The poor weather that impacted the Student Yachting World Cup also forced the Vendée Globe organizers to close the race village some 50 km north earlier this week; despite this minor set-back, Les Sables d'Olonne has attracted record crowds and over 575,000 visitors have poured in in the past two weeks to see first hand the 20 competing boats. The event is also very popular on the Internet; the recently launched Vendée Globe app has become the most downloaded sports app on the Apple store. All this excitement means there is less than a week remaining to select your favorite; will it be JP Dick on Virbac-Paprec, a highly successful combination this past year, Armel Le Cléach, who finished in 2008 and is now supported by the fabulous Banque Populaire team or Vincent Riou on a new PRB, he has some unfinished business to deal with following his 2008 rescue of Le Cam.
I will certainly be watching a number of other participants; Alex Thompson, hopefully his string of bad luck is over, Javier Sanso on eco powered Acciona, can he make it around the world without fossil fuel, Louis Burton, can the youngest skipper keep up with the old guard and obviously, Sam Davies, because she is a talented sailor and was the most entertaining skipper in the 2008 race.
In recent America's Cup news, the Italian team Luna Rossa Challenge was able to get their AC72 foiling on the first practice day in New Zealand; quite the benchmark to set for the next competitors. Speaking of which, Artemis Racing, the Swedish America's Cup team has launched their Juan Kouyoumdjian designed AC72 in Alameda, CA a few days ago; team CEO Paul Cayard is looking forward to training on the San Francisco Bay over the coming weeks.
Amidst the Sandy devastation on the eastern coast, one story stands out in the mind of sailors and boaters; there is no doubt the HMS Bounty found itself in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time but from an outsider, it appears this tragedy could have easily been avoided. Kudos to the US Coast Guard who, through their dedication and courage, have prevented everyone from having to contend with an even worst disaster. Sail-World Canada joins others with our thoughts for Sandy victims and support for families and friends.
It is now a done deal; the Canadian Yachting Association is now Sail Canada/Voile Canada.
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