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

The Longest And The Greatest Day At The RTI Race
The longest day of the summer came close to delivering the longest J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race ever, writes Kate Laven, as winds ranging from zero knots to painfully light tested the patience of crews with high performance catamaran Team Richard Mille emerging as line honours winner with a time of almost nine hours.

Most of the 1,585 entries started the race around the Isle of Wight in around 3 knots and bright sunshine and as the hours went by, temperatures rose but wind speed dropped leaving hundreds of boats becalmed and a large proportion of the 16,000 crew desperately seeking ways of making their boats go faster or resorting to stretching out on deck to enjoy the sunny conditions.

First to the Needles was Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore's Swan 45 Eala of Rhu but the going was slow and Sir Ben Ainslie, racing on the Farr 45 Rebel with members of his BAR America's Cup crew, took longer to complete the first 13 miles than the record-breaking 2hrs 52mins 15secs he took to finish the entire race last year.

Rebel very quickly became involved in a match race with rival Farr 45 Toe in the Water crewed by injured servicemen and women who had served recently in Afghanistan and the lead swapped several times over the 50 nms course though it was Capt Lloyd Hamilton's ecstatic crew who nudged across the finish line ahead of Ainslie and his team of professionals.

Another big battle to ensue on the water was between the brand new high-performance catamarans, the GC32s Team Richard Mille and Spax Solution making their racing debuts in the Solent. Former line honours winner Pete Cumming had gathered together a professional crew for Team Richard Mille, including helmsman Paul Campbell-James and proved consistently faster than their rivals.

First monohull across the finish line was Dutch boat Tonnerre de Breskens, with a time of 9 hrs 56 mins 13 secs but they too had a battle royale to gain an advantage over Mike Bartholomew's Tokoloshe II, which trailed in just 22 seconds later after one of the biggest tests of endurance and patience since the Round the Island Race started in 1931.

Winner of the Tenacity Trophy, awarded annually to the skipper of the last boat home, was Stuart Whitmore. He crossed the finish line on his Sigma 33, Sixes and Sevens, (IRC3) at 21.51.35, having started his race at 0730 - that's 14hrs, 21mins 35secs later.

There were 715 finishers and 791 retirees.

The Gold Roman Bowl was awarded to...a Folkboat, Madelaine, skippered by Edward Donald, who hasn't quite achieved the record four wins of the Gold Roman Bowl by Edward Heath but he's nearly there, having won it individually three times and the Donald family has collected this famous trophy four times.

Newport Bermuda
For many of the 1500+ sailors on 162 boats on course to Bermuda in the 49th Newport Bermuda Race, yesterday's Summer Solstice must have seemed like the longest night ever. Shockwave, the line honors leader at noon Saturday then 438nm from Bermuda, was still 336nm from Bermuda at 2:00 AM Sunday.

The 2012 Gibbs Hill Lighthouse winner was averaging a velocity made good to Bermuda of 8.3kts, compared to 9.2kts up to noon Saturday. At 2:AM Shockwave was doing 10.3kts making a good course of 152º toward Bermuda.

For those 14 hours, Shockwave had averaged 7.2kts. George David's Rambler had averaged 16.1kts on the way to smashing the record in 2012. Rambler sailed the entire course in 39hrs 39min. The mini-maxis are well beyond that now, so no record will fall in 2014.

The big difference between the faster, leading boats and those further back is the Gulf Stream. Carina and Christopher Dragon, two of the leading boats on corrected time, are nearby and in the axis of the Gulf Stream which is flowing west to east. The current may actually be making wind for them, giving them additional apparent wind to sail with.

Figaro Leg 3 Gets Underway In Roscoff
There was drama even before the starting pistol had been fired in Roscoff Sunday afternoon. As the fleet of 38 solo sailors prepared to set off on Leg 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard cachemire, Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) broke part of his rigging. The 29 year old had been the overall leader after the first two legs but a problem with his D1 forced Delahaye to return to the dock for repairs.

Delahaye and his preparateur were able to fix the rigging in Roscoff and he was able to re-start the Leg, including the inshore course at 1600BST.

