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

RORC Easter Challenge
Blistering sunshine, great visibility and a stiff, consistent breeze - sadly none of this featured on the final day of racing at the RORC Easter Challenge. As a slow moving front passed overhead, the Solent received a relentless deluge with the visibility dropping off enough to make it hard to see the weather mark. Conditions then deteriorated further with the deluge becoming a torrent, many crews turning on their yachts' navigation lights, despite it being lunchtime. Nonetheless, the wind held during the day allowing PRO Stuart Childerley and the RORC race management team to lay on four races in the central/eastern Solent.

In IRC One, Anthony O'Leary's Irish team on the Ker 39, Antix, was the class act posting a 1-2-1-1, to finish 9.5 points ahead of James Gair's Cowes Race School crew on Zero II, the only boat to claim a point off the Irish former Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup winners today.

Finishing in sixth place in IRC One was Ed Broadway's black Ker 40, Hooligan VII.

This is the Hooligan team's second season in their boat, and the crew is currently gunning to get selected for the British team in this summer's Brewin Dolphin Commodore's Cup.

Also scoring three bullets today was Peter Morton's new Salvo, the JND35, raced previously as the French-owned Gaia of Bernard Moureau. However this performance in IRC Two was not enough to topple Simon Henning's Mumm 36, Alice.

A third boat to score three bullets in today's four rainy races was David Franks' former IRC Nationals winning JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer, that ended up claiming IRC Three ahead of Benoit D'Halluin's A-35 Dunkerque Plaisance - Gill Racing Team.

Full results can be found on the RORC website:
www.rorc.org/race-results

Pryde And Joy For Hi Fi
For the second time in four years, Neil Pryde's Welbourne 52 Hi Fi from Hong Kong has won the Rolex China Sea Race, Asia's principal offshore event.

On Saturday morning, Hi Fi became the third boat to complete the 565-nm course from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, The Philippines following a dramatic tussle with a group of yachts, most notably Bryon Ehrhart's TP52 Lucky from the United States. Pryde's crew finished the race in 2 days, 21 hours, 47 minutes, enough on corrected time, with the chasing fleet becalmed, to seal overall victory.

"It was incredibly close racing," enthused Pryde. "To be this close after so many miles is amazing. It was the same all the way down. We were never out of site of the other boats so you could not relax one moment."

With the finishing line in sight, the three crews were all seeking to make the winning tactical decision. "Lucky went around the rocks while we took the inside track. The trade off was whether there was more wind on the inside or outside," admitted Pryde. While Lucky stole the advantage and beat Hi Fi on the water, the two minute margin was insufficient to defeat Pryde's crew on handicap.

Pryde, a Hong Kong resident, first competed in the race in 1968 and this victory represents one of the most significant accomplishments of his illustrious sailing career. "It ranks as one of the more memorable victories we've had and we've won a lot of races," said Pryde. "It means a lot to me, over the past few years I've not done a lot of sailing because I've had some health issues so to go out and still prove we can do it is a big thing for me personally. Yacht racing has been part of my life for sixty odd years. I've never cruised, I've always raced. It's what I do."

Another passionate veteran of the sport, Australian Syd Fischer took line honours with his Maxi Ragamuffin 90 on Friday evening finishing in a time of 57 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds.

By 18:00 local time on Sunday evening, 26 of the 34 competing yachts had completed the race and there had been only one retirement.

www.rhkyc.org.hk/rolexchinasearace.aspx

Henri Lloyd Elite Offshore - Gore-Tex® Technology
Henri Lloyd The Henri Lloyd Elite 3 layer fabric is the result of collaboration with GORE-TEX® - resulting in a lighter yet denser face fabric which optimises weight to strength ratio. The GORE-TEX® membrane remains the same to ensure the same level of waterproofing and breathability, combined with the slide glide inner face which uses Gore™ Micro-Grid technology

The fabric technology is not the end of the story though; Henri Lloyd's innovative design, attention to detail and quality of manufacture are just as important to the end result. Articulated ergonomic design, advanced taping process, design and placement of seams work together as a complete system.

