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 Hard Miles
To sail 15,000 miles around the Southern Ocean is a marathon achievement, and five weeks after they set off, the seven teams in the Barcelona World Race are acutely aware of the fact that they are not yet halfway. After the survival conditions of the low pressure system which threatened the leaders, and the hair-wrenchingly frustrating light winds which ensnared GAES Centros Auditivos, the Indian Ocean is now testing the 14 skippers' endurance.

Cheminees Poujoulat was this morning sailing at 18 or 19 knots in 30-knot north-westerlies. Conditions have eased a couple of knots this afternoon, but look set to build back up to around 28-30 knots for their final push to the second 'Great Cape', Cape Leeuwin on the south-western tip of Australia, about 350 miles away. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are expected to reach the Cape tomorrow morning. Second-placed Neutrogena is shadowing the leaders at around 180 miles to the west, in slightly more westerly pressure.

For GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur it has been a particularly demanding 48 hours, with both boats putting in an intense series of gybes in 25-knot westerlies.

Rankings at 1400hrs UTC Thursday 5th February 2015

1. Cheminees Poujoulat (B. Stamm - J. Le Cam) 13,914.0 miles to the finish
2. Neutrogena (G. Altadill - J. Munoz) + 189.5 miles to the leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella - G. Marín) + 1,145.2
4. Renault Captur (J. Riechers - S. Audigane) + 1432.7
5. We Are Water (B. Garcia - W. Garcia) + 2,014.5
6. One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert - D. Costa) + 2,660.1
7. Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa - C. Colman) + 3,126.6
ABD Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

Extreme Sailing Series Singapore
Leigh McMillan and the team on The Wave, Muscat executed a consistent strategy in trying conditions, sailing to victory in three of the eight races sailed to finish the day just where they wanted: in pole position. However, at this stage in the game, it is always tight at the top of the leaderboard, and with the rest of the fleet showing a real depth of talent and putting in performances to make McMillan earn every single point, it is well and truly game on for the next three days of Stadium Racing.

Eight races were sailed - the first of up to 250 this year - with five different winners as the majority of the fleet struggled for consistency in the continually shifting breeze. With a wind range from 2 to 18 knots, and gusts that peaked at 26 knots, the teams' tacticians had it all on to minimize mistakes, read the shifts well and sometimes to simply make the most of the cards they got dealt.

Tomorrow and for the next three days, the action on Marina Bay Reservoir will continue with the support of Host Venue Partner Aberdeen Asset Management.

Extreme Sailing Series Act 1 Singapore standings after Day 1, 8 races
Position / Team / Points

1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari, 62 points
2. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Mads Emil Stephensen, Brad Farrand, 58
3. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Jason Waterhouse, Shaun Mason, Stewart Dodson, 53
4. Lino Sonego Team Italia (ITA) Lorenzo Bressani, Enrico Zennaro, Gabriele Olivo, Tom Buggy, Adam Kay, 50
5. Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Phil Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Alexander Bozhko, Aleksey Kulakov, 50
6. Beko Team Turx (TUR) Cem Gozen, Mitch Booth, Selim Kakış, Diogo Cayolla, Anıl Berk Baki, 46
7. Oman Air (OMA) Stevie Morrison, Nic Asher, Ted Hackney, Ed Powys, Ali Al Balashi, 44
8. GAC Pindar (GBR) Seve Jarvin, Jack Macartney, Marcus Ashley-Jones, Tyson Lamond, James Wierzbowski, 43
9. Team Aberdeen (SIN) Nick Moloney, Adam Beashel, Tom Dawson, Freddie White, Justin Wong, 24

Seahorse March 2015
What's in the Latest Edition Of Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse Magazine

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2014
Winner of the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014 Alfred Farre (ESP) tells us about the beauties and difficulties of a job like no other

Why not now?
The time and market situation are now right for a relaunched Admiral's Cup, says Rob Weiland

The (other) Pope
Dobbs Davis was fortunate enough to count Lowell North among his early skippers. He reflects on a quite extraordinary journey...

Giuliano Luzzatto talks to Luna Rossa designer Marcelino Botin and Blue Robinson catches up with Ben Ainslie...

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East Over West Win In Hardy Cup Final
Just a couple of metres in the fifth and final race today decided the 2015 winner of the prestigious Hardy Cup on Sydney Harbour, a cross-nation duel between two of Australia's outstanding young match racing skippers and their crews.

