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World's most popular boat revisited and big news from Volvo Ocean Race


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  01 Apr 2016


World's most popular boat revisited and big news from Volvo Ocean Race

Sara Winther (NZL) working hard in the first of the Finals racing - Trofeo Princesa Sofia 2016 - Laser Radial  © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Writing this from Palma, Mallorca, at the 47th Princesa Sofia Regatta, there are 1000 sailors here, competing in what will be the largest Olympic Class regatta of 2016.

The largest number of boats, as in all Olympic class events is the single handed dinghy, the Laser Standard fleet has 152 boats and in the Laser Radial 84 boats, amazing considering this being an Olympic year, with some nations prioritising time on the water in Rio ahead of the August Olympic Games.

And in the Laser world, another link with the past, when last week the original Laser boat builder Ian Bruce died. He was one of the three Canadian born sailors involved in the genesis of the world's most successful sailing boat, the Laser, with now, well over 200,000 boats having been built.

The Laser designer Bruce Kirby, now 87 years old who was not just a talented designer but was also a talented sailing journalist called us from Connecticut this week to talk about part and present with the Laser.

Laser designer Bruce Kirby sailing a Laser  © Laser

He penned a historical piece for us, Kirby starts ‘The long story of the wee yacht that became the Laser began when a marketing offshoot of Canada's Hudson Bay Company asked Ian Bruce, a Montreal product developer at the time, to come up with proposals for a line of outdoor sporting equipment.

‘Among the proposals listed as a “maybe” was a car topper sailboat. As Ian had been building and racing my Mark III International 14 and was familiar with my earlier 14s, he called from Montreal and asked me to come up with the design of a car topper.

‘This was early October of 1969 and I was still editor of the old One-Design and Offshore Yachtsman magazine (now called Sailing World) and our office had just been moved from Chicago to Stamford, Ct.

‘Ian had been told by his client that the sailboat might never become part of the package, but as we talked on the phone I was doodling ideas on a yellow legal pad. The tear sheet from this pad later became what we called the “million-dollar doodle.” Off the phone I did some quick calculations for the little boat. I believe this sketch was the reason why so many people to this day say the boat was designed on the back of an envelope or on a restaurant napkin.'

You can read the full article in the stories below...

Mark Turner  © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
Mark Turner, one of the most respected figures in professional sailing, has been appointed Volvo Ocean Race CEO, as we predicted a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time and have rerun that article again today.

Turner is stepping down after 23 years at the helm of global sports marketing company OC Sport. The Briton, who competed in offshore sailing's leading international event as a Whitbread Round-the-World sailor in 1989, and masterminded the Dongfeng Race Team project in the 2014-15 edition, will take up his new position in succession to Knut Frostad from June 7 this year.

Turner, 48, said: “There probably isn't any other post in sailing that could have attracted me today after taking OC Sport through so many different areas of the sport over the last two decades.

“It is a significant responsibility for me to take over the leadership from Knut, who has done such an excellent job of transforming the race in to the sport's biggest and most commercially viable top-level event.

Mark Jardine and I were in Alicante to talk to the Volvo Ocean Race team in February and we will be back there in June to talk to Mark Turner, as soon as possible.

Fleet in action - 2016 Extreme Sailing Series  © Lloyd Images

Team Alvimedica - Volvo Ocean Race  © Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica

