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
Plenty Crowned Farr 40 World Champion
New Yorker, Alex Roepers has been crowned World Champion after taking 4 from 7 bullets on San Francisco Bay for the 2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championships.
With just one point separating second, third and fourth place, crews were keen to hit the water this morning to fight it out for the big one but the bay didn't deliver...boats sat on the water for hours before a race officials were fighting against the clock to get one race in and set a course prior to the 3.30PM final warning signal.
International Class President Martin Hill had another successful day on the water finishing with a 2nd place in the last race and maintaining their overall second position on 34 points.
Transfusion were keen to get some races underway today to jump up the leader board after their devastating 11 point protest penalty but it wasn't to be. The Transfusion boys provided the afternoon's on water entertainment with Will Mackenzie swinging off the halyard in stuntman style before face planting into the water from a fair height.
Provisional top ten after 7 races
1. Plenty, Alex Roepers, USA, 24.0
2. Estate Master, Lisa and Martin Hill, AUS, 34.0
3. Enfant Terrible , Alberto Rossi, ITA, 39.0
4. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer, GER, 41.0
5. Voodoo Chile, Andrew Hunn, AUS, 45.0
6. Kokomo, Jim Richardson, AUS, 46.0
7. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut and Evan Jahn, USA, 46.0
8. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, USA, 49.0
9. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, AUS, 52.0
10. Groovederci, John Demourkas, USA, 60.6
Record Start For 35th Rolex Middle Sea Race
Thousands of spectators lined the Valletta Waterfront to witness the start of the 35th Rolex Middle Sea Race.
122 yachts started the race, a new record for the Mediterranean classic offshore race. Under blue skies and brilliant sunshine, the international fleet of yachts from 24 different countries set off on the 608 nautical mile race. The light winds created a calm almost serene start but this race is always full of changes and a variety of conditions are forecast over the coming days.
Jamie Sammut racing his Maltese Solaris 42,Unica summed up the passion just after the start. "We were very nervous, this is such a huge occasion, the size of the fleet was just amazing and we were filled with pride that Malta is hosting such a great yacht race. The emotions definitely affected us and we didn't get a good start but we settled down and got into our rhythm. Just after we left Grand Harbour, we were joined by a big pod of dolphins and I am sure it will not be the last time that our friends will join us in this race. After all our preparations, it is a relief to get going on what I am sure will be a great adventure."
Due to the size of the fleet the race was split into five starts and Transport Malta closed Grand Harbour to all traffic for the race. The fleet enjoyed centre stage applauded by a lively crowd, which lined the 16th century bastions synonymous with the walled city of Valletta.
Dubarry Ultima - Quality Always Lasts
Developed as a more luxurious, classical and traditional interpretation of the legendary Shamrock, on which the company's reputation was built, the Ultima is Dubarry's flagship boot. Its sole delivers award-winning, sure-footed grip. Its GORE-TEX® liner is waterproof and breathable to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its Dry-Fast-Dry-Soft water-resistant leather weathers with grace and distinction, recording every nautical mile of your experience in the gentle, tanned folds of its sumptuous hide. It's clearer than ever that, though times may change, quality always lasts.
Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?
Dongfeng's Broken Rudder Setback
Dongfeng Race Team lost the lead in the Volvo Ocean Race early on Saturday after the boat hit an unidentified object and broke their rudder.
They lost the lead but replaced the decimated part and they were soon back sailing at 20 knots.
The problem enabled Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to take the lead but the rest of the fleet were still hot on their heels.
The Chinese team's problems began at 0210 UTC when a 'violent impact' hit the boat. Dongfeng's onboard reporter Yann Riou picks up the story: "We had two options, installing the emergency rudder or removing what was left of the old rudder and putting the new one in place. We decided to go for the second option.
"Thomas (Rouxel) put the diving suit on. He jumped into the water... removed what was left from the old rudder (not much) and we put the new one in place.
"We are all disappointed... it does not look very fair but there's nothing to do about this."
It has not been plain sailing for Ian Walker's Abu Dhabi crew either. They reported narrowly missing a net yesterday afternoon but the winds were so light that they were able to take avoiding action.
Team Brunel and Team SCA were not so lucky and were held up briefly after debris caught in their keels.
The Dutch boat even had to send a swimmer into the water to dive down to remove a strip of rubber from their keel.
The women's team also showed an irregular track and reported running into a fishing net, leading to more lost time behind the rest of the fleet who are now some 50 miles ahead of them.