Victory in the ISAF Grade 3, Under 25 Match Racing Regatta went to the Sydney-based Cruising Yacht Club of Australia crew skippered by Jay Griffin against Perth-based Sam Gilmour's Neptune Racing team from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, the final score being 3-2.

Today's semi-finals and the dramatic final were sailed off the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli in light and flukey winds.

Gilmour and his crew of Chris Smith, Adam Negri and Jack Breislin won the first match race. Griffin and his CYCA crew of Henry Kernot, Jack Dawson and Alex Chittendon levelled the scores with a win in match two and went ahead 2-1 after match three. Gilmour fought back to level the score 2-2 after match 4. Match 5 was the decider.

The Petit final between Chris Steele and Matthew Jerwood also provided close competition with West Australian Jerwood winning 2-1 against the New Zealander who last week won the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth. -- Peter Campbell

Winds Of Up To 30 Knots Forecast For Sanya Departure
Sanya, China: Volvo Ocean Race's six-strong fleet heads out towards Auckland from Sanya for Leg 4 on Sunday with some big calls to make in the latest instalment of a marathon offshore contest.

Charles Caudrelier's (FRA) Dongfeng Race Team have their noses in front by a single point after the stage from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, but know that they could so easily follow the example of Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), who could only muster fifth place on the leg to China after winning the previous one.

The Chinese team, which became the first from the world's most populous nation to win a leg in the 41-year-old race last month, have yet to announce their crew plans for the 5,264-nautical mile trip to Auckland, New Zealand.

These will be unveiled on Friday (February 6) and it will be fascinating to see how many changes they make to a crew which is performing so surprisingly well.

Chris Nicholson (AUS) and several members of the Team Vestas Wind crew, whose boat was badly damaged on a reef in the Indian Ocean on November 29 during Leg 2, will watch the departure in Sanya.

The skipper from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, reported on Thursday that Vestas Wind had arrived at the Persico yard in Bergamo, Italy, and the first stages of the rebuild were now underway with a hoped-for return to the race in June.

Meantime, the latest round of the In-Port Race Series - this one named the Team Vestas Wind In-Port Race - will be held on Saturday with Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) aiming to continue their good form following victory in Abu Dhabi.

Comanche vs. Rambler 88
When it comes to regatta headlines, nothing beats having Comanche and Rambler 88, the yachting world's two newest and most sophisticated racing machines, compete head-to-head for the first time ever in the sixth annual edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth, scheduled for April 13-18, 2015.

Comanche, designed by the French team of VPLP Design/Guillame Verdier, and Rambler 88, designed by Argentinian Juan Kouyoumdjian, were launched in late 2014 at Hodgdon Yachts and New England Boatworks, respectively. Both yachts sport state-of-the-art carbon fiber hulls and rigs, but each has special features that, although tested on previous boats, have been combined with other innovations on these yachts for the first time. For instance, Comanche's monolithic (as opposed to sandwiched honeycomb) construction in its forward hull sections certainly qualifies as "beyond normal," but to keep up, Rambler 88's rudders seem to have been nibbled on by sharks around their leading edges.

"When it comes right down to it," says Comanche's helmsman Ken Read, "the general concepts of the two yachts are very similar; they are big wide boats that rely on canting keels and width for their stability. The biggest difference is sheer size. Comanche is a big 100 footer, while Rambler looks to be a much more manageable-sized 88 footer. But don't let the size fool you. Being manageable is all relative, and each will be a handful when the breeze kicks in. Both boats have their versions of 'unusual,' but whether it's the size and shape of Comanche or the sabre tooth rudders on Rambler 88, the underlying part of the story is that these boats were born to go fast, and their owners are both huge promoters of innovation."

Race On A Volvo Open 70 - The Caribbean 600 Challenge
Monster 70 Record-breaking Volvo Open 70 racing charter Monster Project is offering experienced sailors and enthusiastic newcomers a rare opportunity to join our team for the epic RORC Caribbean 600 Race, 21st - 27th February 2015.

Monster Project's Caribbean 600 package includes pre-race training days 17th - 21st February 2015 - where you'll be trained by our Professional Crew and Racing Skipper Andy Budgen, before Monster Project cross the start line on 21st February 2015 and the real adventure begins.

Will you join an international fleet of over 50 yachts, which has now entered the offshore blast around the Caribbean, one of yacht racing's most exhilarating playgrounds with the warm trade winds and a Caribbean swell providing superb sailing conditions. The RORC Caribbean 600 course, starting and finishing in Antigua, is designed to provide a challenging, high speed racetrack.

