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

World Class Racing In Hyeres' Sunshine And Breeze
Glorious sunshine and a consistent cool spring breeze ensured the 1,111 sailors from 59 nations were spoilt on the opening day of racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres.

Racing in the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events could not have been any better as the consistency of a 10-15 easterly breeze ensured excellent racing throughout the day.

Racing resumes on Tuesday 22 April at 11:00 local time

* The 2012 European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) made the best start in the Finn class at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres, the final event in the 2013-14 series. A second and a first left him leading the 59 boat fleet after the first two races from Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) and Caleb Paine (USA). The first race was won by Jonathan Lobert (FRA).

A few of the top sailors have decided to skip Hyeres this year, preferring to concentrate on preparations of the 2014 European Championships, which open in La Rochelle, France in just two weeks time. The most notable absentees are the British team, including last years gold and silver medalists in Hyeres, Andrew Mills (GBR) and Giles Scott (GBR). -- Robert Deaves,

* 49er defending champions Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign made their podium intentions clear on a fantastic first day of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Hyeres on Monday (21 April).   The European Champions were quick out of the blocks on a three-race day for the men's skiff fleet,

The 2013 edition of this Hyeres World Cup saw a confidence boosting first regatta win for Fletcher and Sign – and with the duo having been on the podium in major regattas three more times since, including a bronze at the Palma World Cup two weeks ago, they're buoyed by their form coming into this event.

But with a strong 49er fleet racing at this final World Cup event of the 2013/14 season – including a return for Australia's Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jenson – the British Sailing Team duo know there's a lot of work still to do on the five remaining days of competition. -- Lindsey Bell,

Full results:

Francis Joyon Sets New Reference Time For The Friendship Route
At 1738hrs UTC (1938hrs CET) on Monday 21st April 2014, the IDEC maxi-trimaran crossed the finishing line in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Francis Joyon has set a new reference time for the Friendship Route between Bordeaux (France) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). His race time: 13 days, 03 hours, 05 minutes and 19 seconds for the theoretical 4812 miles.

Francis Joyon left Bordeaux on Tuesday 8th April beginning in the Gironde Estuary at 1433hrs UTC. This was merely four days after officially going on standby with the support in particular of the French football team, the Girondins de Bordeaux and Fabien Barthez among others. This new Friendship Route between Bordeaux and Rio de Janeiro was designed to bring together France and Brazil and come to the aid of charities in Brazil, as well as the ICM, the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute in France.

IDEC's race time: 13 days, 03 hours, 05 minutes and 19 seconds to sail the 4812 miles of the theoretical route or 15.27 knots. In reality, IDEC sailed 910 miles more out on the water: 5722 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.16 knots. Francis Joyon had to go around all the low-pressure areas from Cape Finisterre to the middle of the Atlantic.

The final 24 hours of sailing along the coast of Brazil were very demanding for the skipper of IDEC, who had to sail upwind for the final 120 miles to Rio de Janeiro.

'Sailing to support the ICM and for charities is very motivating for me. It adds something spiritual to the mere sport of sailing.'

Harken Teams With Antigua Rigging For Sailing Week
A suspect halyard? Got a winch on the fritz? Don't bust your pawls. No worries, mate, you'll find Harken service at Antigua Rigging Ltd. during Antigua Sailing Week, April 25 to May 2. Led by boss man Stan Pearson, his crew of highly-trained professionals will get you fixed up and back sailing in no time. These guys have all the equipment to get the job done: cold heading to -60, wire swaging to 5/8" (16 mm), nicopress to 1/2" (12 mm), plus hydraulic services. Harken expert Neil Harvey will also be in town and always available for consult.

You'll find Antigua Rigging at the Catamaran Marina, Falmouth Harbour: 1-268-562-1294.

You can reach Harv on his cell: 1-727-460-4274.

Lorient Grand Large, Part One : Training
Lorient Grand Large was set up to organize the centre for offshore racing that is based in Lorient. It was set up for nautical creativity in Lorient by Lorient Agglomeration Partners and others in the surrounding community, to support everyone who wants to base their sailing project and related activities in Lorient.

This means that Lorient Grand Large helps the 80 skippers who train from Lorient on a daily basis, but also develops the nautical side of Lorient; i.e. Lorient Grand Large acts to organize everything directly in relationship with local businesses and the community and, side by side with that, to encourage events and international sailing projects to be based in Lorient. At the same time, Lorient Grand Large was set up to coordinate the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Lorient. Lorient Grand Large is run by Christophe Baudry and his team from offices by the Base des Sous Marins, by the main sailing team bases and BSM marina in Lorient.

"In principle we do the same work as Port La Foret, the Pôle centre for the course au large (offshore sailing) in France, but Port La Foret only has people who are of a very high level. We have some people who are of a very high level, but who have felt that they did not want to base themselves at Port La Foret for training, e.g. Adrien Hardy and Isabelle Joschke. Port La Foret is only for the elite. We believe that those who are not names in the sport can benefit from the same training, and we also welcome those who are e.g. Parisians, who have other work, e.g. including journalists, and who do offshore racing. So, we support those who base their sailing project in Lorient. That means, train in Lorient, find an apartment in Lorient, install themselves in Lorient, buy a house in Lorient, raise a family in Lorient, etc.," Christophe Baudry explained.

