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

Uggh! It's Groundhog Day!
Aboard Dongfeng. Click on image for photo gallery.

VOR Leg 5 Volvo Ocean Race's six-strong fleet were stuck in Groundhog Day as they raced through the South Pacific - and they were not particularly enjoying the experience on Thursday

In the famous Hollywood film, the hero played by Bill Murray, finds himself trapped in time over the same 24 hours, and the crews now know exactly how he felt.

They found themselves crossing the international dateline, which meant that the clock, for a while, turned back to March 18.

The conditions after passing New Zealand's East Cape, were hardly conducive to comfortable sailing - 30 knots of wind (56 kilometres per hour) and a much heightened sea state.

They have avoided by far the worst of Cyclone Pam, which wrought havoc in the South Pacific towards the end of last week, killing at least 11 on the archipelago of Vanuatu.

That weather system also led to a three-day delay in the departure of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet from Auckland on Wednesday before the 6,776-nautical mile (nm) Leg 5 to Itajai in south-east Brazil.

Nevertheless, they could still feel its aftermath for a very rocky ride early on Thursday.

All on board are hardened professional offshore sailors, but many have been reporting severe bouts of seasickness as they speed through the South Pacific towards the Southern Ocean.

480nm Of Classic Blue Water Offshore Racing
The 2015 San Fernando Race, which will start in Hong Kong on Wednesday 1 April, marking the 20th edition of this 480nm Category 1 offshore race, albeit with the 2003 edition falling victim to the 2003 SARS epidemic.

With the continued support of the Philippines Department of Tourism and run biennially under the auspices of RORC, the race attracts a sector of the sailing population committed to blue water offshore racing, with Hong Kong sailors being joined by their peers from Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand together with many other countries further afield.

The race is known for its tactical challenges - rough conditions on the first night out, coupled with a network of holes as the fleet approach the Philippine coast have robbed many a boat of a first place.

An entry list of 24 boats under IRC or performance handicaps will be doing their upmost to smash the record of 49h 55m 12s set by Hong Kong sailor Sam Chan in 2001 on the 71' ULDB Sled, FfreeFire.

Geoff Hill will be back to defend his Line Honours title with Antipodes, the Smith Custom 72 which lifted the SCMP Trophy and the San Miguel Trophy after just over 51 hours of "an awesome sail", however Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin 90 and Sam Chan's TP52, FreeFire will be doing everything they can to get to La Union's principal city at the front of the fleet.

Clipper Skippers
With less than six months to go until the start of the Clipper 2015-16 Race, we can now reveal our most diverse ever line up of professional skippers.

For the first time in our nineteen year history, the group of twelve professionals includes two women skippers, who hail from Canada and Australia, and the first ever skippers to represent France and Ukraine/Germany. The UK is also strongly represented with skippers from Scotland, Somerset, Cornwall and Hampshire.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: "I feel very proud to welcome our most diverse and international group of race skippers yet.

"This is the first time we've had two women skippers in one race and I very much hope they will inspire future female participation. I'm also delighted to see we are broadening our professional appeal as we welcome our first French and first Ukrainian/German skippers."

He added: "Our crew come from all over the world so I'm pleased to reflect this in our leadership. I look forward to working with all our skippers over the coming months as they prepare for another thrilling race."

Skipper list and bios:

Dubarry Crosshaven - 'Race Face' Protection
Dubarry It's pitch-black. We're on the wind halfway across the Irish Sea, heading for 'The Rock' in a Force 6 - and it's building. On the rail we might look like a troop of Japanese snow monkeys on valium but we've huddled into something like comfort when skip calls the headsail change we've been dreading for the last five minutes. Three minutes later I'm clipped on with my feet on the leeward toerail with an armful of changed foresail when a wave engulfs the foredeck. The water clears and I'm still onboard thanks to the combined efforts of my tether and the stanchion lodged in my crotch. Lucky me.

Sail change over I'm back on the rail but my feet are cold and wet and my enthusiasm for this caper ebbs quickly away, unlike the sea water - the boots were still wet a week after the finish in Plymouth. It's 1989 and, though the stylishly weathered Shamrock boot is much in evidence, the Crosshaven is but a dream. Had I been wearing Crosshavens, the gaiter and drawstring would have kept my feet dry and my race face on. Funny how something so simple can be so incredibly effective.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

James Spithill Believes Cost Cuts Could See Australia Return To The America's Cup
Rehabilitating two-time winning skipper James Spithill hasn't given up on Australia once again fielding a team in the America's Cup.

