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

Dongfeng Dismasted
Click on image for photo gallery.

Dongfeng Dongfeng Race Team broke their mast early on Monday (GMT, March 30) but nobody has been injured and there is no immediate danger to the crew.

The incident happened 240 nautical miles west of Cape Horn at 0315 UTC on Monday, in the final hours of the night local time onboard Dongfeng.

The crew reported that the mast broke above the third spreader, the top section of the mast.

They are not planning to continue racing on this leg and are heading towards Ushuaia, Argentina, under sail, via the Beagle Channel, as their eventual destination before Itajai.

What Happens Next?
The mast remains quite unstable on Dongfeng as Damian Foxall explains: "We really cannot do much more to stabilize the situation right now. At some stage I think we are going to have to go up there and cut some stuff off."

Following the breakage of the mast onboard Dongfeng at 0315 UTC today (Monday, 30 March), the determined men of Dongfeng are now sailing slowly towards Ushuaia, Argentina, itself 250 miles away. The entrance to the Beagle Channel that leads there is just 160 miles away, then another 70 miles in the channel. The crew are able to continue sailing using a small headsail only, and only on port tack for now, progressing at a speed of around 6-8 knots [very rough ETA Ushuaia if all goes well will be midnight GMT tomorrow].

The Dongfeng shore team have been scrambled and are already on route to rendezvous with the boat. The Volvo Ocean Race technical support team, headed up by Nick Bice, along with GAC, are already on the logistics of getting one of the spare masts to Brazil.

Dongfeng has not officially retired from leg 5 as yet and skipper, Charles Caudrelier, is still considering the possibility of the race crew continuing on from Ushuaia under sail once the rig has been fully stabilised and the boat checked, to sail back west and around Cape Horn and on to the finish in Itajai. Finishing the leg in last place will score 6 points, a DNF (Did Not Finish) following an official retirement, scores 8 points. Only 2 points difference but 2 points that could make all the world of difference by the time this nine-leg race finishes in Gothenburg in June

Round The Horn
Photo by Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race. Click on image for photo gallery.

Cape Hornn Four boats in the Volvo Ocean Race celebrated rounding the venerated landmark of Cape Horn on Monday, a pleasure cruelly denied Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) after the Chinese boat's mast was broken early in a dramatic day on Leg 5

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) had the considerable honour of leading the battered fleet past the fabled point at 1407 GMT, just 15 minutes clear of overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR).

MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) were hot on their heels as the fleet prepared to head north at last and back in to the Atlantic for the first time since November.

They still have quite a challenge in store, navigating up the Brazilian coast towards the final Leg 5 destination of Itajaí, which they will reach after 6,770 nautical miles (nm) of the most testing sailing in the nine-month offshore marathon around April 5-6.

Marlow's Oceanus
Marlow Marlow Ropes were approached and asked to help overcome some specific technical challenges with ropes on captive winches for a high profile yacht.

Counteracting forces and frequent cyclic bending on captive winches created cover slip on the existing ropes. The excess cover resulted in damage to the ropes as well as hampering the smooth running of the winches.

In addition, very high loads combined with a 4:1 safety factor meant issues with diameter limitations on winches and deck gear.

Our Technical Sales Team worked to specify and manufacture a rope that solved these issues within very tight timescales.

It was decided to use Marlow's Oceanus, with its specially coated core to aid core/cover adhesion and reduce coverslip. The specially designed Dyneema® SK99 core achieved the high break loads and the Dyneema® / Technora® blended cover gave the perfect compromise of grip and abrasion resistance to ensure smooth and efficient running through pre-feeders and on and off the winches.

The results were custom made ropes that met the tough application demands and the high expectations of the customer.

Oceanus is now part of the #MarlowSuperyachtSeries and can be found on the following link:


America's Cup Boils Over
The America's Cup boiled over on Thursday March 26, 2015 (US Time) with a split between two of the senior teams in the 35th America's Cup, and the commercial and marketing arm of the Cup Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club.

The series of plays was triggered by a statement from the Luna Rossa Challenge that they would consider withdrawing from the 35th America's Cup if there were a change to the class of boat to be used, which was announced and agreed in June 2014.

Emirates Team New Zealand backed the Italian position by a message in social media today, for the same reasoning - that teams had progressed too far down the AC62 design and planning path to switch to a smaller boat.

