Archive | July, 2012

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Photo gallery: First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht in Auckland

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

First set of official photos by Emirates Team New Zealand photographer Chris Cameron from the first sail of the team’s AC72 in the Hauraki gulf. Since the Hauraki gulf is not anywhere near Valencia, can’t, obviously, be on the water taking hundreds of hi-res photos. As a result, we will have to rely on the, still excellent, shots taken by Chris Cameron but censored by Grant Dalton. Of course, Russell Coutts and Paul Cayard must already have tons of interesting high-resolutions pictures from their respective “spies” or excellent team photographers.

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

First sail of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 yacht. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

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No stopping Great Dane Jonas Høgh-Christensen on third day at Olympics

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Finn Class] Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) has again extended on the Finn fleet with a first and second on day three at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. Ben Ainslie (GBR) moves up to second after a better day, but has still be beat the Great Dane after six races. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) drops one place to third. The second race of the day was won by Deniss Karpak (EST).

Tuesday was crunch day for the Finns. Going into the half way stage of the regatta, Ben Ainslie (GBR) needed to make some points back before the lay day on Wednesday, while regatta leader Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) was looking to consolidate his points lead and not do anything silly.

Race five was dominated by the Høgh-Christensen from start to finish. Starting in the pack, but away from the pin-end boat he hit yesterday he soon pulled ahead of the fleet and with Postma suffering gear failure on the far left, the Dane steered a confident course up the favoured left side of the course to round the top mark with a small lead over Rafa Trujillo (ESP), Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Zach Railey (USA), while several boats overstood in the strong tide. Ainslie had started in the middle and was soon in difficulty having to tack away to clear his air.

After a screaming reach towards the wing mark as the wind piped up, there was a fascinating dual between the leading bunch on the run, though Høgh-Christensen was starting to pull away from the fleet. Railey, the 2008 Silver medalist has not had a great regatta so far so was also looking for improvements today. He had moved up to second at the gate, sailing past the normally faster Ainslie. Ainslie rounded behind and had to tack away to find a lane further to the right. Høgh-Christensen seemed confident on the left and held his course before coming back with a nice lead into the second top mark.

The Dane sailor is unstoppable three days in the 2012 Olympics. Weymouth, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Daniel Forster /

The wind faded on the final offwind legs but Høgh-Christensen extended his lead, while Railey maintained second from Trujillo. Nirkko and Ainslie passed Trujillo and Ainslie looked to be closing on Nirkko but ran out of track. At the finish it was Høgh-Christensen, Railey, Nirkko and Ainslie, with Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) staging an amazing recovery from 19th at the first mark to cross fifth.

Ainslie was now firmly on the backfoot and needed something special in race six. He started well, winning the pin after Postma returned and controlled the lane to the favoured left side of the course and looked to be coming into the top mark well placed. Meanwhile Høgh-Christensen was forced to tack off to find clear air and trailed on the right. However many boats overstood the top mark and first round was Trujillo from Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), Nirkko and Høgh-Christensen. Ainslie rounded in seventh.

Trujillo led down the run with Deniss Karpak (EST) moving up to second from Nirkko and Ainslie, but by the gate Karpak had made big gains to round in first from Nirkko, Ainslie and Høgh-Christensen. The Dane was forced to tack away again after he had been passed by Ainslie for the first time this week. However it was all change on the final upwind with Høgh-Christensen splitting from the fleet and making places all the way up to second to round behind Karpak. Trujillo rounded third from Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) while Ainslie slipped to fifth.

Karpak extended down the run to lead into the finish and win by nearly a minute. Høgh-Christensen rounded in second but Ainslie had caught up for a thrilling spray filled chase to the line, but the Dane held on for second with Ainslie third, Trujillo fourth and Zbogar fifth.

Despite dropping one place to third, Lobert said, “I am pretty happy so far. Third overall after three days means I am still in the game. We still have four races to go and so I will take it day by day, race by race like I have done since the beginning. And I always try my hardest to catch up the most boats I can when I am behind. Today I was 15th and 17th at the first mark which is not so good.” Lobert recovered to place 6th and 7th today.

“The racing is very tight. The wind today was a bit strange, very up and down and sometimes there was some oil on the water. On the first upwinds I didn’t know exactly what to do. I was just looking around and missed most of the shifts. Then slowly, slowly I came back during the race and so I am pretty happy with that.”