Argo Group Gold Cup Survives Gonzalo
Hamilton Bermuda: The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has announced that the Argo Group Gold Cup is still set to sail, albeit on a compressed schedule, starting Wednesday, October 22. Using the one-day-delay plan announced last Wednesday, the Argo Group Gold Cup will be compressed to five days of racing and organizers will take advantage of the fine weather expected after Gonzalo. Winds predicted to be in the 20kt range each day will help get the full event completed for the competitors and spectators.
Stage 6 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour had been threatened by the category 3 hurricane that struck Bermuda on Friday night [October 17] with predicted winds of over 130 mph. Saturday morning island officials were accessing the damage and later in the day reopened the causeway that links the Bermuda International Airport to the Hamilton end of the island, points South and West.
As previously announced the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup will remain on its original schedule Oct. 23-26. The juniors sail up to 5 races a day in the Great Sound for three days. The final day they race one last race on Hamilton Harbour doing the halftime break in the Argo Group Gold Cup finals.
The Family Festival of Sail, the initial event of Argo Group Gold Cup Week , was originally scheduled for Sunday Oct 19 in Barr's Bay Park adjacent to RBYC. The festival is rescheduled to October 26 and will be part of the finals day celebration.
Volvo Crews Will Keep Ocean Safety's Training In The Forefront Of Their Minds
"Everyone was attentive to this training course," commented Sam Davies, of Team SCA, who participated with her crew. "It's critical that we're aware of the safety equipment on the boats and we know how to use the kit."
Ocean Safety, the UK's largest independent safety supplier, has provided the majority of all the necessary lifesaving equipment to the seven yachts taking part in the gruelling 37,000 mile race, including lifejackets, liferafts, man overboard recovery systems and other vital onboard equipment. Ocean Safety has worked closely with the crew members to ensure that they are all aware of the equipment onboard and familiar with how to use it.
Will Oxley, navigator on Alvimedica has experienced getting into a liferaft for real in the rolling ocean. His experiences are recalled in an interview which intertwines real life with the Ocean Safety liferaft launching sessions in the safety of an indoor pool.
Offshore Youth Challenge Trophy
The Marion Bermuda Race has created the Offshore Youth Challenge Trophy for all sailors ages 16-23. Separate from our service academy trophy, the Offshore Youth Challenge was designed to enable young adult sailors to experience the challenge of sailing offshore in a USSER Oceans event in the accompaniment of experienced adult mentors.
A minimum of four youth sailors must be aboard to qualify as a Offshore Youth Challenge boat, with at least 66% of the crew qualifying as 'youth.' One or more adults must be aboard and must be at least 23 years of age by June 18, 2015.
Are you a skipper or boat owner interested in participating in the Offshore Youth Challenge Trophy? Or, are you between 16 and 23 years old and want to get some offshore experience? Visit bit.ly/MBRyouth or contact for more information
GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series
Online entry is now open for the UK's premier Dinghy Winter Series, managed by SailRacer. Last year saw a record number of entries, with over 800 boats, up 18%, with many events filling up, some operating a waiting list, others at near capacity.
A number of classes have decided to run their own Winter Series within the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series. SailRacer will provide extracted results for these classes and specific prizes for fleets of 10 or more boats. This is a great chance to show off your class to the rest of the dinghy world. If your class would like to get involved please contact Brenda Hoult.
Lymington, England: Bill Green, San Francisco-born sailor, Navy jet jockey (not a lot of people know that); US Coastguard; shrimp-boat hand (not a lot of people know that either); One Ton Cup winner and most latterly proprietor of Green Marine slipped quietly away from this life with - as was his final wish - no fuss or bother. He is and will be mourned by his daughter Saskia, his son Pom, wife Susan, his immediate family and by a circle of friends as wide as the ripples of a lifetime of major contribution to yachting and international yacht racing can spread.
Bill Green was born in San Francisco, Calif, in 1937 and built his first boat at the age of 11. He arrived in England from the city of Kerouac, flower-power and all that went with it aboard George Kiskaddon's Spirit of San Francisco when European and English yachting were still hide-bound by tradition and white duck trousers but ready for change. Spirit and her bandana-wearing crew rocked the boat in more ways than one and her English season of 1967 is still spoken of with awe by those who were there - especially those who were downwind.