The Lightest, Most Breathable Offshore Gear Ever, Without Compromise:
www.henrilloyd.com/elite/ or Elite product pages

Sprinting In The Trade Winds
Day 12 of the race and the situation is looking good for the nine crews who chose the road south in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale. As expected, the Safran-Guy Cotten duo have found the consistent trade winds since Thursday that could carry them on one tack to the finish line in St Barts in the Caribbean. At 1200hrs (French time) on Friday, Gwenole Gahinet and Paul Meilhat were in 8th place, 195 miles behind the leader, Interface Concept (Le Cam-Mahe).

On Sunday, passing La Palma in the Canaries marked the first turning point of this 12th edition of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale. By choosing to dive south to seek the trade winds - the wind in the intertropical regions blows from east to west in the northern hemisphere and from west to east in the southern hemisphere - those competitors significantly lengthened their route to St Barts and were in slow motion for almost 24 hours. But good things come to those who wait and Gahinet and Meilhat have finally been rewarded. At 1200hrs the crews to the south were making four knots more than their rivals in the north. The gap to the leaders should therefore reduce with every passing hour.

The road to the finish line is still a long one, with 2,100 miles (3,880 km) left to go before they reach the turquoise waters of Gustavia harbour in St Barts. Among the crews in the south, the serious contenders for victory, the battle is just beginning.

transat.ag2rlamondiale.fr

Hyeres
The boat parks at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres were bustling with anticipation as over 1,100 sailors from 61 nations fine-tuned their equipment ahead of racing which starts on Monday 21 April.

ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres will bring the 2013-2014 World Cup series to a close.

Split fleets in the Men's 470, 49er, 49erFX, Laser, Laser Radial, Nacra 17 and Men's RS:X will race a two day qualification series.

Fleets will be divided into gold and silver from Wednesday 23 April to the close of the regatta with only the 49er adding a third bronze fleet.

The Women's 470, Finn and Women's RS:X will sail a standard series whilst the Paralympic events, 2.4mR and Sonar, are scheduled for a ten race series concluding on Friday 25 April.

Racing commences at 11:00 local time on Monday 21 April across ten Olympic and two Paralympic events in Hyeres, France. The Medal Races on Saturday 26 April will bring the regatta to a close.

www.sailing.org/worldcup/home.php

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta
The Hartley 40, "Old Bob". Photo by Tim Wright, www.photoaction.com. Click on image to enlarge.

Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta The third day of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai was an absolute gem. The Cannon Course featured four reaching legs, six miles out and back and the Classics' fleet played out an entertaining procession in heavenly conditions, 20 knots of breeze, bright sunshine with warm water rolling down the decks. It was a day to celebrate the pure joy of racing classic yachts. Only one race is left for the fleet and for many classes the win is going to the wire.

In Vintage Class A, Trygve Bratz's 88' American Marconi Ketch, Sincerity, built in 1927, was the winner today setting up a three-way tie for the class lead. Sincerity, Ticonderoga and Mariella will battle it out for the class win in tomorrow's final encounter. In today's race, Ticonderoga took line honours by just 18 seconds but Sincerity won the race after time correction.

In Vintage Class B, Victor Janovich's magnificent Fife Adventuress won today's race by over four minutes. Mary Rose took second and is the hot favourite to win the class however, a three-way battle for second will be settled tomorrow between Adventuress, Dieter Kruegel's German 1937 Herreschoff, Mistral and the oldest yacht competing at the Classics, Coral of Cowes.

Coral of Cowes was built in 1902 by the White Brothers of Southampton and designed by Fred Shepherd. British Skipper, Richard Oswald has a mixture of family, crew and paying guests on board.

Classic Class D has a new leader, Hartley 40, Old Bob won today's race by just 21 seconds from Richard and Linda Hearn's Spirit 42, Spirit of Callisto.

