>And we’re off!!!

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Weather-wise it’s looking pretty all over the joint for us aboard Jon Sander’s ‘Seahold Perie Banou 2’. Light upwind and EVENTUALLY – but hopefully- before we finish there will be some downwind but then again it might change tommorrow. See you in Hobart!

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>14-year-old Dutch Laura Dekkar arrested

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‘All the publicity from the recent spate of record attempts has spawned so much ambition that the ‘youngest record has actually become the most contested of all sailing feats, bar perhaps the outright speed record.’

– Yachting World – Nov, ’09

14-year-old Dutch sailor Laura Dekkar has been apprehended again, this time in the Carribean after she ran away from the courts stopping her youngest solo circumnavigation record attempt. Born on a boat in New Zealand during an around the world sail, it seems government just doesn’t learn the future lies with the young! Who’s business is it for government to be involved anyway!? It’s her parents’ and hers…period. Here’s to chasing Jessica Watson soon, by the way – a 16-year-old who’s by far more experienced at sea and mature than most sailors in their middle age you’ll ever meet!

Update Since:

Court Says Dutch 14-Year-Old May Get to Sail Around World

Thursday, January 07, 2010 3:33:00 PM
Last updated: Thursday, January 07, 2010 3:33:00 PM

LOG NEWS SERVICE — A Dutch court has said it may allow 14-year-old Laura Dekker to eventually set sail on a solo circumnavigation around the world.

The judges have laid out conditions, which would allow the teenager to begin her around-the-world trip, including completing a first aid course and making several sailing trips abroad to prepare for her circumnavigation.

If she meets the terms set by the court, Dekker could set off before she turns 15 in September — in Guppy, her 27-foot Hurley 800 sailboat — on her attempt to be the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Dekker made headlines earlier in October when another Dutch court banned her from attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world — and again in December, when she ran away to St. Maarten in the Dutch Caribbean. The court in October had ordered a temporary guardian appointed to look after Dekker, though it allowed her to keep living with her father, an ardent sailor who is seen as a driving force behind her circumnavigation plan.

After her disappearance in late December, welfare authorities had sought unsuccessfully to have her removed from her father’s home and placed in a crisis shelter. Dekker’s grandparents on her father’s side criticized welfare workers for their treatment of Dekker.

“Since the Bureau of Youth Care got involved, we have seen Laura change from a positive teenager into a child who has built a shield around herself and lost all trust in adults,” Dick and Riek Dekker wrote in a letter published Dec. 22 in De Volkskrant newspaper.

— A report from the Associated Press was used in this story

>Rolex Sydney Hobart Update #3

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Sydney Hobart – Race Record or Boat Breaking southerlies?

Rolex Sydney Hobart 2009 – Wind against tide, 30 knots and six metre seas and backless waves or a super fast down hill side with a 38 hour race record?

Yesterday the mostly likely long range weather model suggested there could be boat breaking seas in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart race, with strong southerlies pushing against the fast flowing east Australian current.

Today Barry Hanstrum from the Bureau of Meteorology predicts there could be strong northerlies and should that come to pass, routing data suggests a new race record.

The reality is its too early to tell.

Ex-Tropical cyclone Laurence has moved inland and is expected to move into NSW and Victoria as a deepening trough and there will be north east or northerly winds to the east of it.

The GFS model projects northerly winds at the start of the race with a Tasmanian low which could see Wild Oats XI slipping up the Derwent River in the wee hours.

In 2005 Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI broke the race record crossing the finish line at 7:40:10.

If today’s GFS forecast holds good with strong northerlies for the start and well into the night, she’d arrive much earlier, two hours before dawn on Monday 28th.

However if the EC model holds sway the trough will be off the NSW coast and deliver strong southerlies right into Bass Strait and that would allow the good citizens of Hobart time to finish their bacon and eggs before heading dockside to welcome the supermaxis.

You and the 100 boat fleet will have to wait to find out… which will it be?

Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team

>Rolex Sydney Hobart Update #2

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(Above weather map a few days after the start, looking like lots of upwind, but weather maps are changing rapidly.)

“Sea-hold Perie Banou 2 will be potent upwind and in out-right storm conditions with triple-nonstop solo circumnavigator- Jon Sanders…” The article below was just published this morning, will keep you updated.

A first night battle for survival is on the cards for the Rolex Sydney Hobart with stomach churning seas, bone-jarring waves and boat-breaking conditions forecast as the multi-million-dollar fleet sails south.

The 100-strong fleet lining up in the 65th edition of the race looks set to be pummelled by winds up to 30-knots as yachts ranging in size from 33 to 100 feet long smash into steep, nasty seas at the beginning of the trek south.

The conditions indicate a high attrition rate in the early stages of the 638-nautical-mile race could result but later see the survivors revelling in the adrenalin rush of downwind sailing across Bass Strait under spinnaker.

“In those conditions (on the first day) it will be survival of the fittest,” said Wild Oats skipper Mark Richards, the man who has steered the super maxi to all four record line honors victories in the race with a worldwide reputation as one of the most challenging ocean races on the calander.

“It will be very uncomfortable for everyone,” said Neville Crichton, skipper of the New Zealand 100-footer Alfa Romeo, also considered a major contender for the line honors.