As an integral part of the crew, experience the thrill of sailing Monster Project's Formula - 1 racing machine. Tackle the worlds elite, and take on tasks such as grinding, hoisting, trimming and even driving a Volvo Open 70 in an extreme racing atmosphere.

This 70 foot technological and architectural masterpiece, forged of carbon fibre and resins, with towering mast, huge square-topped mainsail, twin daggerboards and a canting keel; has a magic combination of displacement, length and sail area and Andrew Budgen, will be skippering the boat to win. Already the battle for Line Honours includes Ragamuffin, Maserati, Rambler 88, Leopard, and of course Monster Project.

For more information on:

- The Caribbean 600 (21 - 27 February 2015)
- St. Maarten Heineken Regatta (5 - 8 March 2015)
- Antigua Sailing Week (25 April - 1 May 2015)
- Fastnet (16 August 2015)
- Transatlantic 2015 Newport, Rhode Island to Cowes, Isle of Wight - held only once every 4 years (5 July 2015)
- Volvo Ocean Race Events


Martyn Mackrill Royally Acknowledged
A Yachting Monthly illustrator has been appointed official artist to the world's most prestigious yacht club in the year that it celebrates its bi-centenary. Martyn Mackrill, 53, whose original paintings have graced our Book At Bunktime series over the last year was made the Royal Yacht Squadron's artist on 1 January 2015.

The post, at the famous Castle on Cowes waterfront, lasts for five years. Mr Mackrill, who paints from life and who is based in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, where his studio is attached to his family home, has given painting lessons to members of the Squadron, founded in 1815, as well as capturing the famous club's HQ in oils from the very unusual angle of on shore behind the club. Most depictions of the castle are made from the waters of the Solent.

Mr Mackrill, sails Nightfall, a 31 ft gaff cutter built in 1910 and once owned by legendary Yachting Monthly editor, Maurice Griffiths. Mr Mackrill restored the boat over 12 years and now sails her with his wife Bryony and their daughters Olivia and Georgina and son Charlie. She is moored above the swing bridge in Yarmouth.

In 2000 he was appointed honorary painter of the Royal Thames Yacht Club following in the brush-strokes of Condy, Norman Wilkinson and W.L. Wylie.

His paintings are owned by Princess Anne, Prince Henrik of Denmark and hang in many locations around the world including in the collections of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the Royal Thames Yacht Club, and the Royal Solent Yacht Club.

WCC Ocean Cruising Seminar
Hosted by the World Cruising Club, organisers of the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the Ocean Sailing Seminar returns in March 2015. Open to all, the seminar is perfect for those considering the transition from coastal cruising to blue water passage making.

The Ocean Sailing Seminar combines classroom lectures with group discussions and one-on-one interaction with speakers and fellow students. An all-inclusive programme of seminar presentations, speaker materials, hotel accommodation, meals and social time together combine to provide a in-depth learning experience for offshore voyaging.

Lecturers have been chosen specifically for their knowledge and practical experience in their specialist fields and will cover the following topics during the weekend event:

For full information visit

From Yachting Monthly:

50 is the new 40
The Royal Southern Yacht Club defies time, getting younger every year, with the average age of its membership now under 50.

Chris Mansfield, the newly elected Commodore, has a strong heritage in professional blue water yacht skippering, on boats such as Duet as well as leadership positions on Velsheda, and latterly Bloodhound. He was a founder member of Splash, the Club's youth sailing section, 30 years ago and is in a unique position to have witnessed the gradual growth of the Club and broadening of its activities to help attract a younger membership.

"It's taken over 30 years to get to this point and the Club is justly proud of a growing membership, now standing at over 1700 including 100+ members of the Royal Southern Academy that was launched five years ago."

Construction of the Prince Philip Yacht Haven is on target for completion in April Furthermore, the Club's latest major construction project, a new sea wall designed to reduce the risk of flooding in the future and the building of the Prince Philip Yacht Haven, is due for completion in the late Spring.

Home-grown sailing talent will be mixing it up on an international stage. In 2015 the Club's on-water programme includes eight external regattas, including four National Championships, the ISAF Grade 2 Match Racing event and the Club's usual programme of monthly regattas and Club races. -- Peta Stuart-Hunt

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Pieter van der Weide

See the collection at

The Last Word
The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall. -- Mitch Hedberg

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