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Yachting News Christmas 2009

Dec 19, 2009 Comments Off on Yachting News Christmas 2009 by


Just an update while Steve is out there with his Mermaids on the Barrier or is he in the Mercs by know???

I am off to track him down in the morning , Enjoy!


Sydney Hobart

Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo is leading the hunt for line honours victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race early this morning, but it is a three-boat war on the race track, as only five nautical miles separate the New Zealand leader from ICAP Leopard, owned and skippered by Mike Slade from the UK and four-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards (NSW).
The three 100ft yachts are travelling at just over 11 knots off Montague Island on the NSW south coast sailing in a 12-14 knot E/SE breeze as they push towards Eden just after 5.00am on day two of the 628 nautical mile ocean classic. Alfa Romeo is sailing the rhumbline route (most direct course to Hobart) and of the three, ICAP Leopard has chosen to sail furthest east of the rhumbline as they hurtle south.

There has been a further retirement overnight, making it four retirements from the original 100-yacht fleet. Alan Brierty’s Limit, representing the organising club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), retired due to rigging issues late last evening, approximately 35nm east of Jervis Bay.

One of the main favourites for overall honours following her recent triumph in the Rolex Trophy Rating Series, Limit will arrive back at the CYCA this morning.

In the race for overall honours, Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll from Melbourne is the current leader, having hauled in the British JV 72 RÁN, owned by Niklas Zennstrom, which had been leading until this morning. However, there is very little in it and these are early days.

Ray Roberts’ Evolution Racing (CYCA) is currently third placed overall in the race for the Tattersall’s Cup, with Ichi Ban, the Jones 70 belonging to CYCA Commodore Matt Allen in fourth place. Ichi Ban has sailed inside the top eight or so since the race started, revelling in moderate upwind and off the breeze conditions the fleet has seen so far.

The entire fleet is sailing either on the rhumbline or anywhere between 30 to 80nm east of it, to take advantage of the stronger breeze offshore and the current.

Chris Dawe’s Polaris of Belmont is trailing at the back of the fleet, 20nm east of Kiama with 575nm miles to go – a long way from the Rolex Sydney Hobart finish line. The Gosford-based 39 year-old Cole 43 has amassed an incredible 24 Hobart races. Her last place on line means nothing in the scheme of things, the yacht having racked up a number of divisional wins and placings in this race in the past.

Currently, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts south-easterly winds at 10-15 knots tending east/north-east at 10-15 knots on a one metre south/south-easterly swell for the rest of the day. These conditions are good news for the big boats especially, as they will travel downwind fast under spinnaker.

Positions for each of the 96-strong fleet are now available via Yacht Tracker at

By Di Pearson, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team

Greetings yachties,

I’ve been very busy sailing lately, Enjoy.

Join Yachtyakka Yacht Club and build your own sailing blog with photos, video, events and handy hints. Heading off to the Barrier in a few days and wont be updating the daily news during Christmas, in the mean time here is the latest Sydney Hobart links for live coverage and tracking. Have a Merry Christmas and if you find yourself at the Barrier on Boxing day, come over for a rum 🙂

Race coverage goes mobile in historic first for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Millions of yachting enthusiasts across Australia and New Zealand will this year have instant mobile access to the most comprehensive race result service in the history of the world renowned Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Organisers of the 65th edition of the blue water classic, Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), has commissioned IT firm BlueCentral to provide, for the first time, mobile phone updates as the fleet battles its way down the coast to Hobart

“In addition to the official race website we have introduced the SMS service to mobile users, because it’s not always possible to have access to a computer,” said the CYCA’s CEO, Mark Woolf.  “This year followers will be able to share in the excitement of the race wherever they may be.”

more here


The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce that the Seven Network and Yahoo!7, will provide a live 90 minute webcast of the start of the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race to a global audience. This is the second year that Yahoo!7 has live streamed the race.

more here

Category of Group 2 sailors will be eliminated

Laura Dekker – missing – found

Sarah-Jane Blake

BlackMatch on TVOne Sunday 20th December

Abby Sunderland update

Takapuna Beach welcomes future world sailing champions

Valencia Sailing

Where is Jessica Watson now?