“We expect to get a hammering that first day and night and will have to nurse the boats in that stuff.”

Weather guru Roger Badham has forecast the worst of the upwind conditions to be soon after the noon start of the race on Boxing Day with 20-knots of sou’easterly on the harbour and up to 30-knots offshore. “The sea-state will be pretty horrible,” he said.

One of the few crews rubbing their hands in glee at yesterday’s weather update was skipper Mike Slade and his team on the UK line honors heavy-weight ICAP Leopard.

Rival Crichton said the forecast for the first day as it currently stands will suit the 100-footer which this year won both the Fastnet and Middle Sea races in Europe.

“This will favor Leopard. She is very comfortable upwind and reaching,” said Crichton.

Slade said he will wait until closer to the day to get too excited but was happy with the early forecast yesterday. “We certainly like a bit of wind,” he said.

Wild Oats, Alfa Romeo, ICAP Leopard, Ivestec Loyal and the US yacht Rapture are the five 100-foot yachts on the Boxing Day start line.

The 98-footer Etihad Stadium Wild Thing, in a battle to have a replacement mast stepped into the boat in time for Boxing Day, is also expected to race along with the Sydney super maxi Lahana and the 90-footer YuuZoo.

– The Gold Coast Bulletin- Tuesday, December 22, 2009

>Sydney Hobart Update #1

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Sydney Hobart – East Coast Coast Current – It’s Ripping….

‘Tidetech’s CSIRO Current GRIB – latest conditions at Green Cape – Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race’ Tidetech

Strong currents of up to 4.5kts could bring boat breaking conditions for Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race

Now is about the time when navigators can begin to get an indication of what conditions to expect for Hobart. Certainly with all the strange weather we seem to have been having this year – (who can forget those dust storms) there has been much dock talk about the possibility of severe or unusual conditions for this year’s race.

Certainly so far this year the current is displaying some extreme behaviour- it was running at 6kts off Coffs Harbour for most of October and Tasmania has been experiencing unusually strong and warm south going currents down both coasts (a problem for lobsters apparently!).

At present a large and powerful eddy is situated close to Green Cape and is sending very strong current of up to 4.5 kts in a South Easterly direction. This could be a boat breaking place to be in strong or gale force SE winds and if the conditions persist, Sydney to Hobart skippers will need to take care.

Computer generated optimal course ’Knows no Fear’ – Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race – Tidetech

With many navigators now using routing software loaded with wind and current data the temptation is to blindly follow the fastest route given by the computer; but as Yendys’ navigator Will Oxley says ‘Just remember, routing knows NO FEAR and will make NO allowance for the very ugly sea state that results when a 4 knot southerly current comes into contact with a strong southerly wind!

>Linda to start

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Australian/Italian Linda Pasquariello, my double-handed team-mate – will sail solo around the world in 2010. She might use “Isis”, the Vega 27 we just sailed via Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to Bundaberg, Australia.

Thus “Isis” will stay in Bundaberg the cyclone season and Linda might train off the Great Barrier Reef
and help me finance a renewed Mini Transat season next summer in exchange…I’ll keep you updated.

PS: We saw kangaroes next to the marina yesterday – you know you’re down under when that happens!

>Liz Wardley takes start

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Liz Wardley who at 20-years-old was the youngest skipper, 1st female skipper with the youngest team in the history of the Sydney Hobart to win, while I crewed with her back in 1999 – has started the ‘OceanoScientific® Campaign 2009-2010’ – a precursor to the ‘Veolia SolOceans Race 2011’, obviously an event I hope to race, this time against her!

At 01.00pm sharp (1200UT), by force 7 wind, Liz Wardley crossed the start line off Caen – Ouistreham (France) of the Around-the-world Reference Tour of the SolOceans – OceanoScientific® Campaign 2009-2010. She rounded Cabourg / Dives-sur-mer (Normandy – France) buoy before heading towards Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand.
The young sailor left in the exact conditions of the SolOceans – the start of the first edition is scheduled on 23 October 2011 – i.e. solo onboard a SolOceans One-design, a 16-Meter (52.5-foot) all-carbon high-tech sailing yacht Made In Normandy. This one-design is at the same time a real scientific vessel and a bold oceanic racing vessel with performances worthy of an 18-metre prototype. The SolOceans One-design proudly sails the colours of the Lower Norman Region (France), Wellington, Caen la mer urban area (France) and Cherbourg (France) – who have supported the creation and development of the SolOceans and the OceanoScientific® Campaign since its creation.

The French Ministry of Higher Education and Research is a patron of this campaign. It will give new scientific data to researchers in order for them to better understand the climate of our planet and precisely determine the causes and consequences of Global warming.

Jean-Louis Borloo, French Minister of Marine Affairs: “is delighted with this initiative allowing us to better understand the oceans and the effect of Climate Change on our seas. That’s why I would like this OceanoScientific® Campaign to be part of the Oceans Round Table actions (Grenelle de la Mer) and to receive very soon an official labelling”

Liz Wardley plans to be back in Lower Normandy in mid-March, at the end of the second leg between Wellington and Cherbourg i.e. two 50 to 55-day single-handed navigations raced against the clock.

http://www.soloceans.com/en/