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

Commodores' Cup: Returning Defenders GBR
Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK: Britain returns to the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup as the defending champion following the victory of GBR Red in 2012. Like the French the home nation will be fielding four teams, including a team from Scotland, when racing gets underway this Sunday 20th July in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial week long regatta for amateur national three boat teams.

Racing will consist of 6 Inshore Races, an Offshore Race and a Round the Isle of Wight Race. Racing continues from Sunday until Saturday July 26. Competitors are berthed at Cowes Yacht Haven.

Compared to previous years the form of the 2014 British teams is harder to judge with many first time competitors. In fact, of the 12 boats, only two competed in 2012. Father and son team, Michael and Seb Blair, are returning with their King 40, Cobra, in GBR Red and David Aisher's J/109, Yeoman of Wight, is back in GBR Blue. One reason for this is due to many boats changing hands - all three of the 2012 GBR Red line-up are in new ownership. However Jonathan Goring, owner of GBR Red's winning Ker 40 Keronimo in 2012, has returned as a Team GBR selector.

GBR Red is traditionally the RYA's top team and in previous years has been the stand out British team overall but this year GBR White is at the same level.

Melges 32 European Championship
Riva Del Garda, Italy: The first day of racing for the seventeen-strong Melges 32 fleet in Riva Del Garda was nothing short of spectacular. Three races under stunning conditions elevated overall leader Valentin Zavadnikov and his Synergy GT team to the top of the ranking charts, now ahead by three.

The first race of the day got underway with nice and breezy, relatively flat water conditions.

The breeze built beautifully for the final race of the day on Lake Garda. Richard Goransson's Helly Hansen Inga From Sweden blasted off the line to take an early lead. Japan's Naofumi Kamei on Mamma Aiuto! jumped the gun to be called OCS while the rest of the fleet raced to the top mark. Goransson extended to win, just ahead of Zavadnikov to finish in second.

Three more races are scheduled for Friday. If fully completed, a discard will go into play after Race Six, potentially shuffling the placement of teams positions on the scoreboard.

Top five after three races:

1. Valentin Zavadnikov / Michele Ivaldi, Synergy GT, 7
2. Roberto Tomasini Grinover / Vasco Vascotto; Robertissima, 10
3. Claudia Rossi / Nicola Celon, Wilma, 14
4. Richard Goransson / Morgan Larson, Helly Hansen Inga From Sweden, 21
5. Edoardo Lupi / Lorenzo Bressani, Torpyone, 22

Premier Composite Technologies
Premier Composite Technologies The Premier Composite Technologies team has been at the forefront marine composites since 1986, when it developed the very first carbon fibre rudders for racing yachts, a market which it dominated for many years to come. The teams' diverse and pioneering approach to finding new applications for composite structures, led it next to Malaysia in support of some major architectural projects, and eventually to Dubai where PCT was established in 2006.

Throughout this period, and despite the steady growth in new markets, the PCT team has remained true to its passion of building racing yachts and powerboats, continuing to deliver high quality, performance products for many of the world's leading designers, including: Farr, Judel/Vrolik, Kerr, Mills, Fisher, Botin and of course Carkeek.

The sheer scale of the operations and the facilities and resources available are more than any company could justify if the sole business was building semi custom boats. PCT's marine team is therefore in the fortunate position of having access to possibly the best, purpose-built, facility of its kind, in the World.

PCT are currently building: the GC32 flying catamaran, high performance monohull Carkeek 40 MKII's & Carkeek 47's, the Premier 45 performance cruiser and the Farr 280 one design sportsboats.

If you have a project or would like to discuss a particular boat, please get in touch

Spanish 420 Girls Seal ISAF Youth Worlds Title With A Day To Spare
Spain's Silvia Mas Depares and Marta Davila Mateu clinched 420 Girls gold with a race to spare on the penultimate day of racing at the 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship.

The Spanish team have been sensational on the water and sealed the deal with a bullet and a sixth.

Many of the sailors across the remaining seven fleets have guaranteed themselves a medal but the colours are to be decided on the final day with one race on the cards for each fleet.