Rob Kothe, &

Its not over 'til the Fat Lady sings
Rob Kothe &,
A reminder that nothing is certain, certainly not a Rio Gold medal, came in spectacular fashion today, when the Red Hot Rio Finn class favourite Britain's Giles Scott broke his rudder ahead of race 10 of the 47th Princesa Sofia regatta in Palma,Mallorca today.... [more]
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2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia – Team GBR images by Richard Langdon
Richard Langdon,
Photographer Richard Langdon was on water and provided this gallery of images of Team GBR.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race appoints new CEO
Volvo Ocean Race,
Mark Turner, who competed in offshore sailing's leading international event as a Whitbread Round-the-World sailor in 1989, and masterminded the Dongfeng Race Team project in the 2014-15 edition, will take up his new position in succession to Knut Frostad from June 7 this year.... [more]
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Bruce Kirby recounts the birth of the Laser
Bruce Kirby,
87-year-old Bruce Kirby, the designer of the most popular sailing boat in history has penned this piece on the early years of the Laser dinghy, after the death of the builder Ian Bruce. Reading this article one recalls that Kirby was a darn good sailing journalist as well as being a darn good designer.... [more]
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Irish duo battle it out for top 49er spot at Princesa Sophia Regatta
Rachel Solon,
Brisk winds delivered close and unforgiving racing to the Princess Sofia Olympic classes regatta on the Bay of Palma, Mallorca today.... [more]
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Great Scott – the Finn Road to Rio
Rob Kothe,
The Red Hot favourite for Rio Gold in the Single handed Finn class is Britain's Giles Scott, who has won the 2011 Finn Gold Cup (the World Championship) and also 2014, 2015 and has not been beaten in any Finn regatta in recent times.... [more]
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Sébastien Rogues returns to GC32 Racing Tour
Sébastien Rogues,
An incredible opportunity for Sébastien Rogues who, for this new challenge, brings in new team members, determined to give their best at each event.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Rob Kothe and,
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.... [more]
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52 Super Series extends partnership with 11th Hour Racing + Video
52 Super Series,
During 2016 and 2017 many new sustainable initiatives will be rolled out at each of the 52 Super Series venues, and a broader fan engagement campaign in order to raise awareness and promote a lasting legacy across sailing and the world of sport.... [more]
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Clipper Race – No time to rest just yet as teams approach Scoring Gate
The Clipper Race,
The North Pacific leg is always billed as ‘the big one' and Skippers report this promise really delivered overnight as a short, sharp forecasted weather front came into force with a bang, bringing 50 knot gusts, roller-coaster style helming conditions, and the best boat speeds seen so far on this leg.... [more]
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Superyacht Cup - Mediterranean racing season set to open in style
The Superyacht Cup,
The award-winning and record-breaking 45m Mari Cha III, designed by the bespoke Philippe Briand is one of the latest boats to sign up to our twenty plus fleet. She beat the Transatlantic Record in 1998 and the Sydney to Hobart record in 1999, hitting speeds in excess of 30 knots.... [more]
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YCCS presents sporting season calendar that boasts 15 events + Video
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda,
Proceedings kick off on 14th May with the Trofeo Challenge Alessandro Boeris Clemen - a biennial event now in its eighth edition - and the traditional Vela and Golf sailing and golfing trophy... [more]
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2015-16 Melges 32 Blue Water Series - Flat out racing
Melges 32,
2015-16 Melges 32 Blue Water Series - The final stage of the 2015-16 Melges 32 Blue Water Series (BWS) is just days away from commencement, hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) at Bahia Mar Marina. Three days and eight races are scheduled for the post-Easter weekend and the weather/breeze forecast looks to be superb.... [more]
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2016 Youth Sailing World Championships - Venue selection
World Sailing,
2016 Youth Sailing World Championships - Following a positive response from a number of Member National Authority (MNA's), World Sailing is happy to report that the selection for the 2016 Youth Worlds is in progress.... [more]
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2016 VP Bank Tortola Sloop Spring Challenge – Tough fight for podium
Trish Jenkins,
2016 VP Bank Tortola Sloop Spring Challenge – Today was all about switching gears and changing pace, with the third Annual VP Bank Tortola Sloop Spring Challenge being raced off Nanny Cay as part of the BVI Spring Regatta's Maritime Heritage Day. The Challenge brings to life the significance that the beautiful old Tortola Sloops played in island life more than a hundred years ago... [more]
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2016 BVI Spring Regatta - Fun day of racing to new destination
Trish Jenkins,
2016 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival - With one day of racing behind them, competitors in the 45th BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival rolled right into today's race, the Scrub Island Invitational, a 12NM upwind ride for the CSA Cruising, Bareboat and Multihull fleets, and a 17NM course for the CSA Racing fleet.... [more]
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2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - Different strokes + Video
Andi Robertson,
