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

Finns Gather In La Rochelle For European Challenge
The Finn Senior and Junior European Championship gets under way this weekend in La Rochelle, France. To date there are 95 entries from 31 nations and with a few exceptions virtually all of the top sailors are entered for what will be the classes third senior championship at the Atlantic coast venue.

It has been 10 years since the Finn Class sailed a senior championship in La Rochelle. Previously La Rochelle has hosted the Finn Gold Cup in 1996 and the European Championship in 2004, as well as the Finn World Masters in 1996 and 2013.

The racing will be held just outside La Rochelle harbour in a natural straight in the Bay of Biscay known as the Pertuis d'Antioche, or Passage of Antioch. This is enclosed on three sides by the Ile de Re, the mainland and the Ile d'Oleron

The fleet is as deep as ever and includes 21 former Olympians, six former European champions and three former world champions, including the current European Champion Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), and the current World Champion Jorge Zarif (BRA).

While Zbogar is expected to be in contention, he will have a very hard time defending the title he won last year in Warnemunde, Germany. He placed sixth in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma this year, but has otherwise been training at his Valencia base.

In contrast Zarif has done all the major events this year, with a bronze at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, followed by 19th in Palma, and then a more encouraging ninth in Hyères, including a win in the medal race. While his world championship win last year was a surprise to many, he has since shown he can compete with the best and can never be ruled out. It also has to be remembered he is still a junior.

Conditions in La Rochelle often prove challenging as those who attended in 1996 will testify. In 2004 it was a much lighter event on the whole, but with sea breezes generally setting in the 14-18 knots range and with a strong chop due to shallow water, whoever wins next week will have been fully tested to their limits of fitness and ability, and in the Finn that is often the greater challenge.

At the moment, long range forecasts are showing a windy but changeable start to the week. Registration and measurement runs from Friday 2, May to Sunday 4, May, with the opening series of 10 races scheduled from Monday 5, May to Friday 9, May. The medal race for the top 10 and the final race for the rest will be on Saturday 10, May. The opening ceremony will be on Friday 2 May. -- Robert Deaves


Race Against Time To Woo Sir Ben Ainslie To Portsmouth
An exhibition was held recently to show some of the ideas being considered for a base in the Camber.

Ben Ainslie Racing already has permission for sites in Woolston and at ABP Docks in Southampton and is looking to put a planning application forward to Portsmouth City Council.

The proposals were shown to residents in a display at the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club in Pembroke Road.

They would incorporate the team's sailing operations, research and development, boatbuilding, sports science and fitness facilities, along with a visitors centre.

The ideas have been drawn up by Fareham-based HGP Architects, which designed the Spinnaker Tower, Port Solent and the Sails of the South.

Ben Ainslie Racing has stressed it has not made a decision about where its new base will be.

Spokeswoman Sarah Alexander said the decision is still under consideration but the other two sites in Southampton have planning consent or are subject to other planning regulations.

A decision on an £8m bid by the council to the government for the team will be made next month.

* J. P. Morgan BAR's Olympic gold medallists, Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson, are gearing up for a return to China's 'Olympic Sailing City', Qingdao, for Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series. The winning trio are back racing in the Chinese city for the first time since their success at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, six years ago, joining teammates Matt Cornwell and Nick Hutton for four days of extreme racing on Fushan Bay.

This year marks the fourth consecutive year the series has returned to Qingdao waters, with racing running from Thursday 1st May until Sunday 4th. The 12 Extreme Sailing teams have been pre-warned to 'expect the unexpected' from one of the most notorious ESS stadium racecourses.

Marinepool Club And Crew Jacket Collection 2014 - A Sportive Look And Maritime Chic In Classic Style
Marine Pool 2014 has seen the introduction of a new Club and Crew Jacket line that is the perfect outfit for get togethers in the clubhouse, an apres sail drink in the cockpit or for any trip both on water and land. Garments for all occasions and events that require a sportive look in a classic style.

