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

Open Letter To America's Cup Events Authority
I cannot escape notice of what you are doing to the America's Cup - it has been nothing short of a disgrace to the premier event in the sport of Sailing. You have abused it, misused it and reduced it to no more than an average regatta, losing on the way its prestige and at the same time driven away the most serious competitors.

In the last America's Cup event, held on the waters of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, for whom you act in a management role, the two challengers that came up to the mark were those from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Circolo della Vela Sicilia - Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. In the course of the past week you have made it virtually impossible for ETNZ to raise the necessary funds to continue by removing any chance of a major regatta in Auckland, and, by a huge change in the size of boat, caused the Italian team to withdraw. Is this what you really want?

Gone is all semblance of stability and adherence to rules unanimously agreed at the outset and in their place an undercurrent of commercial misunderstanding and constantly changing rules without the unanimity of the challengers as initially agreed. Both of these are a disgrace to the Cup and to yourselves.

It was brought to my notice by you, in Auckland, that it was important for a part of the Challenger Final Selection Series to be held in the City of Sails in order to generate publicity for the America's Cup in Asia and the reason for that was a Japanese team would shortly emerge, and that this would encourage television networks to purchase the rights.

Subsequently ACEA has made it clear that ALL Challenger Selection races will be held in Bermuda, effectively slapping ETNZ in the face and reducing the Kiwis' chances of Government sponsorship (which hung on a major AC regatta in Auckland), possibly even eliminating this team from AC35

It is unnecessary for the America's Cup to have a television audience. For many years there was no television coverage, and later only inserts into News programmes. Televising the event began in 1983 and was carried to a new height by ESPN in 1987 in Fremantle. Even then it didn't need catamarans on hydrofoils sailing at 40 knots to be attractive - just 12-Metre yachts in boisterous conditions with some live sound from the boats.

Now, thanks to the wizardry of Stan Honey and his colleagues, full details of the speed and direction of each of the competitors is overlaid on the live pictures of the racing. The technology of other sports has improved television for even the non-sailor, but this does not drive the America's Cup. Money does. And there will certainly not be enough from television rights to pay for the somewhat unnecessary regattas that take place using the name of the event that has, over 164 years, taken place only 34 times.

The America's Cup is a one-off event. It does not need promoting with pseudo regattas in the intervening years, which use its name. The Challenger Selection Trials, together with the long lost Defender Selection Trials, are adequate and the responsibility for their expense is down to the individual teams. Now there is a state of affairs in which the Defender trials have been eliminated. In the Protocol, Item 17 clearly states:

"Defender means GGYC and the sailing team that represents GGYC in AC35;"

You have excluded any chance of another US Yacht Club from competing for the Cup, maybe even giving GGYC the type of competition it needs to retain the Cup. Not even the New York Yacht Club felt sufficiently confident to resort to that.

Neither did the NYYC resort to changing the boats at a late date - the move from the AC-62 to the AC-48 has been very last minute and particularly hard on the teams that had set up their design groups well in advance to produce the smaller AC-62, as announced soon after the last AC match. It is hardly surprising that you have put Patrizio Bertelli's feelings in disarray to the extent he has withdrawn Luna Rossa from AC35. His team had been working since early January 2014 at its headquarters in Cagliari with a Design Office of 40, all working on the design of a 62-footer. I suppose you comment will be: "Silly him," but you have lost one of the biggest commercial sponsors of the Cup - just look where the Prada advertisements for Luna Rossa appear.

To throw fat on the fire, you are offering to give design and financial support to the French team, which has made little progress, and what is worse attempting to justify this with the terms of the Deed of Gift, where it indicates that the event is to be: "a friendly competition between foreign nations." But you may well counter this with the quote from the judge of the New York Court of Appeals in the case between the Mercury Bay Boating Club and San Diego Yacht Club, who queried: "Where in the Deed of Gift does it say the America's Cup is supposed to be fair?"

The loss of Louis Vuitton, after 30 years, is another huge loss of commercial sponsorship, but the writing for that was on the wall in San Francisco.

Everything this time around has been late, and bringing in new entries at this stage is another breach of the Protocol. I implore you to get your act together, remember the event with which you are dealing, with its glorious past, and begin to act in a proper manner.

Bob Fisher

February ACEA Email Supports Kiwi Claims On Qualifier
On their social media site, Emirates Team New Zealand published what would appear to be a signed and accepted Venue bid agreement for the Qualifiers, dated February 14, 2014 and signed by Emirates Team NZ COO Kevin Shoebridge and ACEA's Commercial Commissioner Harvey Schiller. The Venue Agreement was subject to the signing of a Hosting Agreement that was not sent by ACEA for a further five weeks.

