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

Opening Day Pressure
With all of the pressure and excitement of opening day of the 2015 52 Super Series applied it was Niklas Zennstrom's Ran crew on their new, recently launched Vrolijk design which rose best to the multiple challenges, posting an impressively consistent second and first to lead Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week.

Andy Soriano's British flagged crew made a dream start to their TP52 campaign when they emerged as clear winners of the first windward-leeward contest. Ergin Imre's brand new Provezza finished second to Ran in the second heat. Added to a modest, just above mid-fleet opening race fifth the Turkish flagged team lie third, four points up on a gaggle of three crews all sharing 11pts. And so two of the top four teams after the first pair of races are newcomers to the 52 Super Series. Defending champions Quantum Racing lie fifth, sharing the same points tally as Azzurra.

Between the new boats there is no discernible speed difference. The top five represent designers, in order, Vrolijk, Botin, Vrolijk, Vrolijk, Botin.

Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing Week, Standings after two races:

1. Ran Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennstrom SWE) (2,1) 3 points
2. Alegre, GBR (Andre Soriano USA) (1,3) 4
3. Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (5,2) 7
4. Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (3,8) 11
5. Quantum Racing, USA (Dalton DeVos USA) (4,7) 11
6. Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (6,5) 11
7. Interlodge, USA (Austin & Gwen Fragoman USA) (10,4) 14
8. Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,6) 14
9. Sled, USA (Takashi Okura JPN) (7,11) 18
10. Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (9,10) 19
11. Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (11,9) 20
12. XIO, ITA (Guiseppe Parodi ITA) (12,12) 24

Sickness On Board!
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet was still locked together no more than four nautical miles (nm) apart after more than a day and a half of racing in Leg 7 on Tuesday, with overall leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) reporting two cases of sickness on board.

The 2,800nm stage from Newport, Rhode Island, after a triumphant stopover there, to Lisbon, already promises to follow the race-long pattern of extraordinarily close duelling between the six-strong fleet with around 400nm covered so far through the Atlantic.

At 0942 UTC, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) were protecting a wafer-thin 0.9nm advantage over Walker's Emirati-backed crew, but even sixth-placed Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) were right in the hunt, with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) sandwiched between them in that order.

Walker had the immediate headache of keeping pace with the Chinese team who are six points adrift of them in the overall standings and a crew who have been a thorn in their side since the event started in Alicante, back in October.

The Emirati cause will not be helped in the short term by the sickness afflicting bowman Luke Parkinson (AUS) and trimmer Adil Khalid (UAE).

The sailors are predicted to complete this challenging and key leg between May 27 and 29.

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105 Entries, 23 Countries for 2015 ORC World Championship
Barcelona, Spain: As of 15 May last week, the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (RCNB), organizer of the Barcelona ORC World Championship, has closed its official registration period for the event. This decision was made by Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and RCNB to ensure the highest quality of racing for the participating teams, who will be in Barcelona over 27 June - 4 July to compete in this offshore world championship, sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

An impressive total of 105 boats are officially registered, and are divided into three classes: ORC A (28 teams), ORC B (41 teams) and ORC C (with 36 teams). Of these 105 entries, there are teams from 23 countries on 4 continents, the most diverse fleet ever assembled for an ORC championship event.

The racing format will combine windward/leeward races with long and short offshore races, which will count as double points and be about 100 nautical miles long.

Among the returning champions are Alberto Rossi's Italian Enfant Terrible, Class A World Champion in 2011, 2012 and 2014; Christian Plump's German Elena Nova, Class A World Champion in 2010; Pedro Campos's Spanish Team Campos, who as Movistar earned the 2014 ORC European Champion title in Class B; and Giuseppe Giuffre's Italian Low Noise, who won the Class C Worlds title in 2014, and the Class B Worlds title in 2011 and 2009.

Except for Rossi's TP 52, all these teams are coming to Barcelona with boats that are different than those from their last championship wins: Plump will be sailing a Swan 45, Campos a Swan 42, and Giuffre a new Italia Yacht 998.

Belgians Back In The Chocolates: North Sea Race
The 2014 RORC Season's Points Champion, Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's Belgian MC34, Azawakh, was the overall winner of the 2015 North Sea Race, scoring the best corrected time under IRC, for the 182-mile race from Harwich to Scheveningen.

Willem Schopman's Dutch Bashford Howison 36, Intention was second, just over a minute ahead, after time correction from Frans Rodenburg's Dutch First 40, Elke. Jan-friso Blacquiere's Maxfun 35, Blacq Magic was the overall winner of the ORC Class. Marcel Schuttelaar Dutch Maxi 1300, Ijsvogel was second and Willem de Jonge van Ellemeet's Dutch Dufour 40, Flying Dolphin was third in ORC overall.

74 yachts entered the 2015 North Sea Race, which was blessed with bright sunshine at the start. The Two-Handed fleet having been considerably swelled by the race being part of the inaugural Dutch Two-Handed National Championships.