2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - As the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar moved into the Finals phase unfortunately the usually reliable sea breezes had not taken note of the transition to the real business end of the key Olympic indicator event.... [more]
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SMYCRF raises 1804 dollars for St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation
Heineken Regatta,
2016 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - The St. Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation (SMYCRF) has raised 1804 dollars for the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation (SSRF) during the 36th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.... [more]
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2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia - Power sailing day, perfect for Finn fleet
Robert Deaves,
2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - Sunny Palma laid on some of its best conditions for the third day of the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar as two more tightly fought races left Josh Junior (NZL) with a reduced lead in the Finn fleet.... [more]
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2016 Princess Sofia Regatta - Irish sailors in action on Day 3
Rachel Solon,
2016 Princess Sofia Regatta - Light winds threw a spanner in the works at the halfway stage of the Olympic classes regatta at Palma, Mallorca today with racing still on-going for some events late into the evening.... [more]
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SSL City Grand Slam Hamburg – Polgar and Koy to deliver fantastic show
Louay Habib,
Markus Koy was born in Hamburg and lives there to this day and Johannes Polgar has lived in Germany's second largest city for over 16 years. Polgar's rise in the Star Class has been impressive, he represented Germany at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the vastly different Tornado Class, before switching to the Star with Markus Koy.... [more]
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2016 Melges 32 Lauderdale Cup all set to kick off
International Melges 32 Class Association,
Three days and eight races are scheduled for the post-Easter weekend and the weather/breeze forecast looks to be superb.... [more]
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The wunderkind- an interview with Rome Kirby of Oracle Team USA
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
American Rome Kirby (26) has racked up the sort of sailing resume that's the stuff of dreams. His first shot at the Big Leagues came during the 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), where he served as an alternate for Puma Ocean Racing. Next up was the 2011/2012 VOR, where Kirby completed his first lap of the planet with Puma before joining Oracle Team USA during the 34th America's Cup.... [more]
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2016 Garda Optimist Meeting makes an impact worldwide + Video
Fraglia Vela Riva,
Just a few days since the conclusion of the thirty-fourth edition of the Garda Optimist Meeting the directors of Fraglia Vela Riva have given their final evaluation.... [more]
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Amazing day full of action at BVI Spring Regatta - Round Tortola Race
BVI Spring Regatta,
In the Racing class, John Bamberger's Canadian Farr 45 Spitfire was also over early at the start, having to return to the line along with Spookie, while the remainder of the 11-strong fleet took off in a tight bunch.... [more]
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Plenty of action all week at Matchrace Thailand National Championships
Jordan Rumsby,
12 teams attended the annual match racing events at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club knowing the importance of gaining World Sailing ranking points coming into the summer sailing season. The opportunity to attend two events in a matter of five days provided opportunities for a good start to the year.... [more]
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2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - Never ever let up
Clipper Round the World,
2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - During the lead up to the Olympics when you are in a dominant position it is important to keep the pressure on your rivals imposing your advantage on each and every occasion. Billy Besson and Marie Riou composed a perfect opening day with three back-to- back race wins in brisk, near ideal Bay of Palma conditions... [more]
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2016 GP14 World Championship - Day 1 action
Michelle Evans,
2016 GP14 World Championship - 86 boats out of the registered 105 took to the water for the first day of the 2016 GP14 World Championships. With a sailing area that allowed for good views from the yacht club, and 28 degrees in the shade of the spinnaker, it was a day of champagne sailing and sunburn.... [more]
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Sailing World Cup - Qingdao to welcome Olympic racers this October
World Sailing,
Qingdao, China, venue of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, will play host to the fifth regatta of the 2016 Sailing World Cup from 10-16 October. In its fourth year, Sailing World Cup Qingdao has welcomed sailors from more than 40 nations, seen sailors qualify for the Olympic Games and delivered some exciting competition for some of the finest athletes in the world.... [more]
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Images of St Thomas - VXOnes light up in US Virgin Islands NZL,
Top international photographer, Ingrid Abery was on the water for the Final Day of the St Thomas International Regatta, in US Virgin Islands. The VXOne class were racing in their own division. Eleven boats from four countries - Australia, USA, Canada, and US Virgin Islands contested the regatta... [more]
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2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - A day for brave hearts
Trofeo Princesa Sofia,
