August 2018

 August 2018


It was that close
But it was PHIL SHARP who did it once again

It hardly ever rains
Keeping all of the people happy for all of the time does not happen by accident… ROB WEILAND

An extraordinary vintage
The Yale Class of 76 was exactly that and STEVE BENJAMIN was far from being the only sailor that summer to go on to much bigger things. DOBBS DAVIS

Delivery – Part II
Preparing for the Bermuda Race… albeit in 1926. CLARE MCCOMB

Even a double Olympic medallist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and the current RYA Director of Racing is struggling a little with the ongoing Olympic classes selection process. IAN WALKER

Re-entry is a bitch
Often the finish of a round-the-world race can ‘simply’ see one set of all-consuming challenges replaced by another. BRIAN HANCOCK

Mid-size melting pot
The market for IRC-racers in the 30-35ft range has become a lot more interesting driven by the new demand for shorthanded platforms. FRED AUGENDRE, JEAN-PIERRE KELBERT, ERIC LEVET, YANN DUBE and MICHELE MOLINO

In good hands?
Probably none better in fact… ROB KOTHE talks to the new owners of the Volvo Ocean Race RICHARD BRISIUS and JOHAN SALEN


Buckle up

Trickle up!

Massive pedigree

No stone unturned

Happy customers

Rather good



Commodore’s letter


Quite the new (TP52) toys, Cup ‘foundations’ and is there (finally) some light at the end of the USA Olympic tunnel. JACK GRIFFIN, TERRY HUTCHINSON, BERNARDO SANCHEZ

World news
That six-second victory, on a very complicated racetrack, foils lose out again in Nice, ALEX THOMSON goes public (at last), 50 years ahead of the game... from one America’s Cup to ‘40’ and Class40 holds its ground over there... IAN BURNS, PATRICE CARPENTIER, BLUE ROBINSON, IVOR WILKINS, DOBBS DAVIS/p>

Rod Davis – Freshen it up
Get up forward to Marlboro Country, you worthless bunch of backstay hangers…

ORC – Life is compromise
A unique opportunity to learn. MATTEO POLLI

IMA – Rewarding but complex
A humble employee writes… ROB WEILAND

Seahorse build table – Coming on very nicely (thank you)
First it was 20 boats, then suddenly it became 40 boats… And now even that number is looking as if it may be an under-estimate. DOBB DAVIS

RORC news – The steamroller Français

Seahorse regatta calendar

Sailor of the Month
Helluva tough choice this month (for us too)



Visit Transpac 50

Next year will see the 50th edition of one of the greatest ocean races of them all… save the date

In 1886 Hawaii’s King Kalākaua invited the yachtsmen of the US mainland to race across the Pacific to his island paradise. Forty-nine times now the race has been run, and approaching Transpac 50, in 2019, it’s international. Among the world’s great ocean races there are not many that start and end among palm trees. There are also not many long enough to inspire the spirit of adventure of an ocean crossing in newcomers and veterans alike.

Even fewer races have the cultural heritage of an event started by royalty over a century ago, enriched by the participation of thousands of sailors since. Across the generations of California’s sailors Transpac is a tradition and a bond. For the internationals who drop in it’s a test as meaningful as any, but with sweeter rewards as the race goes on, and the sea grows bluer and the skies grow warmer.

The Transpacific Yacht Club was created in 1928 to manage the Transpac, and there is only one way to join the club. Race, and you will be invited.

Since the first race in 1906, when the start had to be relocated from an earthquake-damaged San Francisco to Los Angeles, the Transpacific Yacht Club’s 2,225-mile race to Honolulu has been an inspiration for generations of offshore sailors from all sides of the Pacific and beyond. Now run every two years, the list of entries and sailors from around the globe increases as they learn how this race is more than just a bucket-list event: it is a unique inspiration to connect with the ocean and our shipmates on what is always a memorable voyage at sea.

