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

Nord Stream Race
On 30th of May, a long awaited moment has finally come: The start of Nord Stream Race 2014. Many international top-class sailors, including world and European champions, Olympians and many America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans, have entered the competition.

Saint Petersburg gave the participants of Nord Stream Race 2014 a warm though rather rainy welcome. Race director Alan Green explained that the crews will have to be ready for some difficult light wind conditions during the first leg: "Sailors know that little wind is often more exhausting than strong wind."

The newcomers in the Swan 60 fleet got a lot of attention. One of them is Team China with owner Yeliang Fan and skipper Lorenzo Bortolotti: "We are newcomers to this race but we are no beginners", so the America's Cup veteran. "However we still have a lot to learn on this new boat." The situation is similar for Team Estonia of skipper Alar Volmer: "We have a very good crew but unfortunately not a lot of experience with the Swan 60." The core of the crew from Tallinn has been sailing together on a 42 ft yacht for years and has already been amateur world champion in the ORC 1 class.

The team of the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge is still dreaming about such success: The young crew around the Russian Whitbread Round the World Race participant and Olympian Sergey Borodinov is still at the beginning of their sailing careers.

At the moment the yachts are moored in the center of Saint Petersburg at the English Embankment. Tomorrow morning they will make their way towards the fortress island of Kronstadt, where the customs and emigration formalities will be completed. The start of the race is scheduled for 2pm. Depending on the weather conditions the fleet is expected to reach Helsinki on Saturday afternoon after 150 nautical miles of sailing.

Follow the race with the tracker at

Swedish National Team Forms For Royal Ocean Cup
The Swedish Offshore Sailing Federation has announced it has selected its six entries to compete in two teams of three to represent Sweden in the Baltic's premier offshore team championship, the Royal Ocean Cup (ROC). Racing for this new event will be held over 27-30 August 2014, and will be hosted by the Royal Danish YC (KDY) from their facilities in Tuborg Harbor near Copenhagen.

The boats are as follows: TEKNOVA, Beneteau First 40, reigning Class B ORC European Champion; KRAKEMUT, Kracer 40 R; X-presso, XP-38; YRO, Beneteau First 40,7; Team Pro4U, Beneteau First 36,7; and FIREFLY, X-35.

"The Swedish ambition is to make the final selection of the two teams after we have seen the results in the Swedish ORCi Championship over 5-8 June, the AF Offshore Race [from Stockholm around Gotland] in July and the ORCi Worlds in Kiel in early August," said Swedish Offshore Sailing Federation Vice-Chairman Sten Edholm. "Then we will know better the updated status of the participants, and how best to configure our teams.

The Royal Ocean Cup is open to all boats with a valid ORC International certificate, and is a team competition, where teams will be divided into two groups - one representing national teams and one representing teams that are formed by boats from different countries. Each team will consist of one boat Class 1 (<590 sec/mi GPH), one boat Class 2 boat (575,0 to 609,0 sec/mi GPH) and one boat Class 3 (600 to 699,9 sec/mi GPH).

The event also features pro-am competition, where for each team the ORCi Class 1 boats are allowed to carry a maximum of five ISAF Group 3 crews, ORCi Class 2 boats four Group 3 crews and ORCi Class 3 three Group 3 crews. All boats are to be helmed by either an owner or by a Group 1 registered helmsman. An owner helmsman may be Group 3 without counting towards the limit of Group 3 crew. Other requirements are that a maximum of three crew members on each boat may hold a different nationality then that of the country the boat represents or under the nationality the boats register.

Pendennis Cup
The fourth edition of the Pendennis Cup takes place in Falmouth from 26th - 31st May 2014, with the racing managed by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and Race Officer Peter Craig.

2014 will see at least 11 yachts with a combined length of over 320m compete over four days. This dramatic regatta sees modern and classic superyachts fighting against each other for the honours, exploiting clever tactics to rise to the challenging sailing conditions presented by UK waters, balancing the extremes of tide and weather.

