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Following Sea: Excitement building with Key West regatta weeks away

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You may not have known, but an annual international racing event takes place only 90 miles from Marco Island.

Every January, hundreds of boats from all over the country — and the world, for that matter — head for Key West to sail in Key West Race Week. The 2004 event is set for Jan. 19 to 23.

The Key West regatta, a big event that grows every year, has PHRF classes and one-design classes. Almost 300 boats were entered as of Dec. 15. The official entry deadline was Dec. 10, but applications are still being accepted with a late fee.

With so many boats, the waters around Key West become a maze of courses made up of more marks than you can keep track of. The race committee usually does a good job of sorting the classes, and your course is in the same general area every day. The courses are mostly windward-leeward with varying numbers of legs.  more...

 



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CHESTNUTS ROASTED, NUMBERS CRUNCHED, CLASS BREAKS POSTED

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KEY WEST, Fla.---The fleet for North America's largest keelboat regatta has fallen into place with the posting of PHRF class breaks for Terra Nova Trading Key West 2004, presented by Nautica. A wide variety of 112 handicap boats from 24 to 75 feet will compete in 11 classes, the most ever, reaffirming the event's status as the "unofficial" PHRF National Championship.

They are among 296 total entries to date, complementing 184 one-design boats. The class breaks, individual boat handicaps, complete entry lists and much more information may be seen at
www.Premiere-Racing.com.

Race they will, for five days Monday through Friday, Jan. 19-23. Currently, the entry list represents 16 countries and 30 states coast to coast.

Event Director Peter Craig saluted PHRF Consortium Chairman Bruce Bingman and his seven PHRF experts from sailing hot spots around the country for their efforts in assigning handicaps tailored to Key West conditions and courses. He noted "the hundreds of hours of work spent in researching, evaluating and debating to establish Key West specific handicaps."  


That done, the aim then was to establish appropriate classes matching boats by performance characteristics.  more...

 



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Mixed reception for Coutts

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Reviled and revered, Russell Coutts remains a controversial figure in Kiwi sporting circles, having quit Team New Zealand after two America's Cup successes in 1995 and 2000 before leading the Swiss Alinghi syndicate to victory against his old team nine months ago.

Back in his homeland for the first time since winning more America's Cup races than anyone in history, Coutts laid to rest a website-generated rumour that he had split from Alinghi and their Swiss backer, Ernesto Bertarelli.

"Of course I am still with Alinghi," said Coutts, interviewed by Kiwi sailing commentator Peter Montgomery. "Certainly in America's Cup sailing there are rumours that go around and that was one of them."   more...

 



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Mount Vernon native takes part in Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

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A few of the yachts participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Parker’s yacht, owned by the Caglieros of San Diego, was named the Indeed. (Photo submitted)
WOOSTER — Denise Mill Parker graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1972. Since then, she’s had some incredible achievements, not least of which is her position as Administrator of Wayne County Radiology in Wooster. This month, she returned from her latest triumph: sailing across the Atlantic in 17 days and 22 hours in the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

Parker was one of a four-person crew aboard the yacht Indeed. She and her husband, Craig Parker, M.D., have enjoyed recreational sailing for 20 years.

“ We sail a lot,” Denise said. “Our life revolves around sailing.”   more...

 

 



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Stills Gallery - Sydney Hobart

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht RaceCheck out these great images of the 2004 Sydney Hobart Race.   more...

 



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Newport Bermuda Race

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The Notice of Race for the 2004 race is now posted on the event website at the address below. The race begins June 18th, but application for entry must be completed no later than April 1, 2004.

“The NOR is out later than usual,” said race chairman John WINDER. “The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee has been working with international technical committee members on safety standards for boats with new technology now allowed in IMS, namely water ballast and cant keels. We have added some appendices to the NOR to deal with special regulations to address the specific safety issues of these designs. Safety is a primary concern of the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, so we were willing to delay the release of our notice until we were comfortable with the regulations.”   more...

 



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“Incredible match race” across Bass Strait

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Brindabella“It has become an incredible match race in the open ocean”.

This was the quote from Peter Sutton, the sailing master on New Zealand super maxi Zana this afternoon as they tried to claw back the one-mile gap on their arch rival Skandia from Melbourne.

Both 98-footers were sailing in a 20-25 knot south-westerly breeze and lumpy seas as they powered across Bass Strait, Tasmania-bound.

The two frontrunners entered Bass Strait early this afternoon, followed by Grundig AAPT, Nicorette, Brindabella and Seriously TEN, achieving boat speeds of 12 knots plus.   more...

 



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Michael spies victory ahead

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Versatile Sydney yachtsman Michael Spies, holder of the open race record for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, this evening has his eyes firmly on his first overall handicap win in the ocean classic.

Spies was co-skipper of the Volvo 60, Nokia, when it slashed the record for the 628 nautical mile course in 1999.

This year he is skipper of the Beneteau 40.7, First National Real Estate, and is currently heading the progressive standings in the grand prix IMS handicap division.

Spies boasts that this boat is the best optimised 40-footer in the fleet and the boat appears to be proving that claim by consistently figuring high in Yacht Tracker assessments of corrected time positions.   more...

 



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Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet starting to feel the strain

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After 18 hours of pounding into headwinds and choppy seas the strain is beginning to show in boats and their equipment, including third-placed Nicorette.

Sailing into 30-knot south westerlies across Bass Strait, the yacht has just reported that its forward canard, a retractable fin forward of her canting keel, has snapped off but they are continuing on towards Hobart.

“We were coming down off three metre waves when we heard the crash. We don’t know if there is any damage to the hull,” said skipper Ludde Ingvall.  more...

