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

Team NZ Holds Hope For Volvo Ocean Race
A door that appeared firmly closed earlier this year is now slightly ajar after Emirates Team New Zealand last week held talks in Spain with the organisers of the yacht race.

With Auckland to host one of the stopovers next year, Volvo Ocean Race head Knut Frostad is desperate to have a New Zealand entrant in the round the world race, particularly after the success of the 2012 stopover, which saw Auckland generate strong media interest and huge visitor numbers as the event returned to the city of sails for the first time in a decade.

The organisers recognise that to get that level of engagement again there needs to be a New Zealand team competing, but raising the estimated $17 million needed to mount a credible campaign has proved difficult for the Kiwis.

With the round the world event lacking the same commercial clout as the America's Cup, Team NZ have struggled to gain much traction with overseas sponsors.

Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton told the Herald earlier this year it would take a "minor miracle" to find the money needed. But it is now looking a bit more hopeful, with race organisers prepared to give the Kiwi syndicate a helping hand to get them to the start line in October.

The final deadline for entry is the middle of next month. Five teams have already confirmed their participation in the 2014/15 race, including an all-female crew - Team SCA Ocean Racing - for the first time in 10 years.

Though the cut-off is drawing near, organisers remain optimistic of having seven teams take on the 38,739 nautical mile race. -- Dana Johannsen in the New Zealand Herald

The Girls Are Sending It
13 women, 3750 nautical miles, 12 days - and 26 knots of wind overnight. Team SCA are crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. The all-female crew left their Spanish base in Lanzarote on Thursday, sailing to Newport in the USA. Onboard Reporter trialist Corinna Halloran sent us a report from the boat - and it sounds quite wild.

Imagine riding a wicked fast motorbike at night. You're cruising along down a windy road. Suddenly, it starts to rain, not just a nice easy rain but a relentless rain - the kind that floods roads.

And then you're blind folded. You cannot get off the motorbike; you are propelling yourself faster and faster down hills and bends, into the dark night with water all around.

This is what it was like sailing downwind last night in 26 knots. Completely exposed to all of the elements, maneuvering through a gybe completely blind.

Once dawn broke, we continued to see much of the same conditions from the night before, except now we could see. Over the day we had to gybe a few more times before putting in our final, multi-day gybe shortly before dinner.

Abby was pretty happy with how the first 24 hours had gone - despite the tough conditions - they had sent it.

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Rio Olympics Preparations 'Worst I Have Ever Seen', says IOC Vice-President
John Coates, the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, has called Brazil's preparations for the 2016 Rio Games "the worst" in his experience and critically behind schedule, but warned there was no "plan B" to find another host.

Attending an Olympic forum in Sydney, Coates told delegates that construction had not commenced on some venues, infrastructure was significantly delayed and water quality was also a major concern two years out from the Games.

"The IOC has formed a special task force to try to speed up preparations but the situation is critical on the ground," Coates said on Tuesday in a statement released by the Australian Olympic Commission, which transcribed some of his comments at the forum.

"The IOC has adopted a more hands-on role, it is unprecedented for the IOC but there is no plan B. We are going to Rio. We have become very concerned, they are not ready in many, many ways. We have to make it happen and that is the IOC approach, you can't walk away from this."

Oman Sail MOD70 To Compete In Route Du Rhum
Oman Sail is to enter its MOD70 in this year's Route du Rhum, once again skippered by French offshore sailor Sidney Gavignet.

This will be Oman's second entry to the historic singlehanded race from St Malo to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Their first, in 2010, ended abruptly with a catastrophic mid-Atlantic breakage forcing Gavignet to retire. However the French skipper has had better luck racing his MOD70 trimaran shorthanded, including last year's Transat Jacques Vabre.

The Route du Rhum is the climax of what is set to be a busy season of training and racing for Sidney Gavignet and the Omani and international race squad that will rotate on both the M34 and MOD70 crews throughout the season. The objectives are a podium place in the Tour de France a la Voile and a strong front of the fleet performance in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race in August on the MOD70.

