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Displaying items by tag: Offshore

#Offshore - Mail Online reports that four British sailors are missing at sea after their yacht is thought to have capsized midway across the Atlantic.

Paul Goslin (56), Steve Warren (52) James Male (23) and 21-year-old skipper have been named as the four crew of the 40ft yacht Cheeki Rafiki, which had been returning to the UK from Antigua Sailing Week in the Caribbean when it got into difficulties on Thursday 15 May.

After contact with the yacht was lost on Friday 16 May, US and Canadian searched teams launched a major operation across 4,000 square miles of ocean between the yacht's last recorded position off Antigua and their last known heading the Azores.

But after two days with no signs of life, the four experienced offshore sailors are now feared dead.

A spokesperson for the US Coastguard said: "We believe that we would have found them by now if we were going to find them."

Mail Online has more on the story HERE.

Published in Offshore

#Energy - 'Fire ice' beneath the deep ocean off the UK and Irish coasts could prove one solution to our future energy needs - but tapping them will prove difficult for now, as the Guardian reports.

Reserves of methane hydrate crystals beneath the North Atlantic are said to be "enormous" - more than all the world's traditional fossil fuels combined - and potentially exploitable, according to geo-chemist Dr Chris Rochelle.

However, any such deposits are going to be difficult to access, being in deep waters far from shore - compared to Japan, where methane hydrates closer to that country's mainland have already been successfully converted to natural gas.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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The Royal Ocean Racing Club's domestic offshore programme starts tomorrow with the Cervantes Trophy, which takes the fleet from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line in Cowes across the English Channel to Le Havre. With a fleet of just under 60 yachts from five different countries, it is the French, with 21 boats, who are taking the challenge to the Brits in the hope of continuing the dominance they showed in 2013. The Cervantes Trophy is also the first offshore trial race for yachts vying for selection to represent England in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup to be held this summer in the Solent.

RORC's offshore programme of 10 races in the Channel and North Sea attracts serious offshore racers and some interesting boats. The fastest boat in the Cervantes Trophy and the most likely to take line honours in the race is Chris Le Prevost's IMOCA 60, Rosalba, which recently crossed the English Channel in a ballistic seven hour sprint. Close behind Le Provost will be two Ker 40s, a design that excels offshore. Edward Broadway's Hooligan VII and Rob Lutener's Cutting Edge will do battle to win both IRC One and the race overall. Both boats are also competing for a place in one of the English teams for the upcoming Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

While the boat will be hoping to earn a place one of the English teams, Ed Broadway confirmed there was an added incentive for the crew onboard Hooligan VII. 'We've never actually won this race, so it would be great to win it in its own right and get some points on the board. We're sailing with most of our potential Commodores' Cup crew, many of whom raced onboard last season as well; looking at the forecast they'll be wrapping up warm and huddling for warmth on the rail - it'll be a cold one this weekend!'

Each year the RORC sees an increase in the number of boats being raced two handed and the competition continues to increase with 15 boats competing not only for the Two-Handed Class but for the overall honours as was seen a number of times last season by the father and son team who won the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. Ian Hoddle's Figaro II, Rare, is the highest rated boat sailing in the Two-Handed Class, which includes Nick Martin's J/105, Diablo-J, which was RORC Yacht of the year in 2012.

After finishing the RORC 2013 season in 4th place in the Two-Handed Class, Nick Martin has been very busy. 'Since the last Cherbourg race in September, I've done the Rolex Middle Sea and Sydney-Hobart Races, but know I'll be a bit 'rusty' for this one!' A long term competitor in the Two-Handed Class and returning with a new co-skipper, Francois Turpault, Nick is impressed with the annual growth of competition. 'I'm convinced two handed racing remains the ultimate challenge. The thrill of competing and potentially performing well against fully crewed boats is highly attractive and the entire experience, from pre-race preparation through to actual performance, is greatly intensified with just 2 people and the end satisfaction is worth it. There's certainly never a dull moment!'

IRC Two sees the beginning of this year's campaign for Ian Hoddle aboard his modified Figaro II, Rare, which will culminate in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in August. Rare was refitted and readied for the 2010 edition of the race, however an electrical fault on the night before the start put paid to their plans. This race is very much unfinished business for Ian. Throughout the season Ian will be raising awareness for the charity CLIC Sargent, a charity focused on helping children with cancer. The class also includes the British Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier, skippered by Phil Caswell.