Main picture: Second overall in the last Transpac was Tom Holtus’s Pac 52 Bad Pak beaten only by another Pac 52, Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand. Both boats featured star-studded crews for the race with Gavin Brady running the show on ‘the hand’ and Bruce Nelson taking time out from his design desk to navigate Bad Pac. The Pac 52s are a valuable spin-off from the TP52 class, using the same tooling as one of the best TP52s with changes to make the boats more suitable for ocean racing. Both these boats were designed by Botín and Partners

In those early days there were not many entries – the first race had only three boats competing – but even then there was recognition that to prepare and sail a race of this length organisers had to be innovative to ensure fair racing among boats of different sizes and types. So it was in this race that for the first time handicaps were introduced to try to equalise the competition by linking speed with length overall: based on an analysis of the 1905 Emperor’s Cup transatlantic race (won by famous schooner Atlantic) a basic time allowance system of 30 minutes per foot of overall length was devised.

This is one of many innovations introduced in the Transpac that has in turn benefited the sport. The course itself has inspired boat design even as early as the 1960s with the introduction of the venerable Cal 40, which competed in races held throughout the US, but seemed to do particularly well in Transpac. Cal 40s are still regular entries in the race, sometimes as a group to enjoy the camaraderie of this now-classic west coast design.

After the start off Point Fermin in Los Angeles the course during most years of ‘normal’ weather is a short 25-mile upwind leg to Santa Catalina island, followed by a close reach for a few hundred miles, then a broad reach, then a run for the remainder of the race to the finish line located at Oahu’s famous Diamond Head, an eroded volcanic crater that dominates the skyline east from Waikiki. This predominance of downwind sailing gives the race its unique style and rhythm, with days and days of riding the wind and waves of the subtropical trade winds a big attraction for all who race.

And for those who want to go fast and win this is also what inspired an entirely new genre of offshore racing designs, starting with Bill Lee’s Merlin, a 67ft long, narrow and lightweight speedster. It was in the 1977 Transpac that Merlin shocked the IOR racing world by rating the same, but speeding down the Transpac course to shatter a course record previously reserved for the bigger, heavier Maxis of that era. It was the stunning offwind speed of Merlin, Ragtime and other lightweight designs from around the Pacific that set off a revolution in modern offshore racing, where ‘fast is fun’ became a guiding principle in enjoying offshore racing.

The ULDB Sled class of boats that were built in the 1980s–1990s are still very much in vogue, not only in the Transpac, but elsewhere, providing fast performance with still enough creature comforts to allow those of us with maybe a touch of grey hair to get out there to be competitive in long offshore races.

For those with the energy and athleticism to get everything possible from a modern raceboat, it was the Transpac that inspired the next generation of designs with the advent of the TP52 class. The Transpacific YC over a decade ago commissioned the development of this new generation of offshorecapable boats to succeed the ULDB Sleds and encourage teams and their designers to explore the limits of this new box rule, with fantastic results. And while modern TP52s in the Med represent the pinnacle of monohull big boat racing, they are not raced much offshore any more. But the spirit remains alive in the new Pac 52 Class.

Next month we will explore other unique aspects of this great race, but for now save the date: the first start of Transpac 50 starts 10 July 2019.

Click here for more information on the Transpac 50 »

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Happy customers

Happy customers

Visit EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour

Then again who wouldn’t want to be blasting round the warm waters of Oman on a fast and twitchy Diam 24 tri at an ultra-simple turn-up and race regatta attracting a highly competitive field?

A few months after the event it’s clear that the overwhelming consensus on the first new-look EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour is of a job well done.

The eighth edition of EFG SATT this year saw a complete revamp with Farr 30s and a route around the southern Gulf replaced by Diam 24 trimarans and an Oman-based itinerary of stadium racing and coastal raids, both changes an intentional nod to the Tour de France à la Voile. Late call though it was, Oman Sail proved more than equal to the organisational challenge, delivering an event that provided perfect winter sailing conditions with warm weather and – mostly – reliable winds.

The opportunity to steal a march on the competition ahead of the European season was not lost on any of the eight teams keen to get their Tour Voile campaigns off to an ideal early start.

Perhaps less obvious was the impact the new course had on those participating. Oman Sail have never made a secret of the fact that, alongside their mission to reignite the country’s maritime heritage and develop homegrown sailing talent, it is also about promoting the Sultanate’s credentials as a high-end, sports tourism destination – combining the pleasure of exciting racing with a chance to explore Oman’s beauty and culture. Starting EFG SATT in the largely untouched south and then taking the fleet along Oman’s striking coastline clearly made a great impression on all those taking part this year.

