Brought to you by Europe, Scuttlebutt Europe is a digest of sailing news and opinions, regatta results, new boat and gear information and letters from sailors -- with a European emphasis. Contributions welcome, send to

Cape To Rio Race
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Maserati RCYC General Manager, Marcus Reuter, boarded SAS Islandwana last night as they set sail for the fleet to assist yacht Bille. Communications with SAS Islandwana have been constant and accurate and the report from Marcus were "Islandwana crew have been so professional".

The majority of the fleet were still suffering rough sea conditions last night with poor visibility and a lot of rain this morning.

At 9.00 GMT, Soldini and the Maserati continued to lead the fleet 2,810 miles off Rio de Janeiro (total race distance: 3,300 nautical miles), 65 miles ahead of the South African Open 60 Explora in second, and 80 ahead of the third- placed Australian 52' Scarlet Runner.

Maserati is skippered by Giovanni Soldini and manned by a highly experienced, tightknit international crew: Italians Guido Broggi, Corrado Rossignoli and Michele Sighel; German Boris Herrmann; Spaniard Carlos Hernandez; French sailors Jacques Vincent and Gwen Riou; Dane Martin Kirketerp Ibsen; and, for the first time, Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco.

The current race record of the 14th Cape2Rio Yacht Race is held by Zephyrus IV, a 74' American maxi which completed the dash in 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes in 2000, after particularly favourable conditions (a very southerly anticyclone in the South Atlantic) allowed her to take a very direct course.

Cup Challenge To Be A Snip At $80m
It's all about the money. There are suggestions the 35th America's Cup will now be fought out with team budgets of about US$80 million.

The last one required at least US$100m to be competitive and holders Oracle Team USA spent well over $200m and maybe much more.

But what's not clear is how the budgets will be trimmed and how the suggested format of the next America's Cup will lend itself to such a financial "haircut".

Everyone is waiting for OTUSA to release their protocol, the guiding rules covering the timing, location, format, type of boat and other elements. Without that, potential challengers cannot assess their ability to compete and the cost of doing so.

However, OTUSA are now working with the challenger of record - Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club - to nut out the basis for the next protocol.

But here's where it gets a bit murky. The US$80 million budget is, according to some sources, what Ellison has instructed OTUSA chief executive Sir Russell Coutts that he has to work with. That's likely because, over the years and various tilts at the Cup, Ellison must have spent somewhere close to the vicinity of US$1 billion.

If the US$80m restriction is correct, it suggests some kind of budget cap might be on the horizon - as the defender is never deliberately going to allow a challenger to outspend them to win the Cup.

In addition, it is not yet clear just how building a new AC45 (which then has to be transported around the world) and then a new AC65 will help teams come in under the previous US$100m budget standard. -- Paul Lewis

Ramsgate Performance Sailing Suit - The Swiss Army Knife Of Sailing Suits
Marine Pool More than 22 years of experience and expertise are behind every functional garment designed by Marinepool. Cutting edge technology, optimized down to the smallest detail. Developed, tested and chosen by some of the world┬┤s finest sailors and worn on the fastest yachts on the planet like giant trimaran Spindrift2, the MOD70 Oman Air and other leading offshore teams.

Marinepool's new Ramsgate performance sailing suit takes fabric innovations to the next level. Ramsgate is entirely made from Dermizax® NX membrane which is renowned for minimum weight, extreme breathability, highest waterproofness and ultimate elasticity. Indeed, the utilization of this NX membrane in sailing clothing is absolutely unique since the creator of the membranes Toray supplies Marinepool exclusively with fabrics made to the innovative NX formula.

Crucially, important but usually contradicting qualities are incorporated in one product without compromise. Despite ultimate breathability and enormous elasticity of the fabric, Ramsgate is extraordinarily durable and robust and indeed the perfect choice for the demanding conditions of ocean sailing when the going gets tough. 

Ramsgate jacket and trousers are available in two colours: orange and dark grey. Ramsgate convinces with a very dynamic, fashionable and attractive design that simultaneously meets the demands of professional sailing due to intelligent features. These include for instance highly abrasion resistant reinforcement patches on shoulders and sleeves, reflecive patches by 3M, a high offshore collar, an adjustable hood in signal yellow, smart eyelets and loops to fix equipment as well as a separate intelligent YKK zipper system for the integration of an optional fleece into Ramsgate jacket.

The new Ramsgate by Marinepool. Design. Technology. Passion.

Blaze Of Glory At The Oxford Blue
Click on image for photo gallery.

GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series Mike Lyons ghosted to victory in his Blaze singlehander to win the inaugural Oxford Blue, the fourth event to take place in this season's GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series.

For a first-time event, 115 entries was an impressive turnout. No doubt most competitors were fearing a windy outing, hoping for a less breezy gap in the storms that have been battering the UK in recent weeks. Well they got their wish, and then some, as the wind disappeared almost completely. The schedule was for three 40-minute races around a square course on Farmoor Reservoir, but the lack of breeze meant only two races took place.