“I want to improve my first upwind. If I can be top six round the first mark I have good chance to win the race, like I almost did yesterday. I maybe have to take more risks on the start line. In the first race today the Greek was just above me and he was OCS. I thought we were pretty high but I held back. But I also need to improve my tactics. I need to have a better plan for the first upwind, as most of the time I don’t have a plan and not sure what to do. I just try for the start and then react to where I am, which is not so good.”

Postma described his unfortunate gear failure. “The wind was left and you had to be left and win the pin end. I was going a bit low, going for speed and I wanted to tighten the outhaul a bit more so I pulled it with some force and broke it. I took down the sail, fixed it but then the fleet was gone.”

“I was calm at the time. These things happen. Then I felt a bit disappointed, then a bit angry. Now I just feel focussed. We have a rest day to gain all the energy back and am looking forward to getting on with the racing.”

The 2008 Silver medalist Railey had his best day so far with a 2, 8 to rise to 12th overall. He said, “Today was better. I did nothing different but just had the shifts go the way I thought. It been a hard to get the wind correct but I am still fighting hard. I just need to have good races. I am in quite a hole from the first few races but I will not quit. Looking forward to a day off watch some other races on TV and recover my legs.”

Høgh-Christensen said, “In both races I wanted to go left. So starting close to the pin was the plan but with a bit less risk. Both starts were good, but I thought I was over in the second race and went back. The reason being that I was on line with PJ and he went back. Apparently non of us were over. I came back fast and managed to hit some good shifts to get back to fourth. Then I gained a couple more and I am super content with that. Another good day.”

“You have got to take your breaks when you can. I am an old man in the fleet and I definitely need a rest, a big steak and ready up for Thursday.”

Ainslie commented on his performance, “It’s tough. Sometimes these things work out, but unfortunately for me, this week it hasn’t. I was really frustrated yesterday but it has been better today.”

“He [Høgh-Christensen] is sailing really well. He is a good sailor and a big guy. He is having the regatta of his life. He likes upwind and for whatever reason he is nailing it every time. If I keep pushing hard he might slip up. It’s a difficult place to sail here, but he keeps nailing it. He is sailing well and at some point the tables have to turn. He’s on fire.”

The Finns now have a rest day – and a day to think about how they will approach the final four opening series races on Thursday and Friday. While one man will be trying to relax and keep his head clear, another will be evaluating what has gone so wrong. Ainslie may be in the silver medal position but he has openly admitted anything but gold would be a disaster. And after six races he sits ten points behind the Dane with a little bomb on his scorecard waiting to be ignited if he has another bad day.

Høgh-Christensen is producing the type of performance that everyone expected Ainslie to produce. Some great race wins, all round speed dominance and some incredible comebacks.

What does Ainslie now have to do to turn this around? And does he know the answer himself? How do you respond to someone sailing the way Høgh-Christensen has done? This is an unsual situation for Ainslie as normally it is the rest of the fleet working out how to respond to Ainslie’s dominance. It will be fascinating to watch it play out.

After the rest day for the Finns on Wednesday, races seven and eight are scheduled for 12.00 Thursday, on Weymouth Bay South course.

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Emirates Team New Zealand AC72 sets sail on a light, wet Auckland day

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] Emirates Team New Zealand took its AC72 sailing for the first time today – on a cold, wet Auckland winter’s day.

As a very watery dawn glow started to light Auckland, the AC72 was wheeled from the shed, mated to the wingsail and lifted into the Viaduct Harbour.

There it sat while a few last-minute adjustments were made and the crew waited for some breeze.

Sailing time was delayed several times as team meteorologist Roger Badham monitored weather radar and computer models and kept the sailing crew, impatient to leave the dock, informed.

Finally at 1pm the big cat was towed out in the Auckland Harbour and did not return to base until after dark. The breeze was still very light and rain was threatening.

First sail for the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72. Auckland, 31 July 2012. Photo copyright Chris Cameron / Emirates Team New Zealand

Three chase boats containing designers, engineers, systems experts, boat builders and specialists accompanied the cat, intently watching its every move

The breeze in the outer harbour varied from zero to 8-10 knots and the sea was flat. Rain came in the squalls.

“It is good to get the first sail under our belt,” Grant Dalton said. “Overall the weather could have been better but the wind was ideal for a first sail. It’s what we had waited for.”

Dalton said the day, while unspectacular, was productive. “We know more about the boat than we did this morning and that’s why we go testing.”

