The March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and accompanying tsunami that rocked Japan exacted a massive toll, especially on coastal areas. The devastation of the disaster was felt in equal measure amongst Japanese sailors, many of who lost boats or clubhouses. To raise money to replace destroyed boats and infrastructure, the Japanese Sailing Federation has produced a blue and red sticker that bears the word 'Gambare' (loosely translates to mean 'don't give up' or 'keep going'), which they are selling for 20 euros apiece.
This week, Japanese sailors who are racing in the Delta Lloyd Regatta, which is currently taking place in Medemblik, Holland, are sailing with these stickers on their masts. 'The problem now faced by the Japanese sailing community is to rebuild clubs and fleets', explains Laser Radial coach Aiko Saito. 'All the international funds go to other priorities such as the industries, rebuilding houses, schools, roads...we need to urgently raise money to buy equipment and build new infrastructure for sailing.' In a sign of solidarity, the Dutch Sailing Federation has announced its plans to buy the first 25 stickers, which they will display on team boats. 'The sailing family is one and when you see what happened in Japan, it is more than normal to support this initiative,' said Royal Netherland Yachting Union Council member, Rob Franken. More about this inside; also be sure to check out our racing reports from the Delta Lloyd Regatta.
Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Act 3.Turkey . Istanbul
Meanwhile, at the Extreme Sailing Series Istanbul, which is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey, competition is fierce as always amongst the fleet of these 40-foot, hopped-up speed machines. 'The day as promised with absolute whipping but good conditions, shifty, puffy and lots of up and down,' reported Artemis skipper Terry Hutchinson. 'We managed a pretty solid day as the aim has been to just try and be consistent in really inconsistent conditions.' From the sounds of reports, the racecourse lacks the runway that some skippers might prefer. 'We're sailing on a tiny river that runs off the Bosphorus and would be little more than 500m across,' reports Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. 'To say racing is very confined is an understatement. You basically start, sail for 30 seconds and normally find yourselves on layline. Within two minutes the fleet arrives at the top mark and this is where the fun and games begin!' More inside.
Also in this week's sailing news, Andres Soriano's Mills 68, Alegre has nabbed line honors in the inaugural Rolex Volcano Race, which just wrapped up in Alicudi, the most westerly of the Aeolian Islands. The 2011 Transatlantic Race, which starts in late June is looking forward to welcoming a younger generation of offshore sailors, and the Annapolis to Newport Race is anticipating its largest fleet in 28 years. Check out the full reports, in this issue.
We also bring you an exclusive report on the new Ker 40, which looks like it will be an IRC weapon. You heard it first with us.
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