The Sydney Northern Beaches sailor, brought up on tales of Australia II's heroics to win the famous trophy back in 1983, yesterday said a move to reduce the costs of campaigning could pave the way for Australia's return to the famous regatta.

The pin was last year pulled on a campaign backed by the Oatley wine family for the next event in Bermuda in 2017.

But Spithill, in Sydney recuperating from tendon surgery which could require up to 13 weeks of rehabilitation, believes a proactive move to reduce the multi-million dollar costs associated with campaigning for the America's Cup could open the door for Australia; s return.

"I think there is a real chance,'' said Spithill, helmsman for America's Cup defenders Oracle Team USA, owned by US billionaire Larry Ellison.

Dinghy Academy Finn Sailors Enjoy Great Conditions For Valencia Open
The Dinghy Academy in Valencia was established in 2013 by 2000 Olympic Finn silver medalist Luca Devoti as a way to develop the skills of aspiring Olympians in a group training environment. It receives a range of funding including support from the International Finn Association through its development programme, FIDeS, which aims to support specific sailors from developing nations.

From 12-14 March, 22 of the sailors who are using the Dinghy Academy as their training base took part in the Open Internacional Vela Olimpica, organised by the Real Club Nautico.

The event featured some extremely close and competitive racing in light to moderate winds with a truly international field of sailors from 11 nations. It was convincingly won by Zsombor Berecz (HUN) from Alican Kaynar (TUR) and Alejandro Muscat (ESP).

The fleet was so close there was a different winner in all six races. Alejandro Foglia (URU), a recipient of a Finn class development funding, won only his second race ever in the Finn. As well as Berecz and Kaynar, top sailors Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), Josh Junior (NZL) and Giorgio Poggi (ITA) also won races. In each race, there was lots of position changing behind them, but in general the race winner led from start to finish. -- Robert Deaves

Judge Orders Marshals To Release Seized America's Cup Boat
A federal judge has ordered marshals to release America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA's souped-up catamaran, which was seized on March 9 after fired sailor Joe Spooner sued the syndicate.

Judge Joseph C. Spero issued the order Wednesday, one day after telling attorneys for the two sides to meet during the next two weeks to discuss a settlement. Spero allowed the lawsuit to proceed.

Claiming wrongful termination, Spooner had the boat seized in an attempt to satisfy a lien. He is seeking at least $725,000.

Spero concluded that Spooner's contract was not sufficiently tied to a particular boat to support a lien.

Fish & Co. Youth Sailing Championships 2015
Welcome back in Singapore╩╝s National Sailing Center and Day 2 of the Fish & Co. Youth Sailing Championships, where Over 370 sailors are enjoying the high level racing here. After a great opening day, it was time to tune up gear for another packed day of exciting racing.

In the Optimist fleet is reigning Champion, Muhammad Shah from Malaysia who is focused on defending his title. He has lost some ground due to inconsistency, and currently sits in 7th place. Chasing another year of success are the 2014 silver medallist, Malaysia's Muhammad Rozaini and bronze medallist Raynn Kwok of Singapore. Both have delivered solid performances so far, but points are close and it would be too early to speculate on their chances of repeat successes. 

The large fleet in the Byte Class, has so far rewarded those who can find a clear lane and space to make gains on the packed race track. Singapore's Samuel Neo was super consistent yesterday and has perfectly executed his successful race strategy again today, to rule at the front of the fleet. 

Talking about success, in the 420 class on race area A, we find some of the hardest hard working Singaporean sailors. Dedication rewards, and these youngsters have already tasted the glory of prestigious titles. Loh Jia Yi, Yukie Yokoyama and Bertha Han are all former Optimist World Champions, and now are putting in all their efforts to succeed in the 420 class.

*|YOUTUBE:[$vid=lavnZrxGsSk, $max_width=500, $title=N, $border=N, $trim_border=N, $ratings=N, $views=N]|*

South West Figaro sailor Henry Bomby is delighted to announce a Title Sponsorship agreement with ROCKFISH, for the 2015 season. Supported by the Seafood restaurant chain since 2013, Henry has had a long term commercial relationship with its owner Mitch Tonks since 2010, but this is the first major Title Sponsorship agreement between the two.

