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

Riding The Rodeo Bull
Mallorca, Spain: French Nacra 17 World Champion Billy Besson described racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca - Trofeo Princesa Sofia like riding a rodeo bull as 20-25 knots meant the limits of sailors' were tested.

Southerly breeze whipping up wild winds and five metre swells pushed the nine fleets that got out racing to the max.

Fleets in the 2.4mR, 49er, 49erFX, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial, Nacra 17 and Men's and Women's RS:X got out racing with only the 470 fleets unable to hit the race course.

Racing resumes on 4 April 2014 as the Medal Race places are decided all of the Olympic events.

Full results:

Top three by class:

1. Helena Lucas, GBR
2. Megan Pascoe, GBR
3. Bjornar Erikstad, NOR

Men 470
1. Mathew Belcher / William Ryan, AUS
2. Sime Fantelaa / Igor Marenic, CRO
3. Lucas Calabrese / Juan de la Fuente, ARG

Women 470
1. Camille Lecointre / Helene Defrance, FRA
2. Hannnah Mills / Saskia Clark, GBR
3. Jo Aleh / Polly Powrie, NZL

1. Peter Burling / Blaire Tuke, NZL
2. Jonas Warrer / Peter Lang, DEN
3. Nico Delle-Karth / Nikolaus Resch, AUT

1. Marine Soffiatti Grael / Kahena Kunze, BRA
2. Ida Marie Baad Nielsen / Marie Thusgaard Olsen, DEN
3. Charlotte Dobson / Sophie Ainsworth, GBR

1. Giles Scott, GBR
2. Thomas Le Breton, FRA
3. Jonathan Lobert, FRA

1. Robert Scheidt, BRA
2. Tom Burton, AUS
3. Philipp Buhl, GER

Laser Radial
1. Marit Bouwmeester, NED
2. Tuula Tenkanen, FIN
3. Evi Van Acker, BEL

Nacra 17
1. Billy Besson / Marie Riou, FRA
2. Franck Cammas / Sophie de Turckheim, FRA
3. Darren Bundock / Ninna Curtis, AUS

RS:X Men
1. Byron Kokalanis, GRE
2. Pierre le Coq, FRA
3. Julien Bontemps, FRA

RS:X Women
1. Charline Picon, FRA
2. Peina Chen, CHN
3. Bryony Shaw, GBR

SYRF Meets $100k Challenge Grant
Newport, Rhode Island: The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) is pleased to announce that over the past year, and after a Fundraising event held in San Diego on February 8th, that $100,000 in donations have been received to support its mission to provide the science to understand the performance of sailing yachts through research and education.

This milestone has in turn prompted SYRF's receipt of another $100,000 in funds, thanks to a generous challenge grant established by an anonymous donor to SYRF.

"This is an outstanding achievement, we are extremely grateful to all our donors and supporters," said Steve Benjamin, Chairman of the Board for SYRF. "The generosity everyone has shown helps illustrate the importance SYRF has to everyone who has an interest in learning more about performance sailing. In the long run this will benefit everyone in the sport: sailors, designers, builders, race managers, even media and spectators as we better understand boats as they become faster, safer, and more competitive."

Over the past month SYRF has already been busy putting these funds to work: data is being generated in SYRF's Wide Light Boat Project, a study that will characterize the performance of modern planing yachts; the new structure of a new online Data Library to archive past research results is being designed now; Technical Director Myles Cornwell has given a presentation on SYRF to the International Technical Committee meeting of the ORC in Delft; and preparations are underway for the second HPR regatta of the season starting in two weeks at Charleston Race Week.

These activities follow presentations made on SYRF-related topics at the Fundraiser in February, which are available on the SYRF website in PDF format.

Henri Lloyd Elite Offshore- Best Ever Wearer Comfort
Henri Lloyd Henri Lloyd launched the new ELITE OFFSHORE range of foul weather sailing gear in November 2013, using new fabrics and new technologies to bring you the lightest most breathable sailing garments ever.

"Best-Ever" wearer comfort and performance are the driving forces behind the conception of the New Elite. By significantly reducing weight without compromising the durability of waterproofness the wearer enjoys a host of tangible benefits. Movement is less restricted (a benefit further enhanced by Slide-Glide Technology) and so by definition the wearer becomes less fatigued and mobility across the deck is improved.

The Lightest, Most Breathable Offshore Gear Ever, Without Compromise:

Masters Of The Sea: Pepe Ribes
He's one of Spain's most celebrated and experienced sailors. He's competed in four Volvo Ocean Races around the world and has twice been part of teams challenging for the pinnacle event in inshore racing: The America's Cup. But since 2009, Pepe Ribes has focussed his immense talent on the IMOCA class and the Ocean Masters World Championship. After a fourth place in the 2010-11 Barcelona World Race, Ribes has now joined forces with Alex Thomson to co-skipper Hugo Boss in the New York-Barcelona and Barcelona World Race.

"Alex has really long experience in the IMOCA class and has got good results," explains Ribes of his latest move. "My background is in very competitive sailing, so for me it is important to be in a team where we can guarantee to be at the front of the fleet and win the Barcelona World Race."