Even so, the racing was immensely competitive across the huge range of different dinghies entered. There were 8 different classes in the top 10, with duplication only in the Blazes and Scorpions, and there were 19 classes in the top 25. A sign that the Great Lakes handicapping system used in this Series is producing fairer racing than seen in the past.

After the Datchet Flyer in December, this was the second event in the Series to use GPS tracking provided by the SailRacer team, who also co-organised the Oxford Blue with the Farmoor team.

You can watch the tracking back here:

The roadshow of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series moves on to the Bloody Mary, the world's most famous sailing pursuit race. Online entry closes at 11.59pm this Wednesday, 8 January 2014.

Oxford Blue: Top 3
1. Mike Lyons (Burghfield), Blaze
2. Pete Mitchell & Simon Forbes, Scorpion
3. Nick Craig (Frensham Ponds), Devoti D-1

For full results from the Oxford Blue:

Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta
Rob Reynolds DK46 Exile has stormed into IRC contention on day one of the two days of racing in Coffs Harbour as part of the five race Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta. Exile, with a first and a seventh today, has positioned themselves nicely at the top of the leader board with another two races to round out the regatta tomorrow.

Exile, the leading IRC boat after its 2nd place overall in the Pittwater to Coffs race carries the double points plus his results today to end the day on 10 points, four points clear of his Middle Harbour mate Bob Cox and his DK46 Nine Dragons with the Hudson/Murphy/Lockley Farr 45 Pretty Woman on a lone point back in third on 15 points on the overall IRC leader board.

Andrew Byrne's Sydney 38 The Goat took IRC boat of the day honours with a fourth and a first today to move into fourth position on the IRC ladder on 21 points. They are also equal leaders with Exile on 14 points in the PHS division and parallel Australian PHS Championships. Pretty Woman sits in third on 19 points.

So it all comes down to the wire with all divisions still up for grabs to determine the overall winners with two races on the final day of the 2014 Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour regatta. The crews of The Goat and Exile will need to hold their nerve and sail well tomorrow to see if they can be crowned 2014 Australian PHS champion. forecast light 5-10 knot winds from the South East building to 15 knots in the afternoon for the final day of the regatta. Racing is scheduled to start at 1100hrs.

Audi IRC Australian Championship
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC), in conjunction with Audi and Yachting Australia, will be hosting the Audi IRC Australian Championship over Easter (17-20 April 2014). The Championship will comprise both windward leeward style racing and a long and short passage race all held directly off Newcastle.

NCYC welcomes all yachts holding a current IRC certificate and Category 4 Safety Certificate to enter the Championship.

Prior to the Audi IRC Australian Championship there will be feeder yacht races from Pittwater to Newcastle (5 April 2014) and Newcastle to Port Stephens (6 April 2014) as well as the Sail Port Stephens Regatta which will be held 11-16 April 2014 (including the NSW IRC State Championships 11-13 April 2014). Regatta entry includes berthing and a fun and family friendly social programme which is currently being finalised for the event.

With 16 entries already received for the 2014 Audi IRC Australian Championship April 2014 will be a great month of sailing in Newcastle and NCYC is looking forward to conducting a fantastic event. We hope to see you there!

NOR, entry and regatta information is available at

60th Edition Of The London Boat Show Open
London Boat Show There's no time to waste to get your ticket! This year's London Boat Show is shaping up nicely with 63 debut launches (and more in the pipeline).

ALL NEW to the UK is the Spitfire 18 and the Bavaria Cruiser 37 as well as brands making a welcome return including Volvo, Honda and Jeanneau. Plus Sir Ben Ainslie will be at the Show on January 8th with his J.P. Morgan BAR AC 45, which will be there every day.

Passionate about power?

Bowthrusters, dieseljets, Z-drives, hydraulic steering, modular cockpits and resin infused hulls are just some of the powerboating and motoryachting specifications that you can find at the Show. If you are looking to upgrade your boat or make that first time purchase there will be hundreds of new boat models with innovative designs and the latest technologies on display.

And if renovation or restoration is what you have in mind, then the Show has experts in every field of the industry to guide you each step of the way.

Serious about sailing?

Unique learning experiences such as traditional wooden boat building techniques through to choosing the right sail cloth and joining a club.

Cruising yachts, racing dinghies, multihulls and trailer sailors along with specialist advice all in one place, guarantees the Show has something not just for you but for all of your family and sailing friends.

For more information and to buy tickets visit:

Autonomous Vessel Scout Missing At Sea
After breaking an unmanned sailing record and capturing the imagination of audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, Scout the robotic boat has mysteriously vanished.

