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

Altadill Comes Home In Second
Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz should cross the Barcelona line Monday on their IMOCA 60 Neutrogena and secure second placed overall in the Barcelona World Race, the two handed race around the world.

Altadill, 52, has enjoyed many round the world race finishes over a varied and successful career spanning nearly 30 years. But finishing in to his own home city, through the waters where he grew up sailing - and coached at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as part of the Spanish Olympic team - will surely rank as one of the sweetest memories of his life.

Altadill was one of the pioneers in the first edition, announced in July 2007 as a skipper of Estrella Damm, but he and co-skipper Jonathan McKee had to retire into Cape Town with technical problems. And he was part of a partnership that did not make it to the start line for the second edition. The Catalan-Chilean duo will harbour some regrets that they had to let Cheminees Poujoulat away when they had to pitstop Neutrogena in to Bluff, South Island New Zealand on 11th February, a diversion which maybe only cost them the statutory 24 off the race course, but their unavoidable loss amounted to close to 1000 miles.

Rankings Sunday 29thMarch at 1300hrs UTC

1 Cheminees Poujoulat (B Stamm - J Le Cam) finished 25/03/2015 at 17:50:25 UTC In 84d 05h 50min 25s
2 Neutrogena (G Altadill - J Munoz) + 224.5 miles to finish
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella - G Marin) + 322.4 miles to leader
4 We Are Water (B Garcia - W Garcia) + 1736.5
5 One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert - D Costa) + 1872.6
6 Renault Captur (J Riechers - S Audigane) + 2820.9
7 Spirit of Hungary (N Fa - C Colman) + 3652.7
ABD : Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)

'It's Completely Insane'
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet in the wild Southern Ocean was fighting two battles on Sunday - for bragging rights to lead the fleet round Cape Horn, and the race to win Leg 5.

The first will be decided between Monday afternoon and evening and the other around April 5-6 in Itajaí, south-east Brazil, after three weeks of unprecedented, close-quarter racing.

The outcome of both contests is impossible to predict although the Turkey/USA crew of Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are currently narrow favourites as they led a group of five boats at 1240 UTC on Sunday.

Should Enright's crew achieve either, it would be a major achievement for a team that is the youngest in the race and led by a 30-year-old Volvo Ocean Race first-timer who first dreamed of entering a team on the film set of the Disney movie, Morning Light some eight years ago.

Position report at 29 March, 15:40 UTC

1. Team Alvimedica, 2429 nm to leg finish
2. MAPFRE 3.8 nm to leader
3. Dongfeng Race Team, 5.7
4. Team Brunel, 6.4
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 8.8
6. Team SCA, 338.7
7. Team Vestas Wind, DNS

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Simoneschi and Audi Tron Claim Victory at the Portoroz Melges 24
Portoroz, Slovenia - The final day of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2015 first event in Portoroz started with the lack of wind and waiting ashore. After one and a half hour a sea-breeze was coming for a while allowing complete just one more race to complete the series of eight races.

Getting finally to the Bay of Portoroz the crews had to meet the instability of a breeze that never exceeded 4 knots. Riccardo Simoneschi's Audi tron (ITA-840) who has been for three years on the top of the Melges 24 European ranking list, won by a 14 point margin over triple Corinthian world champion Storm Capital Sail Racing (NOR-751) led by Peder Jahre

2014 best Pro Am (Corinthian) boat, Hungarian FGF Sailing Team (HUN-728) with Robert Bakoczy in helm retained its leadership in Pro Am division until the end of the regatta ending as fifth in overall.

Final top five:

The results for the Top 10 boats:
1. Audi tron Riccardo Simoneschi, ITA, 10 points
2. Storm Capital Sail Racing Peder Jahre, NOR, 24
3. Four and a half men Franz Urlesberger, AUT, 27
4. Imagine David Rowen, GBR, 31
5. FGF Sailing Team Robert Bakoczy, HUN, 43

Full results

46th Trofeo Sofia Iberostar
Mallorca, Spain: The kiteboarders were the first to inaugurate the 46th Trofeo Sofia IBEROSTAR with three races dominated by Spanish rider Florián Trittel and Elena Kalinina (RUS) in Es Portitxol. Meanwhile in the other clubs the Olympic classes were starting their preparations for the practice race on Sunday and the start of the competition Monday.

Three races were completed in a breeze weakening throughout the day until the abandonment of the fourth. The favorites came out on top with European Champion and vice world champion Elena Kalinina claiming the day with three wins. A fautless performance as well for Florian Trittel (ESP) who stole the day with an incredible margin over his opponents. Racing was cancelled during the fourth race when the kites started to hit the water in the dying wind.

Racing continues Sunday for the Kiteboarding with up to six races planned.

Other classes participating are 470 Men and Women, 49er and 49erFX, Laser and Laser Radial, Nacra 17, RS:X Men and Women, 2.4 Metre, Kiteboard Men and Women, Dragon.

With the inclusion of the Kiteboarding and the return of the Dragon, the Trofeo is both encompassing the future and tradition of sailing. The Dragon was present in Palma 46 years ago when the regatta started while it will be a first for the Formula Kiteboarding.

Solo Basse Normandie
Despite early sunshine in Granville, it was a grey start to the 188 mile Solo Basse Normandie (Friday 27th March) with fine drizzle reducing visibility and just seven knots of wind on the start line for 24 competitors to play with. However, the gloom was soon pierced by the beaming white smile of Artemis Offshore Academy Rookie Rob Bunce (Artemis 37), as he started his competitive solo Figaro career in contention with Vendée Globe winner Alain Gautier (Generali) in the top three.

