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

Storm Trysail Club Takes Over Ownership Of Key West Race Week
Quantum Key West Race Week will continue thanks to the organizational expertise of a new ownership group and the ongoing support of its title sponsor - Quantum Sail Design Group.

The Storm Trysail Club is pleased to announce that it has come to an agreement with Premiere Racing to take over ownership and management of the prestigious regatta.

The Storm Trysail Club, established in 1938, is well known for running Block Island Race Week, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer. Storm Trysail Club also organizes the Lauderdale-to-Key West Race that has long served as feeder for Key West Race Week.

Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 will be held Jan. 18-22, 2016.

Storm Trysail Club members are in the process of contacting all past sponsors and will be working to bring new partners into the mix. Jeff Johnstone has pledged the support of J/Boats, a worldwide leader in high-performance sailboats.

Longtime member John Fisher will serve as event chairman for Key West Race Week. Fisher has been involved with Block Island Race Week since 1999, serving as chairman for three editions of the biennial regatta. Reichart said Fisher, a past commodore of Storm Trysail Club, was selected for the role because of his proven strength with logistics.

Skippers wishing to register for Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 should visit

'No Mercy' In Hyeres
The biggest smile of the day at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres belonged to Poland's Maja Dziarnowska after she picked up three straight race wins in the Women's RS:X.

When asked about how she dominated the day, Dziarnowska commented, "there is no mercy". With the new ISAF Sailing World Cup format exciting the sailors competing in the French Riviera, no mercy can be shown if they want to end up on top and the Polish racer demonstrated that perfectly well.

A strong breeze, which built to around 16 knots, filled all five courses consistently throughout the day allowing sailors to truly put all their skills to the test.

The leader boards are starting to take shape across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic disciplines in Hyeres ahead of the Medal Races on Sunday 26 April where a share of the €72,000 prize fund, ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots and World Cup glory are on offer.


Fun In La Rochelle, Fun Back Home
With the J/70, one's sailing fun is not limited to a few distant race weeks. You can have year-round fun thanks to local J/70 fleets across Europe, where sailing is a weekly event. J/70 is easy to own, exciting to sail, stable for the whole family, and built to last. In just three years since launch, nearly 800 J/70s are sailing in 20+ countries.

Selected for the Champions League and several national leagues, the J/70 is appealing to sailors from 8 to 80.

And what a great 2015 calendar including:
2015 J/70 Worlds - La Rochelle, France July 6-11
J/70 Europeans - Monaco, October 12-17

America's Cup: Japan To Launch Team To Challenge Oracle
Japan is to challenge again for the America's Cup. The long-heralded announcement is expected finally to be made by the end of next week and will see not only a Japanese skipper but the appearance of former Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker in the lineup.

The team will be sponsored by Softbank for the Kansai Yacht Club and is expected, like the French team, to be offered some support by the cup holder and defender Oracle, which represents the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

It is expected that Oracle boss Larry Ellison and his sailing team boss Sir Russell Coutts will attend the signing ceremony along with Masoyashi San.

It is not known whether the late entry will compete at the warm-up regatta being staged in Portsmouth in May and organised by an associate company of the British challenger, Sir Ben Ainslie's BAR. -- Stuart Alexander

Development Grant For Oracle's Boat Building Business
The Government says a taxpayer subsidy for Team New Zealand's arch rival Oracle Racing has been overstated.

Warkworth-based boat-building business Core Builders Composites, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle Racing, has been awarded a three-year research and development grant by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

A news update on MBIE's website last week appeared to show that the grant was worth $17.25 million.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said this afternoon that the amount of the grant was confidential.

"But it is nothing like the $17 million quoted in media reports to date which is pure fabrication," he said.

"To put it in context the company has so far claimed considerably less than half a million dollars."

America's Cup World Series In Hamilton?
During a packed town hall meeting at the Heritage Worship Centre in Hamilton on Tuesday, Sir Russell Coutts, director of the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA) and Oracle Team USA's chief executive, revealed that organisers have not ruled out the possibility of having part of the event take place in the Island's port of call.

"The regatta director [Iain Murray] was investigating whether it was possible to bring some racing inside the harbour," Sir Russell said yesterday. The five-times America's Cup winner said organisers were looking into avenues of having racing conclude in Hamilton Harbour, which annually hosts the Argo Group Gold Cup.

A graphic unveiled to the public at the meeting depicts the finish line in front of the Flagpole on Front Street.

The overall ranking position in the World Series determines the starting points score for the teams involved in the Qualifiers in 2017.

Four to six World Series events are expected in 2016.

Volvo Ocean Race
Clouds cling to the South American sky, which flicks between electric blues and dull greys. "No one really knows exactly what to do with this weather," admits Rob Greenhalgh, sitting on the deck of MAPFRE's red boat and looking up thoughtfully.

"There's going to be a header out here and it's just a case of seeing who's fast. Team SCA have proved pretty fast, Abu Dhabi as always have proved pretty fast, DFRT have been fast. He pauses. "Everyone is just ushering each other east."

It's Day 4 of Leg 6, and, incredibly, the fleet is still within just 10nm of each other as they race the 5,010nm voyage to Newport, Rhode Island.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leads the pack, and MAPFRE sits fourth in line at the 1530 UTC position report.

With the fleet having split into two factions, Ian Walker's crew is the western-most boat in the fleet at the last position report.

And Rob believes that they're in prime position when the moment comes to tack - which should be sometime tomorrow.

"We'll have a tack soon, Abu Dhabi are way up to windward now, they'll get the hammer down at some stage and try to pull bearing.

"They'll lead out to the north for sure at the tack, hope that we can be in second or third." Also hoping to come out of that tack in amongst the leaders will be homecoming boat, Team Alvimedica. Their orange hull is currently third in the rankings - and they had further cause to celebrate yesterday, as Will Oxley turned 50 onboard.