Tavira's breeze arrived fashionably late but when it came in it remained consistent from the south west building to 10-12 knots.

Canary Islands Test Run
Alicante, Spain: Three Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 crews - Team SCA, Team Brunel and the Spanish challengers - will go head to head in the first competitive clash of the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65s in the Round Canary Islands Race from Saturday.

The 650-nautical mile race around the seven Canary Islands starting and finishing at Marina Rubicon in Lanzarote is expected to take three days to complete and will give an early indication of form for half of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet so far announced before the event begins on October 4.

At opposite ends of the scale in terms of preparation, Iker Martinez's Spanish-backed boat will take on two of the most-practised crews in the fleet: the all-women's crew of Team SCA and Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel.

Bekking, a six-time veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race, was meanwhile hungrily anticipating a return to competitive sailing after a spell of relative relaxation for his Dutch-backed boat.

"We had two busy months in the Netherlands where the focus was mainly on public relations and sailing with sponsors. Everyone is happy to be back - the focus is again on performance and optimising the boat," he said.

In contrast, under the strict Volvo Ocean Race rules, Team Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are not competing against each other as they cross the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island to the United Kingdom and are forbidden from closing to within two miles.

Report On Search For American Yacht Nina Released
US based Satellite telephone company Iridium Communications failed to give New Zealand rescuers details of a dramatic final message from a missing yacht Nina until the US State Department intervened, a detailed review of the search effort has revealed.

The report, released this week into the search for the vintage American yacht Nina, which disappeared in the Tasman Sea in June 2013 with six Americans and one Britsh sailor aboard, said the entire dynamic of the rescue operation would have changed had the message been delivered earlier.

The critically important message was a text sent on a satellite phone by crew member Evi Nemeth to NZ meteorologist Bob McDavitt on June 4 revealing Nina had shredded her storm sails after being caught in a strom force winds.

The Search and Resuce authorities thought the Australia-bound yacht was merely running late due to rough weather as Iridium did not pass on the text revealing it was in trouble, despite a June 15 request from RCCNZ for all relevant data regarding the Nina, the review said.

As concerns about the yacht mounted, the operation moved into 'distress phase' on June 27, meaning aerial searches were stepped up amid grave fears for the lives of the Nina's crew.

But the review, written by former Australian maritime rescue chief David Baird, said Iridium still did not pass on the message until July 3, after the RCCNZ asked US authorities for help in dealing with the Iridium, a US based company.

'Even if this message had remained undelivered but its contents provided to RCCNZ when they first contacted Iridium on 15th June, then the whole dynamic of the search would have started at another level and the distress phase would have been declared much earlier,' it said.

No trace of the Nina has ever been found, despite a search that Baird found was thorough and professionally conducted. -- Rob Kothe,

Stamm and Le Cam Team Up For Barcelona World Race
Stamm and Le Cam will be on the start line at the next edition of the Barcelona World race at the helm of an IMOCA 60, which will be dressed up in the colours of Cheminees Poujoulat, Stamm's loyal partner since 2003 who will side with him again on this new adventure.

Together the two sailors will form one of the most experienced teams in the race. Between the two they have participated in no less than six Vendee Globe races, nine round-the-world races and some sixty Transats

Bernard Stamm has signed a lease contract with an option to buy Jörg Riecher's Farr-design boat that was launched in 2007 and aboard which Michel Desjoyeaux won the 2008-09 Vendee Globe. It then came second in the 2010-11 Barcelona World Race with Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, and was back at the 2012-13 Vendee Globe with Jeremie Beyou.

Optimist European Sailing Championships: Reigning Champions Fight Back
With a forecast for the weather to deteriorate tomorrow, which hitherto has been glorious, it was decided to change the original schedule and run two races today (17 July) at the Optimist European Sailing Championships on Dublin Bay. In fact the day became a race against time as mist thickened into fog and several races had to be shortened for safety reasons.

Two races, numbered seven and eight, were successfully sailed for the Gold fleet but Race 8 for both the Silver and Bronze fleets had to be postponed until tomorrow.