More Louis Vuitton Regattas

Trophée Jules Verne

Clipper update

Alinghi Wrap-up with Murry Jones

Geoff Holt

Greenbird – Thinking about Ice!

Rolex Sydney Hobart update

Auckland Festival of Sail

SolOceans One-design – Dismasted

WYRF – The Movie



Merry Christmas

Jess with woolen hat

Monday, December 21, 2009
Grey and Misty
I’ve just come inside from sitting out in the wind, with a cup of hot chocolate and watching the light fade. No sunset as I’ve got heavy cloud and poor visibility, but the light misty rain and big rolly grey swell is just as lovely as any sunset.

I’ve been seeing quite a few birds around and I love watching them fly low over the waves and around Ella’s Pink Lady. I’m pretty annoyed with myself for not bringing a bird book, but I think I’m mostly seeing big petrels and I spotted my first albatross for the trip this morning.

more here


ISAF Sailor Classification Code Updated With Group 2 To Be Eliminated

Following on from decisions taken at the ISAF Annual Conference, the ISAF Sailor Classification Code is changing and starting from 1 April 2010, the category of Group 2 sailors will be eliminated.
The ISAF Sailor Classification Code is a service provided by ISAF, giving events and classes a cost-free, international system for classification of sailors. It is incorporated in ISAF Regulation 22. Following a lengthy consultation process with sailors, classes and events which use the Code, the ISAF Sailor Classification Commission proposed the removal of the Group 2 category of classification with an implementation date of 1 April 2010. The ISAF Council approved this proposal at the ISAF Annual Conference in November.

More Details On The Elimination Of Group 2

Outrage at ‘Jesus shooting Santa’ display

By MSN NZ staff
Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ron Lake’s display has sparked outrage.


A display depicting Jesus shooting dead Santa Claus has sparked outrage in the US state of California.

The display, placed on a front lawn, shows Jesus pointing a double-barreled shotgun at Santa as he lies on his back with his eyes painted out.

Reindeer Rudolph also lies dead nearby.

more here



A determined Dutch teenager who was stopped by welfare authorities from trying to become the youngest person to sail singlehanded around the world has gone missing from her father’s home, police say.

Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said relatives in the city of Utrecht had reported Laura Dekker, 14, missing on Saturday (NZT) and authorities in nearby countries had been alerted to her disappearance and asked to monitor airports.

Jens added that Dekker’s boat was believed to be moored at its usual place, but she had left her father’s home.

“We are concerned because she is 14 years old and she has to come home,” Jens said.

Dutch public broadcaster NOS said Dekker had left a letter for her father – whom she lives with – before disappearing, but did not reveal its contents.

The broadcaster quoted a family spokeswoman as saying Dekker’s father did not know where she was.

more here

more about Laura Dekker here


By MIKE CORDER, Associated Press Writer Mike Corder, Associated Press Writer   – 2 hrs 54 mins ago

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old Dutch girl whose bid to sail solo around the world was blocked by a court, has gone missing, leaving behind her boat, police said Sunday.

Dekker appears to have left her father’s home on her own, Utrecht police spokesman Bernhard Jens told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Her boat, Guppy, is still moored at its usual berth.

“We do not believe this is a crime,” Jens said.

Jens would not comment on a report in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that Dekker withdrew euro3,500 ($5,000) from her bank account a few days ago.

Dutch broadcaster NOS cited a family spokeswoman as saying that Laura left a letter for her father before disappearing. It did not say what was in the letter.

The spokeswoman, Mariska Woertman, did not return calls seeking comment.

more here

Sydney Hobart 2009 sans logo

Spirit of Sir Peter Sailing South With Sarah-Jane


Sarah-Jane Blake, daughter of Sir Peter Blake and crew member of Lion New Zealand
ROLEX/Daniel Forster
Eight years after her father, the legendary Sir Peter Blake, was murdered aboard his boat while on an environmental crusade in Brazil, daughter Sarah-Jane Blake is only now able to watch footage of her dad.