"Our support of Henry's sailing projects has grown and grown over the last few years from a relatively modest initial investment. But Henry has delivered some great results not only on the water but off it too. Our decision to become Henry's Title Sponsor for 2015 came after news that the [Figaro] race is visiting Torbay, which with the opening of the new 140 seat restaurant in Brixham, will mean we will have two restaurants in the Bay.

Henry will be competing in all events on the Figaro Circuit leading up to the Solitaire du Figaro at the end of May. Including the first race of the season in a few weeks time, the Solo Basse Normandie, a 150nm race starting on the 26th March.

Bomby's 2015 Figaro Season:
26th -28th March - Solo Basse Normandie
18th - 26th April - Solo Maitre Coq
5th - 10th May - Solo Concarneau
23rd May - 30th June - La Solitaire du Figaro 2015


The J-Cup organisers are thrilled to announce that Italian clothing brand SLAM will once again support the annual UK J Boats regatta.

The 2015 edition of the infamous J-Cup will, for the first time, be hosted by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes from 11-13 June. Handily for J-Cup competitors, SLAM's flagship store is located in the heart of Cowes, and the team there will be pleased to welcome sailors throughout the duration of the regatta.

Store manager Elena Antoniazzi said  "We are honoured to support the J-Cup event, and we are excited to welcome competitors into the store to take advantage of special discounts on their regatta orders. We specialise in sailing teamwear and provide a very fast, competitive, and high quality embroidery service to our customers."


Ulysse Nardin is pleased to announce its support for Artemis Racing, the Swedish Challenge for the 35th America's Cup, as an Official Partner. 

Ulysse Nardin is proud to fly the colours of Artemis Racing for the next America's Cup campaign, beginning in June and running until 2017.

The announcement was made today at Baselworld, the international Watch and Jewellery Show, with Iain Percy and Loïck Peyron in attendance on behalf of Artemis Racing. 

Ulysse Nardin, a Swiss company, has been making high-quality, prestige timepieces since 1846. It has won over 4,300 awards, owns a large number of patents for mechanical watches, and employs more than 360 people at its Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds sites in Switzerland.


Magma Structures is pleased to announce its sponsorship of Artemis Offshore Academy Alumni sailor Alan Roberts for 2015, backing his second Solitaire du Figaro campaign. Alan, has been a professional sailor since 2012 and spent 2013/14 training and competing with the Artemis Offshore Academy, the UK's only solo sailing training centre, honing his solo offshore sailing skills. Magma Structures is a global leader in carbon fibre technology and offers world-class structural engineering expertise and flexible composite manufacturing from its base in Portsmouth in the UK.

Alan Roberts, 25, is an accomplished sailor as well as being a Naval Architect graduate with experience in building light-weight composite boats, as well as the design of bluewater cruising yachts and IRC race boats. Twice winner of the coveted Endeavour Champion of Champions dinghy title, Alan is also a former National Champion in the RS200, Merlin Rocket and XoD. In 2014 Alan was first in class in the RORC Cherbourg Race, as well as being the first double hander to finish in his Figaro.

Magma Structures are a fast-growing ambitious, young company specialising in the engineering design and manufacture of complex large composite structures.


Warsash Sailing Club, the organisers of one of the Solent's premier racing events, the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series, which annually attracts hundreds of sailors, is delighted to welcome Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear as a new Race Partner for the 32nd edition of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series, starting on Sunday 15th March 2015.


ClipperTelemed+ has been revealed as a Team Sponsor in the 2015-16 edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. It is a new joint venture between Clipper Ventures Plc and its Global Medical Emergency Support Partner, PRAXES Medical Group.

The branded entry will be one of twelve identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts that comprise the Clipper Race fleet. The tenth edition of the biennial event provides the perfect global marketing platform to showcase the new service which is powered by the PRAXES remote medical support team and will be provided to more than 600 crew on the race.

ClipperTelemed+ provides fast emergency and general medical support from PRAXES physicians based in Canada, to all seafarers, no matter how remote their location.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 1976 Palmer Johnson S&S 46 - ARISTEIA. 120,000 USD. Located in Alogonac, MI - USA

Classic S&S from 1976 always stored under cover and heavily updated - bit of a barn find really!


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The Last Word
You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. -- Anne Lamott

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