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

No Hurry To Leave
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet bid a lingering farewell after a successful stopover in Itajai with an almost total lack of wind ensuring a go-slow departure for Leg 6 to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Sunday.

After watching the six boats drift in frustratingly super-light conditions in the south-east Brazilian port for nearly an hour, the Race Committee cut its losses and ruled that the fleet could sail into the open seas by drastically shortening the opening in-port lap.

Some 270,000 spectators have visited the Itajai race village since the Leg 5 winners, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), arrived here on April 5.

There were approaching 50,000 more for the departure of Leg 6, a 5,010-nautical mile stage, and the sailors appeared to be in no hurry to leave an electric atmosphere.

Light winds could still hamper them along the way.

The boats are expected to take around 17-20 days to reach Newport, the seventh port to host the race.

Team Brunel Wins Inport Race
Photo by Rick Tomlinson / Team SCA. Click on image to enlarge.

Team Brunel wins inport race Team Brunel won an excruciatingly but fascinatingly drawn-out Team Vestas Wind Itajai In-Port Race on Saturday when a lack of breeze tested the sailors' patience and seamanship to the full.

The very hard-earned victory takes the Dutch boat to the top of the overall standings on 15 points, one clear of second-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Itajai in-port race results:
1. Team Brunel 15:31:47 - 1pt
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 15:33:10 - 2pts
3. Dongfeng Race Team 15:33:21 - 3pts
4. Team SCA 15:33:43 - 4pts
5. MAPFRE 15:34:10 - 5pts
6. Team Alvimedica 15:35:58 - 6pts
Team Vestas Wind - DNS 8pts

In-Port Race Overall standings:
1. Team Brunel - 15pts
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 16pts
3. Team SCA - 20pts
4. Dongfeng Race Team - 21pts
5. Team Alvimedica - 26pts
6. MAPFRE - 30pts
7. Team Vestas Wind - 44 pts

Les Voiles De St. Barth
Sunday's single race for each of 10 classes sailing at Les Voiles de St. Barth determined overall winners and marked the fourth and final day of the regatta. The event has been growing steadily since its inception in 2010 and hosted 70 boats in this sixth edition, all with their own brand of famous sailors aboard from around the world. Boats competing ranged from speedy multihulls such as Lloyd Thornburg's Mod 70 Phaedo 3 to technologically sophisticated new-builds such as George David's Rambler 88 and Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clarke's Comanche (at 100 feet, one of the largest boats here) to the more traditional grand prix racers in the 50-70 foot range and smaller racing/cruising boats. There was even a one design class for Melges 24s (the smallest boats competing) that are as fun, physical and demanding in teamwork and skill as their larger counterparts.

While teams in six classes had clinched their overall victories yesterday (some did not have to sail today's last race but chose to do so anyway), four classes went down to the wire in 15-20 knot winds that were stronger than yesterday's but not as strong as on the first two days of racing (Tuesday and Wednesday, April 14-15).

Lloyd Thornburg's U.S. entry in Multihull class, Phaedo 3, spent its regatta leaving the seven other Multihull class entries in its wake and won again today for a fourth time over four races. "It was a great event," said Thornburg, who on Wednesday established the Multihull record for a newly introduced 43-mile course that will be repeated here each year. (Comanche and Odin established the records for Maxi 1 and Maxi 2 classes, respectively) "Today the wind came back, which was nice, whereas yesterday was a little bit light for us. For our boat, this was the most challenging course, so it was a lot of fun."

Not so much fun was Gunboat G4 Timbalero III's dramatic capsize today. No one was injured, and the brand-new foiling catamaran was righted within two hours.

At the prize giving, Principal Event Partner Richard Mille presented George David, who also was the overall winner of the Maxi division, with a Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch.

Full results:

Expect Better For Less
Hudson Wight The Hudson Wight Affiliate Scheme, launched in 2014, is being used to greatest effect as a member benefit for Clubs and Class Associations, and as a way of controlling costs for Training Centres.

We are now introducing additional levels to our Affiliate Scheme that will make it easier for clubs to offer exclusive offers to their members, offers that are not generally available anywhere else. These will be promoted through our new partnership with the RYA through the Membership Benefits Scheme.