A team of college students from Tiverton spent nearly three years designing the 12-foot, kayak-shaped vessel before finally launching it last summer from their hometown. They hoped its little motor, solar panels and GPS would deliver it to Spain in several months, making it the first autonomous surface vessel to cross the Atlantic.

An initial attempt in June was short-lived. Scout had to be rescued after just one day when it couldn't overcome strong tides and battery-depleting cloudy skies. A second bid failed when, after six days, a hopelessly meandering Scout had to be rescued once again.

A third try, however, seemed to be going extremely well. After departing Aug. 24, Scout was averaging 25 miles a day and broke the record for distance covered by a robotic surface vessel - 60 miles. Soon, Scout put the Continental Shelf in its wake and was too far out at sea to be rescued if necessary.

Then things went awry.

In November, Scout's navigation and tracking systems failed, and the team of Tiverton sailors and engineering students lost touch with their creation.

As for Scout's whereabouts, some experts predict it might drift to Ireland, Rodriguez said, but it's possible it could land anywhere along Europe's Atlantic Coast. Scout is adorned with information that would allow anyone that finds it to contact the team. It might take months, possibly even years, he said. -- Richard Salit in the Providence Journal

Solo Yachtie, 76, Badly Hurt In Fall
Round-the-world solo yachtsman Stanley Paris has been seriously injured more than 2000km east of Porto Alegre, in Brazil, after falling from his mast.

The 76-year-old former Dunedin man has suspected cracked ribs and an injury to his left arm, but is soldiering on in his attempt to set a record to become the oldest and fastest person to sail solo around the world from Bermuda to Bermuda.

His attempt was nearly in tatters at the weekend, when he tried to repair a sail destroyed by stormy weather in the South Atlantic.

While pulling on pieces of sail stuck in the shrouds, a piece suddenly gave way and Dr Paris fell flat on his back on to a stainless steel dorade

He is now about a third of the way between South America and South Africa, and said he was sailing "conservatively and gently" until such time as he was ready for the full rigour of daily duties again.

"I shall be fine - I just need to take it easy as best I can for now."

Rio Garbage Boats Aim To Clean Olympic Waters
A stout green catamaran plied the polluted waters of Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay Monday alongside the local fishing boats, but instead of grouper and swordfish its catch consisted of plastic bags, soda bottles and a discarded toilet seat.

The catamaran is one of three so-called "eco-boats," floating garbage vessels that are a key part of authorities' pledge to clean up Rio's Guanabara Bay before it and other Rio waterways host events during the 2016 Olympic Games. Critics say the boats do little to address the more pressing question of sewage.

An Associated Press analysis in November of more than a decade's worth of Rio state government tests on waterways across the city showed fecal coliform pollution levels far above those considered safe by Brazilian or U.S. law.

That pollution means nearly all beaches dotting the 148-square-mile (383-square-kilometer) bay have long been abandoned by swimmers, and some health experts warn of risks to athletes who come into contact with the water. Elite sailors have warned that high-speed collisions with floating detritus could damage or even sink sailboats during the Olympics.

Mario Moscatelli, a biologist and outspoken environmentalist, said that the eco-boats are a positive step in the right direction, but are too little, too late.

"This sort of manual collection is great for photos," he said of the boats now gathering trash, "but it doesn't even begin to address the root of the problem."

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Gordon Davies, RAYC Committee Member: Despite my great respect for Malcolm McKeag and the acheivements of the Royal Thames may I remind readers that the Royal Alfred Yacht Club organised an annual race across the Irish Sea from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead every year from 1867 to 1924 (except during the First World War). Other races to Scotland were also organised. In keeping with the Royal Alfred tradition these races were open only to Corinthian (amateur) crew.

It should be remembered that in the 1860s and 1870s the epicentre of British yachting was to be found in the seas from Dublin to the Clyde. In this period around half of the races recorded in the British Isles took place in these waters, with clubs like the Royal Clyde YC, the Royal Ulster and the Royal Alfred running many more races than the Channel and North Sea based clubs. Even as late as 1891 the Clyde club organised 19 races, the Royal Alfred 13, the Royal Northern 11, the Royal Ulster 11 and the Royal Irish 9 races. Meanwhile the Royal Yacht Squadron organised 4 races and the Royal Thames 6, whilst the Royal Albert ran 9 races.

The source for this information is Hal Sisk's book "Dublin Bay: the cradle of yacht racing" published by Peggy Bawn Press in 2012.

* From Martin Black: I fear that Malcolm McKeag note on the first Ocean Race does require correction. On 11 December 1866 three yachts set off to race from Sandy Hook to the Neddles. They were Fleetwing, Henrietta and Vesta. Henrietta finished first, arriving on Christmas Day. There is an excellent account of the race from a guest on board Henrietta to be found in Charles Dicken's weekly journal, All Year Round, 11 December 1869 pages 342-348.


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The Last Word
Memory is the medium of the must-have-been. -- Julian Jaynes

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