. The America's Cup - A History
The America's Cup - A History By Bob Fisher (£250 + p&p)
Revised edition

This beautifully designed book charts the history of sailing's most enigmatic and greatest prize. In two volumes it covers the drama, boat design, personalities and sheer fascination of the America's Cup, from 1851 in Cowes to 2003 in Auckland. It is illustrated with photographs, cartoons, paintings and figures and can rightly claim to be the definitive history.

The work contains full records of all races and is made up of 32 Chapters - one for each of the 31 challenges and one for the race around the Isle of Wight in 1851 for the One Hundred Pound Cup, presented by the Royal Yacht Squadron as a prize for the regatta.

"This is the Bible of the America's Cup." Bruno Troublé - Louis Vuitton

View sample pages:

Purchase online at

Clipper Race 4 To Albany Western Australia Starts Monday
Click on image to enlarge.

Clipper Race Race 4 of the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race starts on Monday 4 November as the crews prepare to race from Cape Town, in the 4,700 mile Southern Ocean sleigh ride to Albany, Western Australia.

Eric Holden, skipper of Henri Lloyd which is currently in first place just three points ahead of GREAT Britain in the overall race, said, "The crew are really excited even though there is some apprehension about crossing the Southern Ocean. I know we will be fighting to maintain our lead into Albany as we are clearly the target everyone will be chasing in Race 4."

The winner of Race 4 from Cape Town to Albany will be presented with a special trophy by the City of Albany: the Kinjarling Cup.

The Australian skipper of PSP Logistics, Chris Hollis is looking forward to putting up a good fight and standing on the podium to claim the coveted award in his home country.

"For me this is going to be one exciting and challenging race. What better way to tackle the Southern Ocean than in a Clipper 70, homeward bound. When you look at the positions of the rest of the fleet on the overall leader board, there are literally just a few points separating us from Henri Lloyd.

Race 4 starts at 1430 Local time (1230 UTC) from Table Bay in front of the spectacular back drop of Table Mountain.

Sailboats Ship Freight To Manhattan For First Time In 60 Years
This past weekend, a flat-bottomed, two-mast sailboat 30 feet (9 meters) long came down the Hudson River at a brisk six-knot clip, hugging the Manhattan coast to avoid bigger boats.

Ships under sail power are a regular sighting here. But this particular sailboat, the Ceres, is special.

The Vermont Sail Freight Project built the boat this summer with a goal: to go back in time. With 12 tons of food from 30 Vermont farms in its holds, the Ceres became the first sailboat since the 1950s to land in New York City with goods. The cargo was destined for the New Amsterdam Market, restaurants, and customers who had placed orders online.

"Originally, I thought of the project as a kind of a publicity stunt," said Erik Andrus, a farmer and entrepreneur who heads the Vermont Sail Freight Project. But now, after a positive response to the project, Andrus thinks there's real business potential in sailing produce in the Northeast again.

Andrus isn't alone in his thinking. Sailboats carrying freight can now be found all over the world. These small operations build off local food and environmental movements. They can't hope to compete with massive container ships in terms of economies of scale. But even the shipping industry has started exploring wind power as a potential energy source. -- National Geographic

2K Keelboat Team Racing Tour
Day 3, gale force winds and the 2K international Tour moved to the final stages. With nearly all of stage 1 complete and a forecast for strengthening breeze the PRO Stefan Roth, wisely chose to move as quickly as possible to the finals.

A quick repercharge round brought Yacht Club Costa Smeralda into the ring to face long term rivals but good friends Spinnaker Club.

In the Petite Final Yacht Club Costa Smeralda too had to draw on all their skills to win against Bayerischer Yacht Club.

Organised and run by Hamburger Segel-Club, the club's board ended the event by announcing their decision to host a 2K event again next year. In the meantime plans to run a German 2K clinic led by top 2K sailors is well advanced.

Final positions:

1. Spinnaker Sailing Club (GBR)
2. Dutch Match and Team Race Association
3. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (ITA)
4. Bayerischer Yacht Club (GER)
5. Serpentine Racing Team (GBR)
6. Hamburger Segel-Club (GER)

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

Seahorse Magazine

Hell, yes!
Jocelyn Bleriot sits down with Vendee Globe iron man Yann Elies

Unmanned... but far from unmanageable
Richard Jenkins reports on 'another' interesting sailing project in San Francisco...

Terry Hutchinson advises caution for AC35, Ivor Wilkins looks at the scale of the Emirates TNZ design programme and Andy Rice catches up with Nathan Outteridge

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Kiwi Government Says No Thanks
The Government has snubbed internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's offer to help fund Team New Zealand's next America's Cup challenge, describing the million-dollar offer as "a PR campaign to stay in New Zealand".