Cédric Pouligny, a veteran of EFG SATT events, spoke for many when he said: ‘The latest edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour confirmed what I already knew about Oman and Oman Sail. The hospitality is incredible and I had the opportunity to discover a new landscape and new places – it is absolutely beautiful with enormous potential.’

First-timer Matthieu Souben added: ‘The feeling among all of us was that we were part of building something that was pretty fantastic to be part of. The best thing for me was actually not really about sailing, but just about meeting people and discovering a new country. Everyone was so kind to us – it was just incredible.’

As for the main event, suffice to say the eight-strong fleet provided a representative cross-section of the teams found on the Tour Voile. Valentin Bellet-skippered Beijaflore to the top spot, the same team that took third in last year’s French event. Defending champion Thierry Douillard spent the regatta locked in a running battle with his erstwhile Tour Voile teammate, British Olympian Stevie Morrison, the two each leading competing Oman Sail crews, with Douillard’s EFG Bank Monaco taking second place ahead of Morrison’s Averda.

Main picture: A great sailboat… an amazing backdrop. By switching to the Diam 24 trimaran and mirroring the Tour de France à la Voile format EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour has not only made itself into a very pacy and competitive regatta in its own right but also offers a difficult to refuse warm-up (literally…) for international crews aiming for the Tour Voile itself. Expect the level of competition at this well-managed event to grow very quickly from here on

Meanwhile, a mid-fleet mêlée saw Souben’s Vivacar mixing it up with Swiss legend Bernard Stamm’s Cheminées Poujoulat and the Solune Robert-led young guns on Lorina Golfe du Morbihan… the trio ended up separated by just 0.4pt!

Tour veteran renowned Pierre Mas, who coached the triumphant Beijaflore team, also clearly enjoyed the trip… ‘We came to Oman with a team that looked as much as possible like the one we will have during the Tour Voile. We are all used to sailing in the conditions we will have in France, but the good thing about EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour was that we had to discover new things, build a team and be sure it performs well in all circumstances.

‘Now this event has to make an impact in Europe and find sponsors – there is great potential here for corporate hospitality. The country is absolutely beautiful and we passed through some incredible places.’

Pouligny agreed: ‘It was a late call to organise this new format but all the teams were really happy. The main benefits of this event are the same for us as all the other teams, getting hours on the boat in the middle of winter when it is hard and cold to train in Europe.

‘I discussed it with the other skippers and the feeling was that it is very, very similar to the Tour Voile. Maybe the intensity of the Tour Voile is higher because you travel the same day as you finish racing – here there is a travel day between racing. But maybe some more travel days would be good on the Tour Voile!’

Morrison is another who embraces both the many similarities with the Tour Voile while appreciating the differences that have made EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour such a unique experience. ‘I love what they are doing with EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour but I would prefer it if the two stayed unique in their own way,’ he said. ‘I actually like the fact that it is a bit different, experiencing a different culture in Oman and enjoying it.

‘That said, the change in format with the Diam 24s means that it is now very similar, which is cool as the Tour Voile calls on a lot of skills that are nothing to do with sailing. They are logistics, they are packing, they are working as a team, and this was a good opportunity to practise those early in the year.

‘SATT is a bit easier as we get more days off, which for us older guys is quite nice… It gives us time to think! There is also a lot of camaraderie between the teams. And it was nice to have the Omani culture with the French, Swiss and the English all mixing together – it was a really nice experience.

‘Of course, if northern France can deliver the same weather this summer as we had in the south of Oman that would also be great…’

Click here for more information on EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour »

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Well, that was rather good

Well, that was
rather good

Visit West System International

After many years’ dominance by a ‘well-known Australian design’ the Kevin Ellway-designed and Simon Maguire-built Exocet Moth took the top 17 (sic) places at the 2018 Moth Worlds in Bermuda…

Simon Maguire is a perfectionist. Every Exocet Moth he and his team of eight build in their UK facility is the result of almost obsessive attention to detail. From the moment the hydrofoils start life as strips of ultra-high modulus (UHM) carbon fibre to the time the 10kg hull section is released from its mould tool, every aspect of these high-speed racing dinghies is honed to minimise weight and maximise performance. As we toured the modern building in Hampshire and saw four new hulls under construction, we asked Simon why his boats have become so sought after that they cost more to buy second-hand than to build new.