In the boys' Gold fleet four of the leading sailors had poor results which they will use as discards. Kasper Nordenram (Sweden) with places 6 and 15 slightly reduced the lead held by French sailor Enzo Balanger who nevertheless has a healthy 14 point margin. The main beneficiary was reigning champion Tytus Butowski from Poland who has now moved into bronze medal position.

In the girls event Reigning champion Mara Turin of Slovenia continues to struggle back from her disappointing first day with a 3rd place in Race 7 and 7th in Race 8. She is now placed 4th, just two points away from the podium.

Three Irish girls had qualified for their Gold fleet, a feat achieved by only two other countries. Race 7 made little different to their rankings.

Top three, Gold Fleet Girls
1. Ebru Bolat, RUS, 40 points
2. Iset Segura, ESP, 45
3. Marina Mueller, SUI, 56

Top three, Gold Fleet Boys
1. Enzo Balanger, FRA, 30
2. Kasper Nordenram, SWE, 44
3. Tytus Butowski, POL, 49

Full Results:

French WIM Series Event Next Week
The Women's International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) welcomes Women's Match Race Golfe du Morbihan in Vannes to the 2014 schedule. The event was initiated and is organized by double World Champion and multiple world ranking #1, Claire Leroy.

Vannes is a rather small town of 55 000 people in French Brittany, a nice and quiet place where it's good to live. The legend tells that there are 365 islands, one for each day of the year, in the Golfe du Morbihan. In winter the waters provide heavy storms of 60 to 70 knots, but in summer the thermic winds are warmer and gentler, yet challenging enough. The strong tidal currents of up to nine knots will also put the sailors to test.

The "Societe des Regates de Vannes" is one of the oldest yacht clubs in France, founded in 1848. The first regatta was run in fishing boats, but nowadays the SRV organizes in the first week of October "The Catagolfe" with 200 sports catamarans, and in June "le Tour Autour du Golfe", a large dinghy meeting. And now, of course, a stage of the WIM Series. Famous club members of the SRV are Figaro racer Nicolas Lunven, the 1992 Vendee Globe winner Alain Gautier and Daniel Souben, who is racing on Tour de France a la voile.

America's Cup Meeting Raises More Questions
Potential America's Cup challengers have aired their concerns about the next regatta to holders Oracle at a summit in Los Angeles.

Representatives from syndicates in New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Britain and France got together with the American holders to thrash out some of the issues raised in the recently released protocol for the next regatta due to be held in 2017.

The meeting was initiated by Iain Murray, the chief executive of the challenger of record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

It's understood some of the more contentious points raised were:

- The possibility of Bermuda hosting the final. It is short-listed with San Diego and clearly poses potential limitations for teams like Team New Zealand who are reliant on private sponsorship and exposure. San Francisco's jettison was also raised despite last year's success.

- The plan to have a qualifying regatta at a separate venue, possibly in the southern hemisphere, that would add significant costs.

- An arbitration panel replacing the International Jury and therefore eliminating involvement from the sport's world governing body, the International Sailing Federation.

- The $US3 million in entry fees and insurance cover that needs to be paid by the end of the year.

The Independent newspaper in Britain reported that UK challenge boss Sir Ben Ainslie was also finding the deadlines difficult to work with as he looks to secure the final pieces of his funding jigsaw. -- Duncan Johnstone

* Stuart Alexander in The Independent:

In some of the more frank exchanges, the Oracle representatives, designer Ian Burns and lawyer Sam Hollis, were told that the choice of Bermuda could persuade some of them to pull out. Burns is a naval architecture business partner of Iain Murray, who called the meeting as chief executive of the challenger of record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC).

San Diego received a general thumbs down and even some American followers of the Cup have been scathing about the inner harbour at San Diego, host offshore of the Cup in 1988, 1992 and 1995 but at least it is not only in the U.S. it is in California. Some Americans would be upset if an American defender moved the event to another country.

Conflicting deadlines make life more difficult for everyone. The deadline for entries is 8 August, just three weeks away, but the venue is not likely to be announced before October and the stated deadline for that is the end of this year. Without a venue it is almost impossible to attract finance from sponsors and Ainslie needs up to £50m.

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