After that position was put into social media, the Commercial Commissioner for the America's Cup, Dr/General Harvey Schiller responded by pulling an agreement that was in the hands of Emirates Team New Zealand confirming that the America's Cup Qualifier would be held in Auckland. -- Richard Gladwell,

Brinkmanship With Auckland Regatta
Schiller told The Associated Press the biggest was Team New Zealand "bouncing back and forth on support" for the unprecedented mid-course downsizing.

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton told the AP he felt that was a negotiating ploy. However, Team New Zealand's government funding is triggered by economic value, including an Auckland regatta.

Asked if that could be the end of the Kiwi team, Dalton said he wants to wait and see how next week plays out.

Organizers said Wednesday that changes are being drafted and teams will be asked to vote early next week.

While the AC62 Class Rule can be changed only with unanimous consent, organizers say they have agreement with teams to amend the protocol to change the class rule with a majority vote.

Dalton said that while the Kiwis support cost reduction, they're "completely in line with Prada" and feel any decision on boat downsizing should be unanimous.

European teams were believed to oppose a regatta in Auckland because of the cost of shipping their boats halfway around the world. It's also believed that America's Cup officials were pressured by Bermuda to keep all the racing in that British territory. -- Bernie Wilson, AP

Clipper Race Developing New Automatic Personal AIS Beacon
One year after an MOB in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, during the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race, in which a crew member was successfully rescued after 100 minutes in the water, organisers have revealed the development of a new automatically activated AIS beacon.

"It was a result of the crew member's experience, the fact that he could have been knocked unconscious when he hit the rudder, the fact that his lifejacket did not automatically inflate (we found the reason for this later) and that his beacon was initially switched onto test instead of activate, causing a life threatening delay, we decided to try to create an automatically activated beacon," explained Clipper Race founder and chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

"After close collaboration and intense development between the Clipper Race team, technology partner Spinnaker International and McMurdo Group, I am glad to say that we now have a prototype, using the McMurdo AIS Beacon and will be making sea trials in mid-April. We were lucky to get Andrew back and at the Clipper Race we don't believe in relying on luck where safety is concerned."

Dubarry Ultima - Quality Always Lasts
Dubarry Ultima It's amazing to think how sailing has changed since Dubarry started making boots in 1937. The first marina arrived in the 1930s but there were no plastic boats to park in it before the 1940s. There was no yacht radar before the 1950s, nor marine diesel engines before the 1960s, also when polyester sailcloth ousted linen and cotton. The 1970s brought instrumentation and the 1980s saw Decca come and go as GPS stole the show. Oiled canvas gave way to PVC, which yielded to GORE-TEX®. Much indeed has changed, yet one thing has stayed the same: nothing signifies a confident, experienced, discerning yachtie like a pair of Dubarry boots.

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?

World Match Racing Tour Adds UK Event To 2015 Schedule
The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) today announced the addition of the Royal Southern Match Cup (10-14 June) to the 2015/16 championship schedule. Organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) in Hamble UK, the Match Cup will be added to the calendar as a 'World Tour' event following the new and expanded event format for 2015 announced by WMRT last week. The top six placed skippers from the UK event will be awarded points to the annual championship leader-board.

The announcement marks the first UK event to join the World Match Racing Tour schedule. As James Pleasance, WMRT Executive Director commented;

"The RSrnYC has been very pro-active in developing its youth sailors and their involvement in match racing over the last few years. We were very pleased to offer some technical assistance to the Match Cup at their inaugural ISAF Grade 2 event last year, and to now include them as an official event of the World Match Racing Tour calendar in the UK."

Pinnell Wins A Race But Holt Still On Top
Day 3 of the SAP 505 World Championships saw the return of stronger breezes to Algoa Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Mike Holt and Carl Smit were the pathfinder boat for the first race of the day, but the reigning World Champions found no benefit in having to sail to the right-hand side of the course, while early-out-of-the-gate Ian Pinnell was pleased that his hunch about the left proved correct.

Both Holt and Pinnell have been racing the 505 for more than 25 years, but both veterans reckoned today's sailing conditions - blue skies, warm water, 18 knots breeze and big waves - were among the very best they have ever experienced. "It was really hard work, but great fun," said Holt. "It really doesn't get any better, and the team that didn't show up for these Worlds will be kicking themselves for not coming."

Tuesday is a day off from competition, and while Holt will spend a relaxed day in Port Elizabeth just doing a few boat checks, others are off on safari or going on road trips along the beautiful South African coastline. Then it's back to the action on Wednesday, when the live TV coverage also kicks in for the final three days of competition.

Racing continues through Friday April 3 with 9 scheduled races.

