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

Azzam Gets Rave Reviews From Crew
The new Azzam, a 65-foot carbon racing yacht with which Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) will contest the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15, has sailed for the first time with the crew, led by British double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, in sea trials off England's south coast.

Backed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the Volvo Ocean 65, whose name means "determination" in Arabic, was launched at the Williams Shipping facility in Southampton Docks after being transferred by barge from builders Green Marine in Hythe.

Before sailing, Azzam underwent a mandatory safety test on the complex hydraulic system that controls her 4.7-metre long canting keel. The test required Azzam to be hauled over by her mast to an angle of about 45 degrees before the hydraulic pumps lifted the keel and its 3,500-kilogram lead bulb clear of the water.

Having passed the pull-down test, Azzam was put through a day of careful sail testing in the confines of the Solent Straits before the experienced international crew were satisfied enough to embark on two days of more rigorous sailing in open water.

Abu Dhabi navigator Simon Fisher, who spent much of the first day's sailing studying Azzam's performance data, said he was impressed by the initial numbers.

"We were doing over 20 knots in around 15 knots of breeze today, and that's without really trying too hard. It's great to get the first sailing time under our belts and it gives me a chance to start gathering valuable data from the boat," Fisher said.

"On first impressions, I would say this new design is quite a bit tippier than the Volvo Open 70s, which contested the last race, and we will have to learn new ways of sailing to get the best out of Azzam by race time," bowman Justin Slattery said.

32nd Biennial San Diego To Puerto Vallarta International Race
San Diego Yacht Club, home of the America's Cup from 1987-1995, host of countless regattas and training ground for world champions and Olympic medalists, is pleased to announce the 32nd edition of the exciting and historic biennial race from San Diego to the Mexican Riviera, known simply as the "PV Race".

Since 1953 - over 60 years - sailors have escaped the grasp of winter to embark on an epic sailing adventure with reliable breeze and competitive racing and worked hard to finish first in the paradise of beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

This year, two of the fastest offshore multihulls in the world, 60 and 70 foot high-performance trimarans will face off - in addition to 21 very fine and very fast monohulls. There is a sure-fire new speed record in the making as long as there is reasonably favorable weather.

The race committee will start the boats off Shelter Island at noon on both Friday, March 14th and Saturday, March 15th with excellent opportunities for spectators to watch the starts from land

Hudson Wight - Daring To Be Different
The team at Hudson Wight has combined its sailing experience with proven fabric technology, design and manufacturing expertise to produce great looking, high-performance sailwear at surprisingly low prices. A simple and effective business model delivers a daringly different solution to your sailing clothing needs. In short, you can now buy offshore specification, kit made with top quality three-layer OceanVent fabric, at prices only ever seen before on inshore and coastal ranges from the better-known brands.

Hudson Wight only sells direct via its website and offers its products through an Affiliate Scheme with Clubs, Class Associations and other marine-related individuals and organisations, hence being able to sell core products at much lower prices than comparable products from other leading brands.

The feedback has been unanimous in its praise of the OceanVent waterproof and breathable fabrics and how quickly any build up of sweat and related condensation dries out via the hydrophilic breathable membrane.

Hudson Wight will be represented at a number of UK regattas this year, some in support of Affiliate Sail 4 Cancer.

Apart from buying the product and wearing it yourself, the recommendations from sailors now wearing the kit is one of the best ways to get the message across that you can buy top quality performance sailwear at very sensible prices. Read what Delivery Skipper and RYA Yachtmaster Instructor Norrie Forster from Scotland had to say in his forthright appraisal of the HW1s after a testing 5 day delivery trip from Southampton to The Clyde last year.

ICRA Nationals 2014 Will See Duel Of Vintage Half-Tonners
In what is being billed as the 'Duel of the Half Tonners' by ICRA organisers for June's National Championships another vintage half-tonner 'The Big Picture' is being optimised for competition. According to ICRA Commodore Norbert Reilly, the Howth campaign plans to take on the Nigel Biggs Sistership MG30, the all conquering ICRA National Champion, Check Mate IV.

Though, currently for sale on, there is also the prosect of a three way half ton battle with Dave Cullen's King One, a boat that has taken its own share of silverware.

Commodore Reilly's own boat, Crazy Horse is at Malahide marina boatyard to sort out damage sustained at last year's Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta Week.

The overall leader of the 2013 event was forced out after a collision with J109 clubmate, Storm. Both boats were doing seven knots at the time of the incident.

His Cruisers Zero crew is preparing for the nationals as part of the Howth YC Team and mounting a bid to win the Club Championship Trophy currently held by Royal Irish YC.

Reilly has hinted that former crew mates David Harte and Led Pritchard (both ex Comanche Raider crew) will join the boat.

