Gusty conditions in Nice, France are creating havoc at the Extreme Sailing Series; series leader The Wave Muscat crashed with Red Bull Sailing Team and Alinghi on the tight start line yesterday. Racing resumes today, check the action live on the official website www.extremesailingseries.com.
A little further South in the Mediterranean, a record 83 yachts took the start in the 33rd Rolex Middle Sea Race under bright sun and perfect south-easterly breezes earlier today. The faster yachts will likely complete the 600-mile course in a little over two days, current record held by Rambler is just shy of 48 hours, but many will be at sea for four or five days as the fleet rounds Sicily before dipping South and returning to the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
The Vendée Globe Race Village is officially open in Les Sables d'Olonne and sponsors and racers are ready to welcome tourists and sailing enthusiast over the next twenty days. Racers have spent the last few days completing their yacht delivery to the village; some, like Dominique Wavre on Mirabaud, only had to cover a few miles from La Rochelle, while many others came from more distant home ports. One of the sailors who arrived yesterday is Samantha Davies on board Savéol; the only woman participating in the 2012 event, Sam is possibly one of the most popular racers in the world. Who can forget her candid and often amusing videos from the colourful cockpit of Roxy in the 2008-09 Vendée Globe where she finished fourth; this girl knows how to have fun! The Open 60 Savéol, like Sam, has many offshore miles of experience; a 2004 Marc Lombard design, the yacht was on the 2004 and 2008 VG start lines as Roland Jourdain's Sill Véolia and Véolia Environment. Plagued by keel problems in the previous races, she is now sporting a new Michel Desjoyeaux designed keel in 2012; Sam has also optimized the cockpit to better suit her. I very much look forward to following her race again this year!
Back home, the Canadian Yachting Association is considering changing its name to Sailing Canada (Voile Canada in French) to align itself with national sport authorities. A vote will take place at the upcoming Annual General Meeting in Halifax next Saturday.
Finally, kudos to the crew and passengers of Air Canada flight AC033, from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia, earlier this week for their help in locating a crippled yacht adrift hundreds of miles off the Australian coast. The crew dropped the Boeing 777 aircraft to 5000 feet and circled around to eventually locate the distressed yacht.
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