Up to the end of next January, teams are permitted only 30 sailing days in the AC72. Emirates Team New Zealand intends to make every sailing day count.

A sailing say is defined as the yacht releasing the tow for only five minute. The team plans to sail from dawn to dusk when conditions are favourable.

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First Day Surprises At 2012 Melges 24 World Championship In Torbole

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Melges 24 Classs Association] On two race courses, one in front of Torbole and one further south, located just north of Limone, the Melges 24 World Championship came under starters orders with the evergreen Melges 24s divided into four groups, identified by four colors.

More than 125 crews, from 22 nations, were in the water waiting for the much-anticipated start. During the first two races on the north course the orange group sailed against the blue group, while on the south the challenge was between the white and black groups.

At the conclusion of racing, Italy’s Andrea Racchelli sailing Altea, with a second and a sixth, claims the top of the ranking while many of the favorites going into the day are trailing down in double digit position.

First day of racing at the Melges 24 World Championship. Torbole, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright Pierrick Contin

Conditions were extremely tough for all with many general recalls. Having been out of the Melges 24 fleet for some time Germany’s Markus Wieser on AEZ, along with tactician Pascal Rambeau, proved that he certainly hasn’t lost his touch in the class and thanks to a first and an eighth, is now lying second in the overall ranking by just one point. Outsider Tommaso del Rio’s Maitech, put in two excellent performances of second and eighth to finish the day in third overall four points behind the leader. A most impressive achievement. Japan’s Kan Yamamada, sailing Kanta-Ro Racing, is on equal points with Del Rio and lies fourth on countback. The top ten is completed by Norway’s Kristoffer Spone, International Class Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi, Bora Gulari from the USA, Estonia’s Peter Saraskin and a pair of Italiens, Carlo Fracassoli and Lorenzo Gemini.

First day of racing at the Melges 24 World Championship. Torbole, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright Pierrick Contin

Lorenzo Gemini’s Sardinian team aboard SIV Arborea also hold the overall lead in the Corinthian ranking, just one point ahead of Marco Cavallini sailing Jeco Team with a family crew that includes Marco’s father Gianni and brother Paolo, who lie fourteenth in the overall standings. Third Corinthian place is currently in the hands of Finland’s Matias Sappovaara aboard Marquis de Conquistador, followed by Italy’s Alessio Marinelli on Pensavo Peggio.

Tomorrow at least two more races are planned with race courses and groups reversed. Weather permitting the qualification series will conclude on Wednesday and with the introduction of the discard the fleet will be divided in Gold and Silver fleets.

First day of racing at the Melges 24 World Championship. Torbole, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright Pierrick Contin

First day of racing at the Melges 24 World Championship. Torbole, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright Pierrick Contin

First day of racing at the Melges 24 World Championship. Torbole, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright Pierrick Contin

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Hydros announces that construction has begun on its yacht for the Little America’s Cup

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: HYDROS] The Hydros project is entering a new phase as construction begins on the catamaran that will be entered for the Little America’s Cup. The catamaran was designed by architectural firm VPLP, which is working exclusively with Hydros on the project, with the aim of winning the legendary race to be held in the United Kingdom in September 2013.

Two versions of the catamaran are being built by the Décision SA shipyard in Ecublens, so that the sailing team will be able to test and compare different configurations of foils and centerboards. The construction process is innovative and completely new: both catamarans will be built using thin ply technology (TPT), a technique invented on the shores of Lake Geneva that has already been used in Formula 1 and on a number of wing masts for the forthcoming America’s Cup, but which has never previously been employed in yacht construction.

As Gilles Rocher, Head of Marketing at North TPT, explains: “This process allows us to use exactly the right amount of material in the right place and in the right way, thereby optimizing the yacht’s structure and markedly improving her performance.”

Meanwhile Bertrand Cardis, Head of the Décision SA shipyard, is of the opinion that “the construction method has more in common with aeronautics than traditional racing yachts. We fine-tuned this technique when we built the second plane for Bertrand Piccard, and we are now going to use it in the construction of the hulls, beams and wing mast of the Hydros catamaran.”

The first boat – a masterpiece of high technology – will be launched at the end of the year, and the second version will follow two months later. The name of its skipper, an internationally famous sailing champion, will be announced at the end of the summer break. The selection procedure for the second yacht will begin at the end of the summer, with the aim of recruiting a first-rate Swiss crew.

