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Fast Downwind Sailing Overnight
Thomas Rouxel (Credit Mutuel de Bretagne) fast downwind under spinnaker. Photo by Courcoux-Marmara/Le Figaro. Click on image to enlarge.

Figaro It was a fast and demanding night for the 44 skippers racing in the fourth and decisive leg of Solitaire du Figaro 2010 who averaged speeds of more than 11 knots in high winds of 20/25 knots, gusting at more than 30. Gildas Morvan first at the Fastnet but the overall leader Armel "the Jackal" Le Cleac's is back in control. Fatigue has set in yet nobody can let their guard down for the final miles on the approach to Cherbourg. Excellent performance form Portuguese skipper Francisco Lobato and Italian Pietro D'Alì still in the leading group. The game remains wide open for the top ten spots.

It was 01h01'33'' exactly when Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) rounded the Fastnet lighthouse in the lead to hoist the spinnaker and start the route down to Lizen Ven and Cherbourg, followed by Corentin Douguet (E.Leclerc Mobile) and Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel).

Despite not being localised in the latest position report at 16:00, Armel Le Cleac'h is assumed to still in the leading four, showing an exceptional control of the race. According to the latest position report the fleet is led by Corentin Douguet (E.Leclerc Mobile) at 231 miles from the finish while Eric Peron (Skipper Macif 2009) and Francois Gabart (Skipper Macif 2010), 2nd in the overall ranking and 2nd at 16 hours respectively) are hot on his heels: just 0.2 miles, that is to say... 370 metres! And where is the provisional bronze medal Thomas Rouxel (Credit Mutuel de Bretagne)? Only 2.5 miles behind...

As forecast, the wind eased to a more manageable 15 knots over the course of the afternoon. The fleet is now looking for the right place to gibe, that will probably be between 8 p.m. and midnight, to set the course to Lizen Ven mark, just off the ile Vierge, in order to reach the next mark where they are expected between midnight and 08:00. From this point it twill be clearer who made the best option for the final 140 miles to Cherbourg -Octeville, where the Race Management staff arrived today and promptly had to get their umbrellas out, preparing to welcome the leaders, expected to finish Wednesday late afternoon.

Both the young Portuguese skipper, Francisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM) and the Italian, Pietro D'Alì (I.NOVA.3) showed excellent speed and strategy and were reported to be 5th and 7th respectively, whilst Jonny Malbon (Artemis) was 33rd and Isabelle Joschke (Synergie) in 37th.

Meanwhile, unfortunate Bernard Stamm (Cheminees Poujoulat) informed Race Management that, after having made the necessary repairs to sail safely, he left Kinsale shortly after midnight accompanied by his shore team to deliver the boat to Cherbourg. Matthieu Girolet (Entreprendre) opted to have his boat repaired in Ireland.

Top ten, leg four, at 14:45:00 French time Tuesday 17 August:

1. Corentin Douguet, E. Leclerc Mobile
2. Eric Peron, Skipper MACIF 2009
3. Francois Gabart, Skipper MACIF 2010
4. Thomas Rouxel, Credit Mutuel De Bretagne
5. Francisco Lobato, ROFF/Temp-Team
6. Gildas Morvan, Cercle Vert
7. Pietro D'Ali, I.Nova.3
8. Fabien Delahaye, Port de Caen Ouistreham
9. Jeremie Beyou, BPI
10. Kito De Pavan, Groupe Bel

Tough Night Ahead
Photo by Dave Branigan, Click on image for photo gallery.

Rolex Commodores' Cup The 30 strong Rolex Commodores' Cup fleet shot off east down the Solent this morning with the wind and tide but under a grey rain-filled sky at the start of their high points scoring offshore race. The course for the 10 teams is full of zigzags taking them first out towards Selsey Bill while tonight they will be heading west along the bottom of the Isle of Wight en route for a mark off Poole Harbour. At this point the three classes will race slightly different courses before the run back east tomorrow morning that should see them finishing off a line to the west of Portsmouth Harbour sometime tomorrow afternoon.

At 17.00 BST Simon Henning's Alice II, a Farr 45, and the longest, highest rated yacht in the race, was approaching the Owers turning mark, the easternmost on the course, while the chasing pack were spread five to thirty-nautical miles astern of her. It seems likely that Alice II will steal a march on her Class 1 rivals, as her rounding of the Owers should coincide with the tide turning westbound, while those behind will face a further hour or two punching into it. Already Alice II in the GBR White team looks to be leading the big boat class on corrected time.