Despite a waiting list of owners impatient to get hold of a brand new £29,000 Maguire Exocet there are no plans to boost production, and the logic is reinforced by the results.

Maintain the standards
Each Exocet Moth is built to a design by Kevin Ellway and made by using PRO-SET LAM 125 epoxy resin and LAM 226 hardener to laminate a very thin lay-up of carbon fibre. PRO-SET epoxy has been formulated to completely saturate advanced fabrics with a minimal amount of epoxy to create mouldings that are exceptionally light and strong.

The hydrofoils, for example, are created in aluminium moulds, preferred as they are longlasting and free from warping. The finished mouldings are then post-cured at 75°C for seven hours in a modern, computer-controlled oven. ‘You can feel the difference this makes to the quality of the finish,’ Simon explains. ‘You get a really strong product and it needs to be, with the forces it will be handling.’

Main picture: Paul Goodison lived up to his status as the no1 seed at this yearʼs Moth Worlds in Bermuda when he took his third world title in yet another star-studded fleet of foilers… With Artemis out for the next Americaʼs Cup, former team member Goodison became a free agent again… and it took no time at all for him to be snapped up by Seahorse columnist Terry Hutchinson for the New York YC campaign he is heading. Smart fellow, Hutchinson…

Maguire Boats are now in their third and most modern facility since being founded in a 500ft2 garage in 2012. Despite the high-tech facility providing a mezzanine and 5,000ft2 of shopfloor Simon has resisted efforts to increase output beyond the current 24 boats a year, as he feels this could lead to a reduction in standards. ‘We have found ways to make the facility more efficient in terms of layout,’ Simon says, ‘but there is no substitute for the sheer number of skilled man hours needed to ensure that every boat – and every fitting – is as perfect as we can make it. There are no production shortcuts, so they can be raced long and hard.’

This was confirmed when two of the boats that finished in the top 10 at the last Moth Worlds were four and five years old respectively.

Support the client
Owning an Exocet will involve thrills and face-stuffing spills, as the solo high-performance craft can achieve 19kt upwind and just over 30kt downwind. (The record 31.09kt). Some damage is inevitable. ‘From the outset we offered full customer support throughout ownership,’ Simon says. ‘We have a technical team on site at all the international events, with a full complement of spares and a mobile workshop. Due to the lightweight and compact nature of these boats, they are easy and inexpensive to airfreight. Using the local WEST SYSTEM oxy dealer we have everything we need to keep the competitors racing. If a customer has a spectacular crash we can fix the boat while they are propping up the yacht club bar and have them back in action for the next race. Some boats have come in with fish impaled on the foils.’

Make upgrades easy
As with any machine, there are constant small improvements and performance tweaks. As such, Maguire Boats offer an ongoing programme of upgrade retrofits. ‘Customers can bring their boat in to us, and we will factory-fit the new parts,’ Simon explains. ‘This not only retains the resale value; it also means a customer has a boat that is still at peak performance.’

Keep spares available
Maguire Boats now have their own online shop where items as diverse as a turnbuckle to a complete foiling system can be ordered and quickly despatched from a dedicated on-site store. ‘We manufacture if needed to always have stock available,’ Simon adds. ‘This system not only guarantees the right spares for our own support team at events, but allows customers to have a one-stop shop for genuine Maguire parts.’

Limit the colours
With the strength-to-weight ratio a key element in winning races, Maguire have a policy of limiting the colour range to six shades. ‘There is no official guide to how much an Exocet Moth should weigh,’ Simon says. ‘However, we allow 1kg for the finishing filler, primer top coat and deck grip. We have the boats painted offsite in Awlcraft, a twopack paint that is remarkably tough even when sprayed in very thin layers. The limited palette makes it much easier to colour-match repairs.’

