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

Classic Myth Of Malham
Photo of Azawakh by Hamo Thornycroft. Click on image to enlarge.

Myth of Malham Race The RORC Myth of Malham Race started from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line under grey skies and a south-westerly wind of ten knots. All 40 yachts got away to a good start with the Royal Armoured Corps Yacht Club's J/109, White Knight 7, and Christopher Palmer's J/109, J-T'Aime, judging the line close to perfection. In the second start Chris Radford's J/122, Relentless on Jellyfish, and Mark Emerson's Rodman 42, Phosphorus, also got away well.

Ahead of the fleet was a beat of well over 100 miles to the Eddystone Rock and the somewhat gentle conditions at the start were later replaced by a strong breeze with foul tide causing a significant swell, especially on the first night near Poole Bay. However the fleet enjoyed a blistering run back to the Solent, with big breeze and warm sunshine providing wonderful conditions.

Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34, Azawakh had a tremendous race. The Belgian team of eight corrected out to win the Myth of Malham Cup and go to top of the leaderboard for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Two previous winners of the Myth of Malham Cup claimed second and third overall: Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew, was second and the clear winner in IRC Four. RORC Commodore Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III, was third and the winner of IRC One.

Mike Greville was taking part in his seventh Myth of Malham Race and his Ker 39, Erivale III, corrected out to win IRC One.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the North Sea Race on Friday 30th May. The 180 mile race from Harwich to Scheveningen carries a points factor of 1.2 for the Championship. -- Louay Habib

www.rorc.org

Silvers Marine Scottish Series Finale
The final day of sailing in this year's Silvers Marine Scottish Series saw the fleet take part in two races in light and tricky conditions that resulted in the overall results for all classes.

With racing now concluded there were great celebrations at the closing prize giving when the prestigious Scottish Series Overall trophy was awarded to Murray Caldwell and crew from Red Hot Poker, winner of the Sonata one design class.

In IRC Class 1 Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore's Eala of Rhu were the clear winners ending up seven points clear of Steve Cowie's Zephyr and Rod Stuart's Aurora who finished the Series tied on 20 points. But the big story of this class is that all three of Scotland's Commodore Cup boats floated to the top of the rankings to fill all the podium positions.

In IRC Class 2 John Corson in Salamander XXI took the class ahead of Robert McConnell in Fools Gold who ended the Series on 17 and Alan Jeffrey and Paul Scutt in Carmen II on 22 points.

Over in IRC Class 4 Craig Latimer and Wildebeest IV stormed to an impressive win with 14 points, Tim Ellis in T M Racing were second on 21 points while a further five points adrift was Duncan Hepplewhite in SailingFast.co.uk

Full results for all classes at www.scottishseries.com

Henri Lloyd Elite Offshore - Tested By Sailors
Henri Lloyd We put the garments to the test on real sailors in real conditions. Here is what our testers said about the Elite offshore foul weather garments...

Gez Grandcourt, Super yacht Designer, Olesinski Ltd
Sailing in Rolex Fastnet Race on Xinska
"The fabric feels soft and malleable - helps you move more easily.... Which is really important on a long offshore race that you feel comfortable ... (with this) you don't get worn out and you keep your energy levels up"

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

Old Ladies Of The Sea
Blue Peter. Click on image to enlarge.

Blue Peter The starting gun of the 3rd edition of the only transatlantic race for classic yachts will be fired in a little over seven months and already many sailboats have signed up. the first old ladies of the sea to enter the Panerai Transat Classique 2015 are gearing up for next January and some of them are real beauties.

Among the early-bird entries is Corto, a Carter design launched in 1970 and taking part for the... third time! Suffering from a serious lack of preparation in 2008, she took second place on the podium in 2012 and no doubt her owner Hacène Abbar will be aiming for the top spot this time around. Faiaoahe, a Ribadeau-Dumas design, and Saint Salomon (formerly Petite Lande), a superb Alden schooner, are also Transat Classique regulars having been pioneers of the very first edition. Among the new faces are Paloma, a yacht built in 1964 and flying the Spanish ensign, and Skanda, a Laurent Giles design from 1948.

Mathew Barker, owner of the 1939 Alfred Mylne designed The Blue Peter, has officially committed to taking the starting line of this unique event on 7 January at Lanzarote in the Canaries.

In 2012, after leading the pack all the way from Cascais (Portugal) to the Canaries, The Blue Peter engaged in a long duel with the eventual winner White Dolphin. She also lost out to Corto in corrected times.

Like other handicap systems, the Classic Handicap takes into account a yacht's specifications, in particular, her original launch date, subsequent changes made to her original design, and the shape of her keel. This handicap system has been in use for a number of years in France and is starting to make an impact overseas. The British and the Spanish are showing interest in the system, and representatives from Spain are now on the handicap advisory board.

www.paneraiclassicyachtschallenge.com

Frers Cup
Trapani, Sicily: The inaugural Frers Cup, 25-28 June 2014, is an invitational sailing regatta designed for the pure enjoyment of the owners, guests and crew of yachts created by three generations of the Frers family. The first design was hand-drawn by Germán Frers Snr. in 1928 and since that time more than 1,200 yachts have been created. From dinghies to megayachts, production boats to America's Cup machines, custom-designed offshore cruiser/racers to technologically advanced power yachts.