There is hardly any other sport that is similarly demanding on clothing than sailing. Garments used on boats or for regattas require highest reliability in terms of waterproofness, breathability, abrasion resistance. Functional cuts, light weight and further intelligent design features are indispensable - and the ideal crew wear brings all these qualities together. Furthermore, sailing as a sport and lifestyle reaches beyond the action on board and on race courses. Maritime clothing has a wide appeal and has become a way of living for many. The functionality of the garments is a welcome add-on and asset. The new Club and Crew Jacket collection by Marinepool is designed for racing crews, club teams, the ambitious amateur and fashion conscious water sports enthusiast alike. The utilization of technical high-quality fabrics ensures crucial features in terms of function such as breathability, wind and waterproofness and highest wearing comfort.

Consequently, these products can be used for racing, day sailing and any other dynamic outdoor activities. Maritime colours and fashionable details such as the striped knitted sleeve cuffs, collar and hem of the "Storm Jacket", available for men, women and kids bring a casual touch to the functional jackets. In combination with jeans, chino trousers, shirts or polo shirts and with its stylish design, the "Cruising Jacket" is the perfect outer layer for casual looks or sportive elegant outfits.

The new Marinepool club and crew jacket collection.

Design. Technology. Passion.

Strengthen Fingal's Freedom For The Good Of Irish Sailing
The Government's recent move to create a framework for the direct election of a new all-powerful Mayor for Dublin was expected to be a shoo-in. The new Super-Mayor's authority would incorporate the current four local councils of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, South Dublin, Dublin City, and Fingal, each one of which had to vote in favour. But Fingal's councillors voted firmly against it, despite emphatic support of the proposal by the councillors in the other three areas. As a Fingallion by adoption, W M Nixon strongly supports this independent move by a largely rural and coastal region which has a longer shoreline than all the other Dublin areas put together, and is clearly not a naturally integral part of the city.

Fingal is the Ukraine of Leinster, and the glowering monster of Dublin is the Russia within Ireland, intent on the conquest of its smaller freedom-seeking neighbour. Vigorous, all-powerful, intensely urban, and distinctly impressed with itself, Dublin is certain that the further its bounds are spread, the better it will be for all its citizens. And the more citizens it can claim, then the better for Dublin.

But Fingal is different. For sure, it can seem a bit sleepy and rural by comparison with central Dublin, but that's the way we like it. It's a place of odd little ports and much fishing, a region of offshore islands, rocky coasts and many beaches on one side, and the profound heart of the fertile country on the other.

As for the sailing and all other forms of recreational boating, Fingal is not just a place of remarkable variety - it's a universe. With five islands - six if you count Rockabill - its 88 kilometre coastline is one for sport, relaxation and exploration. Sea angling is well up the agenda, and it's a kayakers' paradise, while Irish speed records in sailboarding and kite-surfing have been established in the natural sand-girt canal which forms for much of the tidal cycle in the outer Baldoyle estuary immediately west of Howth.

WM Nixon's editorial in Afloat:

Bol D'Or Mirabaud: The Queen Of Lake Regattas
The world's largest lake regatta is as popular as ever with 500 yachts expected on the start line on 14 June for what is shaping up to be a particularly interesting event

Founded in 1939, the Bol d'Or Mirabaud is not only the largest lake regatta in the world, but one of the oldest regattas in Europe. In its 75 years the event has inspired passion unlike any other, kept pace with technological innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit of its competitors, and attracted champions from all over the world.

For some it is about the racing, for others, namely the hundreds of crewmembers that compete each year, the Bol d'Or Mirabaud is a celebration. Cutting-edge technology, international champions and the latest materials, or barbecue and adventure - the experience and spectacle are superb for everyone involved.

Full article in Seahorse:

Glyn Charles Pursuit Race
The Notice of Race for the annual Glyn Charles Pursuit Race, taking place on Saturday 17th May 2014, run by Hayling Island Sailing Club is now available online at . Online entries for the event will open on 1st May 2014.

As well as drawing in sailors from across the cournty, the race attracts high entries from clubs all around Chichester Harbour, including Bosham Sailing Club which was Glyn Charles' home club. Glyn, a talented sailor and Olympic helmsman, was tragically killed at the age of 33 whilst competing in the Sydney to Hobart Race in 1998.