The race itself started cleanly at 1400BST in around 15kn of NE'ly breeze and beautiful sunshine. Minutes after the race start Sebastien Simon (Bretagne - Credit Mutuel) collided with the port side of Joan Ahrweiller's boat, (Region Basse-Normandie). The damage was considered too much for Ahrweiller to continue and so the skipper was forced to abandon.

Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth) was the first Brit around the Radio France buoy. As of 1640BST Goodchild had moved up to 9th, 0.6nm behind the leader.

The leading rookie after the first two legs, Britain's Sam Matson (Artemis 21) finds himself towards the back of the fleet with Claire Pruvot (Port de Caen Ouistreham) after they missed one of the inshore marks and had to drop their spinnakers to beat back to it.

The sailors are making the most of the wind as they race along the North coast of Brittany, the wind is likely to have dropped by the time they've reached Belle-Ile off the coast of Quimper. The penultimate Leg of 2014 is likely to be another long one. The fleet is not expected to arrive in Les Sables d'Olonne until late on Wednesday evening.

Hudson Wight's Performance Jacket Lives Up To Its Name
Hudson Wight Hudson Wight's new Performance Jacket for 2014 is manufactured using their exclusive OceanVent Technical Fabrics. This great looking, high spec Jacket is designed to be the ultimate day sailing jacket for use afloat and ashore and is highly waterproof, very breathable and already looks like being a best seller at only £115.00 inc VAT.

Key features:

- OceanVent Technical Fabrics outer layer
- Waterproof (over 20,000mm) and breathable (12,000g/sqm/24hrs)
- Treated with Dupont® Teflon® Shield Pro+ giving fabric protection and extremely durable water repellency
- Anti-pill fleece body lining for extra warmth and comfort
- Insulated easy on/off sleeve lining
- YKK AquaGuard® zips with "zip garage"
- Extra high collar for when it gets nasty
- Easily accessible adjustable stowaway hood for when it gets really nasty
- External fleeced lined stowage pockets for warmth
- Two internal storage pockets
- Adjustable Velcro cuffs for warmth & wind-resistance
- Twin adjustable waist drawing toggles for shape, comfort and wind-resistance
- Excellent flexible arm articulation

The Performance Jacket is available in two colours, Blue or Grey and in sizes XS-XXL. Order from

Kieler Woche - Reefing As Part Of The Race Program
If the low above Scandinavia and the high above the British islands move together, it will not get tight for Kiel between these pressure systems, but windy. This is exactly, what the sailors did see the second race day of Kiel Week. Sudden gusts with much more than 30 knots did hit the fjord in Kiel, so organisational head Peter Ramcke hat to cancel one race after the other on the courses of the Olympic and Paralympic classes. In the end only the Lasers could sail close to the shore.

Wind and waves were building up on Sunday even more than on Saturday, which already had been pretty rough. Race director Ramcke already decided in the morning to set the white-red burgee to signal the postponement of the race. That the signal went down a bit later the afternoon, suited title-holder Philipp Buhl (Kiel/Germany). He had been hoping for some races during the day to have a chance for a victory in his home sailing area after having been penalised for pumping on the first race day. "For the Laser, these conditions are doable. What more can happen as to capsize and continue sailing afterwards?", asks Buhl when speaking to Ramcke. He became his chance and finished on places 5, 3 and 7 and thus made the cut for the gold fleet. -- Hermann Hell

Kiel Week Schedule:

International classes, 26 to 29 June:
Charly: Formula 18, Hobie 16
Delta: 505er, FD
Echo: 420er
Foxtrott: J 24, Folkeboat, B/one
Golf: Musto Performance Skiff (Euro-Cup)
Hotel: 29er / from Wednesday, 25 June
India: 29er / from Wednesday, 25 June
Juliett: Europe, Laser Radial open, Laser 4.7
Kilo: Contender, OK