But Team NZ appears to be taking Dotcom's offer seriously. It even sought approval from Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to meet Dotcom after his offers of seven-figure donations and technological backing for another America's Cup campaign - to take on American software billionaire Larry Ellison and his reigning Oracle team.

Dalton, who leaves for a fundraising mission in Europe and the United States in less than a fortnight, said Dotcom's organisation has twice contacted him and a meeting was planned "at some point soon".

Dalton said he wasn't interested in any "covert discussions" with Dotcom, who has become a polarising figure since settling in New Zealand and a thorn in the side of John Key's government after revelations the Government Security Bureau had illegally spied on Dotcom.

With the Government granting Team NZ a $5m funding lifeline to keep the syndicate afloat until May, when it should be known whether another challenge for the cup is a reality, Dalton said he bounced the meeting past Joyce to protect any future government funding after the $36m they received from the Government for the last failed challenge.

"Any discussions that we have, from my point, would be completely open and transparent. I have no political agenda at all." Dalton said. -- Fairfax NZ News

2014 ORC Worlds Now Open For Entries
Kiel, Germany: The entry system for the ORC Worlds 2014 is now open. Today the host club, the Kieler Yacht-Club, has opened the online entry system so that offshore sailors from all over the world are invited to make their entries for this prestigious event that takes place over 2-9 August 2014 in Kiel Sailing City, Germany.

The online portal for entry, the Preliminary Notice of Race, and other information about the venue is available at

The Kieler Yacht-Club is delighted to welcome an expected crowd of 700 sailors from more than 10 nations to attend this event, held annually since 1999 and sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) as the official World Championship of offshore sailing.

Teams from throughout the region have already started to sign up, including the current ORC European Champion, Thomas Nilsson's TP 52 Truknor Wolfpack from Norway. Also entered are the German all-women's crew on Tutima, a DK 46 skippered by Kirsten Harmstorf, and Thomas Blixt with his TP 52 Blixt Pro Sailing from Sweden.

18ft Skiffs: 3-Buoys Challenge, Race 4
Photo by Frank Quealey. Click on image for photo gallery.

18 Skiff Sydney Harbour, Australia: The recent strong wind weather pattern in Sydney continued today causing the abandonment of the scheduled Race 4 of the 3-Buoys 18ft Skiff Challenge series.

Delays of more than one hour occurred before the starter finally declared the race officially off.

The race had been due to see the first season outing for the new Gotta Love It 7 skiff, which was christened earlier in the day.

Pick the Podium competition will start with next week's Race 1 of the NSW Championship. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

* viagogo, the world's largest ticket marketplace, today announced it will sponsor a Flying 18 in this season's 18 foot skiff regattas.  The agreement places viagogo at the heart of one of Australia's most celebrated sporting events, which takes place on Sydney Harbour every summer.

Skipper of the viagogo sponsored Flying 18, Alexandra South, said: "Our mission this season is to compete with the best boats in the series, and to put on a great show for the tens of thousands that come to watch the racing. We are proud to be flying the viagogo flag and look forward to some good results"

The partnership begins this weekend and includes sponsorship, branding, marketing and hospitality rights.

To Australia By Way Of Holland
The world’s oldest clipper the 'City of Adelaide' began its final voyage on October 21 as it left London en route to South Australia to deliver mail to the State like it last did 120 years ago.

The 19th Century clipper today moved from its moorings on the River Thames in London on the back of an ocean-going barge, to Dordrecht in southern Holland where it will undergo extensive fumigation.

Its giant 75m-long hull, the world's first composite vessel to have wood over wrought iron, is then to be completely shrink-wrapped before being loaded in early December onto the deck of a large heavy-lift ship for final voyage to South Australia. It is likely to pass through the Suez Canal before arriving at Port Adelaide sometime between February and April next year.

A spokesman for the project to repatriate the vessel - that between 1864 and 1893 made 23 round trips between England and Australia carrying vital supplies for the colonies and up to 300 migrants at a time - said it was a historic moment.

"The journey represents the last ever voyage of a 19th century clipper and the last mail run from Britain to Australia by such a vessel," he said. "The clipper is carrying letters from British schoolchildren addressed to children in South Australian schools."

Once back in Adelaide it will be restored and become a major tourist attraction.

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 John Burnie: Further on boat names that Digby Fox noticed - the late Glyn Charles always had a quirky name on his Soling. I told him a joke in Bosham once which involved the young wife of a French Ambassador. Her comment to some guests who were leaving early because they had an early appointment was "Ah you Engleesh are all zee same - early to bed an up wiz zee cock!" The next day Glyn registered his Olympic entry on his Soling as "Early to bed and up wiz zee cock". The name was refused by the Olympic committee - on the basis that it was too long. (I did notice it was written in felt pen on the stern however). 

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The Last Word
People keep saying "science doesn't know everything!" Well, science knows it doesn't know everything; otherwise it would stop. -- Dara O'Briain

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