Frenchman Yoann Richomme (Skipper Macif 2014) extended a great early lead after favouring the committee boat end of the line, chased by Alain, Rob, Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva) and Claire Pruvot (Port de Caen Ouistreham) until the wind shifted to the left, leaving Yoann a little exposed and wide of the fleet. Three of the Academy's most experienced skippers, Henry Bomby (Rockfish Red), Jack Bouttell (GAC Concise) and Nick Cherry (Redshift), set themselves up well mid-fleet with Nick now chasing a top five position.

Race Tracker:

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

Seahorse Magazine

World news
New Imoca 60s are almost as prolific as those TP52s... though currently they all hail from the same designers, a new Class40 for Halvard, turbulent times at Team New Zealand and Jay Hansen joins US Offshore. Blue Robinson, Ivor Wilkins, Giuliano Luzzatto, Patrice Carpentier, Dobbs Davis

Leap of faith
Blue Robinson attempts to prise information out of foiler Moth guru Andrew - Mach2 - Mcdougall about his new people's flyer...

Paul Cayard
And finally there is a new Maxi class worthy of the name. Plus old school in the Molokai Channel

IRC column
And James Dadd wonders if we really are on the cusp of some genuine dual-purpose winners

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Team Oracle Moves In
Team Oracle USA members are to move into the Grand Atlantic condos temporarily as they transition to Bermuda for the upcoming America's Cup.

The Bermuda Housing Corporation, in conjunction with the Bermudiana Beach development team, have agreed to help Oracle in the run up to the sailing event.

Major Barrett Dill, of the BHC, said: "Team Oracle is due to be housed in the Dockyard area which is under construction and not move in ready. As a short-term measure, the BHC and the Bermudiana Beach resort will reserve a single block of units for the temporary assistance of the advance team for the Oracle Group."

The team is expected to move in April for about three months and will then transfer to its Dockyard location.

The move may slow the expected building process at the South Shore site, yet the BHC and the Bermudiana Beach resort said they felt the America's Cup "is very important to the future economic prosperity of Bermuda and wish to play their part in the success of the venture".

The sectioned-off area will be at the eastern end of the property, while construction work will begin from the western side of the site once final negotiations have concluded.

U-Turn Sinks Team NZ
News that Oracle seem to have reneged on Auckland hosting a regatta which would effectively have kept Emirates Team New Zealand in the America's Cup is as depressing as it is puzzling. It means Team NZ, as highlighted in this column a month ago, could be facing the end.

The motive is not clear. Reducing costs, yes - everyone agrees with that. But why now? Why make this sudden move to 45-foot catamarans, the AC45s, when 18 months and millions of dollars have gone into designing AC62s, the 62-footers supposed to reprise the thrills and spills in San Francisco in 2013?

If cost is the question, then the answer seems clear. On Tuesday, the vote that will be taken among the challengers for the America's Cup is likely to be a 3-2 victory for Oracle. The vote is on whether the regatta is staged in AC62s with an AC45 regatta in Auckland (which will mean Team NZ retain government and other sponsors' money) or whether the Cup is raced in Bermuda in AC45s, with no Auckland event.

The European teams have been arguing against coming to the Auckland regatta because of the cost of transporting their boats and crew to New Zealand and then Bermuda. There are rumours they are asking for the Kiwis to bear some of those costs, hardly an option for a cash-strapped New Zealand outfit.

No Auckland regatta, no government money and likely no Team NZ. -- Paul Lewis in the New Zealand Herald

Aberdeen Asset Management 2015 Farr 40 Australian National Championship
It's been a four year endeavour and this afternoon the Tasmanian crew on Voodoo Chile were declared Australian Farr 40 champions.

"We first came up to Sydney in 2008 and went away with our tail between our legs," said a glowing Andrew Hunn, co-owner of Voodoo with his boat partner of eight years, Lloyd Clark. "In 2011 we finished top ten at the worlds in Sydney and decided we would build on that. We are fully chuffed to have pulled this regatta off. It's fantastic to get up because of the competition; I don't think I've ever seen such a battle for second."

Hunn said it was an honour to sail their final three of a 12 race series on Sydney Harbour in front of yachting legend Sir James Hardy and Farr 40 class manager Geoff Stagg, out from the USA for a site reccie for next year's Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Sydney.

Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and Transfusion finished second by six points. The five time Australian champion team was forced to muster something special for the final race 12 or face the prospect of finishing out of the top three, given four of the six boat fleet had a foothold on second overall.


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 Euan Ross: My comments on the misuse of the term 'Chinese gybe' attracted some personal e-mails as well as yesterday's response in Scuttlebutt. It seems that there are a number of like-minded pedants or 'answering pedants' out there, if that pun is not too excruciating. However, Alistair's comments on the origins of the terminology are unconvincing to me.

The junk rig gybes progressively from the bottom up, but this is exactly how all mainsails without kicking straps gybe, particularly with the old gaff rig. As Alistair notes, the junk-gybe is particularly soft as the sails are both fully battened and semi-balanced.

I have never seen a low-aspect junk sail establish a stable configuration with the lower and upper sections on opposing sides, and I doubt it happens often enough to have been the inspiration for the term. I believe it's more likely that the efficient technique of sailing junks downwind with the mainsail and foresail deployed on opposite sides would have inspired the 'Chinese gybe', especially when seen from the elevated deck of a P&O steamer arriving in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the Volvo fleet still needs a suitably dramatic name for a canting-keel crash-gybe. Then we have to take on the misuse of 'jib-top'.

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The Last Word
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