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
All Star Line-Up Prepares For World Championship Season Opener
Long Beach, California, USA: The stage is set for the kick-off of the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), with the start of the 51st Congressional Cup regatta on 13th May, in the waters off Long Beach, California.
Twelve skippers from nine nations have converged on Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), all with the same goal: to win the prestigious 51-year-old Congressional Cup, and set the pace for the season ahead.
Current ISAF Match Racing World Champion and two-time Congressional Cup winner Ian Williams, GBR (ISAF No.1 ranked) is back, eager to topple defending champion Taylor Canfield, ISV (ISAF No.2).
Returning skippers include Eric Monnin, SUI (ISAF No.4); Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN (ISAF No.9); Keith Swinton, AUS (ISAF No.10), Phil Robertson, NZL (ISAF No.13), Przemeyslaw 'Tara' Tarnaki, POL (ISAF No.26), Dustin Durant USA (ISAF No.84) and Scott Dickson, LBYC (ISAF No.167).
Making their Congressional Cup debuts, as skippers, are Bjorn Hansen, SWE (IAF No.5), Chris Steele, NZ (ISAF No.11) and Reuben Corbett, NZL (ISAF No.12).
Class 40s Go Transatlantic
The maxi yachts get all the attention in the marina. But on the racecourse for the Transatlantic Race 2015, from Newport, R.I., to England, the most interesting battle could well be amongst the smallest boats in the fleet.
The six Class 40 yachts entered in the race will compete as part of the IRC Division and as part of their own sub-class, where they'll race boat for boat across the Atlantic.
The Transatlantic Race 2015 will pit amateur and professional sailors against one of the most demanding racetracks in the world, the North Atlantic Ocean. The fleet will leave from Newport, R.I., in one of three staggered starts from June 28 to July 5, with the finishes, off the Lizard, expected in the middle of July.
In a typical big-boat regatta, 40-foot boats are among the larger boats in the fleet. For the 2,800-mile race from Newport, R.I., to the southwestern tip of England, however, 40 feet is the minimum length. Further adding to the challenge for these sailors is the fact that Class 40 boats are designed to race with a minimum number of people on board. At least four of the six boats will be sailing doublehanded, with just two sailors onboard. The others can sail with a maximum of six. A typical crew for a 40-foot boat competing in such a race would be 8 to 10 sailors.
Henri Lloyd Elite Offshore - New Elite Racer Salopette
Following on from the success of the 2014 Elite range and our unwavering commitment to "Intelligent Innovation" has led to the development of the Henri Lloyd Offshore Elite Racer Salopette.
Built to withstand the worst conditions imaginable, the salopettes are a new and exciting edition to the Elite Range, and has been designed for Offshore Racers and Cruisers where performance and comfort is a priority.
The salopettes carry the following design features; fast draining thigh pocket, articulated for ease of movement, touch and close fastening to hem, Cordura reinforcement to seat for increased durability.
The Lightest, Most Breathable Offshore Gear Ever, Without Compromise: www.henrilloyd.com/elite/
Josh Junior Gets Perfect Start To Finn Europeans In Split
Josh Junior (NZL) has got off to a perfect start at the Finn European Championships in Split, Croatia after two race wins on the opening day. Egor Terpigorev (RUS) is in second while Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) is third, as well as being the leading junior.
As expected the day started windless and hot, so an early postponement was hoisted as the fleet waited for the sea breeze. When it did arrive, it was later and weaker than predicted, though plenty strong enough to run two great races, with wind from 10-14 knots through the day.
Regatta leader Junior was also surprised to be doing so well. "Very good day, very happy. I haven't sailed like this in a long time. To win two races in a row is fantastic, especially with such good sailors around. So I am very pleased and surprised."
Russia's Arkadiy Kistanov is leading the juniors, with all the top three inside the top 10 overall. Defending champion Jake Lilley (AUS) in sixth overall after an 11, 7 while last year's Silver Cup bronze medalist, Nenad Bugarin (CRO) is in third after a 4, 23, and also the top Croatian.
Two more races are scheduled for Wednesday, with the same conditions expected. The opening series of 10 races concludes on Saturday, before the medal race and the final race for the rest on Sunday.
Top ten after two races:
1. Josh Junior, NZL, 2 points
2. Egor Terpigorev, RUS, 5
3. Arkadiy Kistanov, RUS, 12
4. Zsombor Berecz, HUN, 14
5. Edward Wright, GBR, 15
6. Jake Lilley, AUS, 18
7. Ioannis Mitakis, GRE, 20
8. Ben Cornish, GBR, 20
9. Deniss Karpak, EST, 26
10 . Nenad Bugarin, CRO, 27
Full results at: finneuropeans.org
Dongfeng Crew Change
Leading French offshore sailor Sidney Gavignet, fresh from breaking a record last week, has been called up by Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) for Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Newport to Lisbon.
