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Thread: 2018 PAC52 Season Gets Underway at SDYC’s Yachting Cup.

  1. #1
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    2018 PAC52 Season Gets Underway at SDYC’s Yachting Cup.

    2018 PAC52 Season Gets Underway at SDYC’s Yachting Cup.
    San Diego, California
    April 30, 2018

    The 2nd season of the PAC52 Class will commence on Friday May 4th off the coast of San Diego, with 3 days of racing to begin the 5 event championship series. Joining with the “Core Four”, 2017 Season Champion Tom Holthus’s BADPAK, Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO, Victor Wild’s FOX and Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand for this regatta will be Austin & Gwen Frogmen’s Newport R.I. based Interlodge.

    The 5 regatta PAC52 Season will work its way north through the spring with stops in Marina Del Rey for Cal Race Week, June 1-3, and Long Beach Race Week June 22-24. After a short mid-summer break the action will shift north to San Francisco for the Big Boat Series Sept 13-16 and the finale PAC52 Cup Sept 28-30.

    Changes are well part of any growing fleet and the PAC 52 Class is no exception. To wit, Tony Langley’s Gladiator, which had recently joined forces with Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR, is now back to just Gladiator Sailing Team after the bombshell announcement last week that Ben had dropped Land Rover for INEOS and a generous cash investment. As it sits now, the Gladiator team which had been practicing in San Diego, will join the fun in San Francisco after engaging in some Super Series events prior.

    A new edition, David Team’s Vesper, which had proven themselves to be stiff competition during the SD Noods back in February will rejoin the fleet at Cal Race Week. Another, another unnamed 52’ with America’s Cup ambitions, is expected for the final 2 events in SF. Gone, for now is Karl Kwock’s Beau Geste, which is headed to Cascais For the TP 52 World Championship, yet many of her crew will remain. After dominating the 2017 PAC52 Cup in San Francisco last year, Gavin Brady and company will rejoin Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand for the entirety of the 2018 season.
    Playing Q&A with some of the fleets owners or boat captains, we gain some perspective on recent activity and what to expect in 2018”

    Frank Slootman,Owner Invisible Hand:
    Q: 2017 had a variety of successes and not so much results for Invisible Hand, what do you feel were your strengths and weaknesses, crew wise and what have you changed to address them?

    FS: “We have a bunch of people who sailed with us last year, but also some new faces. Last year was the first year of course, we had our challenges with crew work, but we hope to do better in 2018 on that score. We do have Gavin on the boat for all class regattas this year so that’s a welcome difference from last year.”

    Q: You and some of the core team sailed a bit in the C&C30’ Midwinters in Miami, your take away from those regattas?

    FS: “We sailed one C&C30 one design regatta and one Etchells regatta in South Florida earlier this year. The C&C30 is a very good training platform we feel for the Pac52, and that is why have that boat, the Etchells of course not as much. But we did it for he experience, something different having 55 boats on the line instead of 5! We missed out on the San Diego Midwinters because of our snafu at the top of the mast but we feel we are well past that now.”

    Q: Invisible Hand has remained in SoCal over the winter where David Brookes (Brookie) has worked some of his magic to get boat up to snuff, can you elate on some of his projects?

    FS: “The boat will only sail in inshore mode this year so that makes things easier for Brookie, not having to keep the boat bimodal this year. He obviously was very busy putting the boat back together after our mast head kit failure in February. We sailed a long training weekend in April to try and make up for lost time.”

    Q: Plenty of Offshore in 2017, but we are told 2018 will not include much in that regard, can you advise as to season plans and focus for 2018?

    FS: “We are sailing the full schedule of class regattas this year in the Pac52, no handicap racing.”

    Q: You got to do a bit of 1 on 1 training against Ben Ainslie (Land Rover BAR) earlier in San Diego. Anything stand out in that regards to that experience?

    FS: “That was helpful practice, we were holding our own with them but we were not fully up to speed yet in terms of crew and sail development. Nothing is ever standing still, I am sure they are more together now than they were back in February as well. It is exciting that the class gets to sail against world class competition.”