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta
Photo by Jeff Brown/SYM. Click on image to enlarge.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands: The Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous continues to go from strength to strength with 20 sailing superyachts signed up for the four day event. Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and Boat International Media (BIM) from 19th to 22nd March in Virgin Gorda, the event is sponsored by the Italian luxury brand Loro Piana and plays host to three days of coastal racing for a fleet of sailing titans.

A diverse fleet will participate with yachts ranging from the 24.6 metre Aiyana, launched in 2010 and racing under the New York Yacht Club burgee, to the 67 metre Hetairos, launched in 2011 and a previous winner of the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta in Virgin Gorda.

Veteran of six Volvo Ocean Race campaigns Bouwe Bekking  will be lending his considerable experience to the 34-metre  high performance cruiser Nilaya while Italian America's Cup pro Francesco De Angelis will be calling tactics aboard the 40 metre J-Class  Rainbow, chartered for the occasion by Mr. Pier Luigi Loro Piana. Launched just last year and a newcomer to the event, the J-Class inspired 27.5-metre Tempus Fugit combines a classic sloop design with the latest technological innovations and boasts British match racing champion Andy Green on tactics.

The event entry list reads like a veritable who's-who of superyacht design and construction with boats from top international shipyards including Fitzroy, Nautor's Swan, Perini, Royal Huisman and Southern Wind, and design by the cream of modern naval architecture: Dubois, Dykstra, Frers, Hoek, Holland and Pugh, to name but a few. -- Jill Campbell

Information on Tempus Fugit:

Making The Difference
Ed Gorman talks to Mike Sanderson, Jules Salter and Ian Walker as he attempts to identify what it will take to win the first ever one-design grand prix race around the world

A new edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is always a mouthwatering prospect and this year's race is no exception, not least because the strict one-design boat and sail rule - brought in largely to reduce costs in time of recession - levels the playing field.

Although pro sailors and designers love to express themselves in a development class - which was always the stock in trade of the Volvo Ocean Race and the Whitbread before it - the one-design rule has one hugely attractive element: there should be no place to hide for the sailors, skippers and navigators. If the boats are as equal as both Volvo and builders Green Marine say they are - and they are very confident about this - then we are in for an exciting show.

In Formula One it has long been the dream of paddock watchers to put the superstars and also-rans of world motor racing in identical machinery and see who really is the fastest. Many believe it possible that some of the quickest racing drivers spent their best years in the middle or the back of the grid for want of the right break or sufficient financial backing.

So in the Volvo Ocean Race context what is going to make the difference in identical machinery, assuming none of the crews resort to dirty tricks? What will be the key parameters governing performance and who comes out on top? You can tick off most of the key categories quickly enough.

Full article in Seahorse:

Industry News
Hodgdon Yachts has announced thull1he successful infusion of a 30.5m (100ft) carbon fibre hull mould. The mould to be used for a pre-preg carbon hull is one of the largest single hull infusions ever done in the USA and one of a handful of this scale worldwide.

The success of large infused composite parts such as this are increasingly giving designers worldwide the confidence to specify advanced composites over other materials given their many advantages. "We are pleased to be one of a handful of shipyards in the world capable of executing projects like this, and to be a leader in this technology in the USA", Hodgdon adds.


Europe's biggest brokerage event, the Ancasta Easter Collection, will take place between 12-21 April at various Ancasta locations on the south coast of England.

There will be a number of inducements for buyers of boats sold during the event, including reimbursed survey and lift costs, half-price berthing fees for a year, 12 month's free Sea Start, free relaunch and a holiday on the first month's mortgage payment included in a deal*. Entry is free.

The following locations will host the Easter Collection:

Port Hamble
Port Solent


The Cowes-based performance sailwear brand, Hudson Wight, is delighted to announce its Title Sponsorship of 23 year-old solo offshore sailor Lizzy Foreman (aka LizzyRacing) and her 2015 Mini Transat campaign, with immediate effect.

Lizzy, from Worcester Park in Surrey, is a qualified Speech & Language Therapist who has been sailing since the age of three, taking to racing in her teens and progressing through the ranks of various dinghy classes.

At the age of 18 she started learning the ropes on board ocean-going yachts and decided her eventual objective is to compete in the solo round-the-world Vendee Globe yacht race. Lizzy's selection for the British Keelboat Academy (BKA) in 2010 marked the start of that journey.

In 2011 Lizzy was the only female nominated for the Artemis Offshore Academy Squad, training in the Figaro and Mini 6.50 classes. She was with the Artemis Academy throughout 2012-2013 and also completed the internship with OC Sport, focusing on campaign management and logistics. This experience enabled her to kick-start her own campaign.

