43 degrees and blown away ... and yes there is sailing news!

Bungadore Sand Hills fire swept through, with the Rural Fire Service firebombing preventing serious losses
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We were a tad distracted yesterday, in catastrophic fire conditions Sail-World's Australian head office, east of Bungendore, on the Canberra-Batemans's Bay Road was saved by the NSW Rural Fire Service firebombing teams.

Battling 40 knot winds and 43 degree temperatures it was a mighty team effort, with the helio's picking up water from the farm dams, crayfish and all and dumping them where it mattered.

The flames were stopped just 15 metres from the Sail-World office, the homestead and sheds were saved too, an island amongst the blackened paddocks, with the dams and their green verges now very prominent.

It goes without saying with that with the 1998 Bass Strait experience behind us and now this we are big fans of Igor Sikorsky, who designed the world's first mass produced Helio in 1942.

But now back to the fun stuff.....

It might be 'only' a National Championship but the Australian Moth title being sailed on Lake Macquarie in Australia has the most amazing field.

The venue, Wangi RSL Amateurs Sailing Club is Nathan Outteridge's home club. His father Tony is the PRO for this event.

Just before the Olympics Nath was presented a little belatedly with a Leant to Sail competency certificate from the Club. Turns out he flunked out as a little tacker. He could not swim the required distance.

2013 Australian Moth Championship
Danny Winter

Now as a serious Moth Sailor (World Champion 2011), dual 49er World Champion and London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist he has it down pat.

But to no avail, now he has a certificate which confirms he can swim but plagued with gear failures he is now well back in the bus in this event.

New Zealander Pete Burling, the 49er Olympic silver medallist, displaying the cross-event talent that could make him the 49er helm to beat come 2016 is top of the tree.

There is a lot happening around the traps. In the Etchells Nationals yesterday the Fremantle Doctor kicked in early at 18 – 22 knots. Some pretty wild scenes as one yacht sank in the second race of the day. And up on Moreton Bay for 12 foot skiffs, it was fourth rig or death!!

St John's Dance going down. The sails were removed and the yacht was left for retrieval tomorrow. - Prochoice Safety Gear Etchells Nationals
Ron Jensen

On the America’s Cup scene, the focus is switching to the AC72's with the AC45's effectively brushed aside. The Oracle team is just taking delivery of its second AC72 wing. Under the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup, teams are limited to building just three wing sails, and if one is damaged, as Oracle's was in the capsize of October 16, then the repair is restricted to 50% or less of the surface area. It is believed that the damage to Oracle's first wingsail exceeded 50%, and therefore they will be restricted to just two wing sails for the rest of the campaign. Each team is allowed to build two boats.

Oracle's second wingsail will be fitted to their repaired first boat (known as USA-17) scheduled for launch after her repairs in February 2013. Their third wingsail, currently under construction in the Warkworth facility, will be fitted to Oracle's second boat due for launch in April 2013.

Oracle Team USA - second wingsail is unloaded in San Francisco, USA

Looking ahead it seems 2013 is going to be the year of the phablet - (the largest phone/tablet are over 150mm -6') in screen size and with over half of the Sail-World audience arriving via smart phone and tablet, mobile internet devices continued to drive online volumes.

It’s truly a 24x7 world. As the Sail-World team prepares for the start of the 2013 London Boat Show, the upcoming Festival of Sail, incorporating the 2013 Audi IRC Australian championships.

Good sailing.