    Kristopher Mathews, Boat Captain Interlodge:

    Welcome to the PAC 52 Class and the West Coast! For those of us not quite caught up with the Interlodge program, can you please give us some background on:
    The Crew?

    KM: “The team for the PAC Season includes some regulars of the Interlodge. Rod Dawson (Main), Kris Matthews (Pit), Geoff Ewenson (Runners), Bill Lynn (Strategy), Dave Armitage (Trim). New this season to the team is Morgan Larson on tactics for events 2-5. Rod Dawson will do tactics for event 1, with Richard Bouzaid doing the main. We have some amateurs who have sailed in the past with Interlodge joining us this season as well.”

    Q:Time spent doing Super Series?

    KM: “We have competed in the Super Series on/off since 2013. Spending some season staying on the east coast while others doing the med circuit.”

    Q:Other events on East Coast?

    KM: "This is Interlodge 6, the previous boats have all be campaigned in East coast, Caribbean, Europe, Ireland, and the UK. Interlodge 1 was a Swan 42, 2/3 were TP52’s. Interlodge 4 is custom Botin 44 we built in 2015 and race in addition to Interlodge 6."

    Q:The boat? The former Bronosec?

    KM:”2015 Botin partners and built by King Marine? Yes. This is our 4th Botin Partners boat.”

    Q:What enticed you to come join the PAC 52 class?

    KM: “Looking to race in a new venue, schedule aligned well with other racing we have planned for 2018. Excited to try the west coast.”

    Q:Other events outside the PAC 52 Class on schedule?

    KM: ”Nothing with Interlodge 6, the Botin 44 will race on the east coast this season as well."

    Keiran Searle, Sailing Team Manager, FOX:

    Q: Anticipation of a new season is always s great sensation, How are things in Camp FOX for the 2018 Season?

    KS “Things in team FOX are progressing well, it has been a long off-season and we are all excited for Yachting Cup. Our mantra of keeping it simple and working hard stands true. FOX has taken a different path for 2018. The role of Boat Captain to Andrew Coates, Sailing Team Manager and Sail program overview by Keiran Searle, ORR Optimization and Sail design by Quantum Sails/ Chris Williams, Victor and Andrea Wild’s passion oversees all.”
    “Splitting the roles was crucial to achieve a lot over a short period, too many people to mention here. It takes a village! After last season, we picked apart the program from top to bottom. Assessing current Sail inventory, boat setup, performance, crew members and responsibilities.”

    Q: Some modifications to the boat have been made over the winter, can you please elaborate?

    KS “The team collaborated with Botin, Southern Spars and Quantum Sails to identify where we could improve. Fox is essentially a 2015 hull, technology has come quite a way since! The box rule was the starting point for the optimization of the boat, we listed the areas we were shy of maximum and began the process of Identifying items which would improve the performance.”
    “We worked with Botin to make sure our underwater appendages were the best available, A new keel fin ordered specifically for Windward/ Leeward racing. The yacht was gutted of any excess hardware not needed. Mast stiffened and Backstay Deflector raised. Most of these upgrades are evolutions of the lessons learnt by Quantum Racing in the 52 Super Series.”
    “Our goal was to get Fox on the starting line in 2018 at minimum displacement in the easiest to sail configuration.”
    “We worked hard on making sure we did not spend time looking for that “Magic Bullet” but rather the ability to sheet on and go repeatedly fast. A easily raced yacht not optimized to any specific conditions or point of sail.”
    We will always be refining the details but in the end, we are setup to make sure it is a race!

    Q: Additionally, some personnel changes have occurred, can you fill us in on the new talent on board?

    KS “Early into the rebuilding process we identified it would be beneficial to partner with another team for the season. Interlodge was an obvious choice as their experience in the 52 accompanied with professionalism and will to win was a match. The role of coach is filled by Steve Erickson, he brings a wealth of 52 experience, attention to detail and a great holistic view. We will be sharing all data, sail information, tuning, coaching and drone footage between the two boats.”
    “When filling the sailing positions onboard Fox we didn't look for “who” we needed but rather “what” the role needed. Owner driver experience, good communication, hunger to perform and attitude were the key criteria. FOX is now a good balance of young and hungry to mature and experienced. Having a good group of young guys onboard is exciting, It shows that the next generation is just around the corner!”

