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Daily Digest: VOR lightning strike, TP52 Super Series, AC news and more

SAN FRANCISCO – As always, below are the latest links to major yacht racing stories, including links to any major stories we otherwise posted on Sailing Illustrated since our previous Daily Digest. Thanks for the outpouring of kind comments about our birthday best wishes to and photo of HM King Juan Carlos (ESP) in our last Daily Digest. Indeed, Dennis Durgan (USA, Newport Harbor YC) wrote:

Happy New Year Tom! Great coverage in SI over the Holiday's. Job well done! Saw the tribute to King JC's 80th; I found this photo we had taken during a Maxi regatta in Sardinia aboard XARGO IV (82' Frers PJ built)....I was just getting ready to pass the helm over to His Majesty to drive on the reaching leg. Please pass along this photo and say Happy Birthday for me! Thanks, Durgs

Thank you, Dennis! Durgs included the names of the others in this great photo. How many can you ID? Names in the photo caption below.

Photo aboard XARGO IV at the Sardinia Cup in, what, 1983? You gotta love HMKJC's bell-bottom jeans, and Durgs' technicolor sailing shorts. Doubt he was wearing those when he called tactics for Dennis Conner when they won the America's Cup aboard FREEDOM in 1980. Clockwise from Dennis Durgan on the wheel, owner and close friend of HMKJC Francisco Sitges, King Juan Carlos, designer German Frers (yes, trimming), and Peter Stalker. Unless someone else claims credit, Durgs thinks the photo was taken by the late, great Kenny Gardiner, and believes that, among others crewing, were Rives Potts and Lexi Gahagan. An all-star crew if ever there was one.

VOR: "Then a huge lightning strike hit, so close the sparks were flying off the mast and runners. Rome [Kirby, USA], who was driving, was lying flat on the deck, just from the shock of the massive sound as well. None of the sailors were injured and, miraculously, our boat electronics survived intact too." –Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED).

VOR: After six days at sea, racing is so tight between the top five teams that the smallest of gains or losses can propel them up the rankings or send them plummeting down the positions.This was certainly the case on Monday as Vestas 11th Hour Racing became the new Leg 4 leaders while Dongfeng Race Team, the table-toppers first five days of racing, found themselves in fourth.

Santiago Lange, winner of a gold medal at then Rio Olympics in the Nacra 17 catamaran, will be tactician aboard AZZURRA in the 2018 TP52 Super Series 2018.

Bill Wagner: Annapolis Yacht Club gets creative to increase racing participation on Chesapeake Bay

Sailing World: The Nashville sailing scene was dying before Chris LaBorde’s eyes. Immediate action was required to stop the bleeding. Nashville’s older racers were on their way out, and behind them was nobody. Over glasses of bourbon one evening at ­Harbor Island YC in Old Hickory, Tennessee, LaBorde, Robert Mattix and Tim Fitzgerald assembled a ragtag group of racers and hatched a plan: They would commit to ­buying six boats and to sail eight weekends.

AC: Young American engineer Robyn Lesh earns a seat at Bella Mente Quantum Racing’s design table for the 36th America’s Cup.

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