 



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Sydney Hobart Yacht Tracker

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Super maxis battle on the open sea - Sydney Hobart Update

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The New Zealand super maxi Zana had a narrow lead over early race leader Skandia in a tacking duel in the Tasman Sea six hours after the start of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race from Sydney Harbour yesterday afternoon.

The four biggest boats in the fleet took a long leg on starboard tack to seaward after clearing the Heads, anticipating fresher south-easterly winds and a more favourable south- running current.

However, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Yacht Tracker is showing the smaller yachts Ichi Ban, Yendys and Grundig leading the fleet, because they have sailed the direct thumbline course south.

Skandia, skippered by Grant Wharington, had led Stewart Thwaite's Zana out to sea but at 4pm yesterday Skandia's navigator Will Oxley reported that the Victorian 98-footer had slipped 8 to 10 boat lengths astern of Zana.

Of the big boats well to seaward, Zana was leading from Skandia, Nicorette and Brindabella, while inshore the Yacht Tracker has the two 52-footers, Matt Allen's Ichi Ban and Geoff Ross' Yendys, ahead of Sean Langman's Grundig.

Close astern of them came the Volvo 60s, Andrew Short Marine and Seriously TEN, followed by last year's overall winner Quest, Bob Steel's Nelson/Marek 46.

A tactical error after leaving the Heads cost the favoured super maxis Skandia and Zana time in the early stages.   more...




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Lake Forest teen sailors head to Florida for regatta

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A group of Lake Forest teenagers will gather in Florida after Christmas to go sailing, but it won't be a vacation.

The six teens from Lake Forest Sailing--a program sponsored by the city's Parks and Recreation Department--will be among about 575 young people vying for top speeds in the USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival Friday through Tuesday. Greg Marshall, 16, is making his second trip to the competition.

While others mull their New Year's resolutions or soak up the sun, Marshall will be busy scanning the coastal Florida sky, clocking ocean breezes and searching for telltale ripples in the Atlantic Ocean that indicate wind speed and direction.

Then he will climb onto his Laser, a 14-foot single-mast sailboat, and race to the finish line.

Because the 27-year-old regatta attracts some of the top competitors in the junior sailing world, "it's kind of a litmus test," said Brian Hill, director of sailing for Lake Forest.
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Rumors and Lies - From Sailing Anarchy

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Does The Road To Spain.....

....go through San Diego? It may for some if certain rumors are borne to be true. Proving that in Italy there is still a demand for short, surly designers with bad haircuts from San Diego, the word is that Bruce Nelson is a leading candidate to end up with the new Team Luna Rossa, Patrizio Bertelli's re-formed Prada AC Team. Of course, the team doesn't officially exist, nor have any offers been accepted, yet we are told that there is some movement in that direction. Nelson tells us that he is looking at a number of possibilities, and there is no deal with anyone. And the fact that he (as is almost everyone in negotiations with any team, due to confidentiality agreements), can't tell us anything, we get most all our info from other sources.

We'd bet that if this deal does happen, he'll be the head designer for the team, whose official name has not been announced, but is operating under that "working" name for now. Given Prada's poor last performance with AC winner Doug Peterson as designer, given Bertelli's pissy temper and questionable finances, and given that Nelson isn't exactly Mr.Warm and Fuzzy, this may have implosion written all over it. I'd guess the attorneys are going to be busy by the time this is all said and done.

And...

Reichel/Pugh to LaToscana

Keeping this sort of bizarre San Diego to Italy AC connection alive, R/P will likely be announced as the principal designers at the newly formed La Toscana AC team, also according to inside sources. Hoping to show better than their rather dismal outings with TDC in the last two Cups, R/P will be under some pressure to show that they can deliver in this arena, something they have yet to do. Oh yeah, and make sure their boats don't break or sink, either.

Obviously both of these design houses have great ability, whether their designs can break to the front in this brutal series remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, if a Nelson or R/P boat was to win this thing, these guys, much like Peterson did, will move to the head of the class, and have a great opportunity to call their own shot for the next go around. Stay tuned.   more...



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Fast spinnaker start expected for 57 boat fleet

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Line Honours favouriteThe 57 yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will have a fast and spectacular start from Sydney Harbour this afternoon, their billowing spinnakers providing a colourful sight for the expected 300,000 spectators on the water and on headlands around the harbour.

The race starts from a line north of Shark Island and a southerly change overnight has brought fresh winds to the city, expected to be blowing from the south-east at 13 to 17 knots by the time the starting cannon fires at 1pm.

The fleet should carry their spinnakers to the Rolex mark at the Heads and possibly a short distance to sea, but once the boats round the Rolex Sea Mark,  they will be beating to windward into the sou%u2019easter with choppy seas rising from 1 to 2 metres offshore.

The sou%u2019easters are expected to continue tonight and tomorrow, freshening to 15 to 20 knots during Saturday as the boats beat their way down the New South Wales South Coast.   more...



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Winning one race doesn’t make you a Great Sailor

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Persistence and taking a long-term view.  These are the two critical things you must have to succeed in life according to Skip Sheldon, owner/skipper of the Reichel/Pugh 65 Zaraffa. 

“Your life is measured by what you have done over the years, he says, “by its quality and volume.”  It is not enough for a poet to write one gem, a scientist to make one advance in knowledge.  There must be a body of work. 

It is a philosophy that Sheldon brings to ocean racing as well.  He has little time for rich men who enter the sport by buying a place on the finish line.  “This is the 51st year I’ve been offshore in my own boat,” he says, “and I have also crewed for a lot of people.  You have to do your apprenticeship.”

So it’s not surprising that there is absolutely nothing half-baked, nothing left to chance, in Sheldon’s bid to win the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.  In fact it is the culmination of a four year program of racing and ocean cruising that has already chalked up a swag of successes.  more...

 



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