    Q: Any additional training during the offseason?

    KS “From the on the water perspective we started this project quite late in the Winter. FOX used some local events during December to trial new crew. The boat was then decommissioned for refit from December to March. Due to the timeline of the refit we could not make any of the offseason events. Instead we planned 2 practice sessions in San Diego and used these as a chance to start from the basics again. Interlodge joined us for the second session and it was a great start to open book learning.”

    “Everyone out there wants to win, now it is up to us! The PAC52 racing will be tighter than ever.”

    Tom Holthus, Owner BADPAK
    Q: It's been just over 6 months since your team on BadPak claimed the inaugural season championship, what has BadPak been up to in the months since?

    TH: “BadPak has been pretty busy for the off season, if you want to call it that. We did Hot Rum races in November and December and then got the boat in offshore mode for the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta race in March. Once we arrived in Puerto Vallarta we stayed and raced in the Mexorc race in Banderas Bay. It was good short-sleeve, warm water racing for five days. The boat is back in San Diego and getting ready for the first Pac52 Series race, Yachting Cup at SDYC”.

    Q:Any changes in personnel or rigging configurations?

    TH: “We are staying with much of the same crew with just a couple minor tweaks. For example, we are bringing in Andrew Campbell to trim the main. Andrew has a bit of a break since the Americas Cup is over so we feel very fortunate to have him sailing with us.”

    Q: If memory serves, your son Kelly has taken a liking to this program, how is he progressing?

    TH: “Kelly has learned a lot and the guys keep giving him more jobs as he progresses on the boat. There is nothing better than sending an 80 lb. person to the lee side of the boat to do an adjustment than a 200 lb. guy! Unfortunately, Kelly cannot join us for Yachting Cup as he has a school and then a junior regatta this weekend. We hope to have him in June for Cal Cup and Long Beach Race Week.”

    Q: Last year between PAC52 Class events, you managed to squeeze in an epic run to Hawaii, a neck and neck battle with Invisible Hand in the Transpac, any additional offshore events on schedule for 2018?

    TH: “We did the Puerto Vallarta race in March but that is it for major offshore events in 2018. We will do the Cabo race in early 2019 and Transpac next summer. We would love to get Invisible Hand back for those races. Hopefully Frank will do it.”

    Q:This year, in addition to the CORE Four, (BP, FOX, IH & RIO) the class welcomes in Gladiator, Interlodge and Vesper for the season, how are you sussing up the competition?

    TH: “We are keeping pretty much the same crew but the other boats have had major personnel changes. Gavin Brady and his gang on Beau Geste have jumped ship to the Invisible Hand; Fox has a whole new afterguard and crew; and, Manouch continues to make major changes in his crew. We saw Vesper at Midwinters and the boat is fast. I just do not know how Interlodge will stack up until we see her on the water. It is hard to say who will put it all together this year. I know each boat can be very fast so it will be up to the team who can get around the race course with the fewest mistakes who will come out on top.”
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  2. #2
    Sounds like FOX is getting their sh!t together!

    Bummer that LR Bar isn't going to play.

  3. #3
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    The Weather Gods Smile On Opening Day

    San Diego
    May 4 2017

    The 2018 PAC 52 Class Series opened today at the Yachting Cup Hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club. 3 races were held offshore just south of Point Loma under brilliant sun and very manageable seas. With swell that stayed in the 3-4’ foot range and wind swell in the 1-2 foot range, conditions were much more what you would expect in May compared to the gear busting conditions in 2017.
    Joining the “Core Four”, Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO, Victor Wild’s FOX, Tom Holthus’s BadPak and Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand were Team Interlodge owned by Gwen & Austin Fragomen all the way from Newport Rhode Island.