The 46-year-old is also skipper of the Sultanate of Oman's MOD70 trimaran, Musandam-Oman Sail.
With a largely Omani crew, they broke Steve Fossett's 20-year-old Round Ireland course record last Wednesday, in a yet-to-be ratified time of 40 hours 51 minutes and 57 seconds.
Gavignet will take the place of fellow Frenchman, Eric Peron, on board Dongfeng. Peron is taking a breather before the final two European legs.
Dongfeng Race Team are already in fine form, having won their second leg of the race from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island, last week, to cut Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's overall lead to six points. They had earlier won Leg 2 to their home port in Sanya.
The team has also announced that Yang Jiru (English name 'Wolf') will take over from fellow Chinese Liu Xue ('Black') for the 2,800-nautical mile leg across the Atlantic, by far the shortest leg contested so far.
Caudrelier's rotations so far have seen Figaro sailor, Jack Bouttell (dual national Australian/British), contesting Leg 3, French navigator, Erwan Israel, on Leg 4 and Irish Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Damian Foxall, on Leg 5.
After the leg to Lisbon, the race will conclude in June with stages to Lorient (France) and then to Gothenburg (Sweden), via The Hague for a pit stop. The event will finish on June 27 with the Gothenburg In-Port Race.
Dubarry Crosshaven - 'Race Face' Protection
It's pitch-black. We're on the wind halfway across the Irish Sea, heading for 'The Rock' in a Force 6 - and it's building. On the rail we might look like a troop of Japanese snow monkeys on valium but we've huddled into something like comfort when skip calls the headsail change we've been dreading for the last five minutes. Three minutes later I'm clipped on with my feet on the leeward toerail with an armful of changed foresail when a wave engulfs the foredeck. The water clears and I'm still onboard thanks to the combined efforts of my tether and the stanchion lodged in my crotch. Lucky me.
Sail change over I'm back on the rail but my feet are cold and wet and my enthusiasm for this caper ebbs quickly away, unlike the sea water - the boots were still wet a week after the finish in Plymouth. It's 1989 and, though the stylishly weathered Shamrock boot is much in evidence, the Crosshaven is but a dream. Had I been wearing Crosshavens, the gaiter and drawstring would have kept my feet dry and my race face on. Funny how something so simple can be so incredibly effective.
Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea
Star Sailor Leage Lake Grand Slam
Lausanne, Switzerland: The Star Sailor League is happy to announce the first edition of the SSL Lake Grand Slam that will be held in Grandson on the Neuchatel Lake, CH, in September 2015.
The event will be held in Grandson, lake de Neuchatel, from 8th to 12th of September. The race course on the lake depends on three main winds - Bise from the North, Joran from North west and Vent from South West - and will be set according to them with the finish line being incredibly close to the dock, less than 100mt.
The Opening Ceremony of the SSL Lake Grand Slam will be held at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Olympic World Capital. On Septembre 8th, World Class Star Sailors and Olympic authorities will be together, in the newly refurbished Olympic Museum, to launch the first ever SSL Lake Grand Slam.
A few top sailors have already confirmed their attendance:
Torben Grael, Mark Reynolds, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, and Dennis Conner
Six Metre World Named Annual Regatta At Sea
The International Six Metre Association (ISMA), whose 2015 World Championship will be hosted from 29 May to 5 June by the Societe Nautique de La Trinite Sur Mer, is honoured to announce that it has also been awarded the Societe Nautique de Genève's highly prestigious Annual Regatta at Sea.
The Annual Regatta at Sea is one of yachting's most prized events and is awarded each year to a class that, in the opinion of the Societe Nautique de Genève, exemplifies the highest standards in yacht racing and race management. This year the Six Metres will race this prestigious event from 30 to 31 May, with the Societe Nautique de La Trinite Sur Mer providing race management support to Societe Nautique de Genève for the regatta.
With some 40 boats from across Europe, the USA and Canada already registered the competition for both the Annual Regatta at Sea and the World Championship will be fierce and spectacular in equal measure. The fleet will, as always, incorporate both the cutting edge Modern Sixes and the elegant Classic Sixes.
Walker Fuelled By Round-The-World Yacht Race 'Injustice'
Ian Walker believes his Abu Dhabi team are on course for a victory in the Volvo Ocean Race that would settle a sense of "injustice" from the last round-the-world epic.
