Brought to you by Seahorse magazine, 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

Lars Grael and Samuel Gonzalves Take Lead of 87th Bacardi Cup
Light northerly winds were on the menu today on Biscayne Bay. The Race Committee held the fleet at the dock for an hour to allow the wind to fill. The race got underway on the first start. The northerly wind is fickle and streaky here. It is kind of like Shoots and Ladders. One moment you are looking good, then next not so good. This is especially true right after the start when the fleet is all still very close. Many of these shifts are too short to tack on.

Prior to the start, Rodney and I felt that the current was going to be a factor and we'd be better out to the right side of the course. We started right at the committee boat and tacked immediately onto port to head right. Initially, we looked very strong, but then the wind shifted 15 degrees left. We were lucky to scramble out of the right side and round the first mark in the top 10. Mark Reynolds was leading at the first mark with Jack Jennings close behind. On the first downwind leg, Reynolds was penalized by the jury for kinetics, rule 42. He had to make two complete 360's right there and then. That dropped he and Magnus back to 5th.

As the race progressed, we managed to pass couple of boats and finish 7th. We were battling away with the Grael brothers, Mark and Magnus, Brad Funk and Brian Ledbetter from USA, and Diego Negri from Italy. Lars Grael sailed very well near the top of the second windward leg to move from fourth into second place.

Jack Jennings and Brian Sharpe won the race easily followed by Lars Grael who know leads the series with a 2, 2.

It was a tough race in light conditions.

Tomorrow is forecast to be light again and maybe a bit stronger breeze for Thursday. Friday will be post frontal so we may have 15-18 from the West. -- Paul Cayard

Full results: www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=915

www.bacardicup.com

Rodion Luka Wins The 2014 Budget Marine Match Racing Cup
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten: Capping off a solid day of competition against an international field of match racers hailing from Poland, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and the Caribbean, Rodion Luka from the Ukraine won the 6th edition of the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup today with a 2-1 victory over Russian skipper Eugeny Nikiforov.

A silver medalist in the 49er Class at the 2004 Olympics, Luka was joined by another Ukrainian Olympian, Igor Matvienko, who won gold for his country aboard a 470 in the 1996 Games. Dmitry Potosky rounded out Luka's winning three-man crew, who earned the $5,000 first-place check for their efforts. Nikiforov and his team of Yuri Firsov and Viacheslav Ermolenko took home the $3,000 purse for second place. In the petit final, Poland's Przemyslaw Tarnacki edged Colin Rathbun from the British Virgin Islands by a 2-1 score to secure the $1,000 prize for third.

Luka said he wasn't a trained match racer, but had come to believe he could make a mark in the sport after coaching Team Nika, a Russian boat that competes in the RC 44 class Match Race Circuit.

"Over the last couple of years, I've been to a lot of match-racing events as a coach," he said. "I was looking at it from the outside but I could also see how it worked. Once we had the boathandling down and that isn't a problem, you can begin to play chess, which is what match racing is."

Luka also said the fluky conditions, particularly in the morning hours, played to his strength. "It was tricky and you had to pay attention, but I like such conditions," he said. "I grew up with river sailing. So all these wind shifts of 30 to 40 degrees were okay."

It was a full day of intense match racing for the eight skippers and their crews, sailed aboard identical Jeanneau Sun Fast 20s in tricky wind conditions that built through the day in the turquoise lagoon of Simpson Bay. By virtue of his International Sailing Federation's ranking as the world's 8th best match racer, Tarnacki, from Poland, started the day as top seed. And Tarnacki held on to beat Rathbun, a previous Budget Marine Match Racing Cup winner, for the third podium spot. The remainder of the field consisted of Luc Duponteil, from Guadeloupe, St. Maarten's Frits Bus, Andy Budgen from the U.K. and Gilles Rabaud from France.

www.heinekenregatta.com

Hudson Wight - Ringing The Changes
Hudson Wight As we hurtle towards the start of the new sailing season, a new clothing brand, aimed squarely at inshore and offshore racing and cruising keelboat sailors, is clearly making its mark. Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear was introduced last August during AAM Cowes Week and the brand has been building a loyal following within the sailing fraternity ever since.

Hudson Wight only sells direct and its Affiliate Scheme is at the heart of that business model. It allows Hudson Wight to give 15% of all its sales to its Affiliates, who are typically volunteer-run Clubs and Class Associations, or marine-related organisations and individuals.

"The aim is build a top-level brand with the sport of sailing as a key stakeholder in our success. With that approach we hope our Affiliate Scheme will lead to more people getting out on the water," says Hudson Wight's Managing Director Jamie Scrimgeour.