The latest positions from the racecourse indicate that the Irish team is not only still leading overall in the 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup, but they have extended their lead albeit marginally. The 17.00 BST sched showed Anthony O'Leary's Antix second among the big boats, David Dwyer's second in the mid-sized fleet and Robert Davies' Roxy 6 second among the small boats. With these results the Irish team would be on 44.5 points ahead of France Blue and Hong Kong tied in second on 71.5. GBR Red holds fourth on 86.5, followed by France Yellow in fifth.

Two yachts have retired to date: Cracklin Rosie (Class 1) and Artemis (Class 2) both from GBR Black.

The 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup Long Offshore Race continues tomorrow, Wednesday, with the yachts expected to finish by the early afternoon. The forecast wind overnight is for 12 – 15 knots from the west and southwest. Tracking and provisional rankings available at:

Top Five Teams - Provisional Positions after completion of 4 races (Long Offshore not included)

Team / Points / Place
Ireland / 24.5 / 1
GBR Red / 49 / 2
France Blue / 51.5 / 3
Hong Kong / 54 / 4
France Yellow /59 / 5

Les Sables - Les Acores - Les Sables Leg 2 Start
Andrea Caracci has decided to leave to anyone else to play the opening of this second leg. Without fanfare, the Italian skipper took advantage of light air to extricate himself at the exit of the Bay of Horta. Behind him, the hunt was organized.

Light wind, flat sea, sky down: the Azores really did not offer their best face for the start of the second leg. And the skipper leave with regret after one heavenly week between hiking, island tours and observations of whales, without forgetting evenings at Peter Cafe Sport.

On the start line wo choices emerged: from the committee boat on the starboard side, hoping the wind a little more support or leave from the buoy and assuming a more favorable angle relative to downwind. This second choice paid off: Andrea Caracci (Speedy Maltese) got the better of Milan Kolacek (Follow Me) and Jean-Marc Allaire (Baker Tilly AG2R La Mondiale) at the helm of his Pogo 2 that stood up to the two prototypes.

Windward, the situation was less clear: Robert Rosenjacobson (NED 602) a little early on the line, had to luff to stop his boat from crossing the line too soon. Behind him, a compact group climbed rapidly: Thomas Normand (Financiere de l'Echiquier), Jorg Riechers ( and a little further back Lucas Montagne (ONG Conseil) and Paul Marette (Region Nord Pas de Calais).

The latest weather forecasts have already undermined the routing models which required the fleet to go far north to find wind. The high pressure area of the Azores is sagging abruptly and opens the way to the low pressure areas that should propel the fleet at great speed towards Les Sables d'Olonne. Above all, it seems that the situation becomes clearer in the Gulf of Biscay and the arrival becomes, in navigation, simpler than it seemed even twenty-four hours earlier.

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J24 Worlds
Malmo, Sweden: Worst possible touristic conditions but perfect sailing on the second day of J24 in Malmoe. Light and tricky winds in the first race was followed by broaches and breakage in the second, both races in heavy rain. Even starts and tight roundings challenges crew work and nerves for the participants.

In the first race of today A Gunnarsson (SWE) sailed in the lead from the end of the first upwind and won elegant the first race. M Garzmann (GER) advanced to second from a nice last upwind in the light and shifty breeze.

In the second race the wind increased to 12 m/s. M Santa Cruz (BRA) made a false start and have had a poor beginning of the worlds. T Healy (USA) won the fourth race before PH Persson (SWE), who had a nice start and sailed with good height and speed on the upwinds. Third was previous champion A Casale (ITA).

After four races Casale is leading Pereira (ARG) and Karsunke (GER). Ingham (USA), Gunnarsson (SWE) and Southworth (GBR) follows in the battle for the title.