From Anne Hinton's interview with Christoph Baudry in SailRaceWin:

Audi IRC Australian Championship
Two crucial final races off Newcastle's Stockton beach on Easter Sunday completed the eight-race Audi IRC Australian Championship and three new national champions have been crowned.

Team Beau Geste's division A triumph was taped up yesterday giving owner Karl Kwok and his TP52 crew from New Zealand the clean sweep of the TP52 Southern Cross Cup in December, the NSW IRC title last Sunday, and now the cheeky fellas from across the ditch are Audi IRC Australian champions.

Twenty-four year-old youth America's Cup skipper Will Tiller drove Kwok's 52-footer to its maiden national IRC victory and also the state IRC victory at Sail Port Stephens.

Only Tony Kirby's Ker 46 Patrice and Bob Steel's TP52 Quest managed to take a win off Team Beau Geste during the series hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. They finished second and third on 15 and 19 points respectively to the victor's eight points.

Division B's four-day nail biter was between the two DK46s, Nine Dragons and Exile.

Bob Cox's Nine Dragons was the stronger of the pair this time, four points the final difference.

Roger Hickman's near 30 year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose from Sydney's Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was clapped into the marina by an appreciative crowd as the new division C Audi IRC Australian champion. Hickman is an ocean racing hero to many, and again he's shown the pedigree of his years on the circuit.

Phil Dash's Beneteau First 40 Justadash (MHYC) finished second and Ian Bower's RP36 Spirit from Lake Macquarie third in division C. -- Lisa Ratcliff

Lizzyracing Backed By Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear
Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear, based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, is the Title Sponsor of 23 year-old solo offshore sailor Lizzy Foreman for her 2015 Mini Transat campaign.

"I'm excited to launch my campaign with Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear as my Title Sponsor, along with a number of other product partners. Hudson Wight is a progressive new brand for keelboat sailors using a ground-breaking laminated fabric called OceanVent. I've been wearing my HW1 Jacket & Salopettes, made with 3-Layer OceanVent, throughout my winter training programme and they are excellent. Technical performance is the best I have experienced and the 3-Layer technology makes them lighter and more comfortable than any kit I have used before. They also have exciting products in the pipeline that I will be helping them to develop."

Lizzy has sailed since the age of three, progressing through the ranks of various dinghy classes as a teenager. By the age of 18 she had decided that her overall objective is to compete in the Vendee Globe. Her 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. She was with the Academy in 2012-2013 and also completing an internship with OC Sport, focusing on campaign management and logistics. Lizzy aims to qualify for the 2015 Mini Transat, competing in the solo 2,600nm Les Sables - Azores - Les Sables race as preparation for the main event in 2015.

Team Alvimedica launched their new Volvo Ocean 65 boat on Friday April 11 in Southampton to herald six months of crew selections and hard training before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 in October.

On the dock was Race CEO Knut Frostad who has fostered the dreams of two young Americans, Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, to launch a boat in offshore sailing's toughest round-the-world professional event.

The event at Southampton's Green Marine boatyard also marked a major milestone for Alvimedica CEO Dr Cem Bozkurt who is fully backing the Turkey-based medical device company's own dream of contesting the race.

"Our sailing team, initially made up of our employees, achieved significant success in a number of races after we identified sailing as our company's sporting pillar two years ago," he said. "Now our target is to race with professionals in the premier league of sailing. We have set our hearts on the Volvo Ocean Race and we want to introduce Alvimedica to a broader public around the world using a challenging race which draws the attention of more than 1.5 billion people every edition."


Royal Huisman has been commissioned convert the famous 42m (139ft) carbon composite offshore racer Mari Cha IV, originally launched in 2003, into a racing yacht with more cruising style comfort.

To be re-commissioned as Samurai, the conversion will be carried out by Royal Huisman's Huisfit division in Vollenhove.

Modifications to the epoxy carbon fibre structure will provide the keyway for the addition of a new deckhouse, superstructure and cockpits based on exterior designs by Rhoades Young Design who will go to the extremes of weight saving to design a bespoke interior where there was once none.

A lifting keel will replace her canting keel.


Newport, RI, USA: While lathes are turning in Washington State, dozens of riggers have begun working on the standing rigging that will faithfully support the three masts of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry. The 200-foot square-rigged Tall Ship is Rhode Island's official Sailing Education Vessel, the largest of its kind to have been built in this country in the last 100 years.

The ship's hull is at Senesco Marine in Quonset, Rhode Island; its wooden spars are being turned and shaped at The Spar Shop at Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Aberdeen, Washington; and the rigging is taking shape in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where many of the state's renowned marine trades companies are headquartered. This Spring they will come together in Portsmouth, R.I. to comprise one very large, very impressive and exceptionally appointed Class A Tall Ship. 