    Wind conditions ranged from mild to wild, with race one, a double sausage affair, beginning in a pleasant 12-15. Interlodge would claim the right side of the course with the core four going left,it would seem the local knowledge would prevail on the 1st leg with the tight top rounding going IH, RIO, FOX, BP then INT…But Interlodge would show her chops with some downwind speed and pass through the leeward gate in 3rd. They would maintain that position through the race and take 3rd, with The Hand, now loaded with former Beau Geste crew, demonstrating their new found swagger taking the bullet, RIO with Mike Menninger calling tactics in 2nd and very close behind Bad Pak and FOX.

    Race two would see a slight shift and increase in pressure at the start, with the RC stretching the double sausage to 2 miles per leg. As the rounded the weather mark in freshening breeze now in the 18-20 range the order would RIO, BadPak, INT,IH then FOX. However Interlodge and FOX would hit the gas and jump to the lead at the bottom. And would not relent that lead through the next two legs and finish the most exciting race of the day, with all boats hitting near top hull speed, and Interlodge edging out the revamped FOX for their 1st west coast bullet, and Bad Pak just nipping IH at the gate with RIO running sweep.

    The conditions would moderate yet again for race 3, a 5 leg sausage that saw a big shift to the right and winds weakening on the course to the low teens at the start. The projected offshores looked like they would prevail, even though the left side appeared to have better winds. It was a tossup, and even though the RC had reduced course length and moved the weather mark tremendously to the right, the fleet split. “We took a big gamble and it payed off”, said Frank Slootman after the race, “Really, it could have gone either way”. As it happens, The Hand went right very early, with FOX following shortly thereafter, the other 3 taking the left side. FOX seem to find a hole and IH found a lift. The Hand would get a big lead at the weather mark and never look back. RIO, BadPak and Interlodge would round from the left and then stay on the left going down, grabbing what breeze they could in what was now sub 10 knots and fading. Local knowledge seemed to be paying off, as was extra time training in recent weeks for The Hand, which had some insight from local a knowledge sailing guru,not that anyone could have predicted today’s finale.

    Invisible Hand would earn its second bullet of the day, a proud moment especially for Gavin Brady, who had enlisted the talents of his 14 year old daughter Carrington to sail with the Kiwi heavy Hand crew. RIO would follow in 2nd and BadPak 3rd for the last race of the day. But mother nature was not done with her surprises, and after making the 52’s eek out that last leg, she decided to throw the fan onto extra high for the ride back in with winds from the NW barreling off Point Loma in the high 20’s to perhaps 30, just for giggles…
    The 2018 PAC 52 Season Series is just getting started, the boats are more refined, the crews are sailing tighter, additional teams will join along the way, it’s looking to be a great one…

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  4. #4
    Go the Invisible Kiwi!

  5. #5
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    DAY 2 PAC52 SDYC Yachting Cup: All Fiesta, No Siesta

    Nothing says Happy Cinco d’Mayo like close knit racing on the Coronado Roads area off San Diego Bay on 5 PAC52’s under glorious sun with the local Mexican fisherman interrupting the vhf signal with some fine mariachi music and a chorus of “aye-aye-aye-ayes”

    The marine layer had returned to the area overnight and breeze began early in the am from the northwest, blessing the course with 12-15 knots by the 1st gun. The PAC52’s would share the course with a number of other fleets today, notably the low raters of Division A and J-120’s.

    With a clean slate, Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio would start the day in fine fashion, pinching out BadPak at the start and owning the right side of the course. “We liked what we saw on the right and managed to keep the fleet to leeward” Said tactician Mike Menninger. Rio would lead to the top and round still in the lead, on they would not relinquish. “All the boats are sailing really well” indicates Manouch “And our crew is doing a fantastic job, It’s a matter of inches on these legs, one mistake is costly”.

    Rio would maintain their lead throughout the 1st heat, but it got down to the wire on the final stretch of 4leg, 7.8 nm course, as team Interlodge showed impressive downwind speed in breeze, almost stealing the race, just feet from pulling it off and settling for a 2nd. Just aft BadPak and FOX were engaged in their own intensive duel with FOX nearly pulling off their own magic, yet coming up just feet short as well. The 1st race would go RIO, Interlodge, BadPak Fox and Invisible Hand.