Last year's RORC Yacht of the Year, Courrier Vintage, will be racing to Le Havre under a new name and with a new crew. Now namedAzawakh the MC34 Patton is owned by Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout and will be a hot contender to retain the Cervantes Trophy, which Géry Trentesaux won on the same yacht last year. Vincent and Eric have been successfully RORC racing for many seasons, most recently with the JPK 10.10 Wasabi and the JPK 110 Rackham.

With 21 entries IRC Three will be the largest class in the Cervantes Trophy Race. Iain Kirkpatrick's X 37, Fatjax, is an extremely successful East Coast yacht and the top British yacht in IRC Three for the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. They will be looking for a great result to boost their claims for a spot in one of the top English Teams for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

IRC Four contains the majority of the Two-Handed entries, including several seasoned campaigners: Matthias Kracht's Ultreia! and Kirsteen Donaldson's X 332 Pyxis. Pierre Viard and Nicolas Siloret's Prism 28, Adrenaline, will be racing Two-Handed and is the smallest yacht in the race. Last year's IRC Four champion, Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew, will be racing fully crewed, as will veteran RORC competitor, Harry Heist's S&S 41, Winsome.

"It is very good to see such a strong fleet in the opening European offshore of the season," says RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "The RORC really appreciate the support of our French competitors making the trip in such numbers with well prepared yachts and crew. A significant number of entries will be racing Two-Handed and we are expecting a very competitive class. Three of the race destinations are established races across the Channel to France; the Cervantes Trophy Race to Le Havre and later in the season we will also be racing to St Malo and Cherbourg. However, this year the championship will include some new venues as well, allowing competitors to experience new courses and destinations whilst racing with the RORC."

Published in RORC
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#Offshore - Offshore sailors had best beware of some unusual tectonic activity between Britain and Ireland as of late, with the Bristol Channel experiencing its largest ever earthquake last month.

According to Met Éireann, the 4.1 magnitude quake on 20 February had an epicentre between Ilfracombe in Devon and Swansea in South Wales, and could be felt more than 200km away as far east as Guilford in Surrey.

"Most people described the shaking strength of the earthquake to be either weak or moderate, with mainly a trembling effect," said Met Éireann, "whilst others described the effect as swaying or jerky" and many reported rattling windows and shaking crockery.

There are as far no reports that the quake was felt across the Irish Sea here in Ireland, but experts will be vigilant for any further trembles beneath the waves...

Published in Offshore
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#offshorepower – The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Mr Pat Rabbitte, T.D., today launched the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) to provide a framework for the sustainable development of Ireland's offshore renewable energy resources.

Speaking at the Ocean Energy Industry Forum in Dublin, the Minister said, "Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 square kilometres, but a sea area of around 10 times that size, at 900,000 square kilometres. Ireland's position at the Atlantic edge of the EU gives an almost unparalleled offshore energy resource, with suitable conditions available for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies."

The Minister went on to say, "The potential of the offshore renewable energy sector to be a source of sustainable employment and growth in the green economy has been consistently identified in Government economic planning and job creation strategies, and by the European Commission in its recent Communication on 'Blue Energy' – especially in coastal communities where job creation faces particular challenges."

The Minister stressed the crucial importance of safeguarding the public interest in protecting our valuable marine environment, highlighting the fact that the OREDP is grounded in the principle that all development of offshore wind and ocean energy in Irish waters will be fully in line with Ireland's EU and international environmental obligations and best practice. The Minster went on to re-state the importance of the citizen being at the heart of the transition to renewable energy – both onshore and offshore – and the importance of timely and transparent engagement with the public for all offshore renewable energy development.

The OREDP identifies the opportunity for Ireland to increase indigenous production of renewable electricity, thereby contributing to reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions, improving the security of our energy supply and creating jobs in the green economy. The implementation of the OREDP, led by DCENR, will be mechanism through which government action across the environmental, energy policy and economic development dimensions will be coordinated to support the offshore renewable energy sector to reach commercial viability.

Published in Power From the Sea
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#rorc – Former Green Dragon skipper Ian Walker's Volvo Ocean 65 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing was quick off the mark to confirm its participation with Azzam (Determination) in the RORC's toughest race of the year - The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The race was previously won by Limerick skipper Ger O' Rourke in the 2006 race on the Cookson 50, Chieftain.

The 1802nm course, starting on Sunday 10th August, is the ultimate test of endurance for sailors and has been supported by leading Dutch specialist yacht transport company Sevenstar since 2006. Starting and finishing in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the race takes competitors non-stop around the breathtaking coastline of Britain and Ireland. Memorable landmarks include the most northerly lighthouse - Muckle Flugga, a small rocky island north of Unst in the Shetland Islands, Scotland.


Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing First to Sign Up
Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker will skipper the Volvo Ocean 65, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race prior to their second successive Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015:

"This will be my first Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and I can't wait to take part in our new Volvo 65. It will be an excellent training run just before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in October. Racing is always more demanding closer to land with headlands, tidal issues, wind effects and all the resulting sail changes. This will be a tough test for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing at just the right time," comments Skipper, Ian Walker. The organisers of Volvo Ocean Race confirmed that the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is part of their pre-race programme. This will give all teams the chance to compete for the first time against each other, offering valuable crew training and boat preparation before the start of their round the world race from Alicante, Spain in October 2014.

Chance for Volvo Ocean 65s to come Face-to-Face
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing returned to the water in last summer's Rolex Fastnet Race, coming from behind to cross the line ahead of future Volvo Ocean Race rivals, Team SCA, which will be the first all-women's team to compete in the race since 2001-02. The all-female crew will also participate in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as part of their pre-race training.

Coming only two months before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is a fairly critical 'fixture' in the Team SCA training calendar.

"The Team has been training in Lanzarote, Canary Islands since January 2013, taking advantage of the excellent conditions," commented Joca Signorini, Team SCA Coach. "With so few opportunities to race against other Volvo Ocean 65s, it will be great to be able to train and compete against other Volvo teams as well as other big boats entered in the race," continues Signorini.

Exemplary Tactical and Navigational Skills Required
The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race appeals to experienced ocean racers, seasoned RORC members and those less experienced sailors looking for a fulfilling adventure and sailing challenge. Enthusiasm for the race is high and over 30 boats are expected on the start line, with interest ranging from the Class40 fleet in the UK and France; IMOCA 60s and regular RORC racers ready for one of the toughest and most challenging endurance tests they will face during the 2014 RORC race season.

Class40 Concise back to defend 2010 record
In the 2010 edition Class40 Concise 2, with a crew of six, set a new Round Britain and Ireland record for the 40ft Category, completing the race in just 9 days 13hrs 32mins 20secs which was ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. The team have entered the 2014 edition with their new Class40, Concise 8:

"We have a good group of around eight Class40s who will base themselves in the Hamble for the coming season and I expect quite a few of them to compete in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race as well as a few French boats. The race is much more interesting and demanding than a transoceanic race because of all the headlands, tidal considerations and shipping that we encounter in the race. My aim is to beat the record I set in 2010 which will be tough to do," commented Ned Collier Wakefield.

RORC Best Sailing School Yacht in IRC to Compete
Other entries in the race include Scarlet Oyster, run by Sailing Logic who have won the Best Sailing School Yacht in IRC every year since 2005 in the RORC's annual awards. Based in Hamble, UK, Sailing Logic will offer individual places on Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, raced as Scarlet Logic for the non-stop race. It is the longest offshore race offered by Sailing Logic and the race will push everyone hard both mentally and physically.

Ross, owner and skipper of Scarlet Oyster, comments: "Sailing Logic run such an efficient shore-side operation I can really focus just on the racing. In the past two years we have collected a fair amount of silverware together and I am really looking forward to the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - and hopefully another trophy!"

Bremen Club Members Look forward to the Challenge
From Germany the JV53 Bank von Bremen will be skippered by Carol Smolawa who competed in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race and will be joined by other Fastnet veterans.

Change of Course and Alicia Return
Its unfinished business for Keith Gibbs' corinthian crew racing on the C & C 115, Change of Course. Made up of club sailors, the team will be back to complete the tough course having pulled into Dingle on the west coast of Ireland with a broken forestay in the 2010 race.

Alicia, Jonas Sandberg's First 50, competed in the 2010 race with one of Sweden's largest sailing schools, Styrbord Yachting. Skipper Jonas Sandberg, a radio DJ, charter skipper and glider pilot, has notched up over 10 Round Gotland Races in the Baltic Sea as well as numerous RORC races and is looking forward to the challenge once again.

Interest has also been received from Stormforce Coaching's First 40.7, Cheeki Rafiki. Principal Doug Innes was part of Ger O'Rourke winning team in the 2006 race on the Cookson 50, Chieftain.

Published in Offshore
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#rshyr – It is developing into one of the most complex Rolex Sydney-Hobart Races sailed in many a long day. And as it's in the upside-down Southern Hemisphere, weatherwise everything moves in different ways. W M Nixon isn't sure he has a clue what's going on, but he happily throws in his pennyworth to add to the confusion.