Coming from Benissa, just north of Alicante, Ribes started sailing at his local yacht club aged seven in Optimists and quickly grew into racing dinghies at the club. On leaving school he joined the Spanish navy and was an active part of their sailing program. This often involved crewing for King Juan Carlos of Spain aboard one of the Spanish monarch's series of Bribon racing yachts.

His reputation as a top bowman on the Spanish circuit, including his role with the Bravo EspaƱa Spanish challenge for the 2000 America's Cup, resulted in Ribes' first major engagement in offshore racing when New Zealand sailing legend Grant Dalton signed him to sail aboard Amer Sport One in the 2001-2 Volvo Ocean Race. He has since been integral to three Spanish Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, culminating in Telefonica, that led most of the 2011-12 race only to be narrowly beaten by the French Groupama team.

Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series
Photo by Iain Mcluckie, Click on image for photo gallery.

Warsash The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series reached the midpoint on Sunday 30th March 2014. Following last week's heavy conditions, again there was a change back to bright sunshine accompanied by a light south-easterly.

Halfway through the Series, many of the class results are close. In IRC1, Jitterbug holds a one point lead over J-Dream. In IRC4 first to third places are separated by two points with Stan the Boat (Sigma 33 - Toby Gorman) ahead of Menace (Keltic 25 - Tim Rees) and Scarlet Jester (SJ320 - Jamie Muir). The Ramsgate-based First 35 Stiletto currently tops IRC3 whilst Salvo (JND35 - Peter Morton) has established a good lead over Puma Logic in IRC2 by counting two wins and a second place. In the J/109 one-design class Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths) and Offbeat (David Mcleman) battle for honours. Sportsboats in White Group have completed nine races. In the J/70s Joyride (Ian Wilson) leads Joseph's Coat (Marie-Claude Heys) by two points. The J/80s have a 12-strong entry where Betty (Jon Powell) has gained a one point lead over Aqua-J (Patrick Liardet).

With so many class leaders close on points, there is everything to play for going into the second half of the Series next Sunday 6th April.

Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series
Provisional Class Winners Day 3 - 30th March 2014
IRC1: Local Letterbox Zero II-Dream (James Gair - Mills 39)
IRC2: Tarka (Guy Prest - Beneteau First 40)
IRC3: Malice (Mike Moxley - HOD35)
IRC4: Scarlet Jester (Jamie Muir - SJ320)
J/109: Offbeat (David Mcleman)
J/70: Races 1 and 3 Jugador (Jack Davies), Race 2 Justnow (Paul Molesworth)
J/80: Race 1 J Out of the Box (Yannig Loyer) Races 2 and 3 Aqua-J (Patrick Liardet)
SB20: Races 1, 2 and 3 Crewsaver Racing (Greg O'Brien)

New Handicap For Cruising Yachts
Cruising yachts in Chichester are being given a new racing handicap. The measurement handicap fleet of Chichester Cruiser Racing Club will race under the Velocity Prediction Rating System (VPRS). Proven through comprehensive testing on the racetrack, the VPRS rating calculator requires only a straightforward set of dimensions to generate a rigorous, realistic and practical assessment of sailing performance. VPRS delivers race results which are a fair and reliable reflection of a yacht's performance on the water.

"The number of boats in our fleet with measurement handicaps has been declining", says CCRC Commodore David Perrin, "because members felt that they were not getting the best value from the established rating systems for our style of racing. VPRS gives us realistic time corrected finishes for a fraction of the cost".

Racing under VPRS will prove attractive to many cruiser-racers who are keen to race on a level platform against like-minded yachtsmen in a diverse variety of boats. Chichester Cruiser Racing Club is looking forward to extending a warm welcome to many new members this season.

David Thomas Regatta
Hamble, Hampshire, UK: Entries of a variety of David Thomas-designed yachts are flowing in steadily for this event being staged in May by the Hamble-based Royal Southern Yacht Club. Several sailors are travelling long distances to attend.

Runar H. Steinsen from Iceland says: "We got in contact with David in 1976 and built two 1/4 tonners of his design. Then several Delta and Horizon models were bought from Hunter Boats. In 1986, David designed us a 26ft boat with three trapezes. We built it [in plywood] and from that developed a 26ft sportsboat! In 1993 we made this in fibreglass and formed the Secret 26 of David's best designs. In 2005 David designed for us a special IRC 31ft racing boat called Icecube that can do 20 knots.

"David has been made an honorary member of the Icelandic Sailing Association. If he is being honoured at the Royal Southern, we should be there because nobody has done more for Icelandic sailing than David."

David Thomas' friends and fans who no longer own DT-designed yachts can still book in for the Celebration Dinner on Saturday 10th May. How about a Sigma 33 sailors reunion?

The Royal Southern YC, David Thomas and his family hope that many yachts will enter this unique event. Overnight berthing is available on the Club's pontoons or on Harbour Master-designated berths. To register, or if you have any questions please contact Natalie Gray, Sailing Secretary on +44 (0) 23 8045 0302 or email:

A New Twist
Click on image to enlarge.

