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
MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail Sets Off On Round Ireland Record Attempt
Oman Sail's record-chasers on the Sultanate of Oman's flagship MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail began their 2015 summer season yesterday late afternoon when they set off from Dun Laoghaire in Ireland for an attempt on the Round Ireland record.
French skipper Sidney Gavignet was reunited with his three Omani crew Fahad Al Hasni, Yasser Al Rahbi and Sami Al Shukaili who were key members of his triumphant team when Musandam-Oman Sail smashed the Round Britain and Ireland world record last August.
Also on board was Spanish sailor Alex Pella and the French multihull veteran Jean Baptiste Levaillant who have joined the Omani trimaran for the attempt to beat the long standing Round Ireland record of 44 hours set back in September 1993 by Steve Fossett's 60ft trimaran Lakota.
The forecast before they threw the lines at 17:04 UTC on Monday was for light conditions that were scheduled to build significantly overnight.
Since the boat was launched following a routine refit, Gavignet has been training with his crew in Lorient and taking part in the Grand Prix Guyader in Douarnenez in Brittany, France, where they flew the Omani flag in Europe for the first time this year and got back into competitive racing mode after a winter sailing with other crew in other boats.
At the time of writing, the boat has rounded the top of Ireland and is doing around 20 knots. The ETA is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Who Will Take A Risk?
The Volvo Ocean Race's only North American stopover in Newport, Rhode Island, was set to open with a fanfare on Tuesday, while less than 500 nautical miles (nm) away at sea, six boats were battling desperately to become the first to join the party.
In the previous stage, Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí, the first four boats finished within an hour of each other. Leg 6 looks as though it could well end up just as tightly contested all the way to the very last nautical mile, with the first five boats separated by less than 20nm.
Just over 50nm behind the main pack, the women on Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) were in the best pressure and making ground fast
On Tuesday evening, the boats will be making one last, planned gybe out of a light wind area. After reasonably wide lateral separations earlier in the 5,010nm leg, the crews do not look like that they are taking any more bold gambits in bids to find favourable winds or currents, and are now tightly bunched and closely monitoring each other.
"It's a time of minimal risks," said Volvo Ocean Race official meteorologist, Gonzalo Infante. "I expect pretty simultaneous gybes tonight."
Positions at: 6 May 03:40 UTC
1. Dongfeng Race Team. 281nm to leg finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 5.1nm to leader
3. Team Brunel, 13.4
4. MAPFRE, 20.0
5. Team Alvimedica , 32.8
6. Team SCA, 75.7
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Derry-Londonderry-Doire Yacht Officially Named
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion, joined Clipper Round the World Yacht Race founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, today, for the naming ceremony of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire yacht entry in the 2015-16 edition at the race's Gosport headquarters in Portsmouth Harbour, England.
At the ceremony, the yacht's skipper was revealed by Clipper Race organisers: Daniel Smith (31) from Scotland is an experienced yachtsman and instructor and will lead the team on its 40,000 mile, eleven month, ocean race series, which gets underway on Sunday 30 August from London.
The event was also attended by the four winners of the council's 'Your Next Chapter' bursary scheme: Jilly St John, David Pollock, Keelin O'Kane and Conor Shortland start their race training tonight and will each sail a leg of the Clipper 2015-16 Race aboard Derry-Londonderry-Doire.
The Clipper 2015-16 Race marks the tenth edition of the world famous event. It sets sail from London on 30 August 2015 and will visit Derry-Londonderry next summer, marking the city's third team entry and hosting of the international sporting competition.
A Tradition Of Competition And Camaraderie
The organizers of New York Yacht Club's first Annual Regatta in 1846 would have been hard-pressed to envision that it would become an annual event about to be run for the 161st time in the year 2015. The New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is now widely considered to be a cornerstone of the summer sailing season. From that first race which featured 14 entries (sloops and schooners) to the mix of vintage and modern craft that will cross the starting line in Newport for three days of racing from June 12-14, the constant thread has been upholding the tradition of competition and camaraderie which is fundamental to the sport of sailing.
One of the many returning entries is the vintage yacht Spartan, a NewYork 50, and one of a nine-strong Herreshoff-built fleet commissioned by New York Yacht Club in the early part of the 20th century. Spartan, the only known surviving member of the fleet, was recommissioned in 2010 and has raced the Annual Regatta since 2011.
Another vintage beauty sure to attract a lot of attention is the Fife-designed 8-Metre Quest which will grace the starting line of the Annual Regatta for the first time in 2015. Having spent most of her life in fresh water - racing out of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto - Quest, built in 1930, was restored by Ronald and Diane Palm in Maine and has spent the last three years racing competitively on the East Coast.
Of the many modern one-designs that race by class division will be the NYYC Swan 42s, of which six are currently entered, with 2014 class winner - Mahalo - returning to defend her win.
New Look For Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 2016
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews. The international offshore regatta comprises a tough mix of inshore and offshore racing and is an intense seven-day programme that pits three-boat teams against one another to accrue overall team points.
For the next edition, The RORC Committee have agreed to a number of changes that will have a positive impact on the number of teams taking part in the event held at Cowes, Isle of Wight between 23 and 30 July 2016.
The first is the requirement of every team to have a small boat with a rating between 1.000 and 1.049. "Many teams in the last event believed that it was hard to be competitive without having three boats that were close to the top of the allowable rating band, as was the case of last year's winning Irish team," commented RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.
"Lowering the rating band to 1.000 will make it easier for J109s to enter, to include boats like the JPK10.10, A35 and the new Sunfast 3200, and reduce the cost of competing. This group of boats will have their own starts, but if a team has more than one boat within this rating band, and it is possible to have three 'small' boats, it will have to nominate which boat will compete in this division. The maximum rating is still 1.230 and there has been no change to the rule that only allows one boat in each team with a rating between 1.150 and 1.230," continues Warden Owen.