    Running into kelp, which has been drifting onto the Far Roads Course in abundance, is also costly. One good grab can rip precious time from your vmg, and all the skippers are acutely aware. Dodging the patches of kelp while maintaining boat speed, and remaining in favorable pockets of wind is keeping the skippers on their toes, no siestas on the helm. And the kelp cutters are getting a great workout.
    Crews are constantly slicing away the unwanted green time killers, as much as every 3-5 minutes. “We recommend flossing between every race” Said Invisible Hand’s Frank Slootman “ It’s just good hygene.”

    The fog had retreated far offshore by the start of Race 2, which began in 8-12 knots. Rio and Fox took the right side of the course while IH, BP & INT went left, and when the fleet reunited at the weather mark in a tight pack, Invisible Hand would round 1st and pull off an impressive jibeset and head for the leftside while the other four boat remained on the right. The Hand would benefit with a sizable lead at the leeward mark, with FOX and INT in a tight duel for second.

    The following uphill leg would see the wind begin to lighten and oscillate. The Hand would stretch their lead out considerably, finding the pockets of wind and avoiding the holes. A threesome of INT, RIO and FOX would follow suit with last year’s season champions, BadPak struggling to keep up. “its unusual weather, something we see in September and October” said Bruce Nelson, Navigator on BadPak.

    “The breeze is usually much more consistent and not so patchy this time of year.” It was almost painful to watch the boat languishing in their own patch of stillness while stablemate were in the right place at the right time. Invisible Hand would take race 2 in an uncontested manner followed by Interlodge, then Rio and Fox, BadPak finally getting in the wind, but too late to compensate.

    By race 3, the wind had lightened further, and the course shortened and shifted to the left by some 30 degrees. And this race would be dramatic. FOX would box out Invisible Hand at the Start and lead the fleet up the course. In a very tight uphill leg FOX, IH, INT, and BP would take the right side, RIO on a flyer on the left. When they reached the weather mark, FOX stalled and was passed inside by IH before pulling off a jibe set and heading towards the beach. The others, heading to the right side. It had appeared FOX was on a mission when they reached the bottom, leading RIO, IH, INT and BP.

    A huge shift forced the RC to move course even further left yet FOX maintained their tender lead and headed back to the gates. It was at the bottom of the course where the wheels came off and the spin halyard wrapped on FOX, forcing them to sail toward Tijuana, to clear. While they finally freed the misbehaving line, Invisible Hand made their move and found the pressure to get to the upwind finish ahead of RIO and FOX then INT and BadPak.

    The day would end with Invisible Hand taking their 4th Bullet and RIO their 1st. Invisible Hand leads the series 13 Points to Rio’s 15 and Interlodge in 3rd with 16.

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  6. #6
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    PAC52’S 2O18 Yachting Cup Finale

    May 7th, 2018

    The final day of the 2018 PAC52 Season Opener brought yet another sun splashed afternoon on the South Course of the Coronado Roads sailing area. The sea state had increased slightly overnight yet the unstable air mass that plagued the prior day had given way to a more predictable NW wind with far fewer holes and much less shifty conditions. Another positive, the kelp patches that plagued the area the last two days had lessened substantially.

    An ominous beginning for team RIO, as they entered the start on port and got boxed out, forcing them to the right side of the course. In 10-12 knots with minimal wind chop & 2-3' swell, the fleet made quick work of the up windward leg. Showing no drop off from prior day, Invisible Hand led the very tight pack, with FOX, Interlodge, RIO & BadPak in close pursuit. The order would remain the same through the downwind leg, and the next 3 legs to be exact, despite various routes employed, only a tad more distance between boats, and slight softening of the sea breeze.

