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

Team SCA Finishes Leg Five
Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) finally completed a gruelling Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Tuesday and arrived to a well-deserved Brazilian welcome.

Itajai reserved its very best weather for the arrival of the first all-women’s crew to enter the race for 12 years, a sharp contrast to the conditions the team have battled with since leaving Auckland on March 18.

At the beginning of last week, having struggled in 50 knots of wind (92 km per hour) and a confused sea state, Team SCA were one of three crews to crash on their sides during a Chinese gybe, damaging their fractional code zero, a key sail.

The setback left them with no chance of keeping pace with the main racing pack led by winners, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), which completed the 6,776-nautical mile (nm) leg on Sunday.

At one stage, they also lost their electronics overnight, effectively sailing blind in the Southern Ocean.

Then, last Sunday, they were rocked again by three collisions with unidentified objects as they raced up the Brazilian coast in the South Atlantic, the first doing considerable damage to the rudder.

The shore crew, working with the race’s Boatyard team, will now have a busy few days ensuring the boat is back to optimum condition ready for the Team Vestas Wind Itajai In-Port race on April 18 and the Leg 6 departure for Newport, Rhode Island, a day later.

Meanwhile, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), who were forced to retire from the leg after breaking their mast on Monday last week, are delivering their stricken boat to Itajai under sail and motor.

They will have about four days to have their boat repaired in time for the Newport departure.

Essential We Made Changes - Ainslie
The new America’s Cup wing sail foiling catamaran will be “more manoeuvrable” and “better suited” to Bermuda’s racecourse.

That’s the opinion of Sir Ben Ainslie, team principal and skipper of British challenger Ben Ainslie Racing, who firmly backs the amendment to the class rule for the 35th America’s Cup that resulted in the withdrawal of Luna Rossa.

Ainslie, who won the ‘Auld Mug’ as a tactician with Oracle at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco, believes the class rule change was done in the best interests of the event.

“Personally, I do not just think this is a good idea, I think it is absolutely essential for the long-term good of the Cup,” he said. “The new boats will be able to achieve speeds of close to 50 miles an hour, far faster than any other current racing series in global sailing, and a match for the 72ft boats that raced the 34th America’s Cup.

“Most people would not even notice the difference in size of boat. They will still be spectacular boats, they will still fly out of the water on hydrofoils at phenomenal speeds, they will still be crewed by incredible athletes.

“If anything, the racing may even be better as the boats will be more manoeuvrable. Certainly they will be better suited to the Bermuda racecourse.”

The new America’s Cup catamaran will be sailed by a crew of six. -- Colin Thompson

Gaining (Serious) Momentum
EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour (EFG SATT), Arabia’s no1 offshore race organised by Oman Sail, had it all at the fifth edition this year: an epic new course, some of offshore sailing’s big names, young up-and-coming youth teams giving the pro crews a run for their money and a lively mix of hard-core competition and cultural diversity with sailors hailing from 21 different nations.

The two-week 760nm race saw the 11-strong fleet start in Muscat, Oman, for the first time and race to Sohar, around the Musandam Peninsula - one of the most beautiful sights in the Sultanate, east into the Gulf of Arabia, stopping at Ras Al Khaimah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and culminating in Manama, Bahrain... where overall victory went to EFG Bank (Monaco), skippered by roundthe- world sailor Sidney Gavignet and crewed by a mixed Omani and European team.

The standard of competition among the pro-am teams from Switzerland, the UK, Kuwait, Oman, Holland and China was at an all-time high. Oman Sail’s vision to promote the Gulf region as an alternative international race destination is firmly on track.

Race Hub Clubs
The Island Sailing Club (ISC), organisers of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, has reached agreements with the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club to act as HUB Clubs for the duration of the Race weekend Friday 26th - Sunday 28th June.

This initiative to extend the reach and excitement of the Race 'in situ' to these two mainland yacht clubs has resulted from some competitors commenting that they were unable to be in Cowes after the Race but were nonetheless keen to be part of the pre and après Race events.

The Hub clubs will help to deliver the Race experience, the excitement and the atmosphere, to the families and friends of many competitors during the day, and when the sailors get back after racing, when everyone gets to join in the fun.

The Race Marketing Committee came up with the concept of inviting some other major mainland clubs who are already big supporters of the Race to become extensions of the ISC as Race 'hosts' so that even more competitors, their families and friends, might enjoy the buzz surrounding this most famous of one-day yacht races.

The HUB Clubs will be Race branded and, using technology supplied by the ISC team, they will run live streaming of the Raymarine Weather Briefing at 1800hrs on Friday 26th June, live streamed coverage of the Race and tracking, plus a full declaration and results service and Race Tankard collection on Race day, Saturday 27th, all fully resourced by the ISC Race Management Team.