Top ten provisional results after 4 races:

1. Andrea Casale, ITA, 17 points
2. Matias Pereira, ARG, 22
3. Stefan Karsunke, GER, 24
4. Mike Ingham, USA, 26
5. Anna Gunnarsson, SWE, 30
6. Ian Southworth, GBR, 30
7. Tony Parker, USA, 33
8. Nathan Batchelor, GBR, 51
9. Per-Hakan Persson, SWE, 53
10. Duncan McCarthy, GBR, 64

Next Challenge for Esimit Europa 2
Exactly two months after the christening in Cannes and following three magnificent wins at the Giraglia Rolex Cup, Esimit Europa 2 is ready for another challenge. On Wednesday, 18 August 2010, the team will start the 500-mile race from Palermo to Monte Carlo. However, the road to a new victory will be anything but easy. The crew will have to compete against 26 top yachts and tackle the unpredictable conditions of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The race is organised by the Circolo della Vela Sicilia in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco, and 2010 marks the 6th edition. The Esimit Europa 2 team predicts another great performance with one of the fastest yachts in the world. "This is the second regatta this year for the team and an opportunity to test our boat's capabilities in conditions that are different from the ones we faced in the Giraglia Rolex Cup. We are still learning as a team and each race is a new opportunity to get right all the details required to achieve world-class results," said Igor Simcic, the yacht's owner and General Manager of the Esimit Europa project.

"I am pleased that the three wins in the Giraglia Rolex Cup made it clear to the global audience that nothing is left to chance. Representing the colours of Europe is a great honor and a great responsibility at the same time. I am honoured that in the past month the project's values were endorsed by Borut Pahor, the Prime Minister of Slovenia and Dr. Erato Kozakou Marcoullis, Minister of Communications and Works, who expressed the support on behalf of the Government of Cyprus."

Esimit Europa 2 expects to arrive in Monaco on 20 August and can be tracked in real time online at

Seahorse September 2010
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

- Gaining (serious) credibility
HUGH WELBOURN's Dynamic Stability System has just moved up a notch as LOUAY HABIB discovers

Seahorse build table
- Style and substance?
GIULIANO LUZZATO talks to leading Italian designer MAURIZIO COSSUTTI

RORC news
- More sailing less sitting
EDDIE WARDEN OWEN on the rapid growth of interest in two-handed offshore racing

Sailor of the Month
Same racing team... but very different skill sets

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...

RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta
Access Liberty sailor David Durston was crowned 2010 Multiclass Champions of Champions as the curtain came down on the fourth annual RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club Sunday 15 August).

After 10 individual class prizes were determined on the opening day yesterday, day two was all about the race for the prestigious Ken Ellis Trophy as almost 80 sailors in some 60 boats contested the two-race Trophy general handicap series.

Each sailor's score was determined using the Average Lap method and corrected for the Portsmouth Yardstick (PY) number for the class.

And it was David, a member of host club Rutland Sailability who also sails with Swindon-based Whitefriars Sailing for the Disabled, who was revealed as the overall multiclass champion and the winner of the Ken Ellis Trophy at the official prizegiving.

Mother Nature threw almost every condition possible at the sailors over the two days on Rutland Water from hairy squalls and thunderstorms for the class series' on Saturday to lighter breezes and bright sunshine for the handicap series.

As well as celebrating the achievements of those who take the top prizes the regatta is also a fantastic opportunity for less experienced racers to hone their competitive talents and compete alongside, and learn from, more experienced crews.

Frensham Pond's Monique Foster, the winner of Saturday's Access 2.3 Series, admitted this element of the Multiclass Regatta is one of its biggest draws.

She said: "You not only get to see what other boats you may like to try but you can actually have a go as well, and if you have any doubts that you may not be able to sail a certain boat when you see someone else sailing it it takes all that doubt away.

2010 RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta class winners' results:

1. 2.4 mR - Iain Stowe (Grafham Water)
2. Challenger Gold - Graham Hall (Rutland Sailability)
3. Challenger Silver - Bob Bellamy (Grafham Sailability)
4. Challenger Bronze - Tony Lawton/Heike Conroy (Burghfield)
5. Artemis - Lucy Hodges/James Merrick (Blind Sailing)
6. Laser Stratos - Glenford Gordon/Lenford Pope (British Virgin Islands Sailability)
7. Access 2.3 - Monique Foster (Frensham Pond)
8. Access 303 (one-person) - Hugh Lansdowne (Tideway Sailability)
9. Access 303 (two-person) - Craig Nairn/Ian McNair (Rutland Sailability)
10. Access Liberty - Clare Andrew (Rutland Sailability)

1. 2.4 mR - Iain Stowe (Grafham Water)
2. Challenger Gold - Graham Hall (Rutland Sailability)
3. Challenger Silver - Pauline Shaw (Grafham Sailability)
4. Challenger Bronze - Tony Lawton/Heike Conroy (Burghfield)
5. Artemis - Lucy Hodges/James Merrick (Blind Sailing)
6. Access 303W - Tessa Watkiss (Frensham Pond Sailability)
7. Access 303S - Robert Boyd (Devon Sailability)
8. Access Liberty - David Durston (Rutland Sailability/Whitefriars)

Ken Ellis Trophy - David Durston (Rutland Sailability/Whitefriars)

Eric Monnin Best In Sopot
Sopot, Poland: Swiss Eric Monnin was the winner of this year's regatta Sopot Match Race. In the final duel he defeated Przemyslaw Tarnacki 2-0.