Stay passionate
The final ingredient? ‘While we are always looking at small design advantages each boat has to be as consistently light and as strong as possible,’ Simon concludes. ‘We sail them ourselves, and have direct contact with enthusiastic owners at international events. Our passion for our product never diminishes. The customer feedback and the racing success we’re seeing keep our small team fully focused.’

Click here for more information on PRO-SET »

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No stone unturned

No stone unturned

Visit Advanced

The sea trials of the first Advanced 80 from Italian shipyard Advanced Yachts can only be described as rigorous… three years in and counting

'After the launch in summer 2015 she crossed the Atlantic and won the ARC’s Cruising A category on elapsed time, then cruised in the BVI before coming back to the Med for summer 2016,’ explains Luca Pedol of the A80 stylists Nauta Yachts. Then she sailed across the Atlantic again in 2016 and cruised in Brazil, South Africa, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Thailand. She’s now in the Philippines, where she won the Commodore’s Regatta in April.

Three years in and her sea trials continue. Her itinerary for 2018 is Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. From there she will cross the South Pacific to Chile, then cruise up the Pacific coast to Vancouver, southwest to Hawaii, on to the Marshall Islands and Japan before finally reaching her home port of Hong Kong.

‘Several ocean passages and hard-fought regattas have proved the stiffness and reliability of the construction,’ says Pedol. ‘The yacht is still in mint condition and the owner is completely satisfied.’

The boat behaved beautifully on the trip to Cape Town. With the exception of 30 hours under power, the crew were able to sail all the way – a total of 21,000 miles. During the trip they faced all sorts of weather conditions, including some very tough ones, and the boat was very well balanced and easy to handle, with the crew always feeling extremely safe.

Those tough conditions included three days in the Med in 40kt TWS, gusting 50, and reaching 25kt of boatspeed under triple-reefed main and staysail in 40-45kt on the passage to South Africa. The A80 is without doubt a blue water thoroughbred, so how did her story start?

When Advanced Yachts settled on the concept of a blue water performance cruiser that could eat up the ocean miles at pace as well as in comfort, safety and style, it turned to the formidable ‘A Team’ behind its A66. Jim Pugh of Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design would take care of naval architecture. Interior and exterior styling fell to Mario Pedol and Massimo Gino of Nauta Yachts, and Gurit took charge of the structural engineering.

The process started with styling as the boat’s proportions and volume requirements would dictate the naval architecture. ‘Nauta Yachts of Milan were chosen to develop the concept of the exterior and interior of the yacht,’ says Jim Pugh. ‘The parameters drawn up by Nauta Yachts include the beam and draft, which then determines the displacement given the materials they would use to construct the A80. Around those parameters we developed the naval architecture, hull shape, appendages and sail plan to develop a clean, fast, sea-kindly design.’

‘High performance and high volume were the targets for naval architects Reichel/Pugh in designing the hull,’ explains Pedol. ‘The rudder shape and the fin profile are the result of state-of-theart in-house research to deliver high speed, and to give the helmsman total control of the yacht and easy handling under sail in any weather conditions. Maximum beam comes all the way aft to provide plenty of volume for interior layouts that can adapt to meet all the requirements of Advanced Yachts’ experienced and demanding customers.’

The raised saloon contributes to the Advanced 80’s distinct Nauta signature with the emphasis on combining very light spaces below with a clean and modern external profile above deck. The interior ‘skylights’ are a particularly attractive feature that will no doubt soon be reproduced elsewhere…

Pugh took care to avoid extremes with this design, as he needed to deliver an all-rounder, a hull that would perform well in the full range of conditions any ocean-going boat could expect to experience. The result is an easily driven hull shape with a 3.5m fin and bulb keel and a single composite rudder.

‘With a moderate all-round hull shape, twin rudders are not advantageous,’ Pugh says. ‘Twin rudders are well suited to lightdisplacement Open 60 or Volvo Ocean 65 wide-stern designs with submerged transoms that spend long periods at high heel angles. Even downwind those boats sail high angles so the weather rudder is more often out of the water. On a moderate-displacement clean transom hull shape we don’t want to be dragging a second rudder through the water most of the time, which in fact provides less control, not more. The single rudder does a great job.’