“This is a thrilling project because it brings together so many of the elements we value, such as high technology, competition and the pioneering spirit,” says Thierry Lombard, who spearheaded the Hydros project. “We are very proud to be behind the first yacht in history constructed out of TPT. We are delighted to see the project take shape and to be competing in the Little America’s Cup regatta next year.”

The Hydros project has three main components: a yacht flying the Swiss flag being entered for the Little America’s Cup, the “Défi des Grandes Ecoles” (university challenge) and the catamaran l’Hydroptè, which recently broke the one-hour record on Lake Geneva and achieved the best time since 2007 on the Blue Ribbon course, smashing the record by covering the stretch from Geneva to Le Bouveret in 1 hour 44 minutes.

Right from when it first took place in 1961, the Little America’s Cup has symbolized fundamental research and ground-breaking technological development, on a human scale. The yachts, which have a crew of two, must measure a maximum of 7.62 m x 4.20 m, with a sail surface area of no more than 27.8 m2. These restrictions are precisely what makes the class so exciting, since the yacht designers are forced to explore cutting-edge techniques. Furthermore, these boats have been sailing with wing masts for over thirty years!

Switzerland has all the necessary skills at its disposal to win the trophy; our aim is to bring them together to achieve this ambitious objective.

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Tom Slingsby dominates the day in the Laser class

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Five-time world champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) looked determined to banish his demons from Beijing 2008 when a victory and a second place in the Laser class placed him firmly at the top of the leader board on Monday.

The Australian entered the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as the clear favourite but failed to make the medal race and finished in 22nd place.

On a better start at London 2012 Slingsby said, “Two good starts and two good first beats. I was really happy just to come second (in the first race). It’s a lot better than four years ago when I had a couple of 20s on day one. It’s all pretty perfect actually.”

Guatemalan sailor Juan Ignacio Maegli (GUA) saw off the competition from the favourites to win the first race. Maegli held a commanding lead throughout the race and now lies in second place overall behind Slingsby after an 11th in second place.

Tom Slingsby leads the Lasers on the opening day of racing. Weymouth, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright

2012 Laser World Championship runner up Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) logged consistent results in both of the day’s races, placing him in third place on the leader board.

Brazil’s Bruno Fontes (BRA) also piled the pressure on the favourites. He finished in second place behind Slingsby in race two to place him eighth overall.

Alejandro Foglia Costa (URU) makes up the trio of South American sailors to finish the first day in the top 10. He finished the second race in third behind FONTES and lies seventh overall.

Lasers resume racing tomorrow at 14:00 local time on the Portland Harbour course.

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Tow testing the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Tow testing the Emirates Team New Zealand AC72

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Høgh-Christensen extends after day of drama for Finns at the 2012 Olympics

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Finn Class] The Finn man of the moment Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) extended his lead on day two in the Finn class at the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth, and, while Jonathan Lobert (FRA) moves up to second, there is a four way tie for third place. Race wins went to the Dan Slater (NZL) and Daniel Birgmark (SWE).

It was another windy and beautiful day in Weymouth with sunny skies and 14-16 knots of breeze in the morning. The Finns sailed two great races in the Weymouth Bay West course and there was plenty of drama to keep the viewers happy.

Race three belonged to Dan Slater (NZL). After having to wait a long time to have his national selection for these Games confirmed, he has proven his ability with a stunning performance in testing conditions to dominate and win race three by nearly 30 seconds. He rounded the top mark with a narrow lead from Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) and extended on every leg.

Jonas Høgh-Christensen extends his lead on day 2 of the 2012 Olympics. Weymouth, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright onEdition

By the bottom mark Mitakis had dropped down the fleet while overall leader Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) had climbed to second, with Postma in third. Ben Ainslie (GBR) climbed up to fourth on the run but lost places upwind again and finally finished in sixth. The top three remained the same with Slater extending to win by half a minute. Third overall Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) recovered from 14th at the top mark to seventh at the finish.

The fourth race was full of drama. First Høgh-Christensen hit the pin end on the start and after rerounding headed out right to clear his wind, but in last place Ainslie also had a bad start and at the top mark the two regatta leaders were 14th and 21st. At the front Tapio Nirkko (FIN) rounded first from Daniel Birgmark (SWE) and Rafa Trujillo (ESP). Nirkko then capsized at the downwind mark, though recovered his boat quickly and rejoined the race in sixth.