The Cannon course today produced two new race winners. Philippe Fabre's Carriacou Sloop, Exodus won the Traditional Racing CSA Division and Stuart Simpson's Spirit 76, Nazgul of Fordell was the victor in Spirit of Tradition Racing. -- Louay Habib

www.antiguaclassics.com

* I am assured that JUNO and ELEDA have done spectacularly well on the race course the past couple of days at the Antigua Classics, attached is witness to their georgous factor. Now we all know about the beauty awards (a bit of fluff and fun in amongst the more serious pursuits of the race course) but I noted that ELEDA has also been awarded the ARNE FRISELL award for structural integrity, and safety. That award, to me, means more than any other accolade that could possibly have been won.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Arne Frisell, he was a fabulous skipper back in the day. He lived -- for a time -- in Stonington, Connecticut, and owned the lovely S & S yawl KAY while skippering RING ANDERSON. He was one of the skippers who, along with Mike Beal, made up the cadre of skippers to whom the structural integrity (and safety) of a yacht were equally as important (in fact, far more so) than the beauty. Folks used to say that you could eat off the keel bolts of any boat that either one of them skippered.

Nat Benjamin, designer of JUNO is on board JUNO and Ross and Kirsten Gannon plus the twins Olin and Greta are on ELEDA. -- Virginia Crowell Jones

Last Places Available On Volvo 70 Monster Project For Antigua Sailing Week And Transatlantic Adventure
RORC Caribbean 600 Monster Project Monster Project offers sailors a unique opportunity to experience "Formula 1" sailing on a Volvo Open 70.

After a successful first Caribbean season featuring two Line Honours wins and a new race record, two exciting events remain before we return to the UK.

Season finale: Antigua Sailing Week

Join us for this highlight of the Caribbean season! Spend your days racing on Monster Project with the keel fully canted, huge sails flying and grinding on the pedestals in the sunshine! Then kick up your heels at the Regatta's famous parties or relax on one of Antigua's glorious beaches.

Join us for our 8 day package or tailor your own combination of training and racing days.

- Training: 24-25 April
- Round the Island Race: 26 April
- Antigua Sailing Week: 27 April - 2 May

Transatlantic Adventure

After Antigua Sailing Week comes something many sailors dream of - a voyage across the Atlantic. Our Transatlantic Adventure takes us from the Caribbean to England in two legs. First leg (5 - 29 May): a 2,500 mile journey beginning in Sint Maarten, past Bermuda and ending in the stunning Azores, combining beautiful locations with all the challenges and glory of a long ocean passage.

Second leg (2 - 12 June): a shorter but no less challenging hop from the Azores to Southampton via the infamous Bay of Biscay.

Packages available for either or both legs of this epic voyage!

For more information visit www.volvo70charter.co.uk or email:

Artemis Racing Strengthens Design Team
Artemis Racing announced today that it has signed Vincent Lauriot-Prevost, Simon Watin, Juan Garay and Matthew Davis, who will join the design team as Artemis Racing prepares for a possible 35th America's Cup bid.

Both Vincent Lauriot-Prevost and Simon Watin join from VPLP Design, a world leader in multihull racing and super yacht design founded in 1983. During the 34th America's Cup they were part of the America's Cup Race Management design and research team, established to create an initial design package for the high-tech wing-sailed AC72 catamarans.

Vincent Lauriot-Prevost is a naval architect and co-founder of VPLP Design based in France. During his career Lauriot-Prevost has contributed to some of the most advanced racing prototype projects, including the design of the six last winners of La Route du Rhum, the record holders of the transatlantic (New York - Lizard) and round the world (Jules Verne Trophy) races, as well as BMW ORACLE Racing's trimaran USA 17, winner of the 33rd America's Cup.

A specialist in performance prediction, Watin graduated as a fluid mechanics engineer before specializing in naval architecture. In 2011 he joined the VPLP Yacht Design office in France where he developed in-house performance prediction and Computational Fluid Dynamics capabilities, and was involved in maxi racing trimaran projects (Prince de Bretagne 80, Sodebo 4 and Macif 100), as well as Open 60 projects (Safran 2 and Banque Populaire) for the 2016 Vendee Globe Race.

Artemis Racing also welcomes back British electronics engineer Matthew Davis and Argentine aero designer Juan Garay.

Davis studied electrical and instrumentation engineering in Southampton, and has sailed as navigator, engineer and crew member in multiple maxi yacht races including the Rolex Transatlantic Yacht Race and Maxi Worlds. In 2009 he received the Navigator's Award for 1st in class for LA to Hawaii Transpac Race.