There is a close finish and then there is day 2 of the Pendennis Cup. Christopher and Velacarina joint winners on corrected time.

Conditions were near perfect with the fleet enjoying an extended course, from the shoreline close to Pendennis Head, then further out to sea northwards towards Gul Rock with a reach down to the Manacles.

After another closely fought race on Day 2 of the 2014 regatta Velacarina and Christopher finished in joint first position in the Pendennis Cup fleet on corrected time.

Cerinthe took the honours in the Little Dennis Fleet with the lead changing frequently throughout the day. The flat water and consistent breeze really provided an ideal playground for these beautiful classics. Thursday was a Lay Day with racing continuing later in the week on Friday and Saturday.

Get Safe This Summer: In Water Safety Experience At Lymington Sea Water Baths
Ocean Safety Head down to the Lymington Sea Water Baths on Saturday 14th June where Ocean Safety will have a host of safety equipment for everyone to try.

Put the date in your diary - the day will kick off at 10am with a live inflation of a liferaft and Jonbouy Recovery Module.

Test the equipment, both in and out of the water, enjoy experiences like boarding the liferafts, practising with throwing lines and rescue slings, all within the safety of the historic lido pool next to Hampshire, UK's Lymington River.

It's a perfect opportunity for the whole family to get involved and learn how to use equipment you may already have on board your boat. Ocean Safety's team of safety specialists will be there to give advice and answer safety questions.

"Our open days, which we have traditionally held at our main offices around the UK have always been hugely successful," comments Ocean Safety's Sam Leonard. "This time we thought we would run an open day in one of the main yachting centres along the south coast, and the large pool at Lymington is an ideal location."

And, since it's a watery experience, come rain or shine it will be a great day!

View the event PDF:

Lars Grael On Rio
Lars Grael has been critical of the choice of sailing area, the failure to deal with the pollution and the poor shore facilities. But he is aware that time is running out and it would be difficult to switch the venue now. Grael prefers Buzios for the race courses, as having better wind conditions in August and better water conditions.

"Buzios water is clear. In Guanabara Bay I've come across corpses four times. Imagine that . . . a scene in the Olympics! God grant that this does not happen."

"The wind in Buzios, even in August, is excellent, considered one of the best lanes in the world. The wind of Rio de Janeiro in August, unlike Buzios, is weak and variable."

"Also is the fact Guanabara Bay has very particular conditions of wind and current, generated by a shifting tide, and it brings a technical and tactical benefit for the Brazilian team."

Grael makes the point that while billions has been spent on soccer stadiums the Marina da Gloria for the sailing event is: "Some carpeting, a tent, lighting, security and call it the Olympic marina. Frankly, it's a disappointment."

"For sailing, the legacy of the Olympics is expected near zero. The Bay, wretched, maybe be a little better than she is. And the marina, we do not have, we will continue without."

Translation from

Full interview in Portuguese:

Phil Sharp: Zero Carbon Yacht Research
A British sailor is teaming up with researchers from Imperial to develop a zero-carbon energy system for the yacht he aims to race around the world.

Phil Sharp is an Imperial alumnus (Mechanical Engineering, 2003) who first made sporting headlines in 2006, when he won his class in the single-handed transatlantic Route de Rhum race. He is leading a new project in a bid to lead the first British team to victory in the next Vendee Globe non-stop round the world race in 2016.

Phil Sharp Racing will be working with researchers from Imperial's Energy Futures Lab (EFL) to design an energy system that uses no fossil fuels and is sufficiently lightweight, robust and efficient to enable the yacht to perform in the world's most challenging races.

If the team achieve their aims, this will be the first zero-carbon, fully-sustainable racing yacht to complete a round-the-world race such as the Vendee Globe. The boat will also compete in other events of the IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.