The second change is the addition of an extra professional sailor to each team but without stipulation which boats they shall sail on.
Details on commodorescup.rorc.org
SK2 - News And Shows!
Click on image for SK2 Videos
The fast and fun sportsboat with a canting keel. Developed by Swing Keel Sailing Ltd and built by Ovington boats.
Following the appointment of Salona Norge as the dealers for all Scandinavian territory, the SK2 will be shown at Oslo Boat Show 2015 form this Friday along the week end. There will be one unit on land and a further unit will be available for test sails at the show. Book your test sail early by e-mailing Salona Norge at
For more information on the SK2 and what it has to offer visit www.sk2sailing.com
Fortuitous Marina Launch
In November, when Bermuda was selected as the host of the 2017 America's Cup sailing race, the owners of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, a Fairmont Managed Hotel (formerly the Fairmont Hamilton Princess) must have been smiling.
One month earlier, the hotel had opened the 60-berth Princess Marina, the only full-service marina in Bermuda and one capable of accommodating both small boats and superyachts.
The marina is part of a $90 million renovation the Hamilton Princess has been undergoing for more than a year, one that enables the 130-year-old property to take advantage of its top asset: its harborside location in Bermuda's picturesque capital.
The hotel expects the marina to bring the boating and sailing community to the property. Anyone docking at the marina has signing privileges at the hotel's on-site restaurants, and a marina concierge assists guests with anything from destination information to making restaurant reservations or island excursions.
Transpac YC Announces The Tahiti 2016 Race
Transpac has received several inquiries from interested sailors about another race from Los Angeles to Tahiti. First run in 1925 and then popular from the 50s through the 70s, in recent years, Transpac YC has resumed this legendary race. The race starts off Pt Fermin in San Pedro, then Catalina to port, across the Pacific and the Equator, leaves the Tuamoto Atolls to port, and finally finishes at the Northern tip of the island of Tahiti at Pointe Venus. 3700 nautical miles, and another famous Transpac welcome to Papeete by the Yacht Club de Tahiti where the Fritz Overton Memorial Trophy resides.
2016 is the time to do it again!
Following our successful races in 2008 and 2012, sailors are once again interested in the longest Transpac Challenge. In 2008 Doug Baker's Magnitude 80 demolished the existing record with a run of 11 days, 10 hours, 13 minutes and 18 seconds. In 2012 Karl Kwok and his beautiful and fast Beau Geste tried but couldn't quite get to Mag 80s time.
We are happy to announce that Transpac will again run the race to Tahiti in 2016 if there are sufficient entries. Preliminary entry info and the Notice of Race will be available on the Transpac website soon. The anticipated start will be in mid June, 2016. Opportunities for joining in July celebrations and events in Tahiti are available. Moorea, Raiatea, and Bora Bora are all nearby and the South Pacific beckons.
More news soon on www.TranspacYC.com
Sixth Edition Of Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image
The world's best sailing photographers will be celebrated for the sixth consecutive time in 2015. Yacht Racing photographers from all over the world are once again invited to attend the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award in 2015. The standard has been set with the amazing 2014 competition results and now is time to start selecting, or anticipating the world's best yacht racing image of 2015.
Started in 2010, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award is the world's premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing, celebrating the very best yacht racing image taken during the year, and which best represents the essence and excitement of the sport.
The 2014 Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image uncovered a stunning collection of images sent by professional photographers spanning twenty-five countries. More than one million people saw their pictures through social networks, whilst the event website saw the visit of more than 150'000 single visitors.
In 2015, the top twenty pictures selected by the public will once again be displayed during the Yacht Racing Forum, on December 7-8. The event will also stage the official award ceremony. The overall winner will receive the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Award and a precious watch Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969, whilst the Public Award trophy will be awarded alongside items from event partner Nespresso.
BT Sport Beats Sky to AC35 Coverage
BT Sport has beaten Sky to get the live television rights to broadcast the UK and Ireland America's Cup races and highlights of the 2017 America's Cup.
Beginning with the opening races of the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) in Portsmouth on July 25 and 26, BT Sport will offer live coverage of all America's Cup racing to viewers in the UK and Ireland through to the finals in 2017.
The BBC will carry America's Cup highlights after acquiring free-to-air broadcast rights for the event.
Highlights from the 2015-16 America's Cup World Series - including the Portsmouth events - as well as the 2017 America's Cup Challenger Playoffs and America's Cup Finals, are included in the BBC agreement for free-to-air broadcast.
With Sir Ben Ainslie leading the UK challenge for the 2017 AC35, the excitement level for this series is likely to be huge.
We understand Sir Keith Mills, one of the top names in the campaign backing Ben Ainslie to win AC35, was highly instrumental in obtaining the AC35 rights.
Other top names behind Mr Ainslie include the Carphone Warehouse co-founder, Sir Charles Dunstone, Oakely Capital's (and North Sails') Peter Dubens and Ian Taylor, boss of oil giant Vitol.
Among the sponsors backing Mr Ainslie are Siemens, KPMG and BAE Systems, with help from Red Bull Racing
PAKEA BIZKAIA is an Open 60 IMOCA class sailboat, design by Andy Dovell and built under the direction of Kanga Birtles (B.O.C 90/91) in Jervis Bay, Australia. Recent races: 3rd in Velux 5 Oceans 2006 Competed in Vend?e Globe 2008 (forced to abandon)
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The Last Word
"I must go down to the sea again, To the lonely sea and sky;
I left my vest and socks there - I wonder if they're dry?" -- Spike Milligan
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