After distancing herself from the tragedy for so many years, Sarah-Jane, 26, is immersing herself in her late father’s past, putting the finishing touches on a museum display of his life back in Auckland and joining the crew of Lion New Zealand for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. It is the same boat Sir Peter Blake helmed to a line honours victory in the tough 1984 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Sarah-Jane is one of three offspring from the original Lion New Zealand crew, with 18 year-old Sam Cray and Conrad Gundry also sailing south to Hobart in seven days time to commemorate the silver anniversary of the boat’s historic 1984 triumph.

When asked about her famous America’s Cup winning father, Sarah-Jane offers: “He was just our dad, it was normal. Now I’m starting to realise what he did. We were very lucky.”

Apart from the time spent aboard boats as a child, including celebrating her second birthday on Lion New Zealand during a cruise from New Zealand to England via the Galapagos Islands, and more recently the Auckland to Noumea Race on the boat, Sarah-Jane has largely kept away from sailing. Instead she’s been working in the UK as a successful artist and set designer.

“On the delivery back from the Auckland to Noumea Race we went through some really bad weather and I felt he [dad] was really there,” she said.

more here

Sir Peter Blake story here


In the ‘He ran, She ran’ crazy world of the America’s Cup, it seems that the deal to change the dates on the 33rd Match and run with an extended regatta are no more, and that Societe Nautique de Geneve have backed away from undertakings given earlier today.

Sources in Valencia advised Sail-World that the arrangement made by SNG representatives in Valencia had not been confirmed by their Swiss masters.

It would seem therefore that the regatta which was to be a best of seven series, spanning two weekends, will now revert to the Court sanctioned best of three regatta starting on 8 February 2010.

The Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberá, who had been broking a deal between the warring parties to turn the 33rd America’s Cup into a sailing spectacle, is said to be rather unimpressed with the latest developments.

Organisation of the shore side of the regatta had been arranged to be undertaken by the city/consorcio, but that is now believed to be overturned, as well. Such an arrangement would have left the Swiss to run the on-the-water side of the regatta, while the City undertook the cost, organisation and promotion of the event as well as arranging the media centre and other social events.

more here

Hi all from BlackMatch,

For all Kiwi sailing enthusiasts and BlackMatch supporters, there is a 1 hour television special on the Monsoon Cup today. TVNZ are featuring highlights of the final World Tour Event which saw us beat Ben Ainslie 3 nil in the final and take out the World Match Racing Title for 2009. The programme will start at 2pm today on TV1 and with undoubtably some of the best onboard coverage in sailing to date, it is not to be missed. Please spread the word about the show as for anyone having a lazy Sunday afternoon it will make for awesome viewing and BlackMatch would greatly appreciate the support.

BlackMatch Racing is Adam Minoprio, Dan McLean, David Swete, Tom Powrie and Nick Blackman


Progress, Progress, Progress

Up early and home past dark. That’s how its been for a while. The media is starting to pick up on my story and I’ve been doing quite a few interviews recently. We’ve been going non-stop since the boat got here and I just realized today that Christmas is only a week away! The main thing that I’m looking forward to about Christmas is that soon after I’ll be leaving on my sea trial! Its all so exciting!
I actually started to pack this morning… I’m the sort of person to throw some cloths in a back pack the night before leaving for anywhere. This time I decided I should take a little more time and care in packing my cloths for this trip.

more here


Splash World Sailing Championships – Takapuna Beach CREDIT: Jonathan Masters

Takapuna Beach welcomes future world sailing champions

On Saturday 2 January, nearly 80 young sailors from 11 countries will take over Takapuna Beach with multi-coloured sailing dinghies and seek to prove on the racecourse that they have what it takes to be the best in the world.

The sailors are competing in the week-long Splash World Sailing Championships – a prestigious international event for single handed (solo) dinghy youth sailors.

