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

Fast Downwind Racing
Clipper Race teams continued to fly in perfect downwind conditions towards San Francisco yesterday as the sun shone and 18 to 35 knot winds continued to power the fleet. As a low pressure system builds not too far away however, no one is under any illusion that the favourable conditions are here to stay.

Sean McCarter, skipper of first placed Derry-Londonderry-Doir. commented: "Another big day yesterday, putting away a further 270 miles towards San Francisco. At this rate we'll be there in no time! Unfortunately this wind will only hold for another 36 hours or so then we'll get the changing wind speeds and directions associated with the first of two low pressure systems forecast to go over us in the next week or so."

Fleet tactics are continuing to shape out as teams gybe and select their best easterly course in anticipation of the building weather systems. GREAT Britain is now in Stealth Mode, meaning its position is hidden from the Race Viewer for 24 hours, ending at midnight tonight.

Invest Africa has also activated Stealth Mode, choosing to take its entire 48 hour entitlement for the race. Its position will remain hidden until 18:00 UTC tomorrow. Qingdao will enter Stealth Mode at 12:00 UTC today, also selecting its whole 48 hour invisibility period.

Qingdao's communication systems are back in working order after a lightning bolt struck the boat and temporarily knocked out the navigational PC and instruments. Whilst the GPS will need to be repaired in San Francisco, the yacht is using its hand held back up device. No one was hurt in the incident.

Aarhus Bids for 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Denmark presented its bid for the 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships at the ISAF headquarters in Southampton, England, today, with a vision to expand the sport's horizons and let the stars of sailing shine.

"An ISAF Sailing World Championship is about the sailors," Lars Lundov, CEO of Sport Event Denmark, said. "We see these great Championships as the perfect opportunity for sailing to grow beyond its boundaries and make our sailing stars household names. ISAF shares that vision with us and I think they appreciated our presentation.

The new Aarhus International Sailing Centre, to be completed by mid-2016 as part of a huge harbour development, will add the most modern sailing facilities in the world and ensure the sailors have a home worthy of their talents. With the theatre-style racing in the Bay and its technological expertise Aarhus can deliver the most spectator-friendly World Championships ever.

"Sailing is in the DNA of the Danes, and Denmark is one of the greatest sailing nations in the world," Jonas Hogh-Christensen, one of Denmark's sailing stars and silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympics after his epic battle with Ben Ainslie, said. "The fact that we have won more Olympic medals than any other sport in Denmark tells you what an honour we would consider it to host the Worlds.

Lundov and Hogh-Christensen were part of a five-strong delegation including Jacob Bundsgaard, the mayor of Aarhus and former sailor - underlining the fact that Aarhus is a city of sailors; Hans Natorp, the president of the Danish Sailing Association and Thomas Capitani - CEO of Sailing Aarhus, who will be general manager of the 2018 organising committee.

Marinepool NTS Dinghy Collection
Marine Pool The National Team Series (NTS) convinces with revolutionary design ideas, inventive features, high class materials and outstanding finish right down to the smallest detail.

The National Team Series by Marinepool provides novelties in the area of neoprene but also new dry suits. A great variety of neoprene suits in different thicknesses, rash guards and flex shirts (both short-sleeve and long-sleeve), accessories such as knee pads, removable sleeves, neoprene boots and gloves as well as matching life jackets, hiking pants and trapeze harnesses result in a comprehensive dinghy collection with a benchmark setting quality.

Indeed, dinghy wear for Olympic racing requires highest standards in terms of fabric selection and design. Body climate management is crucial for an athlete┬┤s performance and thus the selection of the right materials and the combinability of styles to suit a wide range of weather conditions and venues like the cold Solent and hot Rio is of utmost importance.

The NTS neoprene suits by Marinepool are made from durable and flexible materials. Strong reinforcements at knees and bottom with extra inside patches ensure high abrasion resistance at stressed parts while elastic flex neoprene at shoulders and along the sides all the way down to the ankles allow great mobility, comfort and a perfect fit. Additionally the collars, cuffs at sleeves and legs of all neoprene suits and drysuits have been designed with a focus on waterproofness.

Besides of the outstanding functionality of the National Team Dinghy Series, the products draw remarkable attention due to their attractive design: the basic colours grey and black are combined with jazzy highlights in neon colours. The result is an aggressive and speedy high performance look.

The new Dinghy Series by Marinepool

Design. Technology. Passion.

Fifth Edition Of Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image
The world's best sailing photographers will be celebrated for the fifth consecutive time in 2014. Yacht Racing photographers from all over the world will once again be invited to attend the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award in 2014.

Started in 2009, this event is the world's premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing, celebrating the very best yacht racing image taken during the year, and which best represents the essence and excitement of the sport.