Offshore, 21 to 28 June:
21. - 22. June: Welcome Race*: (ORC-Club I -III, ORC-Int. I-III, Albin Ballad, X-79, Multihull)
21. - 24. June: Kiel-Cup Foxtrott (Melges 24, J/70, Platu 25, J/80, SB 20, Albin Express)
23. - 25. June: Kiel-Cup Alpha (ORC-Int. I-III)*
26. - 27. June: Silbernes Band (ORC-Club I-III)
28. Juni: Senatspreis (ORC-Club I-III)

* IDM Offshore, 21 to 25 June: 21 to 25 June: IDM ORCi I to III

* The Sultanate of Oman's flagship MOD70 campaign, Musandam-Oman Sail, smashed the Kiel Week Welcome Race record from Kiel to Eckernforde today, completing the 27.5 nautical mile sprint in 1 hour 47 minutes and 22 seconds,

The 70ft multihull lined up against an impressive 127-strong fleet on the start line in Kiel in a light 10-knot breeze that built to a stonking 20 to 25-knot northwesterly as the fleet raced away from the crowds lining the dock in Kiel, into the Outer Fjord and up the coast to the finish line in Eckernforde.

The mixed European and Omani team onboard the Sultanate's flagship, led by Irish offshore sailor Damian Foxall, were delighted with the result: "It was full on out there, great fun and great to break the record," said Damian. "The start line was very busy with not only a lot of race boats but a giant ferry to contend with as well, it was a lot of fun and plenty challenging, the wind flow was very unsteady with the north westerlies and the squall lines made it tricky."

Melges 24 European Sailing Series - Kieler Woche
In Kiel the third act of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series has just started.

All 29 competing teams have sailed two valid races under very difficult weather conditions with wind blowing 20-22 knots reaching up to 30 knots during race two that forced an early stop.

Audi tron (1-1) helmed by Riccardo Simoneschi, has started the series with the right pace winning the first two races.

A team that has repeateadly tried to overcome the Melges 24 of the Audi Italia Sailing Team has been the Danish DEN-782 (3-2) helmed by Kim Christensen that has collected a third and a second: scores that allowed a second place in the provisional ranking before GBR-694 (2-5) of Geoff Carveth, two-time Laser SB3 olympian.

CZE-704 (DSQ-4) of Martin Trcka, among the favourite teams is paying off its disqualification on race one.

The other Italian team Alfredo Capodanno's ITA-636 (15-12) has collected a thirteenth.

The Kieler Woche is resuming today with four more races: forecasts are predicting a slight wind decrease blowing 20-22 knots.

Aboard Audi tron following crew is sailing: Riccardo Simoneschi (helmsman), Enrico Fonda (tactician), Stefano Orlandi (trimmer), Federico Buscaglia (pitman) and Lucia Giorgetti (bowman).

The Audi Italia Sailing Team 2014 season is supported by main sponsor Audi, logistic partners Kuehne+Nagel and Torqeedo outboards, technical sponsor Olicor.

Provisional rankings

Melges 24 European Sailing Series ranking

California Cup Farr 40
Marina del Ray, California, USA: Clinging to a one-point lead going into the final day of the California Cup, skipper Alex Roepers and his crew aboard Plenty closed out the competition in convincing fashion.

Roepers steered Plenty to victory in both races on Saturday and turned that narrow lead into a 12-point margin of victory, capturing the California Cup with a low score of 31. Flash Gordon 6, owned by Chicago architect Helmut Jahn, placed second with 43 points.

Terry Hutchinson called tactics while Skip Baxter (main) and Morgan Trubovich (headsails) served as trimmers on Plenty, which captured the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship last month. Bowman Greg Gendell was the other pro on the boat while Ted Hackney (offside trimmer), Scott Holmgren (grinder), Matt McDonough (bow), Dimitri Simons (pit) and Jen Wulff (pit assist) completed the crew.

Final Top Five, California Cup

1. Plenty, Alex Roepers, USA, 31.0
2. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, USA, 43.0
3. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, USA, 46.0
4. Groovederci , John Demourkas, USA, 54.0
5. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, ITA, 58.0

Full results:

Superyacht Cup Palma
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Superyacht Cup Palma Unfurled with a 2,1,1 scoreline in Class 2 win the Superyacht Cup Palma after a fabulous finale on the Bay of Palma for the 26 boat fleet. With the breeze topping out over 20kts on the first fast broad reach the conditions produced fantastic racing.