Gavignet will transition to training singlehanded on the MOD70 ahead of the start of the Route du Rhum on 2 November.

Alterations on the MOD70 have already begun to make the boat more friendly for singlehanded racing. -- James Boyd in TheDailySail

English Harbour Rum Race Day 3
Antigua Sailing Week is famous for spectacular racing conditions and for the third day in succession, the southern coastline delivered gobsmacking racing for the international fleet. The wind built during the day to whip up white horses on deep blue Caribbean swell to produce surfing conditions for the light displacement boats. The bigger boats enjoyed two races today, whilst the smaller boats and the bareboat fleet enjoyed one long race with numerous mark roundings.

Geoffrey Pidduck's Biwi Magic lost its unbeaten run, losing out to Steve Carson's Hightide by just 7 seconds on corrected time in the last race of the day. Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, Dave Cullen's J/109, Pocket Rocket and Gunboat 62, Zenyatta, skippered by Nils Erickson, still have a perfect score lines.

Tonnerre de Breskens 3 continues to dominate in CSA 0, winning its fifth race on the trot, but a superb battle rages on in every race between the three yachts vying for line honours. Team Varg's TP52, Balearia, Robert Date's RP52, Scarlet Runner and Leo van den Thillart's Kernan 47, True.

Before racing today, three yachts were tied at the top of CSA 3. However Alex Sastre's Argentinean team, Salona Racing had a perfect day winning both races to lead the class by two points from Quokka 8 sailed by Philippe Falle's Deep Blue Racing Team. Richard Wesslund's Florida based team on El Ocaso had a consistent day to move up to third overall. Whilst Richard Matthews' First 40, Lancelot could not break into the top three in either of today's races and slipped to fourth. 

Borkumriff IV Returning To Palma
Royal Huisman´s Borkumriff IV, Photo by Roy Roberts. Click on image to enlarge.

Borkumriff The spectacular schooner Borkumriff IV recently confirmed they will join the impressive line up of yachts for this year's Superyacht Cup in Palma. Designed by Dykstra Naval Architects and built by Royal Huisman, she was launched in 2002 from their yard in Holland. At 51m overall and with a displacement of almost 300 tons, Borkumriff IV is the largest yacht taking part this year.   Her Rondal aluminium plate masts are over 50m tall (166ft) and carry Rondal carbon fiber booms and gaffs, towering over her vast deck. Borkumriff IV last took part in the Superyacht Cup in Palma in 2007 where for the first time she raced against her sister ship Meteor who had been launched just weeks before the historic Superyacht Cup (which incorporated the Millennium Cup),  where an unbeaten record fleet of 52 superyachts raced in the Bay of Palma.

Many of the fleet have undergone refit work over the winter months, Astilleros de Mallorca in Palma have been working with two of the J Class yachts, Velsheda and Ranger.  Velsheda (Dykstra/Camper & Nicholsons) at 38m is the smallest of the Js, she has been out of the water undergoing keel remodeling and deck structure modification while her rival Ranger 42m (Burgess & Stephens/Dykstra Design/Danish Yachts) has undergone a special survey, deck structure modification and fitted new deck hardware, also carried out by Astilleros de Mallorca.

Out of the five Js participating in Palma, only Rainbow 40m (Dykstra & Partners/Holland Jachtbouw) has been racing in the Caribbean over the winter, the others have all stayed in Europe.

Seahorse June 2014
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

Peter Holmberg looks at ratings for the Caribbean tour, Terry Hutchinson on Bella Mente 2014 and Giuliano Luzzatto talks to ambitious Italian shorthanded skipper (and scowman) Giancarlo Pedote

New bat new ball
Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker explains his new approach to the Volvo Ocean Race

They certainly look the part, but why are so many of today's raciest-looking production boats so heavy? Oyvind Bordal, Niels Jeppesen and Tom Humphreys

A lone wolf
Andreas Borrink catches up with top German singlehander Jorg Riechers

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Industry News
KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) announced today that Ms. Anneley Pickles has joined the company as Head of Business Development for the Crewtoo social network, the world's largest online network dedicated to seafarers. One of her first priorities is overseeing Crewtoo Jobs, the online maritime jobs board that was launched last month to help match the right companies with the best seafarers.