Top five after 4 races:

1. Mike Holt Carl Smit, USA, 5 points
2. Ian Pinnell / Johannes Tellen, GBR, 7
3. Michael Quirk / Luke Payne, AUS, 8
4. Sandy Higgens / Paul Marsh, AUS, 8
5. Ted Conrads / Brian Haines USA, 12

Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia - Mallorca: Demanding Conditions In The Bay Of Palma
The wind played dirty tricks all day in Palma on sailors and race committees who had to juggle with big shifts and different pressure. From 4 to 20 knots, and reaching 40 in some gusts, the wind turned around the bay playing with everybody's nerves! However, the show was on with the bay covered with white caps and the 800 boats that raced their first day in the event.

The Finns were the first fleet to return ashore with two races completed. World champion Giles Scott (GBR) took the first race, managing the shifts to his advantage.

The wind played havoc in the first women 470 race with two third of the fleet in the blue group failing to finish within the time limit.

Sailing the Nacra today proved to be quite an athletic performance with gusts reaching over 30 knots. Only ten boats managed to finish the first race in both groups where capsizes and broken equipment was a common sight

Olympic medalists and World champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are taking a perfect start in the 49er event with two victories. Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) proved just as good with a clean score in the FX.

Jesper Stalheim (SWE), Tom Burton (AUS) and Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) have claimed the only race sailed in the three laser groups. In the Radial, experienced sailors Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Alison Young (GBR) and Annalise Murphy (IRL) are top three after two races in the Radial.

Only eight out of 45 windsurfers crossed the finish line in the Men RS:X yellow group. Today windy race was won by World champion Julien Bontemps (FRA) and Samuel Sills (GBR) in the Men and by Maayan DAVIDOVICH (ISR) and Sofia Keplacka (POL) in the women.

For the second day in a row, the kites didn't race. The wind was either too strong or too gusty to allow for proper racing.

Racing continues on Tuesday for all classes and all hope for less challenging conditions.

J/70 Alcatel Onetouch Italian Trophy
The J/70 Alcatel Onetouch Italian Trophy Italian Championship kicked off in fine style this weekend in Monaco where the first of five acts took place, the others being scheduled for Sanremo, Cervia and Lake Garda.

Twenty-eight teams were out on the water at the instigation of Italian J/70 Class President, Vittorio di Mauro, in collaboration with the YCM and the J/70 Monaco Class Association, headed by Jacopo Carrain.

The Yacht Club de Monaco's Race Committee, led by Olivier Roinson this weekend pulled off five races in spring conditions with sunshine, a calm sea and a 6-14 knot breeze over the two days.

The next events at Sanremo are on 25th/26th April and 16th/17th May 2015. The 17 teams from Monaco are already confirmed, their aim being to prepare for the World Championship in La Rochelle in July where ten Monaco teams are already signed up.

Final top three (after 5 races, 4 counted - 28 participants)

1. Rocad Racing, Ingemar Sundstedt (SWE), 7 points
2. Notaro Team, Luca Dominici (ITA), 9 points
3. L'Eagain, Franco Solerio (ITA), 17 points

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 George Morris: I fear that the term Chinese Gybe comes from a period when we were less polite when referring to foreigners in exotic parts of the world. It undoubtedly refers to a condition in which the top half of the sail finishes up on the opposite side to the bottom half but I don't think it has any connection with junks. The term 'Chinese' is often used in disparaging phrases such as 'Chinese fire drill' and Chinese cut' (in cricket) and is supposed to create a picture of chaos with lots of people running about ineffectually while jabbering in a foreign language. I'm surprised the term is still in use.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2004 Farr 520 Performance Cruiser - BRAVE. 350,000 Euros. Located in Athens, Greece.

A true Performance Cruiser from the successful hull shape of the Farr 52. In sparkling order and very well looked after, minimal maintenance yacht for round the world sport.


Ben Cooper
+44 (0) 1590 679222

See the collection at

The Last Word
When you are not practicing, remember somewhere someone is practicing, and when you meet him, he will win. -- Peter Bergman

Editorial and letter submissions to

Advertising inquiries to Graeme Beeson: or see

Search the Archives

Phoca Gallery Search
Search - Categories
Search - Content
Search - News Feeds
Search - Web Links

Our Partners

Seahorse Magazine

Wight Vodka

Robline Ropes


Ocean Safety

Yacht Club Monaco

St Thomas YC

Grenada Sailing Week

Antigua Sailing Week