    Entering race two, Invisible Hand needed just one more bullet to clinch the class division in the regatta, a far cry last season, where things just did not go well. On the other end of the spectrum, last season's champions, BadPak was still trying to regain their mojo, and an aggressive maneuver, stuffed IH at the start and looked to get back on track to glory. B

    BadPak would sail a strong weather leg but arrive just behind their nemesis, IH followed by RIO, FOX then Interlodge. A tight downwind leg saw BadPak shift gears and nearly roll IH going downhill. They came up just short as IH arrived at the gates just ahead, with IH headed left and BadPak opting for the right. They would reunite at the weather mark in close proximity again, but the Hand refusing to budge, rounding ahead, with FOX, Interlodge & RIO not far behind. The 2nd downwind leg would see BadPak take an early hitch to the left side of the course, hoping for a clean lane toward the finish, The Hand would soon gybe to cover. In lightening breeze, the two would gallop down the course, but BadPak could not shake IH’s cover, while FOX had made gains by going right longer, slipped in between.

    Invisible Hand would clinch the regatta, along with the race with FOX, BadPak Interlodge & RIO following.

    The wind regained strength for the final race of the day and of the regatta, back into the 10-12 knot range, with a slight chill, and a visit by the replica schooner America, charging in from the left while the J-120’s finished to the right. The Hand would take the pin with FOX and RIO blanketing them. Meanwhile, Interlodge would exit stage right, contradictory too what they had been doing all afternoon. “We noticed better pressure on that side during the final leg of race 2 and decided to give it a shot” explained Austin Fragoman, owner of Interlodge.

    While the “Core Four” worked the left side, INT had the right side all to themselves. A close taking battle between all boats as they closed in on the weather mark, INT coming in from the right, had rights and forced IH and RIO to duck then scampered off while the Core Four battled for rights and a clear lay line, perhaps the tightest, non-parade rounding of the regatta. Int would hold their lead back down the course, exiting the gates to the right with RIO and IH rounding simultaneously and followed shortly thereafter by a simultaneous rounding of BP and FOX. This being a 3-leg finale, it was now Interlodge’s race to lose, but that was not something Austin and crew were planning on. They drove the black back up the course right side, protected their lead and claimed their 2nd bullet of the regatta!

    Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand would end the regatta with 6 bullets and 17 points total, with Gwen & Austin’s Interlodge in 2nd, with 2 bullets and 24 points, and in 3rd, RIO with a single ace and 27 points.

    The 2nd stop of the 2018 PAC52 Season Series shifts up the SoCal Coast with action out of Marina Del Rey and the California Yacht Club for the CAL Race Week, where the fleet will welcome David Team’s Vesper to the fold. The action and fleet continues to grow!

    “This is a terrific fleet, a great group of solid sailors! We would be very keen on seeing more east coast boats and join the PAC 52’s. It’s where the action is in the 52’s.”

    Austin Fragomen
    Owner Interlodge

    “We are finally living up to our potential, the competition is strong in the class and we are clawing for every inch in every race, so it’s not like we are walking it in, it’s tough to get a win. It’s just the 1st regatta of the season, so there is a long way to go”

    Frank Slootman
    Owner Invisible Hand

    “Our Ultimate goal is the points win for the season series, there is no discard, so there is almost two regattas going on out there in one, with the Yachting Cup and the Season Series at the same time. So it’s all about getting better all the time”

    Gavin Brady Boat Captain
    Invisible Hand

    "BadPak had tough regatta. We had new sails ordered but they did not get delivered in time for Yachting Cup. The old ones just could not compete with the new sails that the other boats had. Our starts were late and we made some bad calls on the course. Obviously we need to get to get the boat rumbling again. We will be working on both crew and boat improvements to be ready for next two regattas in June."

    Tom Holthus

    Owner BadPak


    Last edited by Photoboy; 05-08-2018 at 08:45 AM.
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  7. #7
    That looks more like the San Diego weather you might expect, compared to yesterday.

    No other fleets coverage though?

  8. #8
    Things look much more competitive this season.

    Love the drone coverage!

  9. #9
    Still waiting for PD readers day on one of those 52's PB.

  10. #10
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    PAC52 Season Opener hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club
    Recap by Eddie Frank and Gwen King
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