The 2013 Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image uncovered a new, stunning collection of images sent by 82 professional photographers spanning nineteen countries. More than one million people saw their photographs through social networks, whilst the event website saw the visit of more than 120'000 single visitors.

The 2013 overall winner, Abner Kingman, received the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award and a TAG Heuer regatta chronogaph, whilst UK yacht racing photographer Rick Tomlinson received the Public Award trophy as well as items from event partner Nespresso.

Since its debuts, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award has been awarded to four world class photographers: Thierry Martinez (2010 and 2011), Kurt Arrigo (2012) and Abner Kingman (2013).

Discover the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image promotional video:

Dreamcatcher Wins 2013 ORR East Coast Championship Series
Newport, Rhode Island, USA: The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) announced the winners of the 2013 ORR East Coast Championship Series. Winners of this season receive engraved silver award plates and custom applique brag flags.

First place: Dreamcatcher, a Swan 48 S&S, owned by Stephen Kylander
Second place: Cygnette, a Swan 441, owned by Bill Mayer
Third place: Rambler, a Custom Maxi, owned by George David.

Dreamcatcher and Rambler placed in the top three in the 2012 inaugural East Coast Championship Series.

This is the second year that ORR offered an East Coast Championship Series. The ORR East Coast Series Championship was based on the results of a minimum of 2 of the following races, with each yacht competing in at least one distance race in order to qualify. The races included: Block Island Race, Annapolis Newport Race, Marion Bermuda Race, NYYC Annual Regatta, Marblehead Halifax Ocean Race, and Stamford Vineyard Race. Yachts must hold a valid 2013 ORR certificate.

Etchells Youth Selection Trials Results
After competitive trials involving seven teams racing one design Etchells in the Solent on 15/16 March, three teams of youths aged 18 to 25 have been chosen to race in the 24 boat Cowes Etchells Fleet on fully funded yachts. This is the third year of these trials backed by the RYA and UKSA British Keelboat Academy which has seen over 90 young and talented sailors race on the boats. The winning teams will race in the active Etchells programme, including the local SCRA races, Cowes Week, and Nationals and Europeans in Weymouth in September as an early build up for the Etchells Weymouth Worlds in 2016.

This year's talented sailors who have won through are:

Bryn Phillips, Jack Muldoon, Philippa Hollinghurst and Ashley Goddard. This crew won the five race regatta organised by Race Officer Andrew Millband of the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club. All have sailed dinghies for many years in Spinnaker Lake in the New Forest in Hampshire, England - a hot bed for young sailors coming up the ranks.

Jonty Cook, Joshua Potts, Kate Devereux and Tom Harrison. Jonty Tom and Kate have been British Keelboat Academy members. Jonty is Yachting Captain at Southampton University studying Economics. Josh has raced in the transatlantic ARC, and is an RYA instructor. Kate has many sailing qualifications and medals and has won five consecutive years of team match racing championships in Poole Harbour.

Bradley Mclaughlin, Andrew Lis and Andrew Baker. All members of the British Keelboat Academy. Brad has been on the Isle of Wight's Gifted and Talented Athlete Programme for 3 years and has a wide experience of racing dinghies and yachts. Lis too has a wide experience and is a freelance yacht designer in the Solent area. Baker from Northern Ireland is moving to Cowes. He has represented Ireland in the Laser class and in the Commodore's Cup and is a senior instructor.

The 2014 race programme includes the new Invitational Cup in which 16 different countries will race Etchells in the Solent the week before Cowes Week. Top sailors have entered the regatta including Australian John Bertrand, past Etchells World Champion and 1983 America's Cup Winner. There are 5 other past and present World Champions entering the event set for July 26th-31st 2014 competing for the 140 year old Gertrude Cup presented by the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Round Hainan Regatta: Aloha and Team Wanning Win Race To Haikou
After three fabulous days of racing in Sanya with a strong breeze over 20 knots, Hainan's western coast proved to be a real challenge for both the 8-strong fleet and race management. The weather threw everything at them, including gusts over 25 knots and big waves that tested the crews and their boats and resulted in blown spinnakers and gear failures.

Unfortunately, the initial brisk conditions were then followed by a lull further up the western coast which left the race committee with no option but to shorten the race to the first waypoint, as per the sailing instructions. Failing to do so, would have found the slower Beneteau Oceanis 40's stuck in a wind hole more than 150 miles from the finish line.

In the IRC-A class, the JV52 Microlab took line honours but by only 7 minutes which gave victory in corrected time to Martin Hingst's Aloha. Nevertheless, thanks to her strong performance in the three in-port races in Sanya, where she scored three wins, Microlab maintains her overall lead with three points, against Aloha's four.

In the Beneteau Oceanis 40 division, the Wanning-sponsored team, skippered by Sergey Amelichev, continued its undisputed domination, claiming the offshore race to Haikou by more than an hour over Hainan Daily. Thanks to this victory and the three ones in Sanya, Team Wanning is the overall leader with two points, against six of second-placed Hainan Daily.