Southern Spars Southern Spars and Composite Rigging, world leaders in composite spars, rigging and marine components, introduce ECtorque, a revolutionary headstay with pre-designed torque for roller-furling systems on yachts up to 120ft. ECtorque utilises Composite Rigging's industry-leading ECsix carbon rigging in a furling headstay cable, completely replacing the need for a conventional system of headstay and foil. With ECtorque, headsails are hanked onto the stay rather than grooved in a foil.

Among the many benefits ECtorque reduces furling lag to a minimum due to the pre-designed torque, reduces weight and windage aloft by removing the headfoil, and costs as much as 15 per cent less than a conventional foiled system.

ECtorque is also the fastest furling stay in the world, with lag at the head reduced by up to 15 seconds compared with competing furling cables by eliminating at least 12 'start-up' rotations. By dispensing with a traditional foil system, ECtorque is more than 50 per cent lighter than a conventional system with as little as one third of the aerodynamic drag.

CNN'S 'Mainsail' In Sydney For 18ft Skiff Championship
This month on MainSail, CNN host and double Olympic gold medallist, Shirley Robertson, reports from Sydney on the 75th Anniversary JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship.

In their heyday in the 1970s, the Aussie 18s were a major draw not just in Sydney, but on TV around the world, with six-time winner Iain Murray the pin-up boy for the class in the legendary boat 'Color 7'.

Since the 1890s, Sydney Harbour has been home to the 18 footer class. As the harbour has developed, so have the machines: pushing materials, design and sailors to the edge. The boats have always been hard to sail and the class always exciting to watch. It's also produced some of the best sailors to emerge from Australia.

Cowes-Deauville Race Presented By Aveva 23-26 May
Hamble, Hampshire, UK: The late May Bank Holiday sees the 52nd running of the Cowes-Deauville yacht race, presented by AVEVA and coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the twinning of Cowes and Deauville, as well as the start of the famous La Solitaire du Figaro race a few days later.

The Royal Southern YC will be joined for this event by the Deauville Yacht Club, Royal London Yacht Cub, Yacht Club de France and the Junior Offshore Group, racing in IRC and Club Classes, alongside a Cruiser & Motorboat Rally.

To mark these special occasions, the people of Deauville have embarked on a major redevelopment of the harbour area. A very warm welcome and a hectic social programme are planned to entertain the visiting yachtsmen and women, throughout the holiday weekend.

The inner harbour will be cleared of yachts, ready for the Figaro, but will be open for competitors in the Cowes-Deauville Race. For the first time in many years, dredging over the winter means that all boats will be able to moor safely within its sheltered walls, with shower blocks adjacent and the restaurants and shops just a few minutes walk away.

There are a few special features about this year's race which competitors need to bear in mind, as well as getting their entry forms in as soon as possible!

The most critical change is the start time, which this year has been brought forward to 12.00 - 12.30 on Friday 23rd May, rather than in the evening. The reason is that high water times at Deauville mean that the lock gates will be open from around 05.15 to 10.45 (French Summer Time) on Saturday morning 24th May and 12 hours later in the afternoon. Arriving on Saturday morning will allow the Race organisers to hold the prize giving on Saturday evening, with the Mayor hosting all competitors at a champagne reception. All classes will be racing for a range of prestigious trophies.

The second new feature is the option to send the bigger/faster boats on a longer course, probably around St Marcouf island to the east of the Cherbourg peninsula. -- Peta Stuart-Hunt or contact Natalie Gray, Sailing Secretary: for further details.

Cook's Secret Voyage
At the time, Cook's now famous voyage of 1768 appeared to be prompted by the Royal Society.

Funded by King George III, its purpose was firstly to witness the 1769 Transit of Venus in Tahiti, and secondly to chart the vast unknown tracts of the South Pacific. The ship to be used was a flat-bottomed 106-footer called Endeavour and its company of 73 sailors and 12 Royal Marines was supplemented by cartographers, astronomers, botanists and naturalists and led by Lieutenant James Cook.

However, once the Pacific observations of Venus had been carried out, Cook opened a sealed order for the second phase of his mission - only to discover that the first phase (celestial observations on a small and inconspicuous ship like Endeavour) had merely been a cover to enable Britain to discover the fabled Southern Continent of Terra Australis and claim its riches before any of its European rivals.

He pushed on and after landing in New Zealand and charting its coastline, he moved west, past Tasmania, and in so doing, became the first European to encounter the southeastern corner of the Australian continent. He spent more than four months charting the entire east coast - and while British colonial rule would eventually prove disastrous for the Aboriginals, the continent's discovery was a huge boon for Britain, who had recently lost control of the American colonies. Cook would eventually die on another Pacific expedition but not before his enlightened form of exploration had charted thousands of miles of fresh coastline, solved a great many mysteries and (with remarkably few deaths on his missions) provided a working model for a mariner's good health during long spells at sea.

From "Sailing Survivors: Five Extraordinary Ocean Voyages" by Alex Smith in

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The Last Word
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. -- Harry S. Truman

Back on Tuesday
Your humble narrator will be travelling Sunday and Monday, Eurobutt returns on Tuesday...

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