One surefire way to get publicity is to keep things secret, just releasing tasty bits of info at the last minute. With the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race providing a focal point of sailing attention at a time when most of the world is being distracted by minor matters such as celebrating Christmas, or simply getting through midwinter storms, the opportunities to make a show-stopping impact are magnified.

A dearth of maritime stories at home makes the saltheads leap at anything of cheerful sailing interest. For there are only so many ways that you can report that ferries aren't sailing at all, or are delayed. If we never hear the phrase "operational reasons" again, it will be too soon. And sad and all as we are about the huge whale in Achill, we were too far away to do anything about it. But give us something like the sudden appearance of Karl Kwok's startling new 80ft Beau Geste in Sydney just a couple of days before the race to Hobart begins, or the news on Christmas Day that a First 40 formerly thought of as just another Australian boat is actually an Irish entry in disguise and slipped in under the radar, then we come to life.

Naturally there'd been plenty of stories circulating about the new Kwok boat. However, as the other serious biggies in the Hobart fleet began to strut their stuff around Sydney harbour through December, inevitably they hovered up the attention. But then on Sunday, out of the blue, Beau Geste sailed into Sydney after a crisp and very satisfying four day test passage across from New Zealand, which is cooking with gas

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Anybody mind if we come in? The brand new 80ft Beau Geste arrives in Sydney on December 22nd after her speedy maiden voyage from New Zealand. Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

You can understand the reluctance of skipper Gavin Brady and the rest of Karl Kwok's team to seek the limelight. The previous much-admired Farr-designed 80ft Beau Geste, winner of many trophies, had suddenly as near as dammit broken in two off Norfolk Island during the 2012 Auckland-Noumea Race. The good folk of Norfolk Island did their best to help out, as did ships and fishing boats in the neighbourhood, but to this day nobody is too sure how the big boat stayed afloat long enough to be got to port.

There they were, all the gear intact, but the hull a write-off. They say that when you're unhorsed you should get back in the saddle immediately if the horse isn't injured. But this was one terminally injured nag. So they did the next best thing. They went to designer Mareclino Botin, he who created the Volvo 70 Camper which was the most radically different of the generally similar Volvo flotilla last time round, and ordered up a new canting keel 80 footer with debut planned for the 2013 Sydney-Hobart Race.

Built by Cookson in Auckland with beefed up engineering by comparison with the previous boat, but carrying some of her gear, the new boat is of interest every which way, as Botin used to be in partnership with Shaun Carkeek, who has designed the much-fancied 60-footer Ichi Ban for Matt Allen. And you can see (or maybe imagine) certain distant style resemblances between the two boats. But as the new Kwok boat follows Botin's enthusiasm for having the mast well aft (it was so far aft in Camper it was astern of the canting keel), it wouldn't be an exaggeration to describe Beau Geste as a one-masted schooner, though no more so than Volvo 70s like Giacomo.

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Baptism of fire. The Sydney-Hobart 2013 is Beau Geste's first race – she'd barely been afloat for a month when it started on Thursday. Photo: Rolex/Daniel Forster

Nevertheless, the first time this slightly offbeat boat had a crack at the opposition was in that initial crazy eight minute drag race down Sydney harbour at the start of the race to Hobart on Thursday. Of which more anon. But meanwhile, what's this about an Irish entry disguised as a bog standard Australian one?

Well, they sprang it on us all with perfect timing on Christmas morning. There in the entry list is Breakthrough, a First 40, a boat type always of high interest - when the design was new, back in 2010, two of them took first and second overall in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.

It was a marketing dream for Beneteau, for each race to Hobart will always produce a particular set of conditions which will suit one boat type to a T. In 2010, it was the very new First 40 which hit the spot, coming forward to step into the very big shoes so capably filled for years by the marvellous First 40.7.

They may have got everything right, but circumstances conspired against the new First 40 being a runaway marketing success. Primarily, it was the global recession taking hold big time, particularly in Europe. But then too, there was still plenty of life in the First 40.7, with thriving class associations, and one design racing in events like Cowes Week.

