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

51st Congressional Cup Is 'Anybody's Game' After First Day
Long Beach, California, USA: Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams tumbled to Chris Steele - who just Sunday qualified for the Congressional Cup, by winning the Ficker Cup. Young Joachim Aschenbrenner ran top-five ranked Eric Monnin up and over the line early, to take the start (and race); while defending champion and ISAF no. 2 ranked skipper Taylor Canfield bowed to New Zealand's Reuben Corbett.

The results were particularly exciting as the field includes several Congressional Cup virgins - a position often perceived to be a disadvantage: racing a new venue, on unfamiliar boats. "It's obviously hard to come and race in boats we've never sailed in before," said Bjorn Hansen, of Sweden. "We're looking forward to increasing our level during the week and squeezing through to the semi-finals. And if we are able to do that; anything can happen in a semi-finals series."

Conditions were moderate, with breeze in the 6-10 knot range, and partly cloudy skies. The Congressional Cup regatta runs through May 17, 2015 with ideal spectator viewing, and live commentary, from the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

Races began around 11AM each day.

Inaugural Natural Parks Regatta at the Gazprom Swan 60 Worlds
Photo by Studio Borlenghi- Stefano Gattini. Click on image for photo gallery.

Gazprom Swan 60 The first ever 'Natural Parks Regatta' was held today on the second day of racing at the 2015 Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship. The inaugural race at Marina di Scarlino is confirmed as an annual distance race in the ClubSwan calendar. The Gazprom Swan 60 fleet raced 30 nautical miles starting near the rugged Tyrrhenian coast on the mainland before reaching the quaint bays of the island of Elba.

After a solid and consistent first day of racing yesterday Bronenosec continued their success taking yet another win. The defending champions now have a clean score card with five wins and sit a comfortable six points in the lead from Peter Lerbrandt's, Vertical Smile safely in second place.

Petite Flamme made the biggest jump today securing valuable points. A second in the Natural Parks Regatta means they are only two points from securing a 3rd place overall. Riccardo Pavoncelli's team needed this push today to realistically take an overall podium position when racing completes this coming Saturday, May 16th.

Tomorrow is a lay day for the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship. Racing continues on Friday, 15 May with windward /leeward courses.

Provisional Results
Bronenosec (RUS): 1-1-1-1, 4 points
Vertical Smile (DEN): 3-2-2-3, 10
Tsaar Peter (RUS): 2-3-3-4, 12
Petite Flamme (RUS): 4-4-4-2, 14
Spirit of Europe (RUS): 5-5-5-5, 20
SGM (RUS): 6-6-6-6, 24

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Arkadiy Kistanov Leads Junior and Senior Fleets
Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) has taken the lead on the second day at the Finn European Championship in Split, Croatia, after only one late race was sailed in light winds. Andrew Murdoch (NZL) took the race win from Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), who moves up to second overall, with Ed Wright (GBR) up to third overall.

The scheduled start time had already been put back to 13.00 with the forecast showing similar conditions to Tuesday, but a postponement followed at 11.00 with the race area remaining windless. The AP was dropped around 13.30 for a 15.00 start, however the wind was shifting 70 degrees so a further wait afloat ensued until the wind finally steadied around 16.00 allowing one race to get away.

Murdoch's race win means all three races so far have been won by Kiwis.

Kistanov is now leading both the seniors and the juniors while a seventh from Nenad Bugarin (CRO) moves him up to second junior and seventh overall. A 22nd from defending junior champion Jake Lilley (AUS) drops him to ninth overall.

Three more races are scheduled for Thursday from 12.00, with the some new conditions expected - wind from the south-east. The opening series of 10 races concludes on Saturday, before the medal race and the final race for the rest on Sunday.

Results after three races
1. Arkadiy Kistanov, RUS, 17
2. Ioannis Mitakis, GRE, 23
3. Edward Wright, GBR, 25
4. Andrew Murdoch, NZL, 29
5. Josh Junior, NZL, 30
6. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO, 31
7. Nenad Bugarin, CRO, 34
8. Michele Paoletti, ITA, 35
9. Jake Lilley, AUS, 40
10. Zsombor Berecz, HUN, 41

Full results:

900+ Entries
As the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race entries hit the 900+ mark in early May, the Race Management team at the Island Sailing Club (ISC) is especially pleased to see a number of Race Partners and their boats lining up for some exciting Race action on Saturday 27th June.