Amongst them will be reigning World Champion Declan Burn, and reigning Girls Champion, Nienke Reina Jorna of the Netherlands.
2008 winner and NZL sailor Ben Lutze is another national favourite to watch, as are 2007 World Optimist Champion, Auckland sailor Chris Steele, and European Opti Champ Etienne Le Pen of New Caledonia, and 2008 World Girls Champ and 2009 Runner-Up, Philipine van Aanholt for The Dutch Antilles.

The Splash Dinghy is a fast, modern single handed dinghy designed for sailors under the age of 19. Favoured for its ability to build confidence in mostly teenage sailors, the boat is a step up from the Optimist, and a precursor and training vessel for the Laser class raced by both men and women at the Olympic Games.

Current World Champ Declan Burns of Picton, who has just completed high school, says he got into the Splash class after his father bought him a boat, about three years ago. “It’s a bit faster than a Starling and a lot of fun,” he says. Competing in New Zealand makes the regatta a lot easier to attend, and while he hasn’t spent a lot of time training in the waters off Takapuna, it is the location of many big sailing events, and that’s an advantage.

In 2009 New Zealand won the Nations Cup at the Splash World Champs held in Europe, winning the team the right to host the Champs locally this year. Takapuna Boating Club, led by event director Grant Cunningham, are the event organisers.

more here


Valencia Sailing

I don’t know whether it’s the Christmas spirit but is sure feels nice to see Port America’s Cup in Valencia getting busier by the day. At times it feels like 2006 again, only at a smaller scale with just 2 teams getting ready for the America’s Cup.

In our quick visit earlier today, the Alinghi compound (consisting of the base and two tents) seemed to be ready and waiting for the dozens of containers, ribs and all kind of material to arrive from Ras al-Khaimah.

On the other hand, the BMW Oracle camp still looks suspiciously quiet. According to reliable sources, the American team will set up a kind of temporary “reception” base in the commercial part of Valencia’s port while the city plans to clear the docks of ALL the southern bases (China Team, Mascalzone Latino, Desafío, Team Germany, Areva Challenge, Victory Challenge and Team New Zealand) in order to liberate a continuous space, long and wide enough to accommodate the 62 meters of length and 16 meters of width of BOR 90’s wing sail!!

more here


Quick Update

Glad you all liked the pice from the mast yesterday. It’s been an overcast day today and the wind has been pretty light, but we’ve been able to make reasonable progress with the big light-wind reaching sail up. That was the one sail that I didn’t expect to be using at this latitude!

It’s cooler again with the temperature down to 17c and over the next few days I’m expected to see a low of 12c.

I spent the afternoon tackling a little electrical pr. The battery monitor (a gauge which tells me the condition of the batteries and all my ins and outs of my power) had stopped working. I thought it was well and truly a ‘goner’ (Aussie slang for finished!) and that I’d have to go without, but thanks to some really detailed and helpful instructions from Neil our astute electrician, combined with an afternoons hard work, I’m very happy to report that I had a win! With all the tricky little details involved, I can’t say that I was that confident that it was going to function. So you should have seen how thrilled I was after replacing the last fuse to see it fire up again!

That’s it from me, it’s past midnight local time and I’m feeling a little overdue for some shut eye.
Good night!


more here

Mast pic


More Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas announced

Paris, December 18th 2009, The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) and Louis Vuitton today announced more Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas for 2010 and early 2011. These new international events follow the successful regatta held in Nice, France, last month.
© Paul Todd/ | Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur

Each Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta is a stand-alone regatta sailed in event-supplied 85-foot long AC Class yachts that require a crew of 17 top sailors to sail. The regatta concept is designed to transform a port venue, regardless of its previous sailing culture, into the capital of professional yacht racing for two weeks, along with all the associated activities and excitement, on and off the water.


The concept of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas was inspired by the acclaimed Louis Vuitton Pacific Series raced in Auckland, NZ, last February.