Whatever, we've only seen two First 40s in Irish ownership since the design appeared, one in Baltimore and used for cruising, the other based in the Algarve. But now the good news is that Barry Hurley is actually the skipper of Breakthrough on the race to Hobart. It must be true, as you read it here on Afloat.ie on Christmas morning while talking to that fat white-bearded man in the red suit.....But enough. Even if the official CYCA listing suggests Mathew Vadas is the skipper, man in charge is Barry Hurley, already with two Hobart races notched, and with him he has brought Kenny Rumball, Keith Kiernan and Catherine Halpin, all of the Royal Irish YC, to sail in partnership with the Vadas team, and hoping to repeat that Hurley touch which brought a class win in the Middle Sea Race back in October.

As for the big boat start – well, it was eight minutes like we'd never seen before. Morning clouds had cleared to leave Sydney Harbour at its sparkling best in a brisk sou'easter, reaching start to the first mark, and the biggies went off first at max revs with Wild Oats and Perpetual LOYAL neck and neck for the lead, with Anthony Bell's Perpetual in the weather gauge.

hobart4
The power of Perpetual LOYAL's hull is plain to see – but that power with its extensive wetted area comes at the expense of light weather performance.  Photo: Rolex/Daniel Forster

But the "old" Wild Oats never ceases to surprise, or maybe Mark Richards and his crew know her so well that they can hit top performance while others are still winding up to it. They simply held Perpetual up above the line to the first mark until they were able to peel away for a short run to the turn which left enough of a gap between them and the big black boat to allow Beau Geste to nip in between in second place.

The abiding memory of that eight minute sprint was the way the different boats had sudden bursts of acceleration. You'd to keep reminding yourself that the smallest craft in this flotilla were 70ft Volvos, for all were having speed bursts like dinghies on the plane.

So that was interesting, but then as they started the beat south in open water, it became clear that Wild Oats with a reef in the main was holding on very nicely ahead of the supposedly more powerful Perpetual, while the smaller Beau Geste was sagging to lee. But then, schooners never could point high, whereas Wild Oats' pointing ability in a lumpy sea was a wonder to behold.

hobart5x

The skinny one....thanks to her slim hull, in the light airs on Day 2 Wild Oats was able to re-take the lead from Perpetual LOYAL.  Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

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The Volvo 70s may have been developed for big winds in open water, but the former Groupama, now racing for New Zealand as Giacomo, has shown she can hang in when the breezes are light.  Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Through the first night, the wind went light, and things were further turned on their head by ace navigator Stan Honey taking Perpetual LOYAL well to the east, which did her a lot of good. By morning they'd worked out an eleven mile lead on Wild Oats, but through the second day of light winds, Wild Oats ground down the big black boat, and as they crossed Bass Strait yesterday evening it was the old dog for the long road, Wild Oats still in the lead and hoping to have the advantage of an afternoon/evening arrival up the Derwent to Hobart before tonight's freshening northerly is replaced by southwest to west winds which could reach gale force, stacking the odds against the little fellows.

hobart7
By comparison with some of the boat shapes racing to Hobart, Matt Allen's 60ft Ichi Ban with Gordon Maguire on the helm looks almost traditional.  Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

hobart8
With the renowned Adrienne Cahalan as navigator, the 55ft Wedgetail is in with a shout. Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

But meanwhile the top Irish hope, Gordon Maguire with Matt Allen's 60ft Ichi Ban , has been hanging in very nicely and things could fall sweetly their way. That said, while the 60ft Ichi Ban has been staying on the tails of the big boats ahead, not so far astern is the next size group with the lead held by Bill Wild's Reichel Pugh 55 Wedgetail. Formerly Yendys, this is one of Australia's proven all rounders. And for this first race to Hobart under the Wild command, Wedgetail's navigator is Adrienne Cahalan, who is renowned for seeing skippers on to the Hobart podium. But then, she was born in Offaly, and that makes all things possible.

Published in W M Nixon
28th November 2013

Rambler We Hardly Know You....

Last time the Irish maritime community were paying full attention to the super-maxi Rambler 100, she was white all over, she'd no keel, and she was upside down after her capsize near the Fastnet Rock during the race of 2011 writes WM Nixon.

Now she's sailing again in full racing trim. But Rambler, we hardly know you. You're right way up. Your canting keel is presumably very securely in place. And you're black, black, BLACK.

The new campaigner who has undertaken the massive refurbishment – if that's the right word – is Australian owner-skipper Anthony Bell. The restoration was done in New Zealand, where the big Juan K-designed machine was built by Cookson's in the first place, but everything about the boat's current career will be Australian-centred.

Her official launch earlier this month was performed by the Oz Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the boat is now Perpetual LOYAL in a sponsorship linkup between two leading Australian brands. And of course the Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th will be the debut par excellence, for despite being around for quite a few years now, even while being constantly up-dated the big lady has never done the dash to Tasmania.