"It's a significant milestone," he laughs. "How long are you going to live?"

"I feel very lucky at 50 to still be in the top end of the sport, plying my craft in the Volvo Ocean Race. Luckily for me, Navigators tend to get better with age!"

Hamilton Island Backs IRC Australian Championship
As well as staging this year's IRC Australian Championship, Hamilton Island is backing Yachting Australia's premier IRC event as naming rights sponsor.

It's Queensland's turn to host the national series, one that will add another dimension to the island's major annual sailing event and one of the southern hemisphere's largest keelboat regattas, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, August 15 - 22, 2015.

"We are delighted to announce the island's major sponsorship of the IRC championship," Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke said. "It's great to have elite racing here mixing with the cruising divisions. We are hoping for our best numbers in many years.

"Hamilton Island is proud to host this prestigious regatta and want to conduct only the finest racing possible for this pinnacle end of the sport."

Overall Race Week entry numbers are currently up on previous years. The encouraging entry list for the Hamilton Island IRC Australian Championship already represents four states; Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

The IRC program runs in conjunction with Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Racing begins on Sunday August 16 through to Saturday August 22.

Peter Holmberg Receives The Guy Eldridge Spirit Of Enthusiasm Award
Peter Holmberg, the Caribbean's most famous sailor is living proof that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things, and at this year's BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival he was awarded for his services to the sailing world.

"Every year we present The Guy Eldridge Spirt of Enthusiasm Award to someone who shines in the spirt of the sport and who we feel has stepped out and gone beyond," remarked the Commodore of the Royal BVI Yacht Club, Chris Haycraft.

Previous recipients include the late Arthur 'Tuna' Wullschleger, renowned ocean racer, legendary race official and mentor.

"This year we are giving it to a guy who has done so much for Caribbean sailing and especially during his roll as President of the Caribbean Sailing Association over the last couple of years - Peter Holmberg," continued Haycraft. "He has reorganised Caribbean regattas, he has gone out there and got boats to come to regattas, he is a spokesman for Caribbean sailing. He and his team has promoted Caribbean racing to the world, while at the same time improved events and reached down to promote sailing at the grass-roots level on the smaller islands. We are proud to present Peter Holmberg with this award."

Chinese Sailors Enter The Extreme 40 Fray
Chinese sailor Cheng Ying Kit and Danish Olympic Champion Jonas Warrer to co-skipper the national Extreme 40 entry 'Team Extreme Qingdao' in China's Olympic sailing city of Qingdao.

Cheng Yeng Kit (Kit) alongside Liu Ming (Leo) and Kong Chencheng (Kong) will represent their home country at Act 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Qingdao, stepping into the intense world of the Extreme 40 racing.

Cheng Ying Kit already has an outstanding CV from the America's Cup to racing in the Volvo Ocean Race and Danish Olympic 49er champion and Extreme Sailing Denmark* skipper Jonas Warrer will be returning to the venue where he won his Olympic gold medal in 2008. Despite only having one vital day of training together before the Act begins, Kit is quietly confident in his teams' potential, when talking about his Chinese crew. "We train together, we travel together, we have spent the last year together and we know each other really well. Our communication onboard will be our strength."

Leo and Kong will share duties on the bow, with Artemis Offshore Academy graduate Aaron Cooper (GBR) trimming the mainsail.

One of the most notorious venues in the Series, Qingdao is known to throw every kind of weather at the sailors from windy and gusty conditions that have flipped over a few Extreme 40s in the past to calms and even fog, earning itself a reputation as one of the most unpredictable venues on the circuit.

Racing in Qingdao is from April 30 - May 3.

Under Starter's Orders
The 45th Edition of Antigua Sailing Week will open for registration on Friday, April 24. Antigua Sailing Week is the longest running and most famous regatta in the Caribbean and this year the number of entries has eclipsed recent years with 121 entries.

At least 17 yachts will take part in the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race on Friday, April 24, which has been running even longer than Antigua Sailing Week.

Lloyd Thornburg's record breaking MOD70, Phaedo3 will be attempting to break the race records for both the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race (set by Mari Cha IV in 2004 in 2 hrs, 18 mins and 42 secs) and the Pearns Point Round Antigua Race (set by Sojana in 2009 in 4 hrs, 37 mins and 43 secs).

"It is highly probable that we will set new records for both races but we need to sail well, especially for the Guadeloupe Race," commented Jules Verne Record Holder, Brian Thompson. "Mari Cha IV's record has stood for over 10 years; it is an extremely fast time.  The wind looks to be from the southeast which is a good angle for both courses but I doubt if we will see 20 knots of wind, which would be ideal. So my prediction is, barring gear failure, we should set new record times but they will not be the fastest we are capable of."

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta
Organisers of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta are delighted to see a very impressive 345 boats have availed of the 'Early Bird' entry fee for this year's event, with entry still be open for another 10 weeks - 2015 is shaping up to be the 'Regatta certainly not to miss' in Summer 2015!

Entries have been received to date across all 28 Classes, IRC Cruisers, One Design Keelboats and Dinghies with over 40% of the current entry coming as visiting sailors from overseas (England, Scotland, Wales & Isle of Man & Spain) and other yacht clubs from all over Ireland. We very much look forward to extending a very warm welcome to all visiting sailors and families this coming July.

A record 68 Clubs are Currently Represented 20.4 with many of the 2013 Champions returning with the hope of retaining their Titles.

Additional Perpetual trophies will be added to the Overall Prizes of this year's Regatta and details of these will be issued soon.

Current entry list:

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The Last Word
Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. -- Max Planck

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