For its part Nauta did what it does best. ‘Our design philosophy is based on clean lines and smooth, uninterrupted flow between interior and exterior,’ says Pedol. ‘The main inspirations that drove Nauta’s work in the A80 design were comfort, elegance and allure combined with functionality and efficiency.’

In keeping with the semi-custom nature of the A80, Nauta worked with the Advanced Yachts design team to offer three interior layouts. ‘The first hull, Apsaras, has the owner’s suite aft,’ he explains. ‘It’s a full-beam cabin with two ensuite bathrooms, a king-sized double island berth and two side sofas or single beds. Two midships twin guest cabins with ensuite bathrooms complete the sleeping quarters. Amidships is the full-beam saloon with a large dining table to port and a huge sofa to starboard – something that has never been seen before on an 80ft performance sailing yacht. The galley is just forward and to port of that, with a crew mess to starboard and crew quarters, two ensuite Pullman cabins, are in the bow. We also developed a simple, innovative system to divide the owner’s suite into two smaller cabins.

‘The second layout has the owner’s suite forward, which features a large walk-in closet. There are two versions of this layout. The first is more traditional, with galley, chart table and two Pullman crew cabins aft. The second shows an American-style open space galley amidships, close to the saloon. Two guest cabins and one Pullman crew cabin are aft. Advanced Yachts also offer every owner further options for customisation, in the choice of timbers, the type of furnishings and fabrics, and other details. Every Advanced Yacht is uniquely special.’

Nauta’s designs always aim to minimise the separation between interior and exterior. ‘The saloon is as close as possible to the cockpit to create a seamless connection between outside and inside. The transparent glass companionway features another glass side section to increase further the feeling of flow between inside and out.’

On deck a sprayhood has been recessed into the coachroof to protect crew in the forward cockpit in wet or rough weather. Otherwise the design works to create living spaces that are defined, but not separated. ‘The very large cockpit features three different social spaces for owner and guests: forward is the wide dining area with two sofas and two extendable tables, there’s a relaxing area close to the sail-handling space and a sunbathing area on the stern, facing aft, equipped with removable chaises longues. This long and wide surface is designed to be on one level, with no large steps, no bulky superstructures, no obstacles to move around, and without affecting the generous volumes of the interior below.’

The skipper has twin wheels positioned well outboard for optimum visibility forwards and elegant low-profile coamings keep out any water on the sidedecks. The powered mainsheet winch is on a centreline pod just aft of the traveller, recessed into the deck. There are powered primaries on the coamings just forward of the wheels, and two powered halyard winches either side of the mast. This keeps lines in the aft cockpit to the bare minimum and creates a relaxing and family-friendly line-free area in the forward cockpit.

She’s driven by a three-spreader fractional rig by Hall Spars with a V-boom for her slab reefing, hydraulically adjusted split backstay and hydraulic vang. The non-overlapping jib has an electric furler recessed below the deck and downwind sails are flown from a sturdy fixed bowsprit that also incorporates the anchor roller.

In delivering the build structural engineers Gurit also needed to avoid extremes. They had to specify a boat that would be both lightweight and stiff enough to offer exciting performance, solid and reliable enough to emerge unscathed from oceanic storms, and offer the high-quality finish, comfortable ride and luxury that owners of the A80 expect.

For the A80’s hull and deck the choice was foam-cored GRP with additional GRP and unidirectional carbon-fibre reinforcement in areas of the highest load and greatest stress. The vacuum-infusion of epoxy resins was carefully controlled by the yard to ensure full impregnation, while keeping down the weight. ‘Hull and deck are built in CNC-machined female moulds, and the result is a very light hull with a perfect surface finish,’ adds Pedol. ‘This process guarantees optimised stiffness for the best performance, strength and durability.’

Now that the blue water credentials of the Advanced 80 have been conclusively proved (and then some), what are the plans? ‘The second build is almost completed and her launch is planned for summer 2018,’ Pedol concludes. ‘We look forward to seeing a big family of Advanced 80s in the water in the next few years, as this is a fantastic project that we loved designing!’.

Click here for more information on Advanced Yachts »

We invite you to read on and find out for yourself why Seahorse is the most highly-rated source in the world for anyone who is serious about their racing.

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