The Frers Cup will be based in the ancient city of Trapani on the west coast of Sicily with a three day racing programme in the hauntingly beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea, taking in the marine reserve of the Egadi Island Archipelago

94' Frers Sloop, Bristolian was one of the early entries for the Frers Cup. Designed by German Frers and launched in 1998, as Mari Cha II, the Frers Maxi smashed the Trans-Atlantic record. Completing the course from Ambrose Lighthouse, New Jersey, to Cape Lizard, England in just under nine days, Mari Cha II broke the previous record by over two and a half days. Bristolian is both luxury yacht and racing thoroughbred. Extensively refitted with a new carbon rig and teak deck, Bristolian races extensively in the Caribbean winter and cruises and races in the Mediterranean in the summer months.

"Mani Frers had the idea about the regatta some year's ago and the owner of Bristolian was very keen on a regatta, racing against similar yachts and his incentive kicked started the event." commented Bristolian's racing skipper, John Burnie. "This will be a proper head to head race, using IRC as the rating rule. The Frers Cup will be great fun and a popular social event but Bristolian will be going flat out to win it." -- Louay Habib

www.germanfrers.com

Cowes - Deauville Race Proves To Be A Challenge
A good turnout of 63 boats assembled for the 52nd running of Cowes to Deauville yacht race on Friday 23rd May to start the 102nm race, sponsored by AVEVA Group plc and organised jointly by the Royal London, Deauville, JOG, and the Royal Southern Yacht Clubs. However, the weather didn't play ball. It was blowing a bearable 18-25 knots southerly at Cowes, albeit with heavy rain, out at the Nab Tower it was at 38 knots. So the race officers wisely decided on a 2-hour postponement as the Met Office was promising that the wind would moderate early in the afternoon, but stay from the south. By 1430 the wind had done just that and the fleet set off in three separate starts, but somewhat depleted, as some boats had decided that this weather was not for them and had already retired.

As the evening drew on, the wind dropped further - and further - and further but the rain kept going - until boats were doing less than 3 knots and the GPS was showing another 29 hours to Deauville! And so it continued, but thankfully with the seas now quieter. The wind eventually filled in to the promised 10-15 knots, still right on the nose, allowing the fleet to creep across the Channel, with the occasional rain/hail storm of biblical proportions thrown in for good measure.

Most boats took almost 24 hours plus to arrive off Deauville, for a race that normally takes 15-16 hours; and tired competitors headed off to the Champagne reception hosted by Pierre-Alain Duplais (Deputy Mayor of Deauville) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the twinning of Cowes and Deauville.

It was regrettable that the majority of crews were feeling that this had been the most disagreeable crossing they had ever experienced (not the adjective they actually used).

A special prize went to David Cooper, skipper of Longue Pierre, who first did this race in 1992. The Cruiser prize went to the young Academy crew from the Royal Southern sailing the borrowed Illywhacker. The Double-handed prize went to Noj and Chrissie White for what they described as the toughest race they could remember. -- Peta Stuart-Hunt

Results on www.royal-southern.co.uk

Racing Wooden Boats Round Lambay's Traditional Course Simplifies Yacht Racing
Simplify the courses, make the starts more accessible, and sign up interesting boats, ideally with historical interest - those are some of W M Nixon's suggestions for stimulating sailing.

They're going back to their sailing roots in Howth. The historic Lambay Race in a fortnight's time will re-introduce the traditional direct course round the island for both the venerable Howth Seventeens, and a special class for Classics and Old Gaffers.

The annual race round Lambay has been a part of the local sailing calendar for at least 110 years. With the first known Howth regatta being staged in 1857, doubtless the island was used as a very clearcut race mark several times during the 19th Century. But it wasn't until 1899 that a Lambay trophy was finally put up by a member of the relatively new Howth Sailing Club (founded 1895), and it is 1904 before we find any reference to such a race being held.

The way it was reported suggests that it had been a well-recognised event since the early 1900s, and the course was firmly established. Start off the pierhead (time to be taken from Findlater's clock), through the Sound leaving Ireland's Eye to starboard, then round Lambay leaving it to port, and back to the finish through the Sound, this time with Ireland's Eye to port. It's only about 16 miles in all, but it can be a course with a bit of everything.

And it was so beautifully simple - even the business of hitting the main mark of the course didn't merit disqualification as you were aground, and had more than enough problems to be going along with, without being chucked out of the race as well.

It was a format which worked well until the 1970s, when fancy notions of always having windward starts from a committee boat, with all sorts of other course permutations round laid marks, were added to the ancient mix.

My own disenchantment with the new regime came on a day of light westerly winds, when a Race Officer obsessed with fitting in a long windward leg set a Lambay Race course which also took in the Kish Lighthouse eight miles offshore.