Sopot Match Race 2010 is behind us. In Sunday's semi-final duel started the best players of this year's race. Composition of the four semi-final was not surprising: for this stage of events took part promoted favorites. A surprise is the victory of Swiss Monnin, who entered the semifinals with the fewest points. In the first duel Monnin team defeated Karol Jablonski 1-0. In the second semi-final duel Tarnacki defeated Morvan. The Pole turned out to be much better (1-0), and he fought with Monnin for the championship. He finally ended the regatta in the second place. After that, Karol Jablonski lost the Petite Final with Morvan (1:2) and he ended the event in fourth position. -- Aneta Arwaj

The final classification:
1. Eric Monnin
2. Przemysław Tarnacki
3. Pierre- Antoine Morvan
4. Karol Jablonski
5. David Chapman
6. Rasmus Viltoft
7. Patryk Zbroja
8. Andrew Arbuzow
9. Marek Stanczyk
10. Diogo Cayolla
11. Piotr Przybylski
12. Farokh Tarapore

Short Tacks
Photo by Noel Browne Photography. Click on image for photo gallery.

Irish Opti Nationals The 3 Irish Optimist Nationals got underway today in sunny Dunmore East. A total of 234 boats raced two races today. Conditions were ideal with light to moderate NW breezes, remaining steady for the day.

Provisional results after 2 races:
Senior: 1st Peter McCann, RCYC, 2nd Aran Hollowell, UK.
Junior: 1st Daire Cournane, RCYC/KYC; 2nd Fergus Flood, HYC.
Regatta: 1st Michael O'Suilleabhain, KYC, 2nd Amy Carroll.


Over 4,000 skippers have already signed up to the Virtual Race Game for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race which starts from Cowes, Isle of Wight on Monday 23rd August, so there's plenty of time to sign up and prepare yourself for one of the toughest races on the sailing calendar.

Go to the Royal Ocean Racing Club's race minisite and click on the Virtual Race button to get started:


The Velux 5 Oceans has announced the final element of the cutting edge onboard communications support package for skippers in the 2010/11 race. Each yacht in the race will not only be kitted out with a state-of-the-art camera set-up as previously announced, but will now feature the latest satellite broadband equipment with a dedicated airtime provision per team to ensure no action goes unmissed during the gruelling 30,000-mile race.

It is the first time in the history of singlehanded offshore racing that skippers have been offered a complete package of onboard cameras and communications management system. A team of experts from onboard media specialist Marine Camera Solutions has begun fitting the high-tech equipment to each of the nine yachts in the 2010/11 edition of the race.


The Kiwi OK Dinghy sailors are always keen to tell everyone that they are the best sailors in the world and perhaps they are not far wrong. A look at the top 20 in the world ranking reveals no fewer than 11 Kiwis, including the double world champion Karl Purdie in the number one spot, but furthermore a glance at the gear list for the top finishers at the recently concluded European Championships in Medemblik also reveals a higher than average propensity for Europeans to use Kiwi originated or designed gear.

The winning hull was an Icebreaker, which has been the standard hull in New Zealand for decades. Now, thanks to the efforts of Chris Brown of Performance Composites who builds them and Alistair Deaves who finishes and markets them, the 30 year old design is now looking better than ever. Icebreakers from New Zealand have won six of the past 10 world championships and almost every regatta this year in which one has been used. Fourth placed Greg Wilcox, an ex-pat Kiwi running the Quantum sails loft in Potsdam was also using an Icebreaker hull and says they are the best hulls he has ever used - with 30 years under his belt in the class, that is no idle boast. A total of 15 sailors in the 61 boat fleet were using Icebreakers - 10 of them new ones from New Zealand - underlining how favourably it is viewed by some, despite the challenges of getting one all the way from Auckland to Europe. Five more were either UK or Polish copies or older hulls imported from New Zealand. --

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The Last Word
The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

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