The schedule for the next events covers four distinctly different parts of the world:

Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland: 9 – 21 March 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena, Sardinia: 22 May – 6 June 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Middle East: 13 – 28 November 2010
Louis Vuitton Trophy Hong Kong: 9 – 24 January 2011 (To be confirmed)

* The venue in The Middle East is embargoed until January 15th 2010

Newly-elected WSTA board Chairman Paul Cayard commented: “The Louis Vuitton Trophy is gaining momentum following the great regattas held in Auckland and Nice in 2009 and I really believe 2010 is going to be an even better year for our teams, their crews and supporters.”

Apart from being a cost-effective way for teams to match race impressively large yachts close to crowds, the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas also represent one of the most interesting media/marketing opportunities in yacht racing today.

more here


BMW Oracle out of regatta

By Paul Lewis

BMW Oracle say they are too busy with their impending big-boat America’s Cup challenge against Alinghi, now confirmed in Valencia for February 12.

While the one-on-one match-up between BOR 90, BMW Oracle’s giant and technologically advanced trimaran, and Alinghi’s equally impressive catamaran, is a month before the Auckland regatta, the strain on resources and management has been assessed as too great.

Oracle will still offer one of their old America’s Cup boats as back-up to the two Emirates Team New Zealand boats used for the regatta.

Oracle say they are still committed to the concept and will take their place in other Louis Vuitton regattas but there now seems to be some teething problems with the series.

more here

Well-known America’s Cup sailor Paul Cayard was voted chairman. Dalton was the primary mover and shaker of the Louis Vuitton regatta and was widely expected to be the WSTA’s first chairman.

There is more than a whiff of yachting politics about that result and, while there is no suggestion that ETNZ’s or Dalton’s commitment to the Louis Vuitton has lessened, such politics do not make life easy.

As an example, there are already rumours around New Zealand’s yachting community that Team NZ have not yet paid up the $1 million which teams must pay to the WSTA and that the association is chasing them for the money.

The Auckland City Council recently pledged $650,000 and the Government $1.5 million for what it labelled the Auckland Festival Of Sail – with the BMW World Sailing Final and the Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta bookending the Louis Vuitton regatta as the ‘jewel in the crown’.

While specific allocation of that money is not known, it is understood that the vast majority is going into the Louis Vuitton funding. In last week’s announcement of the festival, the ACC said the economic benefit of the last Louis Vuitton in Auckland had injected at least $16 million into the Auckland economy.

Dalton, speaking at the announcement last week said getting the event off the ground had been hugely challenging, with money the toughest factor.

more here

Le stand-by continue à Brest pour le Maxi Banque Populaire V !

Pascal Bidégorry et ses douze hommes d’équipage ont convoyé ce vendredi le maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V depuis Lorient jusqu’à Brest où le multicoque continue son stand-by, dans l’attente d’une fenêtre qui leur permettrait de s’élancer à l’assaut du Trophée Jules Verne.

more here


more photos here


As crews continue with deep cleaning boats and preparing for their haul outs, the people of Geraldton continue to head down to the Batavia Coast Marina in their droves.

Today has been really hot and humid and it looks like thunder clouds are building to the north as the now familiar daily routine swings in to action. A couple of minutes away from the marina, the huge floor of an old supermarket has been converted to a temporary sail loft and victualling store. This morning, it was the turn of Jamaica Lightning Bolt to take over the sewing machine and under the guidance of Rick Byerley (the Australian representative of Hyde Sails who flew in from Melbourne yesterday), they began the mammoth repair to their damaged spinnaker.

Tomorrow will see the first in a series of corporate sails and the guests are itching to get out on the water and see how a Clipper 68 performs. Delegations from the City of Greenhough-Geraldton, Geraldton Yacht Club and the Midwest Chamber of Commerce will be on board Spirit of Australia, Jamaica Lightning Bolt and Qingdao respectively.

The ‘Local goes Global’ pavilion, which has been set up as part of the race village, has seen another steady stream of crew booking trips to local attractions which include some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Tonight, the team of Uniquely Singapore are holding their team Christmas dinner in one of the best restaurants in town. ‘Tides’ is on the top floor of one of the tallest buildings and with stunning views to the west, it’s the perfect place for a sundowner or two. Secret Santa presents will be shared and the night looks like it might be long and loud for the crew who this time last year, were celebrating Christmas at home.

more here


Climate Change Does Not Always Lead to Conflict

ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2009) — The climate change that took place in Mesopotamia around 2000 BC did not lead to war, but in fact led to the development of a new shared identity. Although increasing drought often leads to competition and conflict, there seems to be no evidence of this in northern Mesopotamia according to Dutch researcher Arne Wossink.