Entries currently stand at 736 and this figure is expected to more than double by the time standard entries close at midnight on Saturday 13th June. 

Enter here:

Spindrift Racing Wins The Spi Ouest-France Diam 24 Class
Photo by Eloi Stichelbaut. Click on image to enlarge.

La Trinite-sur-Mer, and rightly so! The hard work throughout this winter on the Diam 24s, followed by four days of intense racing against aggressive, well-drilled opponents, has been rewarded with a resounding victory in the Spi Ouest-France Intermarche.

Spindrift White, steered successively by Francois Morvan and Xavier Revil, finished on the top step of the podium, while Yann Guichard’s Spindrift Black finished sixth. It was an excellent Easter weekend for the team’s sailors, who have proved that they are on top of their game at the start to this 2015 season.

This maiden victory tastes extra sweet for Xavier Revil, who is in charge of Spindrift racing’s Diam 24 project, in addition to his role as one the three helmsmen. “We wanted to win the first meeting of the season,” said Xavier. “Mission accomplished! It was an exhilarating Spi Ouest played out in perfect conditions, with wind, sun, and a top-class fleet".

Provisional standings after 12 races:

1 - Spindrift White, (Xavier Revil) helmed by Xavier Revil and Francois Morvan
2 - Groupama, (Franck Cammas) helmed by Pierre Pennec
3 - Combi West, Frederic Guilmin
4 - Sodebo 1, Thomas Coville
5 - PRB, Vincent Riou
6 - Spindrift Black, Yann Guichard
7 - GDF Suez, Sebastien Rogues
8 - Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois
9 - Votre plus long periple, Loic Fequet
10 - Sodebo 2, Daniel Souben
11 - Custo Pol, JP Nicol
12 - West Courtage - Ecole Navale, Simon Moriceau
13 - Radio Vinci Autoroutes, JB Gelles
14 - Beijaflore, Nicolas Berenger
15 - Maitre coq, Jeremie Beyou
16 - Agrival, Paukine Chalaux
17 - Fondation Fdj, Des Pieds et des Mains, Damien Seguin

DIAM 24 Season For Spindrift Racing:
April 2-6: Spi Ouest-France Intermarche
April 17-19: La Baule
May 15-17: Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale
July 1-26 Tour de France a la Voile

Pinnell Wins Final Race and Gets 2nd Overall
After Mike Holt and Carl Smit won the SAP 505 World Championships with a day to spare, the final day in South Africa was all about who could secure 2nd place overall.

Heading out on to Algoa Bay from Port Elizabeth, Ian Pinnell and Johannes Tellen started the day 2 points ahead of Ted Conrads and Brian Haines from the USA. The British/German team had the added complication of starting today’s final race as the gate start pathfinders, a job that would require them to sail for at least two minutes on port tack out to the right-hand side.

Former world champions Howie Hamlin and Jeff Nelson led the charge around the first mark, with Pinnell in 8th and Conrads breathing down his neck. However Hamlin couldn’t keep the chasing pack at bay, and Australia’s Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh took up the lead for most of the race. A fluffed gybe at the bottom of the final run gave Pinnell the chance to pounce at the leeward gate and seize control of the final beat to the finish.

As they crossed the finish line in first place, Pinnell and Tellen gave each other a hug, this new pairing delighted to have secured 2nd overall. Marsh and Higgins crossed the line just behind, with a 3rd place confirming the Californians, Conrads and Haines, for 3rd overall, their best result yet in a 505 World Championships.

Industry News
Volvo Ocean Race organisers have announced a new partnership with the Genoa Boat Show giving fans the opportunity to see close up the boats.

The Genoa Show is scheduled for September 30-October 5 and teams from the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race have been invited to show off their Volvo Ocean 65, one-design boats, fresh from the event finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Tom Touber, Race COO, said the opportunity was too good to miss on both sides.

“We envisage a ‘Volvo Ocean Race reunion with a mini Volvo Ocean Race Village’ in Genoa. “We will bring two of the most popular Race Village attractions - a show about a typical day in the life of a sailor competing in the Volvo Ocean Race and a full-sized model of one of our Volvo Ocean 65 boats so that the public can see what life is really like on board.

“All the teams have expressed their strong interest to take part in this reunion in Genoa.

“As their sponsors might have changing plans, we obviously cannot guarantee all seven boats from the 2014-15 race will be present, but both the race and Boat Show organisers are doing all they can to help them attend.