Hiking up the pressure the Chinese-backed vessel won the latest duel into Newport, Rhode Island to narrow the lead. Walker, a two-time Olympic silver medallist, is hoping however that the disasters of 2011-2012 can be avoided.
In that race, the Abu Dhabi boat broke a mast during the opening leg and later suffered hull damage, which forced it to retire from the crucial race from Auckland to Itajai, in Brazil. The team eventually limped home fifth.
But Walker denied he was seeking "revenge."
"The word is too strong. I always felt a sense of injustice in the previous race. I knew we were sailing well. I knew we had a good team and I knew that we deserved better.
"But it's like a Formula One race. If you haven't got the car, never mind how good the driver is. We had the potential to win but we never had the opportunity to demonstrate it."
This time Abu Dhabi Racing are in control and Walker says they only have to finish in the top three in each leg to claim the coveted title. He is taking nothing for granted however.
Knut Frostad: It Is Crucial That We Anticipate The Future Of The Sport
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad tells Yacht Racing Forum about the commercial situation of the Volvo Ocean Race and - more generally - about the importance of having a clear vision for the future of the sport of sailing.
Yacht Racing Forum: Knut Frostad, how is the Volvo Ocean Race doing from a commercial point of view ?
Knut Frostad: We are in a better place than I feared we could be considering the state of the economy. A good illustration is the response from the venues, which has been positive. Alicante and South Africa witnessed a massive increase of engagement compared to the past, with more local sponsors and a very large public. China and the Middle-East were comparable to the last editions; New Zealand was great as usual. And finally we broke all records in Brazil !
Yacht Racing Forum: The stopovers are much shorter than they used to be. Why is this?
Knut Frostad: They are meant to last approximately nine to fourteen days. Sailing events are often too long, which isn't good for public and partners. It is better to concentrate the action. For example, we had 34,600 visitors per day on average in Alicante, during ten days. Three years ago, we had 13,000 over 23 days. It felt better this time, and the partners were more happy.
Full interview: mxcc1.com
* From Adrian Morgan: Good on Tom Ehman, for his plan for a 12 Metre Regatta idea, based at Golden Gate in San Francisco. So often the butt of criticism for his role in various America's Cup controversies, he has come up with a blinder this time: an event that could restore some class to America's Cup style yacht racing. Great boats, fabulous venue and $500,000 prize money. Oh joy: in place of jib-less wingsails, hydraulic monkeys and flying boats we will see spinnakers, tactics, deck work, trimming, action, peels and gybes, and genoas! Think Fremantle 1987 on body building medication.
* From Philippe Serenon: P.Serenon, past UNCL President, Areva's challenge yacht club:
I couldn't agree more with the highly respected Tom Ehman: Restore stability and style to yacht racing is definitely the right direction.
No nostalgia in this, just the right marketing positioning, based on a middle age tournament between 2 hose men fighting in the name of their knights, bringing all their science to tactics prior to speed.
This is aligned with recent B Trouble's statements as well. Add Patrizio Bertelli's, Ernesto Bertarelli's and even Loick Peyron's views and you have the demonstration of it.
Dear Larry and Russell, even the best can get a strategy wrong: trying to make match racing a pay TV show is a non-sense; We are a complex and confidential sport with little natural audiences, let's live with it!
Believe it or not but an elegant heeling monohull at 9 knts remains, for the general public, more spectacular than costly hydraulic carbon machines flying stable at 40 knts in a flat sound ... This is true on the water as well as on TV !!!
And please forget about cost ! Big money is today rather going in Wallys, maxis and superyachts. So there is money for fun and exciting yacht racing but it doesn't go in the Am Cup anymore: Isn't it a signal ?
Sit back, relax, rethink and bring it back on track !
* From Glenn T. McCarthy: ISAF just doesn't seem to understand their responsibility to assure a fair game. They can eliminate Guanabara Bay as a venue, and move it elsewhere in Brazil. Everyone in this sport should be outraged. This describes the Game of Chance the 2016 Sailing Olympics has become -
Fantastic one design racing and good IRC and IRC rating. Lots of sails (North Sails) Excellent electronics (Bravo) The boat is lying out of water in Marina de Cascais 30km from Lisbon. The boat will sail Copa del Rey 2015, and is ready for a new owner after that race.
See the RaceboatsOnly.com collection at seahorsemagazine.com/brokerage/
The Last Word
If you sincerely desire a truly well-rounded education, you must study the extremists, the obscure and nutty. You need the balance! Your poor brain is already being impregnated with middle-of-the-road crap, twenty-four hours a day, no matter what. -- Ivan Stang
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