To introduce the Hudson Wight range to the discerning Scuttlebutt reader and encourage you to try it yourself, we are offering every subscriber the opportunity to use the unique Affiliate Code SCUTTBUTT to get at least 10% off a set of HW1s - Jacket and Salopettes - made with Hudson Wight's own 3-layer OceanVent fabric. Plus you will be eligible to receive a free Sailing Bag, Sailing Gloves and a snazzy Cap.

Not a single order has yet been returned and the customer feedback is really positive. www.hudsonwight.com/testimonials

Click here to secure your SCUTTBUTT order (offer ends 31st March): www.hudsonwight.com/?affiliate=scuttbutt

JMST / RYA Onboard Scheme Winners
Photo by Ian Roman. Click on image to enlarge.

Merricks Trust Ian Walker met the JMST / OnBoard scheme winners from 2013 at the RYA Dinghy Show on Sunday 2nd March and commented, "Coming to the Dinghy Show is an emotional time for me as the last time I was here was with Jonny Merricks, our stand was one of the most popular as being sponsored by Mars, our boat was filled with chocolate to giveaway!

I am very proud to be here today presenting these certificates to all the JMST / OnBoard scheme winners from 2013, along with fellow trustees Rod Carr and Derek Clark.

Over the last sixteen years the JMST has awarded funds to young sailors, some of whom have gone on to achieve great success, such as Dylan Fletcher, now ranked 5th in the World in the 49er class and Stuart Bithell who won a Silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

However, funding is not just awarded to up and coming sailing talent, but also to goes to individuals just starting out and community groups that support youth sailing.

John Merricks did not come from a sailing family and learnt to sail at school. He was a fantastic sailor but he was as well known for his sense of fun as he was for his natural talent. Many people helped John on his way to achieving success and an Olympic Silver medal and Trust set up in his name aims to support youth sailing at a grass roots level hoping to encourage young sailors like yourselves to follow in his footsteps."

www.jmst.org.uk

Luna Rossa Confirms America's Cup Bid
Italian syndicate Luna Rossa has confirmed a major sponsorship deal to contest the next America's Cup while Team Australia are set to make their debut tomorrow.

There was no shortage of behind-the-scenes activity today as cup hopefuls awaited the protocol for the next event, to be held in 2017.

Italian fashion house Prada would again back Luna Rossa with Prada chief executive Patrizio Bertelli reportedly agreeing to contribute €50 million (NZ$82m) to its next challenge.

Bertelli was having his fifth tilt at sport's oldest trophy.

Luna Rossa have already established a home base on the Mediterranean to start training.

For the last cup in San Francisco, they entered a technology-sharing agreement with Team New Zealand and did most of their training in Auckland in an AC72 catamaran designed by the Kiwi syndicate.

www.stuff.co.nz/sport/

Team Australia to Launch AC45 on Thursday
Team Australia, the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup is expected to launch their AC45 on Sydney harbour on Thursday morning.

The team is expected to be sailing later that day and on the weekend.

They are scheduled to sail in a series of tune up races against the America's Cup Defender, Oracle Team USA.

The teams will be sailing in AC45's that are not fitted with foils, in other words, the standard AC45 that was used for the build up to the 34th America's Cup. -- Richard Gladwell in Sail-World.com

www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119805

Barcelona World Race: 300 Days To The Start
The third edition of the Barcelona World Race starts New Year's Eve, 31st December 2014 and will reveal ten duos, or more, on the start line ready to take on the biggest and most arduous challenge in double-handed ocean racing.

Four high caliber teams have already announced their participation, including six co-skippers who are returning to the race again. The teams are the Mare Racing Team with German and French skippers Jorg Riechers and Sebastien Audigane, GAES Centros Auditivos with Spaniards Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin, Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson from Great Britain and Pepe Ribes from Spain and the recently announced Neutrogena Sailing Team with Spaniard Guillermo Altadill and Chilean Jose Munoz, to be joined by another six in the upcoming weeks and months.

A new course will be followed, taking the fleet south of New Zealand this time. Stops will be taxed much more heavily. The Barcelona World Race, a thrilling adventure to take competitive human sporting partnerships to the limit of endurance, has long since set its position as a 'must do' on the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.

An innovative and exciting media programme using all up to the minute platforms will bring the Barcelona World Race to individual race fans and into households around the world, developing and reporting the sporting and human stories hour by hour and day by day. The commercial returns for sponsors and partners on previous editions of the race represent excellent value. And alongside the sporting challenge, the Barcelona World Race will open avenues for important scientific and marine research.

www.barcelonaworldrace.org/en/

18ft Skiffs 2014 Jj Giltinan Championship, Race 3
Click on image for photo gallery.