However, any Club, Class Association or Training establishment can join the Hudson Wight Enhanced Affiliate Scheme by purchasing one of the following 'starter packs':

- Pack 1: 2 x sets of HW1 Jacket or Smock and Salopettes branded with Club name and logo - £600 (saving £400) inc. VAT
- Pack 2: 2 x HW Performance Jackets branded with Club name and logo - £200 (saving £150) inc. VAT.

Terms & Conditions apply.

Subscribers to Scuttlebutt Europe should contact their nearest Affiliate to check out the latest offers.

Hudson Wight looks forward to welcoming you on board this season. Contact us via:

End Of The Road For Team NZ Funding?
The future of Team New Zealand is looking grim after the announcement today that there will be no America's Cup pre-regatta for Auckland.

All racing for the 2017 regatta will take place off Bermuda. The announcement's been made on the Cup's official website which stated "the America's Cup event format was agreed by competitors and that all racing will take place in Bermuda".

Team New Zealand say they have not agreed on that format.

"Emirates Team New Zealand would like to clarify we did not agree on the format or location of the qualifier because we have still have our case for the previously agreed qualifier in Auckland pending arbitration," the syndicate said on their Facebook page.

With Team NZ's bid for government funding hinging on securing hosting rights to the qualifying regatta, there has been suggestion the Kiwi syndicate may be forced to close their doors without a top-up from the tax-payer.

Prime Minister John Key hinted at that on Paul Henry this morning when asked whether the government would fund the team now that there's no Auckland regatta.

"I think we're at the end of the road really," the Prime Minister said.

"Of course Steven Joyce will continue to have discussions with Grant Dalton, but the government's position has been pretty clear.

"With the event being held 100 percent in Bermuda, that becomes a really challenging issue to go beyond the $5 million we've already put in." -- John Key in the New Zealand Herald

Star Western Hemisphere Championship
Coconut Grove, Florida: One race today in perfect conditions again! 10-12 knots from the southeast, warm water, warm air. I don't think we have had a week of Star sailing this good, anywhere, in a very long time.

Lars Grael turned it on today and got the win. Brian Ledbetter continued his strong form and local legend Augie Diaz finished third. Brian and I had a bad start and struggled our way back to 12th to secure third overall. We were pretty happy with that considering to two very bad races we sailed earlier in the series. Augie Diaz and John MacCausland rounded out the top 5.

We did improve our downwind speed through the week, relearning little tricks that I have probably learned and forgotten 3 or 4 times through the years. -- Paul Cayard

Final top ten
1. Brian Ledbetter / Joshua Revkin, USA, 15.0
2. Schmidt Grael / Samuel Goncalves, BRA, 27.0
3. Paul Cayard / Brian Terhaar, USA, 42.0
4. Augie Diaz / Arnis Baltins, USA, 43.0
5. John MacCausland / Bruno Prada, USA, 44.0
6. Mark Reynolds / Mark Strube, USA, 55.0
7. Larry Whipple / Austin B. Sperry, USA, 56.0
8. Jim Buckingham / Craig Moss , USA, 56.0
9. Torkel Borgstrom / Juan Pablo Engelhard, ARG, 58.0
10. Tomas Hornos / Kipp Gardner, USA, 66.0

Full results:

Red Bull Foiling Generation
Eight two-member sailing teams descended on the port city of Wakayama Japan to duel over three days in identical Flying Phantom vessels, marking the launch of Red Bull Foiling Generation.

Sunday's thrilling finale saw 17-year-olds Shinichiro Yano and Issei Fujiki take advantage of perfect 12-knot wind conditions to get ahead of rivals Eri Fukazawa and Crew Takayama in a dramatic knock-out finish. Yano and Fujiki's prize for victory is a place at the 2016 World Final where they will be joined by six more national winners.

The regatta in Japan began the search of Double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher for the sailing stars of the future. Open to prodigious sailors aged 16-20, Red Bull Foiling Generation will also be holding national finals in the UK, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and France before pitting the best against the best at a World Final in late 2016.

The next stop for the series is in the UK with a knock-out battle between the best young sailors of the British Isles scheduled for June 26-28.

