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

Cyclone Pam Forces Another Delay To Leg 5 Start
Auckland, New Zealand: Cyclone Pam caused another postponement for the Leg 5 departure of the Volvo Ocean Race as organisers announced on Friday that the fleet would not now leave Auckland for Itajaí, Brazil, until Tuesday at the earliest.

The cyclone has already racked up winds of 200km/hr causing a delay in the departure in the six-strong fleet which was originally due to embark on the 6,776-nautical mile (nm) journey on Sunday (March 15).

It was on a collision course with the fleet shortly after they were due to leave the New Zealand city.

Race CEO Knut Frostad told a press conference in Auckland on Friday that there was no choice but to hold up the start of a leg, which was already likely to be the toughest in the nine-month, 38,739nm marathon event.

The race emphasised that the New Zealand Herald In-Port Race was still scheduled to go ahead on Saturday (March 14) at 1400 and they hoped that a sizeable audience of Auckland's sailing-loving residents would attend.

The In-Port series is a tie-breaker for the overall trophy and is currently splitting first and second Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), and fourth and fifth (Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) and MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP).

Audi Melges 20 Fleet: Double Down
Photo by Joy Dunigan. Click on image for photo gallery.

Melges 20 Miami, Florida, USA: With near perfect conditions for the February Audi Melges 20 Winter Series event (Miami Winter Regatta), it was assumed that the Melges Rocks Regatta in March would not be able to deliver the same. After completing three races with 80 degree temps, warm water and a easterly 12-15 knots of breeze, it looks like the finale of the Winter Series may be the best yet.

Similar stellar conditions are forecast for Day 2, and it will be interesting to see if the teams behind Kilroy can find a bit of extra speed to provide more of a challenge.

Top five after three races:

1. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, USA, 6.0 points
2. Portobello, Cesar Gomes Neto, BRA, 10.0
3. Slingshot, Wes Whitmyer Jr, USA, 12.0
4. Bacio, Michael Kiss, USA, 19.0
5. WildMan, Liam Kilroy, USA, 25.0

Full results:

Inuoi And Marie Take Centre Stage at Loro Piana
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Loro Piana Virgin Gorda (BVI): Race One of the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous brought both competing divisions on a circumnavigation of the island of Virgin Gorda in approximately 16 knots of easterly breeze. The application of the new ORCsy handicap rule combined with time-on-distance pursuit racing had a positive debut outing with numerous position changes throughout the races and a very compact fleet heading into the final stretch.

The first two boats in both groups crossed the finish line less than 40 seconds apart after completing courses of 32 nautical miles for class A and 26 nautical miles for Class B. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat international Media at the YCCS base in the British Virgin Islands, runs through Saturday March 14th.

In Class A the winning 108-foot Vitters sloop Inoui was followed by the Swan 90 Freya in second and Perini Navi's P2, with Peter Holmberg calling tactics, a close third.

Class B saw the classic ketch Marie, at 180 feet the second largest vessel in the fleet, chased over the finish line off Necker Island by first-time competitor Wisp in second. Third place went to Drumfire, another modern yacht with classic lines.

All concerned will be back on the race course tomorrow morning for the first signal scheduled for 11.00. Conditions are not set to change with approximately 15 knots of easterly breeze forecast.

The Horror...The Horror...Slush Waves
Photo by Jonathan Nimerfroh. Click on image to enlarge.

Slush The record-setting winter of 2015 has left us with all kinds of remarkable images, most of them of snow and ice.

But a photographer on Nantucket found something most of us have never seen - nearly frozen waves.

Jonathan Nimerfroh was walking along a beach on the island recently when he saw these waves rolling in like slush.

The waves were semi-frozen because there was so much ice inside them.

He took several pictures and shared them with WBZ-TV chief meteorologist Eric Fisher. "It looks like a big Slurpee rolling ashore," Fisher said.

What 170-Year-Old Beer Uncovered From A Shipwreck Really Tasted Like
Click on image to enlarge.