IRC Announces Single Rule Authority In South East Asia
IRC racing in South East Asia is well established, with popular regattas including Singapore Straits, Raja Muda and Phuket King's Cup attracting large and competitive fleets from around the region and further afield. There is a great deal of interchange between the IRC fleets, particularly in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, with many boats regularly travelling to regattas in other countries.

The RORC Rating Office, based in Lymington, UK, has been in discussion with these three Rule Authorities about making the administration of IRC certificates simpler and more efficient for owners and event organisers, enabling the highest level of consistent service as possible. From June 2014, the IRC administration in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia will be combined into a single Rule Authority - IRC SE Asia - to be managed by Simon James who has managed IRC Thailand for many years.

IRC SE Asia website
Asian Yachting calendar

J/70 Midwinter Championship Returns To Key West Race Week In 2015
Capitalizing on a 60-boat J/70 fleet at the 2014 Midwinter Championship in Key West, FL, the J/70 Midwinter Championship will again be conducted as part of Key West Race Week in 2015. The 28th edition of the week-long event is scheduled for January 18-23, 2015, and this will be the fourth straight year that Quantum Sails will serve as title sponsor.

Kathy Parks, owner of Sundog, shares the enthusiasm of many other J/70 owners, saying, "The Division 2 race committee gave us another great Quantum Key West Regatta. I love the five days of racing, which we rarely see anywhere else and we love the energy at the panels, party and awards."

Registration and regatta details can be found at the regatta website:

Normandy Channel Race: Wolf Rock Again!
Following a decision by Race Management and the Race Committee, the fleet of Class40s is making towards Wolf Rock, without going via the Fastnet.

GROUPEMENT FLO is continuing to hold onto the lead of the overall ranking and has even managed to extend her lead over her pursuers. After rounding Tuskar Rock amidst a flurry of tack changes, the duo from Lower Normandy is slipping along at a lively pace, about to negotiate the passage between Wolf Rock and Land's End in the other direction in 10 to 15 knots of downwind conditions.

The battle continues to rage. There was a 9-mile deficit between CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE and GROUPEMENT FLO at 2100 GMT, and 20 miles separate GDF SUEZ and the current leaders. The grey and yellow boat skippered by Sebastien Rogues and Bertrand Castelnerac works like a dream downwind and managed to overtake the Franco-British duo at around 0200 GMT this morning

Bringing up the rear, the British Class40, SWISH, rounded the Irish mark at 0322 GMT this morning and is now making headway at 10 knots, going all out to make up ground on the rest of the fleet. The wind is set to remain at around 10 to 15 knots from the north, north-east as far as the Breton mark Lizen Ven.

From The Archive, 29 May 1967: Francis Chichester Sails Into The Record Books
Sir Francis Chichester sailed home tonight with a good West wind behind him and a hullabaloo all around. Gipsy Moth IV crossed her finishing line by the breakwater at 8.55 precisely, 119 days out of Sydney.

She came, not lonely any more but, with an armada of boats and aircraft to chivvy her along and with a huge crowd - not half a million, but plenty - on the Hoe to cheer her in. It was almost dark and these people had waited all day, and no man could have had a warmer welcome than that.

The ketch came in bravely, with 14,750 miles on her log, four large patches on her staysail, and many long rust stains down her sides. She came in amid a firefly glow of navigation lights and in a stench of paraffin from the gas turbines of Naval patrol boats to hurry her along.

Full article from the Guardian's archives:

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J/108 builds on the success of the award winning J/95 and has evolved from the combined experience and knowledge of the J network of dealers, builders and nearly 370 J/109 owners who have short-handed, cruised, and raced their boats around the globe. The J/109 has been one of the most successful performance cruiser-racers in the world. Using the sea-kindly hull shape of her predecessor, J/108 benefits from recent developments in keel and rudder design, simplified handling systems, and the knowledge-base of the J/95.

Paul Mikulski, North Point Yacht Sales
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The Last Word
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