Ready To Race At Revamped World Cup Hyeres
British sailors will be out in force at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres this week as the world series undergoes a facelift for the 2015 season.

Some 34 British boats and 52 sailors will contest the French regatta, as the World Cup format moves from open entry to a smaller, more elite series of 40 boats in each of the ten Olympic Classes, with primary qualification through the ISAF world ranking lists, and culminating in a season-ending final in Abu Dhabi.

"Hyeres is a milestone event for the rejuvenated ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit, being the first to be raced in this new, condensed format where only the top 40 crews in the world ranking lists are invited to compete," explained RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.

"We're excited to see what the new format brings in terms of performance, competition, media and commercial opportunities. With only the top 40 ranked crews invited, the world ranking system, for the first time ever, becomes important for the world's top sailors if they want the opportunity to race against the best.

"From a British perspective, all our top teams are competing and, along with the second European leg of the World Cup in Weymouth and Portland, this will be an important milestone for competing nations en route to the Olympic Test Event in Rio in August 2015.

"Hyeres as a regatta typically provides high quality and tough competition. I expect no different this year, but now with that talent concentrated into just 40 of the best crews in each of the Olympic Classes and some top Paralympic talents across five days, the racing becomes more intense from the outset which should bring an increased level of excitement from race one until the medal races on Sunday."

Racing for the Olympic Classes will run from 22-26 April, with Paralympic Classes competition from 22-25 April.

Old Guys Rule
Two legendary figures of Vendee Globe and IMOCA 60 racing, both in their more senior years. Wilson competed in the 2008-9 Vendee Globe with distinction. The Great American turns 65 years old in the next few days and will compete in the next Vendee Globe with his latest IMOCA 60, formerly Dominique Wavre's Mirabaud. One rival will be Nandor Fa, 61, who is the first non French skipper to complete the Vendee Globe, finishing fifth in 1992-1993.

After passing through Gibraltar today, passing back into the Med 106 days after leaving Barcelona, Fa spoke today with Wilson. They will be rivals in the next race, but had a warm, personable chat and for sure look forwards to being comrades at sea in the next solo non stop around the world race.

RW: What changes do you need to make for the for the Vendee Globe in 1.5yrs?
NF: The boat is really nice, I enjoy it. It behaves very well. The abilities are as expected but there are a lot of problems, with the mast, the keel, the electronics and in the fittings. There are a lot of jobs and some new sails. Some are missing, we have never had them. There is a long way to go until the Vendee Globe but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I am really happy to do what we have to do.

She is my fifth daughter, I have two real daughters and this is my third and latest boat daughter, I am really proud. She is just nice, enjoyable, friendly boat which performs to a high level, but we have to make some modifications. But I am proud, so proud.

RHKYC Hong Kong International Match Racing Regatta
With four international teams from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China pitted against four of Hong Kong's best match racing skippers, this weekend's Hong Kong International Match Racing Regatta promised two days of fierce competition in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.

The weekend proved to be challenging for both sailors and race management, as a fickle southerly refused to stay steady.

[After flights 9 and 10] Soh was offered the choice of opponent for the semi finals, selecting Guy Brearey and leaving Koo to take on Peter Backe. First team to two wins would advance to the final. After drawing lots for boats, the first flight of the semis saw Koo beat Backe and Soh beat Brearey in a fiercely contested race while the second flight was more open, with clear wins for Koo and Soh.

After another boat draw, the Petit Final and Final flights started in 6-8kts of breeze. The petit final produced close competition, with the lead changing hands from mark to mark, but it was Guy Breary who held on to win two in a row and claim third place overall.

Two wins was the magic target, and Soh found himself and easy one up after Koo tacked late around the bottom mark and snagged their spinnaker on the jib furler. Soh led the second race all the way in dying breeze and although the boats were close on the water, Koo had picked up a penalty which had to be cleared before he crossed the finish line, so it was a clear win for both the race and the Regatta for Soh

Hong Kong International Match Racing Regatta
1. CMG / Maxi Soh, SIN
2. Sime Darby Foundation / Jeremy Koo, MAS
3. Guy Brearey, HKG
4. Peter Backe. HKG

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The Last Word
The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. -- Leo Tolstoy

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