So naturally the battle for line honours between current record-holder, the 100ft Wild Oat XI (owned by 35th America's Cup Challenger of Record Bob Oatley) and Perpetual Loyal is going to grab the headlines. But Wild Oats' current up-grade programme suffered a recent serious setback with the "catastrophic failure" of a new large lighter mast.

However, for Perpetual LOYAL aka Rambler Re-born, it's all systems go. Although Anthony Bell is himself has a CV of three Hobart races, he has signed on 29-races veteran Michael Coxon as sailing master, legendary American techno-ace Stan Honey is navigator, and the afterguard includes Olympic Gold Medallist and America's Cup superstar Tom Slingsby.

With entries looking to surge comfortably over the hundred mark, it has all the makings of a vintage Sydeny-Hobart, as there'll be a particularly good turnout among the biggies. Further down the fleet, Irish interest will also focus on the boats of the Round-the-World Clipper Fleet, taking part in the Hobart race for the first time. This a good move as it makes the Knox-Johnston project much more part of mainstream sailing, and the man himself will be navigating a former clipper boat in the race too.

But each Hobart race proves to be very much a case of horses for course, and over the years former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen (a veteran of 23 races) has concluded that a potent 60 footer offers the best all-round chance for the Tattersall's Cup, the prized troiphy for the overall handicap win. His new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban is barely out of the wrappers after arriving from the Matt Allen-owned building facility in Dubai. With the looks of an up-dated and enlarged TP52, and current Australian champion offshore skipper Gordon Maguire on the helm, Ichi Ban might well be worth a flutter over Christmas.

Published in Offshore

#isora – 2014's proposed ISORA offshore racing programme on the Irish Sea (scroll down this page to download the proposed programme) has some innovative new races attached including a new isle of man fixture plus a brand new Welsh IRC championships.

The draft season programme promoted by ISORA commodore Peter Ryan includes the prospect of a great offshore weekend in early June with a 'Midnight Race' from Liverpool to Douglas IOM on a Friday afternoon with a race from Douglas to Dun Laoghaire on the Sunday morning. This weekend also feeds to the ICRA Nationals hosted by the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire.

Two months later there is also a new event in Pwllheli/Abersoch on the 1st-3rd August the Welsh IRC Nationals. Ryan has proposed a new feeder race for the event from Ireland and the Royal Dee YC have presented a trophy – "The Tidal Cup" for this race as well as the usual ISORA trophy.

ISORA's Conwy race will act a qualifier for any boats doing the Round Ireland as it will be 100 miles and the hope is that as many ISORA boats will enter.

Views on the programme will be aired this Saturday at ISORA's agm at the National Yacht club where the association dinner is already booked out.

Published in ISORA
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#sydneyhobart – One year out from the 70th anniversary race, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announce that 97 entries have been received for the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race, including five super maxis, 22 international entries, 15 new boats, 36 first timers, previous overall and line honours winners and the many supportive regulars, the 'meat' of the fleet.

At the pointy end of the fleet, one of the most compelling in years, is defending triple crown holder Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley) taking on what is allegedly the fastest racing super maxi in the world, Loyal (Anthony Bell). It is purported the former Speedboat/Rambler is capable of making 45 knots downwind.

That knowledge alone will have Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards and his crew working even harder than ever, as they did when George David was ready to head this way for the 2011 race when he owned Rambler. Then its keel snapped off in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race.

There are 22 international entries, a record of sorts. The 50th anniversary race in 1994 produced 25 internationals from its 371 entries. During the 1970's and '80's, the numbers came close in the odd numbered years when the Southern Cross Cup was in vogue and fleet numbers were well over 100.

This time, boats from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Caledonia, Germany and Cyprus will take their places on the start line.

With so many unknown quantities in the race this year, because of new boats, those trading up to other yachts and first timers, favourite contenders for the overall win is in the lap of the gods, but there are some regulars whose form is good.

Previous overall winners up for the challenge include Kim Jaggar/Travis Read's Illusion (1988), Roger Hickman's Wild Rose (1993), James Cameron's Luna Sea (as AFR Midnight Rambler in 1998), Philip Child's Knee Deep (as Yendys in 1999) and John Newbold's Primitive Cool (as Secret Mens Business 3.5 in 2010).

The final fleet for this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart will be announced at the CYCA on the morning of Tuesday 26 November, 2013

Published in Offshore
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Page 25 of 35

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