WM Nixon's full article in Afloat:

afloat.ie/blogs/sailing-saturday-with-wm-nixon

America's Cup Veteran To Skipper, Swan 60, Team China In 2014 Nord Stream Race
Team China is on track after a short build programme to take part in their first ever Nord Stream Race. This will be the most progressive entry to the Gazprom Swan 60 Class since its inception three years ago. The team will race on board the newly launched Swan 60, named Windward, which will be skippered by America's Cup Veteran, Lorenzo Bortolotti.

Lorenzo Bortolotti, Skipper on board Team China spoke ahead of the race scheduled to start on the 30th May, this marks the first official competition for the Asian Swan 60.

Igor Frolov, Skipper of Team Russia and Executive Director, Saint-Petersburg Yacht Club, Russia welcomes the unknown opponent, Team China, to the global mix of Swan 60 teams. "The new Asian contingent has definitely shaken up the Swan 60 fleet this year; it will be interesting measuring ourselves and the new Russian Youth Sailing Team against this unfamiliar international crew. I am hoping that our top flight experience within the core crew that has remained consistent through the racing evolution of the Gazprom Swan 60 Class will be sufficiently challenging again for 2014".

Racing a Swan 60 for the third consecutive year will be Tim Kroger (GER) with his Team Europe. Tim has instructed multiple Volvo Ocean Race sailor and accomplished match racer, Magnus Woxen (SWE) to join his team again, Magnus provides the ultimate Nord Stream Race mix of offshore performance with inshore match racing skill. Tim will have additional back up on the longer overnight legs from Christian Scherrer (SWI), watch captain during the 1993/94 Whitbread Round the World Race and during the short in shore racing at Helinski, ISAF match racing World Champion, Piotr Przybylski (POL) mentored by the famous Karol Jablonski, will provide essential input.

The Swan 60s christen the start of the 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 Circuit on the 30th May racing 150 nautical miles offshore from Saint-Petersburg, Russia to Helsinki, Finland concluding leg one of the annual Nord Stream Race.

www.gazpromswan60class.com

New River Festival Honours Limerick Sailor
A new festival named in honour of a Limerick man who famously completed a solo circumnavigation of the world will take place along the banks of the River Shannon in Limerick City on Sunday June 8th next.

Organised and funded by the Mid West Regional Authority (MWRA) through its participation in a European Programme for developing and promoting the watersports sector in Europe's Atlantic Area, the 'Pat Lawless Sail and Oar Festival' will celebrate Limerick's status as a riverside city and will feature a series of events on the river.

The late Pat Lawless made international headlines in 1996 when the then 70-year-old sailed his 30-foot vessel, the Seadog, up the Shannon Estuary on the final leg of his 30,000-mile around the world voyage. Mr. Lawless, who was from the South Circular Road and was a member of the Iniscealtra Sailing Club in Mountshannon, passed away in 2010.

The 'Pat Lawless Sail and Oar Festival' takes place in Limerick City on Sunday June 8. The event is sponsored by the NEA2, an Interreg IVC Atlantic Area project.

facebook.com/PatLawlessSailandOarFestival

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 John Burnie: I am not a journalist but feel moved to join the journalist's debate. Although I agree with most of the points already raised by "the experts" I would like to add two matters.

First technology: events today are covered in such an immediate timescale that previous "instant media" forums (such as newspapers / newswires where the written word was king) are now positively archaic. In the old days boats on an ocean race would disappear over the horizon for days at a time - so any news at all would be big news. Today we have real time description analysis - how on earth can anyone continually contribute a meaningful and interesting dialogue over a lengthy event like the Volvo or the Clipper Race? It is inevitable such reporting becomes saturated and, without thought and reflection, it is bound to fall into the mundane coverage that we all dislike so much. In addition everyone is so focused on the technology of "first to the post" reporting it seems that many basic writing skills are ignored. Many of the tenets that David Ogilvy preached to his trainee advertising copywriters probably apply here - "If it isn't relevant or interesting - forget it - no words are better than bad words. If we cannot interpret with good copy we will go with a decent picture instead".

On the other hand, like Louay, I believe decent reporting on yachting is a skill that few people have. On a recent offshore single handed race one competitor (who was not a journalist) kept up a riveting dialogue on his journey that was so diverse and interesting the blog attracted a large following. Sign him up immediately I say - Louay will advise him about the rewards in the noble profession! I say Journalists, PR companies and to a certain extent sponsors are all culprits in the weak coverage we sometimes see. But standing tall in this "guilty brigade" are most of the TV commentators we have had to suffer at high end events in recent times. Watching such ineptitude (often from world class sailors) has left me tearing my hair out. There is probably a fine line between being interesting and being knowledgeable (picture Gazza vs Lineker in Match of the Day) - but sailing has such sparse air time. Those responsible for relaying us the sailing news in TV media have often failed to capture my imagination as an enthusiast let alone any wider public interest.

* From Laurence Mead: Daniel Charles.....BINGO! You win first prize. The most eloquent words I have read on the terrible curse of the dumbing down of our sport in the name of appealing to the General Public. It will never work and in the meantime it's slowly killing our sport for those, like me, that love it.

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The Last Word
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. -- Winston Churchill
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average politician. -- Bill Blain

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