JJ Giltinan Sydney Harbour: A lack of consistent breeze forced officials to delay the start of Race 3 of the 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship by 45 mins. on Sydney Harbour today.

When the race finally got under way, after one recall, three teams (CST Composites, USA, Haier Appliances UK, and Fisher & Paykel, Aust.) were black flagged, which reduced the fleet to 31 boats.

Despite very light, variable wind, which forced the starter to move the windward mark, then shorten the course by one lap, the finish was a great triumph for the New Zealand team which recorded and 1-2 finish.

Alex Vallings, Chris Kitchen, Joshua McCormack reproduced the form in C-Tech, which saw them take the San Francisco International Challenge late last year as the grabbed a 35s. victory today.

Fellow Kiwi team Yamaha (David McDiarmid, Andrew Archibald, Mark Overington) was a gallant second, just 5s. ahead of Australia's top team Lumix (Jonathan Whitty. Aron Everett, James Hozack).

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) was fourth today and has now taken the regatta lead over defending champion Seve Jarvin's Gotta Love It 7, which could manage only a distant 12th. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

www.18footers.com.au

Live video at 18skiff.com

Open Season In Miami
Reigning 52 Super Series champions Quantum Racing may have had the upper hand in Key West in January when they won the first regatta of the US 52 Super Series but today's official practice race prior to Wednesday's start of the Miami regatta highlighted that this second event may be open for the taking.

Niklas Zennstrom's Ran Racing crew read the light, shifty breezes best off Miami's South Beach Tuesday, on the waters where they secured the 52 World Championship title last year, winning the practice contest with Azzurra a good second.

But Jim Swartz's highly fancied Vesper crew were very much in the mix before they chose to leave the course at the leeward gate, whilst champions Quantum Racing found themselves on the back foot early in the race.

After flying in last night to take the helm of Interlodge, Dean Barker admitted on the dock after the race to feeling slightly rusty, hardly surprising considering the double MedCup championship winning skipper-helm reckons this was his first monohull race in the best part of four years.

"It is hard to turn down an opportunity to do some good racing like this. The racing absolutely is the appeal. I have been following this circuit and how it has been developing and going. I think some of the best sailing we did was in 09 and 10. It was great fun and so it is nice to be back out there and mix it up a little bit."

Winds for the first few days are expected to be light

Racing starts Wednesday with two or three races scheduled, first warning signal at 1230hrs local time.

www.52superseries.com

Denmark Bids For 2018 ISAF Sailing Worlds
Denmark has the pleasure of announcing that it has submitted its bid for the 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Saturday, March 1, 2014 was the deadline day for submissions and Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, is proud to be one of the cities applying to host the greatest sailing championships of them all. The bid committee will present their vision at the ISAF headquarters later this month in Southampton, England on Tuesday, March 25.

Aarhus has proven world-class race conditions and regatta organisation skills, and the competition venue - with the stunning new Aarhus International Sailing Centre to be completed by mid-2016, at its heart - offers ideal logistics in the middle of an exciting, vibrant and easily accessible city.

Aarhus staged the 2008 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, the 2010 505 World Championship, the 2011 A-Cat World Championship and the 2013 49er & 49erFX European Championship.

There is strong public support behind the bid and guaranteed government funding. The public partners - specifically Sport Event Denmark (the Danish Government), the City of Aarhus and the Central Denmark Region - have expressed their full, unconditional and strong financial support for hosting the 2018 ISAF Worlds.

2K Tigers Move To Monaco
Monaco is the arena for the next 2K Tour event this weekend. With three of the top teams coming together for the 2nd time in as many weeks this could be the big decider for the number 1 position in the World Rankings. Spinnaker's Littlejohn and Hebbert, new boys to the tour have swept all before them as they have stormed up the rankings. But close behind Filippo Molinari's Yacht Club Costa Smeralda team boasts huge experience in the tricky waters off Monte Carlo.

But can the Irish led by Fred Cudmore in their Mediterranean debut show the same brilliant form that they did in London? With teams from six countries including Germany, Holland and Monaco all of whom have experienced the conditions and scored well in past events this edition should be amongst the best.

To meet the challenge the Yacht Club has brought in no less than 5 top International Umpires and the best of Race Management teams.

2Kteamracing.com

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 Adrian Morgan: Did not Chay Blyth's round the world fleet have similar rigging screw articulation problems leading to failure some years back? That time the screws had been bound far too tight with tape by enthusiastic crews before the start. Never understood why you see boats with their bottlescrews taped up. Out of sight out of mind is a bad mantra when you are weeks at sea.

With the advent of strong string, you can ditch so much of the shiny stuff. When I see a small boat with a shroud attached to a chainplate, a shackle, bottlescrew, another shackle and a hard eye it makes me want to become a chandler.

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