Before a skipper can line up on the start line of the Transat, a 1,000 nm solo and unassisted passage must be completed in either the Atlantic or Mediterranean. Lizzy aims to complete the Atlantic loop in May 2014, sailing between Ile de Re, the Rochebonne Plateau and the Conninbeg buoy off Ireland, this loop will take between 10-12 days to complete.


Selden Mast AB has appointed Marine Works in Gdansk as its distributor in Poland.

Founded in 2005, Marine Works supplies OEMs, commercial vessels and aftermarket retailers with technical products of leading brands. The Selden line of products will be handled through its new division for sailboat hardware managed by Dorota Dajkowska and Maciej Makula.

Selden Mast is a Swedish producer of aluminium and carbon spars. The company supplies its products to major yacht and dinghy OEMs throughout the world.


METS organiser Amsterdam RAI has launched a new lead generator designed to help exhibitors at this year's show increase their Return on Investment (ROI).

METS, the Marine Equipment Trade Show, runs from November 18-20, 2014 at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam.

The new Visit Connect lead generation software will be available for a wide range of devices, including tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktop applications.

The app is available in Google Play and the App Store, and can be used to scan barcodes on visitor badges to follow up the business contact. Both the app and the software are accessible with a login code.

Exhibitors are offered one license (login) for one device free of charge and can buy extra licences for just €29.

One of the key functionalities of Visit Connect is the ability to gather contact details of sales leads and prospects by scanning a barcode or entering information via an iPhone or Android app. During the subsequent sales analysis stage, the leads can be correlated in a wide variety of ways related to targets and timing.

Additional coded pieces of information known as 'qualifiers' can be linked to the sales leads after scanning and notes can be added to individual leads.

Leads can be viewed online anytime via the dedicated Visit Connect portal, from where they can also be downloaded in Excel format.


The JEC European Composites show is currently being held in Paris until Thursday evening, where the wingsail foiling catamaran, Groupama C, is being showcased next to the Multiplast-Decision booth (stand A66). Not only did this boat effortlessly win the World C-Class Catamaran Championship, held in Falmouth (UK) last September, but it has also just been honored at the JEC Innovations Awards 2014.

Dominique Dubois, CEO of Multiplast and of the Group Carboman: "This award is recognition for the conviction in thin ply technology held by Multiplast for several years. Thanks to the Groupama Design Team's hard work and the audacity of Franck Cammas and Louis Viat, the mechanical properties and lightness product were able to reveal all their potential for the Little America's Cup."

The final race of the World C-Class Championships has been run against Team Hydros, also made out of TPT, by Decision SA (hulls, mast and wing), company of the Groupe Carboman.

Vale John Percival
Captain John Percival, founder and principal of John Percival Marine Associates (JPMA)/Hoylake Sailing School (HSS), passed away over the weekend. He was 68 and had been suffering from cancer for the past six years.

John was a leading player in the leisure boating and yachting education market and also the small commercial craft business through the formation of JPMA and HSS in 1996. This followed several years in the merchant navy and international freight industry as well as a period as a personnel officer with Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

With the formation of HSS, John started teaching recreational sailors and boaters and soon after this he was asked to deliver commercial training to the small craft industry. Since then JPMA/HSS Ltd has developed into one of the largest small craft training establishments in the UK, delivering courses to the leisure, superyacht, workboat, port and merchant sectors.

John was a member of many boards and committees within these sectors, such was his dedication to the development of UK industry and the welfare and appropriate training of on-board crew.

A commemorative service is being held at St Hildeburgh's Church, Hoylake on March 21st at 15:00. In lieu of flowers, John's family request donations to either Hoylake RNLI Crew Fund, or Cheshire & Wirral Partnership Charitable Fund - Palliative Care Team. Donations can be made by cheque to Co-Operative Funeral Care, Hoylake.

Letters To The Editor -
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* From Malcolm McKeag: Those of us who are veterans of Kenwood Cup known that Hawaii is a great place to be and to go yacht racing - at least it is during the first three weeks of August. The sight of AC75s (or whatever they are going to be) foiling at 30 knots down those big Waikiki Rollers will be something not to miss - especially if they bring them close inshore, so's folks can see them.

Then again, no doubt there were many who said to young Larry Ellison 'way back in 1977: "a Relational Database Management System? Who the heck will want to buy one of those?"

* From Jock Wishart: (re: the bike on a boat grinder system): I suggest Yann talks to Pelle Pettersen who used such a pedalling system to power the primary winches (all be it lying down) for one of the early 12 metre "Sverige" in the Americas Cup  during the seventies.

Featured Brokerage
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For sale by Bernard Galley:

See the collection at

The Last Word
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. -- Dr. Seuss

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