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Editorial: Onwards and Upwards

'Volvo Ocean Race Start of leg 6 (sprint) from Annapolis to New York, USA The fleet split tacks on the start line'    © Volvo Ocean Race
Welcome to the Monday edition of Sail-World

The Volvo Ocean Race got underway early this morning, New Zealand time on the short hop to New York. The fleet is back up to seven boats with the addition of Brunel (Grant Wharington). The leg will be watched with interest to see if the distribution of placings begins to even up across the fleet, or whether we are in for more of the ABN Amro One led procession.

Early indications are that the game will even up, as ABN Amro One is trailing three miles behind the leader Brasil as they head out of Chesapeake Bay. After initially being mid-fleet Brunel has dropped back to battle for the wooden spoon with ABN Amro One.

Ericsson is the other to watch, and was lying mid-fleet, and holding.

Good news from Tahiti is that Gypsy Moth has been towed off the reef and is now in Tahiti awaiting a ship to New Zealand. The incident brings back memories of Heath’s Condor doing much the same thing, in a similar area – fortunately that incident had a good outcome. We have a photo of Gypsy Moth high on the reef, and her salvage is a tribute to all involved.

The NZ Trials for the 2006 420 Worlds Team were concluded in Plimmerton, and were a one way affair with Carl Evans and Peter Burling taking the top slot in the Open fleet ahead of Simon Cooke and Scott Illingworth. Burling and Evans won six of the ten races sailed and were completely dominant on the last two days of the three day event.

In the Women’s fleet, Georgina Hill and Michelle Kennedy had a three point winning margin. The NZ 420 Association expects to send seven boats in each fleet away to the 2006 Worlds in the Canary Islands, which is a fantastic effort. Thirty one boats contested the series.

We also feature a story with the Royal Akarana YC on moves to get a greater transfer of competition between Australia and New Zealand for offshore racing. The move to the IRC, assisted by Yachting NZ and the International Yachting Trust, will help. The IRC seems to be providing the rule stability which has been long sought in offshore racing circles, without encouraging the Rule 'type' which was the down fall of the RORC rule, IOR and IMS.

Chris Packer has emerged from a coma after his recent heart attack -  Ocean Images  
Whether this initiative is successful will depend on the movement of boats across the Tasman – both in Kiwis heading for the Australian events, and also having the events in New Zealand that are attractive for the Australian boats.

The key to this is publicity, and generally talking up the market. Sadly, there is a lot of room for improvement in this regard, in New Zealand, and until attitudes backed by action, not a lot else will.

The best news of the weekend came with the latest update on Chris Packer's condition. The top offshore racer is slowly recovering from his serious heart attack, and has come out of a coma. Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and his family at this time. For all the action and intrigue on the sailing scene, this sudden event puts everything in perspective.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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2:25 AM Mon 8 May 2006 GMT

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