After a spell of international crewing, racing and running the world-girdling schooner 'New World' Bill returned to his native city and teamed-up with friend and fellow Californian Doug Peterson who needed help building a new boat to the then new IOR for the One Ton Cup. The boat was Ganbare. Ganbare won the North American One Ton championship of 1973 and then went to Sardinia for the One Ton Cup itself. They won the first four races but in the triple-scoring long offshore went round a mark the wrong way, were penalised and the One Ton Cup was won by the Dick Carter-designed Ydra. What Bill Green said to the navigator is not recorded but we may assume it was pithy and to the point. Ganbare, Peterson and Bill Green seriously caught the attention of British boatbuilder Jeremy Rogers, who asked Green to join his company as consultant and help them build and campaign their own race boats. At a time when many British offshore racers still took pyjamas to sea, had sherry with supper and worked watches Bill Green's minimalist stay-awake-and-sail-the-boat approach coupled with an equally minimalist attitude to just how many winches and similar deck hardware was needed both changed perceptions and won races. Ganbare became the Peterson 35, went into production with Rogers and in 1974 the 'works' Peterson 35, Gumboots, won the One Ton Cup, giving Bill his revenge. It also cemented the association with Rogers and with Lymington.
In the 'Seventies there were only two match race competitions in the world: the America's Cup and the Congressional Cup in Long Beach California. Bill Green persuaded the local Royal Lymington Yacht Club to stage a similar series, called originally the Lymington Congressional Cup, eventually the Royal Lymington Cup. Imitated elsewhere, it was the foundation of what is still the world match racing circuit.
In the early Eighties Bill with the technically brilliant Ian King (another Rogers employee) and their wives Elsa and Dianne founded Green Marine, the four together building a company which quickly became a world leader in advanced composite construction. Green Marine's output ranged from lifeboats and military craft to mega-yachts, America's Cup boats and Whitbread and then Volvo round-the-world racers.
Away from boats and boat-building Billy Green was a latter-day Renaissance man with a wide range of knowledge and interests from Mozart and opera to good food and cycling. His collection of state-of-the-art road and race bikes is the stuff of legend.
There will be a private family cremation in Lymington on Thursday (23rd) but on November 22nd those who sailed with, loved or whose lives were enriched by this extraordinary sailor, boat-builder, businessman and polymath are invited to gather to raise a glass or two, swap stories about him or just simply reminiscence in a very Bill Green way: roasting some meat, listening to some music, drinking some rum. For details of the gathering - and to add your own reminiscence, especially if you cannot be there in person - please email -- Malcolm McKeag
* From Euan Ross: Back in the days of the water-ballasted sixty footers, the 3D tracking system was years in advance of anything else, but now it does indeed seem to have regressed. I'm tempted to say the whole race has regressed, but I guess a small fleet of one-designs describing a tortuous course through psychologically, rather than physically, challenging waters is just something entirely different. And it's certainly not any easier.
The tracker was indeed hard to find as there were no clues on the home page. However, that has been fixed with 'tracker/dashboard' now prominent on the first window that appears - though you have to be quick! Once you have found it, the full tracker will run on Google Chrome. Its irritating, but to use the 'Full Tracker' it seems that you have to right click the jigsaw icon and run the plug-in each occasion.
On the good news front, the wind direction arrows are now usable and it is possible to separate the individual yacht markers. I guess the closeness of the racing in one-designs caught the tracker designers out. They seem to be working on it though.
After you use it a few times, just type 'Volvo' in the omnibox and you'll go straight there avoiding the plethora of annoying trivia. The race reporting is better on all the other yachting websites in any case; though it remains a challenge to identify a genuine race report among all the extraneous blogging bull pumped out by each campaign.
* From George Morris: re: VOR website, Gerald New's letter:
Thankyou Gerald for your support and the brilliant heads-up that the navigation tabs are at the BOTTOM of the page below the adverts. I had not spotted them and before your tip I had to reboot the site every time I wanted to change pages. Has anyone ever come across a website with the navigation bar at the bottom before? But, like the crews, we learn as we go along. To get the Tracker to run in Chrome, when that little jigsaw piece appears and says 'Unity Player needs your permission to run' look up to the top right hand corner near the favorites star and there you will see a miniature version of the jigsaw piece.
Click on it and the tracker will run. It's brilliant! Even the wind arrows work if you expand the scale enough. And the isobars are not at 800mb intervals but 8mb I think. It's all good stuff when you can get to it. But is the Vmg figure instantaneous or over the three hour period?
A superbly crafted IRC race yacht designed by J/V and built by Green Marine, the dream team.
Competitive against the 72's in the Mini Maxi fleet, and also and much more importantly in IRC racing in general.
Beautifully built, and to sail, she offers an excellent opportunity to nip at the heels of the Mini Maxi 72's and to leave TP52 fleet behind.
Absolutely full inventory for inshore and coastal racing, relatively low running costs for the first few years.
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. -- Robin Williams
No Issue For Tuesday
Your humble narrator is off to Bermuda for the Gold Cup, travelling all day Monday and then easing into some hurricane-themed drinks. Back for the Wednesday issue from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
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