“This will be the first big opportunity for fans anywhere in the world to see boats from the 2014-15 fleet so soon after they have finished the nine-month race in Sweden.”


As part of their new Authorised Dealer programme, Elvstrom Sails UK have announced three new south coast dealers. Parkstone Bay Yachts based in Poole, Octagon Marine Canvas and Sail based in Queen Anne’s Battery Marina, Plymouth and Stephenson Sails & Covers in Noss Marina, Dartmouth have all recently signed up to the programme.

As part of the scheme, the new Dealers receive a full sail design and specification service together with technical support from Elvstrom’s Hamble loft, as well as a kit of marketing and promotional materials. As an Authorised Dealer, the companies are responsible for local advertising and promotion, and providing a high level of customer support to existing and new customers, including providing advice, information and a measuring up service to ensure a fit first time result.


Hamble Yacht Services has parted from the Ancasta Group and is now an independent business formed by four partner bringing new investment to the Solent boatyard.

The new management will start by improving the general fabric of the yard through a programme of refurbishment for the main buildings, while general access and car parking around the site will also be improved.

The repair and refit and advanced rigging and hydraulics businesses which historically formed part of Hamble Yacht Services Ltd remain in the ownership of Ancasta Group and have been re-named Hamble Yacht Services Refit and Repair Limited (HYSRR).

Going forward, HYSRR will continue to provide its refit and repair and engineering services out of its recently redeveloped facilities within Hamble Yacht Services.


Slovenia's Kranj District Court has launched bankruptcy proceedings on yacht design firm Seaway Design, a move that comes just a week after the affiliated production firm Seaway Yachts entered bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy was requested by Seaway Design boss Bogdan Topic, precisely because the production arm is in administration already.While the majority of employees have reportedly already left Design, all 49 workers at Seaway Yachts received notices in early March.

It is unclear whether the bankruptcy proceedings will allow the stories firm to survive given how interwoven the two firms are.Reports suggest Seaway has no shortage of orders, but it has been brought to its knees by crippling debt.The two companies owe EUR 16m to banks, EUR 7m to suppliers and close to EUR 2m to employees. Seaway started life in 1983 as Studio J&J, founded by the brothers Japec and Jernej Jakopin reports Slovenia Times.


Robert Ranzenbach, Ph.D. has joined Quantum Sail Design Group as Vice President of Engineering and Design where he is responsible for planning and coordinating new product development as well as managing the company’s research, development and design teams. He reports to Quantum President Ed Reynolds.

Dr. Ranzenbach is an aerodynamic engineer with over 30 years of programmatic, managerial, and technical experience spanning a broad array of design issues related to sailing and motor yachts, con- ventional and high speed naval vessels, automobiles, airplanes, underwater bodies, and dynamically loaded flexible membrane structures.

He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Naval Architecture from Webb Institute and earned Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.


A stellar cast of tourism-related MSPs and CEOs took part in the formal launch of the Scottish Marine Tourism Strategy, held in Glasgow’s Clyde-side Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday 5th March.

Chaired by Stuart McMillan MSP, over 100 invited guests from tourism and marine user groups heard how an ambitious new strategy to ‘Awaken the Giant’ of Scotland’s marine tourism sector would bring even more visitors to the ‘biggest coastline in Europe.’

The five-year plan, brought together by prominent stakeholders and led by BMF Scotland, was launched by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing and ocean adventurer Mark Beaumont.

The strategy aims to boost Scotland’s reputation as a world class marine tourism destination by improving the facilities for visitors, building skills within the sector and promoting events for racing and cruising in Scottish waters.

The plan is based on growing the total value of Scottish marine tourism by 25%, from £360 million to £450 million, by 2020.

Not Sailing But Very Cool. Brontosaurus Is Back.
One of your humble narrator's favorites...

Decades after scientists decided that the famed dinosaur never actually existed, new research says the opposite.

Some of the largest animals to ever walk on Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods - and the most famous of these giants is probably Brontosaurus, the "thunder lizard." Deeply rooted as this titan is in the popular imagination, however, for more than a century scientists thought it never existed.

A new study suggests resurrecting Brontosaurus. It turns out the original Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils appear different enough to belong to separate groups after all. "Generally, Brontosaurus can be distinguished from Apatosaurus most easily by its neck, which is higher and less wide," says lead study author Emanuel Tschopp, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal. "So although both are very massive and robust animals, Apatosaurus is even more extreme than Brontosaurus."

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 Glenn T. McCarthy: Today, I ask the "Olympic Industry" to all resign their positions for allowing sailing to be brought into disrepute by accepting Guanabara Bay as the venue for the 2016 Olympics. 

Read why -

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The Last Word
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