2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - If day one of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar proved a close to perfect, straightforward boat speed day in moderately brisk breezes, Tuesday's races were much more about being in the right place, in the best pressure for more of the time. And so while there a small posse of top sailors who returned a perfect scoreline on the opening day... [more]
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St. Thomas Int Regatta - Spookie flies for perfect score on Final Day
Bob Fisher,
The pure magnificence of Steve and Heidi Benjamin's TP 52, Spookie, has been a feature of this regatta. With local ace. Olympic silver medallist and America's Cup winning helmsman, Peter Holmberg, providing the tactical input, she strode away from the CSA 1 opposition on the upwind leg before turning the top mark and setting her huge white 'chute to open a vast distance over her smaller opponents... [more]
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Trofeo Princesca Sofia - Josh Junior leads after high scoring Day 2
Robert Deaves,
Josh Junior (NZL) has taken the lead in the Finn fleet at the 47th Trofeo Princesa Sofia after day in which many of the front runners picked up some high scores, including Giles Scott (GBR) who drops to second. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) won the second race of the day to end up third overnight. The first race was won by Oliver Tweddell (AUS).... [more]
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The Clipper Race – Low pressure and North Pacific test the fleet
The Clipper Race,
2015 -16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - After quickly changing from spinnakers to white sails and putting reefs in the mainsail, the fleet endured sustained headwinds of 30 to 50 knots, and a sea sate which built rapidly.... [more]
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Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
John Curnow,
I'm absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.... [more]
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RORC Easter Challenge – Squally day tests the fleet in the Solent
James Boyd,
If traditionally the RORC Easter Challenge is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's coaching regatta, today's lesson centred upon heavy weather sailing technique.... [more]
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Final chance for Julie for Rio 2016 Olympics + Video
World Sailing,
Seychelles sailing legend Allan Julie is gunning for a Rio 2016 Olympic Games spot at sailing's final qualification event, the Trofeo Princesa Sofia.... [more]
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2016 GP14 World Championship - Biggest sailing event ever for Barbados
Michelle Evans, GP14 Class,
The 2016 GP14 World Championships have certainly captured the imagination of both regular GP14 sailors and those from other fleets with over 100 boats from seven different countries registered for the Easter event.... [more]
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2016 IKA Kiteboarding World Championships – Tough fight for podium
Kite Classes,
2016 IKA Kiteboarding World Championships – After fierce competition in strong winds, Carlos Marios (BRA) and Karolina Winkowska (POL) win the Kiteboarding Freestyle competition in El Gouna, Egypt.... [more]
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St. Thomas Int. Regatta - A day of unintentional acts - Day 2
Bob Fisher,
The breezy easterlies provided the competitors at the St Thomas International Regatta with challenges and excitement galore. Peaking at 30 knots, the gusty conditions revealed some unintentional acts right across the board.... [more]
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Trofeo Princesa Sofia – Entries increase beyond expectations
Trofeo Princesa Sofía,
The popular, showcase Balearic Olympic regatta is an Olympic qualifying regatta for the first time. So this week represents the last chance to secure the remaining Olympic places for European nations in each of the ten Olympic classes, and also for one African nation in the Finn and the Nacra 17 Class.... [more]
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2016 Garda Optimist Meeting – Day 3 images by Max Ranchi
Max Ranchi,
Photographer Max Ranchi was on water and provided this gallery of images of day three race.... [more]
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Clipper Yacht Race – Who will have the best weather conditions?
The Clipper Race,
The wind has been inconsistent and shifty, with a lot of trimming and sail changes taking place on day six of the Seattle Pacific Challenge.... [more]
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Noted racing and superyacht designer Ed Dubois dies suddenly NZL,
Dubois Naval Architects have announced the sad passing of its principal and noted superyacht designer, Ed Dubois at the age of just 64 years. He started designing and building model yachts at a young age before moving onto racing yachts and then superyachts.... [more]
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2016 Volvo Noble Marine RS500 National Championships - Coming soon...
2016 Volvo Noble Marine RS500 National Championships - Welcome to 2016 Volvo Noble Marine RS500 National Championships - this time at wonderful Lymington Town SC as part of the RS Southerns. Get some great practice for the 2017 World Championships at this location!... [more]
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2018 Hansa World Championships to be held in Hiroshima, Japan
Hansa Class,
The 2018 Hansa Class Combined World and International Championships will be held at the Hiroshima Kannon Marina in October 2018.... [more]
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Round the Rocks Race – Teams enjoy close racing in ideal conditions
Carol Bareuther,
In the CSA Spinnaker Class, Norwalk, CT's Steve Benjamin, wife Heidi and crew including Virgin Islands' Olympic silver medalist and America's Cup veteran, Peter Holmberg, ended first aboard Benjamin's TP 52, Spookie.... [more]
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