While the IRC-A and Beneteau Oceanis 40 fleets were slowly converging to Haikou throughout the night and morning, the IRC-B1's and IRC-B2's embarked on their offshore race to Wanning, where thy are expected to arrive on Tuesday night. -- Pierre Orphanidis

Fireball Pre-Worlds
Pattaya, Thailand: Today's (Day 2) participants in the Fireball Pre-Worlds being hosted by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand had a glorious day on the water with sunshine and 10 knots of breeze from the SW. The tide made life challenging but kept the racing tight through the fleet.

Today the left hand side paid from the start of both races. In the second race, over-standing the first weather mark was the subtle tactic but this time the combination of Batchelor & Pascoe took the fleet round the mark, followed by McFarlane and Payne. Ben Schulz will have been frustrated at having to give both of them room at the mark to round third. Birrell & Brearey moved into third by going high around the top mark and another change at the gybe mark saw Tom Gordon and Jack Fletcher (AUS 15071) take fourth place.

Birrell and Brearey ducked out early and headed for shore, leaving Batchelor and Pascoe to have a comfortable win, followed home by McFarlane & Payne, Gordon and Fletcher, Schulz and Sheppard with the Canadians Jospe and Egli closing out the top five.

Top five after two days of racing:

1. Heather McFarlane & Chris Payne, AUS, 6.0 points
2. Ben Schulz & Doug Sheppard, AUS, 17.0
3. Veronica and Ben Falat, GBR, 23.0
4. Nathan Batchelor & Sam Pascoe, GBR, 26.0
5. Joe Jospe & Tom Egli, CAN, 28.0

Pre-Worlds racing scheduled through March 27. The Worlds racing starts March 30.

The Irish Heart Is Still In Wooden Boats
It's one of the most natural things in the world to feel an affinity for wood, and enjoy working with it. It's right there in our DNA. Back in the mists of time, when early man was emerging from a primitive wandering existence, the ability to make fires and tools and weapons with wood, and even better the ability to create a shelter from wood when no cave was available, could make all the difference between life and death.

Any boat-building project in Ireland will always attract a level of interest way beyond the size of the boats involved if the boat is being built in timber. Don't get me wrong, though. Glassfibre is undoubtedly a wonderful boat-building material which - uniquely - is created as the boat is being built. And I've been using a lot of it in the epoxy version in my own boat's re-configuration project. But while you appreciate its excellence intellectually, there are very few people who respond with favourable emotions to the sticky business of working with it, which is something best done as clinically and cleanly and quickly as possible.

Pure working with wood, on the other hand, is just so comfortable, so reassuring. You can happily linger over it. You never find yourself wondering if this is what nature intends you should be doing. On the contrary, in working with wood, we fulfil a natural imperative. And little wooden boats of traditional shape are a special joy.

Not least of their special joys is that, as we emerge from recession, building a small wooden boat has all the pleasures of traditional boat-building, yet with manageable expense. Thus a classic ten foot clinker dinghy perfectly fits the bill in these straitened times.

But the actual working with wood can be every bit as important as the classic or modern nature of the design, and equally intriguing is the City One project in Limerick. There, people who otherwise mightn't get a chance to build a boat, let alone sail one, are much involved with building modern dinghies to a design by Theo Rye. This is being done in a project under the Ilen umbrella, the Ilen being the Conor O'Brien ketch of 1927 which the Ilen Trust is restoring with trainee shipwrights. -- WM Nixon, Afloat magazine

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 1990 Racing Trimaran ORMA LAKTOA. 280000 Euros. Located in Grenada.

An incredible ex racing trimaran with an unequalled prize list.

Originally built as PIERRE 1er for the legendary French sailor Florence Arthaud , she won the Route du Rhum in 1990, making her the first woman ever to win a major offshore sailing event.

She became LAKOTA in 1993 with her new owner and skipper, US tycoon Steve Fossett, who was 5th over the line in Route du Rhum 1994 despite a limited experience in multihull sailing. He then sailed her in the Transpac 1995 (1st over the line), San Francisco Yokohama 1995, Los Angeles Honolulu 1997 (2nd over the line), 1999 Pineapple Cup 1999 (1st). In total, he broke 12 ocean records with her between 1993 and 2000.

In 2000, she was sold to the Swedish team "Atlant Group". They broke many records. She became successively SONY (2001), PINDAR (2001 - skipper Emma Richards), SONY (2002), NICATOR (Le Cap Rio Race in 2003 : 1st over the line), TIETO ENATOR L'OREAL (2004), LAKOTA (2007) and SJOVILLAN (2008).

In 2011, she was sold to her current owner who enjoyed using her for cruising and fast ocean passages since. Current condition - ready to sail.


Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokerage:

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The Last Word
Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. -- Carl Jung

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