That begs the question as to how, if a Venue has been decided and announced by ACEA, in compliance with the then Protocol, and a Regatta Notice issued to Competitors, how that can be re-announced as maybe a different Venue on April 1, 2015?

Is there no such thing as the sanctity of a signed contract any more in the America's Cup?

The reason for the claimed withdrawal of the Auckland venue, by Schiller was 'Team New Zealand 'bouncing back and forth on support' for the unprecedented mid-course downsizing' - a reference to the controversial decision to change the class of yacht to be used in the America's Cup from the AC62 to a smaller boat of less than 50ft.

A long article well worth the read, by Richard Gladwell in

Audi-Tron Sailing Series
Loano, Italy - Congratulations to Italy's Dario Levi aboard his Audi Melges 20 Fremito D'Arja as he is the official winner - the King - of Act 1 of the 2015 Audi-Tron Sailing Series in Loano. Levi was joined by tactician Niccolo Bianchi and Stefano Lagi. He is also a former Gold Cup winner and runner up in the overall 2014 Audi-Tron Sailing Series ranking.

The results of Saturday stand as final. No racing took place on Sunday as a high pressure weather system did not allow for ideal racing conditions despite the determination of the Race Committee that remained on station until the time limit was up.

Top Ten Full Results (After Three Races - Final)
1. Dario Levi, Fremito D'Arja; 2-7-8 = 17 points
2. Matteo Vaselli Marenghi, Lucifer; 1-6-14 = 21
3. Guido Miani, Out of Reach; 11-9-1 = 21
4. Agusta Corrado, Customly; 10-5-7 = 22
5. Lauro Bonora, Camay; 4-1-19 = 25
6. Vladmir Sokolov, Quantum; 14-11-3 = 28
7. Marco Franchini, Mezzaluna; 15-8-5 = 28
8. Marina Chubkina, Russotrans; 28-4-2 = 34
9. Wilma Homan, Fantastichina; 12-15-9 = 36 (top Corinthian)
10. Achille Onorato, Mascalzone Latino, Jr.; 13-12-11 - 36

Full results

Phaedo3 Sets A Nenw Rounnd St. Martin Record
Back in March 2003, Steve Fossett set a record for sailing around the island of St Maarten. He circumnavigated the island in 2 hours 4 minutes and 36 seconds. It has remained unbroken until today.

Lloyd Thornburg and his crew aboard Phaedo3, whilst training for the up coming regatta, Les Voiles de St Barth, decided to see if they could challenge this record. Phaedo3 had some official help from Alfred Koolen and Stuart Knaggs of the St Martin Yacht Club who set up an official start line and timing. Lloyd along with his crew of Brian Thompson, Miles Seddon, Warren Fitgerald, Sam Bason, Sam Goodchild, Fraser Brown and Paul Allen broke this record and set a new time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 19 seconds.

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

Seahorse Magazine

Gaining (serious) momentum
Damian Foxall, Sidney Gavignet and Alex Pella were a few of the big names who joined EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour for 2015

Still growin'
Josh Impey and Scott Vogel bring us up to date with Southern Spars' rig developments

Rob Weiland tries to avoid being run down in the flood of new TP52 launches

Perfect combination
As two of the best-known names in high-tech and large yachts join forces

How did we get here?
BAR technical director Andy Claughton looks at the backdrop to the genesis of the AC62s that will race in Bermuda

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Final 500 Miles For Renault Captur In The Med
If the final miles in the Mediterranean look mildly frustrating but neverthless straighforward for Jorg Riechers and Sebastien Audigane as they close in on sixth place in the Barcelona World Raceon Renault Captur, so the last 1600 miles which stand between Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman and seventh place will be sailed with extra care as the Humgarian-Kiwi duo report today that a second keel bolt is damaged.

Subsequent to replacing two bolts in Bluff, NZ during their technical stop, in the middle of March Fa and Colman reported to Race Direction that they had lost a further keel bolt. The situation has been monitored very closely by the duo and by Race Direction.

Now, this morning Fa reported: "Today I discovered that the second keel bolt of the front pair on the right has been broken for a while. Now there is no bolt remaining on the right side, only the port (left) side. On that side we have both of them. Now the keel is canted to the maximum, so I think it's safe."

Breezes are due to remain fair for the duo's passage to Gibraltar where they should arrive Friday.