Garay has over 20 years of experience in sail design with North Sails South America, and has been involved in a variety of classes and circuits since 1990.

artemisracing.com

Have You Got Your Season Ticket To The Races?
Would like to join in your club's summer series, or take part in one of the classic regattas? If you want to compete in any of the huge number of club or international races taking place around the world it is likely that you'll need the 'season ticket' that is an IRC rating.

In 2014 your IRC rating gains you entry to IRC's 30th birthday party, with IRC racing in over 30 countries from the UK to mainland Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Asia.

As RORC Technical Manager Jenny Howells points out, "IRC is an International rating system that produces a single time corrector (TCC) based on physical measurements and features of the boat, so there is no change to your rating when you race at a different club, or depending on the results of your last event. Your 'season ticket' can therefore be used in IRC classes worldwide."

The party's on the water - see you there!

www.ircrating.org

Fleet Continue To Drift
After a night of light to calm winds, frustration turned to despair for quite a few of the yachts in the Qantaslink 66th Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race this morning. At the 9am sked, Whitebirds and Frantic advised of their retirement from the race with ten yachts at the back of the fleet only now approaching Sandy Cape buoy and drifting in circles waiting for a sea breeze to eventuate.

Another ten yachts are tightly bunched at Lady Elliot Island, no doubt doing some impromptu coral viewing. Their arrival into Gladstone is likely to be after sunset tonight at the earliest. With the bulk of the fleet still at sea, it is looking more likely that the Phillip Turner owned Alive with Duncan Hine at the helm is set to take honours in all of the handicap racing categories including winning the prestigious Courier Mail Cup.

It is the crew's first attempt at winning a major race under its new ownership. A demanding offshore racing campaign has been set for this thoroughbred yacht including the Brisbane to Keppel Race, Melbourne to Vanuatu and the 70th Rolex to Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Official Website www.brisbanetogladstone.com.au

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 Alistair Skinner: In reply to Daniel Charles

Sailing has always, in my view, been one of the cleanest sports. So when someone as high profile as the Main Wing trimmer in one of our sports 'flagship' events is caught knowingly breaking the rules and then lying about it as the jury appears to have found then why shouldn't the book be thrown at him. The fact that the AC72 or AC45 are not ISAF classes is not the issue, it is still sailing.

The reference made by Daniel to other sports is well made but not for the reasons he means. If bans for doping and similar offences are so effective why do we hear a fresh case in athletics almost every month? Simply becasue they are not enough of a deterrent.

Sure the ban is tough but back in the '80's the owner of i-Punkt was banned for 10 years although this was reduced on appeal and I am sure Lance Armstrong would have been quite happy getting away with just 5 years.

The rules are there for a reason and anyone who knowingly steps over the line should be prepared to take what he gets in return. Otherwise why don't we all pay scant regard to the rule book?

Anarchy anyone?

* From Len Davies: I fully support the sentiments expressed by Daniel Charles in # 3064 with regard to the appalling manner in which the Dirk de Ridder case has been handled!

Why the secrecy behind the decision? Why no public disclosure of the behind-closed-doors decisions? What has ISAF got to hide?

If de Ridder's own National Authority saw no good reason to take further action, let's have some long-awaited transparency from ISAF along with an explanation.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 1988 Baltic Yachts. $199,950 US Dollars. Located in Trinidad.

Originally built by Baltic Yachts, Finland as Martela O.F.

She was completely refitted following the race and campaigned as Runn.

In 1993 she participated in the 1993/4 Whitbread Round the World Race as Uruguay Natural. On completion of the race she was laid up and bought in November 1995. She underwent a comprehensive refit, including rewiring, repainting and re-plumbing. In addition a lightweight saloon/galley area designed by Ken Freivokh was installed and the interior was repainted.

Between 1995 and 1998 she was campaigned as Maxima. She was then sold to Bols Sport.

She was then thoroughly refitted and in the process lightened by more than a ton.

In the winter of 2000 and spring of 2001 she was further refitted.

Brokerage through Berthon:
Contact Ben Cooper

Details

See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/

The Last Word
Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition. -- Alan Turing

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see www.scuttlebutteurope.com/advertise.html

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