Wossink studied how the farmers and nomads in northern Mesopotamia — currently the border area between Turkey, Syria and Iraq — responded to the changes in climate that took place between 3000 and 1600 BC. He expected to find considerable evidence of competition: as food and water became scarcer the natural result could well be conflict. He discovered, however, that the farmers developed much closer bonds with the semi-nomadic cattle farmers.

The archaeologist analysed previous finds from the area as well as ancient texts. His research shows the importance of not seeing climate as the only cause: human responses in particular play a major role. Wossink studied three regions and only one of these demonstrated traces of competition between settlements. However, the completion in this area was probably due to the strong population growth that was taking place there.

more here


As the Defender’s giant catamaran, Alinghi 5, finishes its last week of sailing in Ras Al Khaimah and the packing continues at a furious pace, catches up with Murray Jones, who has been overseeing the sailing programme, for a status report:


Murray Jones, Alinghi 5 sailing team
(Photo credit: George Johns/Alinghi)

What has the team achieved here in Ras Al Khaimah over the past two months?

Murray Jones: The weather here has been fantastic and has allowed us to sail almost everyday. We have ticked off everything that we wanted to achieve. Obviously more time would be great, it always is, but we are pretty happy with where we are. We have still got a lot to do in the next few weeks when we finally get to Valencia, but all the major decisions have been made.

What’s the team plan over the next few weeks?

MJ: Fortunately the shipping time allows us a break over the Christmas period and I think everyone is looking forward to that. The team has been working very hard and needs a couple of weeks off! It will be good to come back fresh in January because when we finally arrive in Valencia it will be a sprint to the end.

more here

Don’t miss Seamaster Sailing this month to see Alinghi’s giant catamaran at play in Ras Al Khaimah where preparations towards the 33rd America’s Cup take big strides forward. Hear from Alinghi team members, Ed Baird, Brad Butterworth and team president, Ernesto Bertarelli, on progress and on first winning, and then losing the appeal to remain in the United Arab Emirates for the Match…

For SKY TV broadcast times in the UK and Ireland, see below:

Sunday 20 December 0600 on Sky Sports 3
Sunday 20 December 1000 on Sky Sports 3
Sunday 20 December 1200 on Sky Sports 3
Sunday 20 December 1730 on Sky Sports Xtra
Sunday 20 December 2800 on Sky Sports Xtra
Tuesday 22 December 0930 on Sky Sports Digital

more here


More bad weather but everyone fine

Here we go again, back on the rollercoaster ride and have been for the past 24 hours, making for an uncomfortable night last night and the prospect of the same today.  We are still making for the Cape Verde islands on a course of 220 degrees, exactly the same direction the wind is blowing at 25 knots (force 5) so we are quite literally pounding into the oncoming waves. One of the engines is as good as dead as the fuel in that tank is now so concentrated with crap in the fuel we can not run it any more. The other engine can not rev about 1100 revs for the same reason and is pushing us along at a paultry 2 knots.  At this rate, our ETA in Cape Verde isles is early next week.  Considering we left Lanzarote a week ago today, our progress has been dire.

On the positive side we are all well and Susana and our cameraman Digby are in remarkably good spirits considering they must have asked themselves on more than one occassion, “Why am I doing this?” as they crawl into the aft-engine bay to blow the bad disel out of the fuel pipes; the heat of the engines, the smell of diesel, the confinement of the engine bay and motion of the boat only adding to their discomfort – I certainly picked the easy-straw by focussing on the sailing, these guys deserve medals.

more here

Where is Geoff now?



Well, it is getting chilly here in San Francisco so it must be getting towards that time of year, the Ice!