With four families on board - including renowned father and son partnership Ross and Cambell Field - the 112ft/34.2m Frers design took the top award with a consistently strong set of results across the three different races.

In Class 1 Saudade won the final race but could not beat Ganesha's overall score, the new Dubois 149ft/46m sloop winning their class at their fourth ever regatta.

And in Class 3 Heartbeat needed to win today in order to win their class overall and retain the Class title they won here last year, at the only regatta the crew do each year together.

* With a win in the fourth and final race, a fast 30 miles coastal course with over 20kts of brisk sea breeze back and forth across the Bay of Palma, Lionheart lift the trophy that they consider the season's most prestigious and hardest to win, triumphing in the five strong J Class at the Palma Superyacht Cup.

Having missed out on overall victory on the last race here last year when they could not recover from a poor start, this time Lionheart fought back from a modest opening to the first upwind and took the lead when they went to the far left of the upwind, making a big gain to lead Ranger around the first buoy.

From there they were challenged only when the breeze went soft at a leeward mark and the leaders compressed closer, but with excellent speed upwind and downwind Lionheart proved comfortable winners.

With their second win from four races, also sharing Wednesday's King's Hundred Guinea Cup with Hanuman, the team which has Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking as tactician win their second J Class regatta in a row, after winning in Mahon, Menorca last month. Consistency proved key for the Erle Williams skippered Ranger which took an excellent second overall, pipping last years champions Hanuman by half a point.

Today's coastal race brought the series to a fitting showdown. With just one point separating regatta leaders Lionheart from Hanuman, the latter made poor start and only on the final run to the finish did they rescue fourth place when they passed Rainbow.

Loick Peyron's Boat For The Next Route Du Rhum
Having built 3 of the biggest trimarans foe the next Route du Rhum (Banque Populaire, Prince de Bretagne et Sodebo Ultim'), it is now "Happy", the sister ship of Mike Birch's famous Olympus, being launched in front of the Multiplast yard.

For some years now, Loïck Peyron has wanted to do the Route du Rhum in an alternative way, or rather, like before. "To get these boats into shape shows a good example ; to respect the past allows us to rethink the future", explains the skipper who will commemorate the 36 th anniversary of Mike Birch's victory in his own style. The little yellow trimaran's victory against Michel Malinowski aboard his large monohull, with a difference of just 98 seconds separating the winner from his runner-up, has gone down in history.

'Happy' will line up at the start with its main competitors in this class: A Capella with Charly Capelle, and another sistership skippered by JP Froc, to, as Loick says, "rediscover the emotion of feeling lost".

Giraglia Rolex Cup
Photo by Carlo Borlenghi, Click on image for photo gallery.

Giraglia Rolex Cup Bernard Vananty's Tixwave went one better than last year to secure an overall win in the 62nd edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race. Last year's bridesmaid to this year's bride: made to look simple. Tixwave, a Swan 42, finished at 22.50 CEST on Thursday night knocking Luca Locatelli's Thetis off the top spot in the standings, a position she had held for a mere 30 minutes.

Vananty was predictably delighted with the result. Winning a mythic race like the Giraglia Rolex Cup is every racing yachtsman's dream: a confirmation of ability, a reward for perserverance and a lasting place in the sport's long and rich history.

"It was quite special to do the Giraglia Rolex Cup this year because it is exactly 40 years ago that I did my first one. I was 18/19 years old. It was very windy, we had a prototype boat and we could not finish the race. Last year we came back to do the race again, we were second overall and this year we have won!"

206 yachts including 12 double-handers - a first for the event - took part in this classic contest that attracts crews from around the world. 189 finished this year's race that began with light, troublesome winds, offered most competitors an unusually easy rounding of the Girgalia rock, and, for some of the smaller yachts, a welcome steady beat to the finish.

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