Old Beer Back in 2010, divers off the coast of Finland stumbled upon some astonishingly old booze: champagne and beer preserved underwater in a 170-year-old shipwreck. Naturally, they had a taste. But now scientists are back with a rigorous chemical analysis of the beers.

In the initial taste tests, the beer was so sour no one would tell how they were originally meant to taste. But when our noses falter, we have machines. Chemists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland looked at two particular bottles of recovered beer, which they called A56 and C49.

Both bottles contained much more salt than usual, suggesting the beers had been diluted with seawater. With modern chemistry techniques, scientists are able to separate out individual compounds and by accelerating them through an electric field, figure out their molecular composition—cutting through the sourness and saltiness to the beer's true character, in other words.

A56 and C49 turned out to clearly be different beers. C49 was much hoppier and thus more bitter. An analysis of yeast-derived flavor compounds—basically the stuff that gives beers its fruity and floral notes—also revealed rose and sweet apples flavors that were high in A56. C49 had a higher concentration of flavor compounds for green tea.

Some flavor differences may be because of how beer was brewed differently in the 19th century.

IRC Small Boat Championship
Following many requests for an event tailored to the particular needs of the small racing yacht, the IRC Small Boat Regatta was inaugurated in 2012 and became an instant success.

- Boats with an IRC rating below 0.960 and less than 35 feet overall
- Neap tides
- Two or three races on Saturday, two on Sunday
- Courses designed for smaller yachts
- Competitive racing
- Great socialising at Hamble River Sailing Club after racing

Reserve the dates in your diary now and watch the SIRCOA web site for more details.

Post-race hospitality at the Hamble River SC to socialise with your fellow competitors.
Race documents and on-line entry will be available on the SIRCOA web site soon.

Irish West Coast Extreme Storm Risk Up 25% Says New Study
Climate change has increased the risk of extreme weather on Ireland's West Coast by 25% according to new research.

As RTE News reports, the mathematical models calculated by Oxford professor Myles Allen are the first to draw a direct link between human-induced affects on climate and weather patterns in this specific region.

And Prof Allen's "clear cut" conclusion is that an extreme storm system should now be expected every 80 years, as opposed to the previous estimates of every 100 years or so.

He suggests his findings should serve as a warning to people in vulnerable coastal communities, many of which were badly affected by last year's succession of winter storms.

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

Seahorse Magazine

ORC column
2015 is going to be a (very) busy year.
Dobbs Davis

Design - Bang up to date
Umberto Felci, Luca Ungaro and the PlanaTech design and build team review the creation of a brand new - winning - 'one-design'

RORC news - Upgrade!
Eddie Warden-Owen

Seahorse build table - (Sporty) new entrant
Mark Mills introduces the new MATS 1180

Sailor of the Month
Two more huge talents...

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Foiling Week 2015
Following the experience of the inaugural event, the Foiling Weektm is pleased to announce an improved programme concentrating all events in one location, held over five consecutive days. It starts Wednesday, July 1st and ends on Sunday, 5th.

The format provides for the Forums to be held in the morning and the on water activities mainly in the afternoon with a Foiling Expo available throughout the week.

On the water activities during the first three days will alternate between One Design races, an Invitational Kitefoil event and over the weekend, two long distance races:

One Design (OD) races for the Flying Phantom class, the French cat first on the market and therefore one of the most advanced, thanks to the experience gained since the launch in 2012 and the provision of the first boats to some of America's Cup teams. The Flying Phantoms are now perfectly optimized and rigidly One Design. The Foiling Week 2015 is the third leg of the Flying Phantom Series 2015 circuit.

The International Moth class confirms its presence following the successful experience in 2014. The event is the Italian leg of the Moth EuroCup circuit where top-level athletes will compete in 7 acts on the best of Europe's sailing venues. The Italian leg expects the presence of non-European sailors from the US and Australia.

The Kitefoil Invitational Contest, in cooperation with the International Kiteboarding Association, will be held in parallel with the One Design races during the first three days of the Foiling Weektm. Sailors will be selected directly by IKA taking the names from the international kitefoil ranking.