I have been working out here during the summer on a radical sailing project, not speed record stuff, but great fun with huge potential…. more on that later. My thoughts are now on the ice record and getting the Greenbird ice yacht up together to take on this season’s ice.

Last year the rough ice (@ 70 mph) took its toll and there are a few bearings, etc that need replacing. I am therefore going to fly to the craft (sitting in its box near the lake) and drive it back from Montana (18 hr drive) this weekend and work on it for a while in our nice hanger in San Francisco. There are a few modifications I would like to do, so when the ice forms in Mid December, I will be ready and only a couple of days drive away from being set up.

more here

Sydney Hobart 2009 sans logo

When Sally met Archie

Just seven years ago Tasmanian Sally Rattle stepped onto a little J24 day sailer for her first taste of sailing. She liked it so much she bought a one third share of the little boat.

On Boxing Day she will skipper her very own ocean racer, Archie, an Archambault 35, across the starting line of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2009. To say that Sally is a little bit excited is an understatement.

After all, she hadn’t actually done any ocean sailing before she picked up Archie in Melbourne for the delivery to Hobart in October 2006. She was very seasick. “But I am getting better,” Rattle insists.

Despite the seasickness, within a month she had entered Archie in the offshore qualifying race for that year’s Melbourne to Hobart, launching what has become a pretty impressive campaign record for boat, owner and crew.  In that 2006 Melbourne Hobart Archie was second across the line, and Rattle figured she had a pretty quick boat on her hands. “It was quite a good sign,” she deadpans.

Archie went on to win the IRC division in the 2007 Maria Island Race, followed that up with first overall in the Melbourne to Hobart that year, and then won the follow-up Sovereign Series. She also won the Tasmanian Offshore Championships in 2007 and 2008 and finished first on IRC in this year’s Bruny Island Race.

“It’s been quite a ride,” Rattle says. “We have some fantastic people on the boat, and we have stayed together and that’s really important.  We have two brothers in the crew and my husband is team manager. It’s a real family affair.”

Rattle is now a real veteran, with more than 5000 sea miles and seven Bass Strait crossings under Archie’s keel since that first squeamish delivery three years ago.

This year “the family” convinced her it was time to step up. They wanted to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

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Auckland Combines Three Events into the Festival of Sail.

One of the sessions at the World Yacht Racing Forum, which we haven’t covered in detail yet, focussed on the economic returns to venues of hosting sailing events. Yacht racing is lucky to be seen by tourism authorities as being able to bring attention and visitors to a place. But racing on its own might not be enough to bring the crowds. Combining events together helps to maximise the investment in promotion and infrastructure as well as expose sailing to a wider audience.

Selling a visitor experience is different to running events where the competitors are the only stakeholders considered.

Auckland is a city where sailing is as recognised as other sports. The city has invested heavily in developing the waterfront which is home to the country’s America’s Cup team. There is also a sense that relevant government agencies, investors and the sport all work together to create events that deliver the most return for all stakeholders.

Against this background, Auckland Mayor John Banks has announced the Auckland Festival of Sail – three major international regattas to be held on the Waitemata Harbour in March 2010. Mr Banks says:

“Not only is this great news for Aucklanders with another festival added to the summer events calendar, it’s also great news for businesses, especially those in the hospitality, tourism and marine sectors. Major events are important economic drivers especially during the tough times that we are currently experiencing. Securing this festival in Auckland is another step on our road to establishing the city as a desirable international events destination and we look forward to welcoming the world’s best sailors to our shores next year.”

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This morning at dawn, in a Force 7 wind with gusts and a stormy sea, Liz Wardley aboard the SolOceans One-design suffered two knock downs due to successive failures of the NKE autopilot. The SolOceans One-design has dismasted 158 miles west of Madeira and 619 miles south west of Lisbon (Portugal). Liz Wardley is not hurt and there is no damage to the SolOceans One-design. Liz Wardley quickly cleared the deck of the mast pieces to avoid damaging the hull or the deck. She will set a jury rig and sail for Lisbon without assistance.

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