Then Trujillo also capsized after his rudder popped off. The new leader was Jonathan Lobert (FRA) who had moved into second on the downwind. Lobert held onto the lead round the next windward mark but the fleet had compressed slightly with Høgh-Christensen making the biggest gain to round in seventh. He had taken more than a minute from his deficit on the first leg to trail the new leader by just 30 seconds. Ainslie had dropped to 12th, another 30 seconds back. Two offwind legs remained to the finish, and it was a great test of stamina and strength, as well as a thrilling finish.

Excellent performance by Jonathan Lombert that jumps to second overall. Weymouth, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright onEdition

With the wind increasing to 18-19 knots Birgmark powered down the run and just sneaked round the leeward mark ahead of Lobert to scream down the final reach to take the winner’s gun. Lobert crossed three second later with Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) another two seconds later in third. While Kljakovic Gaspic moved from 13th to ninth, neither Høgh-Christensen nor Ainslie could make any gains.

However a seventh for Høgh-Christensen was easily enough to retain the overall lead by eight points from Lobert, with Ainslie, Kljakovic Gaspic, Postma and Zbogar all on equal points, three points further back.

Nirkko said of his brief spell at the front, “Finally I got some of the big lines right and had good speed and rounded in the lead. I stretched out a bit until the downwind mark. I was hassling with the sheet and it slipped out of my hands and the boom went all the way out and, I think it was a combination of the position of the boat on the wave and heeling of the boat, I capsized to windward. Fortunately I had such a comfortable lead before that so when I got the boat up and started to sail again, the leaders were not too far away. I guess after a capsize a fifth place is all right. I just have to think about the points rather than the feeling it created.”

On his regatta so far, “Generally not really very good, but leading today gave me some confidence that I could be at the top. And after four races I am quite consistent so I’ve not had any bombs in the series so that’s a good thing.”

Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar is now tied in third place with another three sailors. Weymouth, 30 July 2012. Photo copyright onEdition

Birgmark, the race four winner said, “It was not as shifty as yesterday. In the second race I got the shifts right, which I didn’t in the first when I went right early on and a big left shift came and I was almost last. It was too much distance to catch up. But I am very happy with my last downwind when I managed to pass Jonathan. He rounded the top mark just ahead and I was just in front at the downwind mark.”

“It was tough on the last reach to the finish but I had it under control. But the downwind was really interesting to just be in front for the mark rounding. It’s a shame though that Tapio capsized while in the lead.”

Leader after four races, Høgh-Christensen said, “I am very happy so far. Today was actually a good day.”

“In the first race I didn’t know what was going to happen with the wind. There was big cloud coming down the race course and I thought it could go both ways so I decided to start in the middle and play it safe. I didn’t get the greatest start but I played it safe and played the middle up the beat and rounded the windward mark in sixth or seventh. And then had a good downwind and got to second. So that was good.”

“Then in the second race I hit the pin end committee boat. It was really frustrating and a stupid, stupid mistake. It was a little bit of tide and a bit of bad timing. I had a chance to bail out at 20 seconds but didn’t take it, when I should have. I had to go round and do a turn and started way last and had to fight my way back up. I fought my way back to the top guys and was right next to them downwind and then passed them on the second beat so I was really happy with that. It was fantastic to come back like that, but I pushed really really hard and it felt good.”

On fitness, “I am probably not the strongest guy out there but strong enough, and luckily I have been in a couple of races where I have been far enough ahead to take it easy and save my energy for the next race.”

On the surprisingly poor results from the favourite, Ainslie. “I don’t think it’s the wind. Ben dominated the worlds in Falmouth not more than three months ago in this much wind and more. Since then people have upped their game and I think sometimes you can have a good week and sometimes you don’t but as I said earlier, knowing Ben he’ll be fired up tomorrow and he’ll come back like thunder so let’s see what happens. He usually gets fired up when things aren’t going well.”

On the forecast for moderate to strong breeze all week, “I think it shows off our sport in the best possible way and makes it interesting sailing and good fun to watch. So it couldn’t be much better.”

Ainslie was in agreement with this. “I wasn’t happy with my own performance. It will get me fired up for the rest of the week. It’s a very fine line between success and failure at this level. I don’t think I went the right way all day. Hopefully it will go a lot better.”

Races five and six are scheduled for 12.00 Tuesday, both on Weymouth Bay South course, with a rest day on Wednesday.

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