For more information visit:

Industry News
After throwing out a Bill for mooring taxes in France's protected marine areas in February, French Parliament last week passed an amendment that will mean mooring taxes will now apply to Corsica's Bouches de Bonifacio and the Scandola reserve.


Southern Spars announces the joining of Composite Rigging and Future Fibres under the Future Fibres name.

Southern Spars, a member of the North Technology Group and owner of Composite Rigging, acquired Future Fibres in November 2014. The focus for the first 100 days has been on evaluating the two industry leading companies to position products and capabilities that best support their customers and ongoing strategic objectives.

Valencia based Future Fibres, founded by entrepreneur Tom Hutchinson was the early innovator of the use of non-carbon advanced fibers for yacht rigging and has a wide product range based on this technology.

The new combined Future Fibres company will operate from existing locations in Rhode Island, Valencia and Sri Lanka.


Boatbuilding Live! is partnering with the British Marine Federation (BMF) to produce a technical conference in Southampton, UK, 22-23 April 2015. Boatbuilding Live! is a two-day series of seminars on the current topics most relevant to professionals working in the fields of boat design, construction, repair, survey, and systems. Featuring sessions led by international experts, the Boatbuilding Live! program is the result of an international collaboration between event organisers and BMF's officers.

Held at Southampton Solent University Conference Centre, Boatbuilding Live! will introduce new ideas and technologies to the global marine industry via a series of 18 highly technical seminars and a keynote presentation. The conference is open to industry professionals and students alike. BMF members are able to register at a 20% discount.


Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) today announced that Martin Whitmarsh, former CEO of the McLaren Group and Team Principal of the McLaren F1 team, will be joining the British challenger for the 35th America's Cup. Whitmarsh will take the position of Chief Executive Officer, working alongside Ainslie to bring the Cup home.

Whitmarsh will join the team in the final few weeks before they move into their new purpose-built headquarters in Portsmouth. It was in the south coast city that Whitmarsh studied engineering at the city's University, before starting his career at BAE Systems' Hamble facility. He was quickly promoted to work on advanced composites in Weybridge, rising to Manufacturing Director before moving to join McLaren as Head of Operations in 1989. By 1997 he was Managing Director of the Formula 1 team, eventually rising to CEO of McLaren Racing and McLaren Group alongside his role as Deputy Chairman of the McLaren Automotive Group.

Martin Whitmarsh will take up his position with the team in April.


New car sales in the EU were up 5.7% in 2014 for the first time in six years and the euro/dollar exchange rate is at an 11-year low

The European Central Bank released bullish forecasts for the eurozone after announcing it would leave interest rates on hold at record lows following its meeting yesterday. The ECB lifted its growth forecast for the region to 1.5% for 2015, from the 1.0% it predicted in December.

For Europe's boating industry, new car sales provide the closest proxy to consumer demand for high-ticket spending, and the news there has been good too. As detailed in the latest report posted on IBI Plus, new car sales in the EU posted welcome growth of 5.7% for the first time in six years for 2014, up to 12.6 million units.


The Board of Directors of the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America's Cup Hall of Fame is pleased to welcome Bill Lynn as President & Executive Director. Bill takes the reins from Larry Lavers who is retiring after a successful 4-year tenure during which he oversaw the organization's return to financial stability and the launch of several key projects.

Bill is a lifelong sailor and classic yachting enthusiast with a background in marketing and communications. He leaves behind almost 3 decades of success in the for-profit world to help lead the transformation of the Herreshoff Marine Museum from a relatively undiscovered treasure to the vibrant cultural institution that the organization believes it has the potential to be.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Owen Sharpe: The ETNZ team says that their unprecedented ability to foil " was largely a refinement of [the] computational approach and methods" used earlier. Oracle explained it in terms of "many small things", but it looked such a complete change. Is it possible their achievement was also " largely a refinement of computational approach and methods" they'd used previously?

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