In addition to her three decks, modern galley and Great Cabin, the Perry sports, among other things, high-end navigation and communication systems, a state-of-the-art science lab (designed under the guidance of the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography), and wheelchair accessibility (including accessible below deck staterooms, heads and a wheelchair lift).

"Belowdecks, she is really not like any other Tall Ship that is sailing out there today," says Captain Richard Bailey, who notably ran "HMS" Rose for 20 years before it was bought by Hollywood producers for the movie Master and Commander. "Above deck, however, she is a completely traditional Tall Ship, and in that respect there are many artisans who will have had a hand in contributing to her character."


The new Dixon designed 45m, which was built by Holland Jachtbouw was recently launched for the first time in Zaandam, Holland. Following her launch the mast was stepped and Heureka will soon start to undergo sea trials in open water to check over all the on board systems.

Heureka features a concealed automatic bimini and dodger system and a telescopic lifting keel, engineered by the team at Holland Jachtbouw with the sole purpose of not interfering with the interior accommodation. Interior design was commissioned with Rhoades Young and the minimalistic, uncluttered approach has been repeated throughout this sleek high performance sloop, designed specifically to suit the light airs of the Mediterranean.


The brand new TP52 of Brazilian owner Eduardo de Souza Ramos was launched and christened in her home port of Valencia at the weekend. Preliminary sailing trials and training start the crew's preparation for their participation in the Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES, starting 20-25th May in Capri, Italy. 

The boat, Phoenix, built at King Marine in Valencia and designed by Botin Partners, was launched at the America's Cup city's Marina Real Juan Carlos. The owner, who represented Brazil twice at the Olympics, took the helm of his new boat which is the first TP52 to fly the colours of Brazil on the Barclays 52 SUPER SERIES. The new boat is being worked up prior to her first regatta, Palma Vela in Palma, Mallorca early May.

The crew will be lead by Brazilians Sergio Rocha and Andres Fonseca and Argentinian double Olympic bronze medallist Santiago Lange. Other crewmembers include Gonzalo Araujo as mainsail trimmer, Pedro Mas on the bow and Javier Plaza as trimmer.


Sailing enthusiast Donald Tofias has a vision: A fleet of 22-foot sailboats racing in the Lake Worth Lagoon off of Palm Beach.

"The sailing scene is very small here," he said. "You leave the inlet and where are you going to go? It's not like sailing in Maine, where you have coves and harbors. But if I'm right with the W-22, people will be able to sail comfortably on Lake Worth."

Tofias, owner of W-Class Yacht Co., started creating one-design racing sailboats in 1996. His first two were 76 feet, the W-76s. Designed by naval architect Joel White and built at Brooklin Boat Yard and Rockport Marine, Tofias has raced them competitively and they've done well. Currently, he's working on a 100-foot sailboat, the W-100, but he sees a special need for a short-draft boat for places such as the shallow waters of Lake Worth.

The design of the W-22, based on a 30-year-old design by White and modified by White's son, Steven, has just been completed. It will be built at a new facility created by Front Street Shipyard, a joint venture with investors including Steven White, owner of Brooklin Boatyard, and Taylor Allen, White's brother-in-law who owns Rockport Marine. Tofias hopes to have two boats in the water by this summer.


Alex Thomson Racing (ATR) and sponsor, HUGO BOSS are pleased to announce that their new boat is complete and on the water as of 4 April 2014.

Previously named Virbac Paprec 3, this boat has an impressive history which includes placing 4thin the 2012-2013 Vendee Globe after losing its keel, 1st in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race, 2nd place in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet, and 1st place in the 2010 Transat Jacques Vabre. ATR acquired Virbac Paprec 3 for Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes to compete in the upcoming 2014-2015 Barcelona World Race. The team have spent some time refitting and modifying the boat to include a new keel and HUGO BOSS branding. The boat is simply known as 'HUGO BOSS' and the ATR team look forward to taking the vastly improved speed machine out on the open ocean from Gosport, UK to Rhode Island, USA next week in preparation for the Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona (NY-BCN) race in June.

The new boat is set to depart 22 April 2014 to Newport, Rhode Island where the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race will take place on 1 June 2014.

The 'HUGO BOSS' boat will be led by Pepe Ribes and American co-skipper, Ryan Breymaier upon Alex Thomson's announcement that he will be unable to take part in the NY-BCN race this year due to his wife's pregnancy and conflicting due date.

Alex will be with the boat for its delivery to Newport and up until its departure to Barcelona.

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 Daniel Charles: In response to Alistair Skinner, I apologize for not having made my thoughts understood concerning the De Ridder case. There is a fundamental rule of law which says that the penalty must be proportional to the offence: this is clearly not the case here. My point was that ISAF, who had been caught lying in their catamaran affidavit, or neglecting the rules when it arranged them (the measurement snafu in the Tornado Class at Qingdao, for example), etc... is in no position to give lessons in morality. It is hoped that the recently elected Dr Croce may clear the ISAF stables, but it is a Herculean task…

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