The Glyn Charles Pursuit Race, which tries to take in as much of Chichester Harbour as possible, retains a unique and friendly atmosphere with Olympic medallists competing against families and enables sailors to remember and celebrate Glyn's life. The proceeds from the event go to the John Merricks Sailing Trust who help young sailors and youth sailing organisations achieve their goals.

Registration for the event will open at 09.00hrs on Saturday 17th May 2014, with the first start scheduled for 12.00hrs. Entry is open to all monohull dinghies with a Portsmouth Yardstick of 1459 and below as well as keelboat classes including Artemis 20, Flying 15, RS K6, RS Elite, X Boat, Swallow, Sunbeam, Hawk, Star and Yngling.

Full details of the event can be found at

Henri Lloyd - Sales Support Assistant
Henri Lloyd With the restructuring of the UK Marine Sales Team a new and exciting opportunity has been created at Henri Lloyd Ltd. The role is Uk Marine Sales Support Assistant designed to assist both with corporate and wholesale marine sales, based in Lymington Hampshire.

This is a full time position, with an element of week end work along with boat show and event cover.

The successful candidate would need to have a good knowledge of the Marine Industry, from a Corporate, wholesale and/ or retail base. Also due to the variety of tasks, excellent time management and organisational skills will be required, along with a good ability to communicate at all levels. An expectation of being able to supply exceptional customer service with professionalism and integrity will also be required.

Knowledge of Illustrator would also be advantageous and a clean driving licence a necessity. Good remuneration package for the right candidate.

To register your interest please email your C.V with references and personal profile to:
Pauline Nolan
UK Marine Sales Manager

Solent Sunbeam Invitational Regatta
Photo by Sue Kent. Click on image to enlarge.

Sunbeam Three Olympic Medallists, along with world champions and class heavyweights who have proved themselves in a range of dinghies and keelboats are going head to head in an Invitational Regatta in the one design Solent Sunbeam class on 17th May.

Attracting the big names, which include Gold Medallist Mike MacIntyre, along with Mark Covell and Ossie Stewart, Silver and Bronze Medallists respectively, is testimony to the resurgence of the class as a growing and highly competitive fleet.

The Solent Sunbeam, the first of which appeared in 1923, has, like many established classes, taken on a new life form. Seven brand new GRP hulls have been built in the last three years.

Some tough competition can be expected in the interest of maintaining reputations and showing what the Solent Sunbeam is capable of. However, the aim of the day is for the top invited helms and their crew to have an enjoyable day racing in Chichester Harbour, from the fleet's base at Itchenor Sailing Club, with owners on board as third crew to assist with navigation and to keep clear of the shallows. The day will be extremely civilised with morning racing, lunch back at the Club, and an afternoon race followed by tea on the Club lawn.

The Solent Sunbeam was designed by Alfred Westmacott in 1922, and the initial seven boats first raced in 1923. They were based in the Hamble, and then some moved to Itchenor, but after World War II they were collected together at Itchenor where they have since been raced with increasing intensity and in greater numbers.

In 2008 class representatives became increasingly worried that they were not attracting buyers for existing wooden hulled Sunbeams. The class agreed to a proposal to produce a GRP hulled Solent Sunbeam. A prototype boat was developed in 2010 and it was shown over a period of 36 races and stringent two boat testing to perform on identical terms to the existing wooden hulled boats. The yacht, with sail number V61 was christened "Betty" in memory of the late Betty Moore who owned and raced her Sunbeam for 61 years. Her success paved the way for the GRP hull to be adopted into the fleet. At the same time the Class permitted the use of epoxy coating and full hull softwood splining on the existing wooden boats.

The Falmouth Sunbeams did not agree with permitting a GRP hulled boat or the use of epoxy, so the Solent Sunbeam Class at Itchenor sails as an independent class.

Itchenor Sailing Club:

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Contact Ian Gordon at

See the collection at

The Last Word
Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun

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