Ms. Pickles, who is based in Liverpool, U.K., has worked in the maritime industry for nearly 20 years as a sales executive with some of the industry's most prestigious companies, including Lloyd's of London. She was also director of a leading recruiting company focused on maritime professionals both at sea and onshore. She is the founder of the First Thursday Maritime Networking event in Liverpool, and an active member of the Women's International Shipping and Trading Association.


The Women's International Match Racing Series announced today the signing of Sebago as the new official clothing partner for the Series. For all sailors Sebago is well known for their Docksides shoes, but in Scandinavia Sebago has also built a reputation as a top-of-the-line clothing brand.

Founded in New England in 1946 and named by the North American lake Sebago, the brand has, since the introduction of the famous Docksides original shoe in the 1970's, been synonymous with sailors and yachting. Joining forces with the WIM Series, Sebago will take advantage of the great and growing interest in women match racing internationally, and especially in Europe and the USA.


Saturday the 12th of April saw Ancasta's Race Boat Division Yacht host a Class 40 Open Day at Hamble Yacht Services.

Originally set out to make offshore races and cruising accessible to amateur sailors with monohulls which are a maximum of 40 feet, the class has proven so successful that it has now moved well beyond these parameters, and is attracting many more professional sailors. Part of that attraction is the simple and stringent box-­‐rule, which keeps costs down. And now the class benefits both amateurs and professionals, there are an increasing number of boats being built.

Ancasta's Race Boat Broker, Sam Pearson, had secured the voluntary services of two regulars among the Class 40 fleet, Forty Shades, helmed and owned by David Pearce and Swish, belonging to Rod Knowles and helmed by Rod and Paul Peggs.

Sam Pearson: " The day proved to be a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the Class 40 fleet in the UK and it was invaluable not only meeting a lot of potential new members to the class, but finding out what they would like to achieve and how we can help."


Jeanneau, official supplier of Dongfeng Race Team, racing for China in the VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2014-2015 has received two Sun Fast 3200 race boats.

Eight Chinese sailors are now competing on two Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200 to prove their capability and motivation to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race.


The 2014 Shipwrights' Lecture for marine apprentices, young shipwrights and marine graduates will take place on Wednesday 15th October 2014 at the Turner Sims Hall, University of Southampton at 14.30. This annual lecture, now in its fourth year, attracts over 270 delegates to listen to inspirational industry leaders from the marine sector talk about their specialist aspect of the industry including its breadth and career opportunities.

The event, which is organised by the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, in conjunction with the University of Southampton, last year attracted apprentices from a host of well-known British boatbuilders including Princess, Sunseeker, Pendennis, Fairline, Discovery Yachts, SYS, Berthon, Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy and Rustler Yachts.  UK universities, colleges and industry bodies including the British Marine Federation will again be supporting the 2014 lecture.

Speakers for the 2014 event will include, award-winning Gerry Hughes, the first profoundly deaf person to sail single-handed around the world. Gerry received the RYA Sailability Personal Endeavour Award for his 32,000 mile circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes in Quest III, his Beneteau 42s7. The Endeavour Award, which was created in Gerry's honour, acknowledges inspirational sailors who have overcome adversity.

This year's event will also see Matt Sheahan, Yachting World's Technical Editor, host a panel discussion entitled, 'Marine Electronics - 'Past, Present and the Future' - Electronics, Electrics and related power management requirements on board yachts, both sail and power'.

Inquiries to Michael Derrick


Yamaha Motor Co Ltd said in its annual report that it expects growth in its marine business this year through new-product launches and greater manufacturing efficiencies.

Developed markets in 2013 saw the economic recovery in the United States continue, while Japan experienced a turnaround to a weaker yen and higher share prices, reflecting in part the policies of a new government. Europe, however, remained in the economic slump that has persisted for the past few years. Emerging market economies also stagnated on the continued effects of the slower economic growth and monetary tightening that began in the previous year.

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