For Riechers and Audigane it should now only be a question of time and a measure of prudence before they complete their round the world race. They have no major weather hurdles in their way, even if the meteo GRIB files are not really aligning to gift them a favourable final 500 miles.

Land Rover's Extreme 40 Sails Down The Huangpu River
Landrover Extreme 40 Shanghai, China: Shanghai residents were stopped in their tracks as the Land Rover Extreme 40 became the first professional racing yacht to sail down the Huangpu River, one of the busiest waterways in the world. In celebration of Land Rover China's sponsorship of the Shanghai International Boat Show, the Land Rover Extreme 40 sailed through the heart of Shanghai's financial district, jostling for space alongside cargo ships, tankers and passenger ferries.

The Land Rover Extreme 40, crewed by four international sailors, also put on a dramatic show for the river cruise guests on Friday evening, with the Land Rover Extreme 40 lit up against the spectacular backdrop of Shanghai at night.

The spectacle heralds the start of Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series, partnered by Land Rover, which takes place within the confines of the stadium style racecourse of China's 'Olympic Sailing City', Qingdao, from the 30 April - 3 May.

RCIYC Spring Regatta
The Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club is delighted to welcome Princess Yachts Channel Islands as the new sponsor of its annual Spring Regatta, scheduled to take place in St Aubin's Bay on Saturday and Sunday, 25th and 26th April. As a major attraction in the Island's sailing programme, the Regatta features two days of friendly though truly competitive sailing.

An open event, to which visiting boats are assured of a very warm welcome, the Regatta caters for sportsboat, cruiser/racer (both IRC and Jersey Island Handicap), dayboat, dinghy and sport-catamaran classes. This year sees the added attraction of RORC's Rating Office's Spinlock IRC Single Event Rating for both British and French sportsboats and cruiser/racers. This enables boats to race in an IRC class in the Regatta but at a lower cost than that of the full-blown Rating.(see

The Notice of Race is available on The normal closing date for entry is Tuesday 21st April.

Further details are available by calling the Club Administrator on 00 44 1534 745783 or by e-mailing

Tall Ships & Sail Training - Ireland's Atlantic Youth Trust Will Give It A Different Spin
In an increasingly complex world with ever more sources of distraction and entertainment, does the established model of sail training still work as well as it once did? W M Nixon meets a man who thinks we need a new vision for best using the sea and sailing ships to meet the needs of modern society's complex demands.

"I'm fed up with the constant use of the term "Sail Training". It's bandied about so much it has become meaningless. And always talking about "Sail Training" limits the scope of what we're trying to do. If we could find some useful phrase to replace "Sail Training", but something which is also more visionary than the very pedestrian "Youth Development" which is sometimes replacing it, then maybe we could go a long way to capture the imagination both of our potential supporters, and of the young people we hope will want to come aboard the ship".

The speaker is Neil O'Hagan, busy Executive Director of the Atlantic Youth Trust, which is actively developing ways and means of building a 40 metre sailing ship which will serve all Ireland in a wide variety of functions. And as he has immersed himself in this challenging project when he is clearly a very able person who could name his price in many roles in high-paying large corporations, it behoves us to pay attention.

We have been skirting the AYT and its project several times here recently. But as we gradually emerge from the recession and see what is still standing, for some reason with every passing week we find it ever more disturbing that the Irish Sail Training Brigantine 84ft Asgard II was lost nearly seven years ago by foundering, and the Northern Ireland Ocean Youth Trust's 60ft ketch Lord Rank was lost after striking a rock five years ago.

Far from being swept under the carpet, it's a double whammy which has to be faced and dealt with as 2015 rolls on with the biggest Tall Ships assembly ever seen in Ireland coming to Belfast, and not an Irish Tall Ship worthy of the name to represent us. -- WM Nixon in Afloat

British Sailing Team Finn Sailor Injury Worse Than Expected
British Sailing Team Finn sailor Pete McCoy will be out of racing for the next 4-6 months, following a shoulder injury at the Olympic classes Princess Sofia regatta. McCoy, a member of the British Olympic team, was taking part in the Olympic classes event in Mallorca when he injured his shoulder while launching his Finn on the first day of racing.

An MRI revealed a tear to his pectoralis major. This will need surgery. The recovery time for this kind of injury is 4-6 months.

After the operation McCoy will be doing everything possible to prepare for the 2015 Finn World Championships taking place in Takapuna, New Zealand come November. -- Gerald New in Sailweb:

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The Last Word
Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private. -- Allen Ginsberg

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