Haven Knox-Johnston will compete with HKJ Firestarter (GBR 8560R) and HKJ Enigma (GBR4365T), whilst Old Pulteney are racing Kurketrekker (GBR3779L), the Beneteau Oceanis 34. Henri Lloyd will have crew and guests competing on CV Henri Lloyd (GBR9351T) a Clipper 68.  Raymarine are also hinting at bringing a team boat.

The Big Class yacht, classic schooner Eleonora, is back to race for the first time since being co-skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie in 2012 just prior to him securing his fourth Olympic Gold medal in Weymouth.

Eleonora is an exact replica of the schooner Westward that was launched in 1910 and became one of the best-known racing schooners in the world. Eleonora will later participate in the prestigious Bicentenary International Regatta in Cowes during July.

Another exquisite-looking yacht entering the Race for the first time is the 19M William Fife Mariquita. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful classic yachts sailing today, Mariquita was part of the infamous 'Great 19s' close and highly competitive fleet that travelled far and wide during the early 1900s.

If you are looking for crew or are interested in competing on someone else's boat in this year's Race, the official Race website is your first port of call. It has a very useful Crew Search Forum. The Start times and Fleet flags information extracted from the Notice of Race can also be found on the website which is packed with helpful guidance and practical advice to help all racegoers, whether on the water or onshore. The website is regularly updated and details about the Race Village entertainment will be added in June, so make sure you keep in touch.

Standard entry remains open until midnight on June 13th.

Arm Infection Benches Poortman From Leg 7
Newport, Rhode Island, USA: An arm infection has forced Team Brunel's bowman, Gerd-Jan Poortman, out of Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Newport to Lisbon starting on Sunday.

The 39-year-old Poortman's (NED) place will be taken by the third-placed Dutch team's first reserve, Timo Hagoort (NED). Rokas Milevicius (LTU) will assume the role of bowman for Leg 7.

The infection, called elbow bursitis, is a common affliction for offshore sailors, especially bowmen.

"It all started a couple of days ago. I'm taking antibiotics now," said Poortman. "According to the doctors, it's not certain that it will be cured within four days.

"And even if the infection is cured before the start of the next leg, I still can't use my arm on a professional sailing level.

"Because the next leg is very demanding from start to finish, I have decided, together with our physio (Mark Haak), and skipper Bouwe Bekking, not to participate in the this leg which will take us to Lisbon."

Spanish Shipwreck From 17th Century Uncovered Off Panama
Archaeologists searching for real-life pirates of the Caribbean stumbled on a mysterious shipwreck in 2011. Now after years of historical detective work, they know what they discovered.

In 1681, the Spanish merchant ship Encarnacion sank during a storm near the mouth of the Chagres River on the Caribbean side of Panama. Built in Veracruz, Mexico, the cargo vessel was part of the Tierra Firme fleet, the economic lifeline of 17th-century Spain.

Though it sank in less than 40 feet of water, the Encarnacion somehow escaped major looting and is surprisingly well-preserved, with the bottom half of its hull intact thanks to burial in the seafloor.

The Encarnacion gives a rare glimpse of a major shift in world history during the colonial era, says Filipe Castro, a nautical archaeologist at Texas A&M University. "It is the rise of capitalism, imperialism, rationalism, and the middle classes that are going to buy art and consume literature."

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

Seahorse Magazine

Seahorse build table - Magnificent achievement
Peter Johnstone confounded the doubters when Gunboat’s new G4 foiling cat graciously took to the air on its debut in Sint Maarten

Rod Davis
Some hard truths about leadership

ORC column
Rating the Superyacht monsters. Dobbs Davis

ISAF column
And sailboat racing is officially now a six-continent sport

Sailor of the Month
Two people who scored very well this month...

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EDHEC Sailing Cup
La Rochelle, France: Originally created by 3 students from the French Business School EDHEC in 1968, the EDHEC Sailing Cup is now organized by 50 students and has become the leading student sporting event in Europe. Older than the Vendée Globe or the Volvo Ocean Race, the EDHEC Sailing Cup has always been a leader in top-level student regattas. This year, the largest student regatta in the world held its 47th edition in the harbor of La Rochelle, France, on the French Atlantic coast, from April 24 to May 2, 2015.  As the leading student sporting event in Europe, it had over 3,000 participants coming from more than 160 schools and universities from 23 countries.

Since its creation, the organization has been trying to promote sailing beyond the limits of the yachting world: the Land Trophy, the Sand Trophy, and the Air Trophy, have been created to enable our sailor participants' friends to join them in this adventure.  180 boats are sailing, including a huge fleet of J/80s.

The thirty-one schools from across Europe managed to sail six races over the course of three days.  In the end, it was the ENSM LE HAVRE team skippered by Corentin Bornet that sailed an extremely consistent series, posting all finishes in the top seven (6-1-7-1-4-3) to win the series.  Pushing hard and winning the last race was TEAM VOILE CENTRALES NANTES skippered by Lazio Horvath, taking the silver for their hard-earned efforts.  Third place went to the HEC CEGEREAL SOPRA STERIA team led by Pierre Rhimbault.  Rounding out the top five were IESEG VOILE I with helm Eric Brezellec in fourth and in fifth was ICAM VOILE BANQUE POPULAIRE 100% with Zenon Peneau steering.

Bilou At The Helm For Musandam-Oman Sail At ArMen
Musandam-Oman Sail's next event kicks off at the ArMen Race sailed out of La Trinite-sur-Mer. The Sultanate's flagship will have a new skipper at the helm in Roland 'Bilou' Jourdain, a veteran of offshore racing and - amongst other victories - a two-time winner of the Route du Rhum.

Bilou, as he is better known, will stand in for Sidney Gavignet for the rest of May while he steps on to the Chinese Volvo Ocean Race entry Dongfeng for the Leg from Newport to Lisbon. Alex Pella will also continue to sail on board the MOD70 lending great depth of experience. 

Post ArMen Race, the MOD70 will head to Kiel Week for the Welcome Race and an attempt on the boat's own record set in 2014. Before that happens though, the crew will race the team's M34 at Normandy Sailing Week (11-14 June). "And of course we will be supporting Sidney from afar during the next leg of the Volvo!" added Fahad.

The ArMen race is sailed doublehanded or crewed. There are two courses in 2015:

"The ArMen Race" : La Trinite-sur-mer, around a course mark near the Ar Men lighthouse), Belle Ile, Yeu and return to La Trinite port.

"The night of the ArMen" (130000) : La Trinite-sur-mer, Groix, a mark off Glenan, Belle Isle, south Hoedic and return to La Trinite port.

* Departure was scheduled for Thursday May 14 but has been pushed back to Friday due to forecast winds of 30 to 40 knots in the Bay of Biscay

Start times:
8h00 Mini 6.50, IRC Double
8h10 IRC 3, IRC 4, Pogo 8.50
8h20 IRC 2, Osiris Habitable
8h30 Nuit de l'Armen (Osiris Habitable and IRC Double)
8h40 IMOCA, IRC 1, Class 40
8h50 Ultime, Multi 50, Multi 30

Event site:

Marcel Leeman
Marcel Leeman ISAF regrets to report the passing of Marcel Leeman on 3 May at the age of 90.

Marcel had a very distinguished international career in the administration of Sailing.

He started as chief measurer for RORC yachts in Belgium and The Netherlands in the early sixties. From the very beginning he was active in the Offshore Racing Council, where he held many positions. He was a good friend of Jean Peytel, the initiator of the One Ton Cup, the first level rating event held in 1965 in Le Havre, and he was involved in level rating events for many decades, chairing the Level Class Committee of the ORC.

He had a brilliant career as an International Judge, and started judging on the water, before it became officially recognised.

His protest meetings were always relaxed and his sense of humour proved a wonderful medicine against bitter arguments. Marcel with Mary Pera and Paul Bennett formed an illustrious tandem in many protest meetings with a mix of deep knowledge of the rules, understanding of the human weaknesses and always respecting everyone's dignity.

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* From Malcolm McKeag: Tom Blackaller must be turning in his grave.

On Twelves: 'lead mines ...' On IOR keelboats 'why do I have to race around with a Volkswagon in the bilge?...'  On 40ft catamarans 'the most fun I've had in any boat, ever...'

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The Last Word
Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep. -- Felix Frankfurter

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