John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef's Dutch J/111 Xcentric Ripper was the winner of the 18-strong IRC Two-Handed Class and winner of the ORC Two-Handed Class. This was the tenth North Sea Race for John van der Starre and by far the closest finish. After time correction, Xcentric Ripper won the class by four seconds from Erik Mayer-Martenson's Sun Fast 3200, Blizzard of Uz. Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600, Bellino was third.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues Saturday 23 May with the Myth of Malham Race. The Bank Holiday Weekend race is 230 nautical miles from Cowes around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back to the Solent. Well over 100 yachts are expected to take part.

Full results for the North Sea Race:

Mini Transat - Iles De Guadeloupe
Lizzy Foreman. Click on image to enlarge.

For the 20th edition and the second time, the Mini Transat -Iles de Guadeloupe returns to its origins with a start from Douarnenez (France). The Breton harbour will see the fleet of 84 solo sailors set off on the 19th of September to Lanzarote, where the Mini 6,50 will stop before the Atlantic stage starts on 31st of October.

The Mini Transat - Iles de Guadeloupe 2015 solo sailors are expected to finish three weeks later in Pointe-a-Pitre to a warm Caribbean welcome. Created by Briton Bob Salmon in the late 1970s this 4,020 nautical mile race from France to the Caribbean is the longest solo race for the smallest of boats.

The start has been brought forward to the 19th of September to ensure that the crossing of the Bay of Biscay will take place in the safest possible circumstances.

From Douarnenez, the fleet will head to Lanzarote, the port of call until the 31st of October. The departure date in Lanzarote has been set allowing for time to cushion any delays that could be caused by tropical storms.

Before crossing the start line in Douarnenez, the skippers must accumulate a number of miles, combining 1000nm solo-raced and 1000nm of official Class Mini races. To ensure a place is very hard, as the inscriptions are made following the qualifications. The first to be qualified will be the first to guarantee their place on the start line. Haunted by the experience of 2013, when some of them remained on the waiting list and were unable to start, the sailors prepare for the qualifying process way in advance.

The Swiss Simon Koster, third on the 2013 edition on the series, has revealed a radically new prototype with innovative forms that will first race on the Trophee Marie-Agnes Peron. For Simon, there are only a few races left to qualify: there is little margin for error.

Only two women have qualified so far, both of them from the United Kingdom. Lizzy Foreman, the British solo sailor, will be 25 years old when she sets off start line in Douarnenez for the biggest race of her life.

Race Coach / Bosun Vacancy
The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, one of the oldest sailing and rowing clubs in Hong Kong, is looking for a talented and youthful dinghy sailor to fill the post of Race Coach / Bosun.

This is a full-time contract based in Hong Kong commencing July or August 2015. Reporting to the Middle Island Sailing and Marine Manager, the successful applicant will coach up and coming cadets to higher levels of racing expertise. Classes of boats include the J80, Optimist, Laser, 420 and 29er. Coaching and mentoring at international events will be involved. Off-water there will be basic fibreglass repairs and maintenance of sailing craft and RIB's to be completed. Middle Island has a clubhouse, sailing academy, hardstand, marina and launching areas serviced by a regular club ferry.

We are looking for people with:

- Extensive dinghy racing experience.
- Graduation from an internationally recognised sail training academy.
- Race Coach qualification is essential with Keel Boat Instructor preferred.
- Excellent interpersonal, team and leadership skills.
- Fibreglass repair experience and confidence to install small boat rigs and deck equipment to a professional standard.
- Flexibility to work weekends and midweek shifts.

We offer attractive remuneration and excellent fringe benefits to the right candidate. Closing date for applications is 15 June 2015. Interested parties should submit a comprehensive CV together with a recent photograph to The Human Resources Manager, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Kellett Island, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong or e-mail to

For The Record
The WSSR Council announces the the establishment of a new benchmark time.

Course: Cadiz to San Salvador. 40 ft category
Yacht: "Calaluna". 40 ft Monohull
Name: Sergio Frattanuolo ITA and 3 crew
Dates: 25th February to the 19th March 2015.
Start time: 19;03;57. UTC. 24/02/15
Finish time: 06;22;22. UTC. 19/03/15
Elapsed time: 21 days 11 hours 18 minutes and 25 seconds
Distance: 3884 NM
Average speed: 7.54 kts

Comment: This was the first successful attempt to establish a time for a 40 foot yacht on the Cadiz to San Salvador route.

John Reed
Secretary to the WSSR Council

Maxis Ready For Volcano Race Start
Wild Joe (HUN) racing in the practice race in the waters off Gaeta. Photo by IMA / Gianluca Di Fazio. Click on image to enlarge.

One of the world's most spectacular offshore yacht races sets sail on Wednesday, 20th May with the International Maxi Yacht Association's Volcano Race, organised in collaboration with the Yacht Club Gaeta EVS and Base Nautica Flavio Gioia.

The secret of the event lies in its name - the race takes competitors on a loop, starting and finishing in the Italian port of Gaeta (mid-way between Rome and Naples), south across the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Aeolian Islands, the volcanic archipelago lying off the northeast coast of Sicily.

Among these islands is Stromboli, one of only two continuously active volcanoes in Europe (the other being nearby Mount Etna). The Volcano Race's course leaves Stromboli and its tiny neighbour, Strombolicchio, to starboard, before circumnavigating the Aeolian Islands, including the islands of Vulcano and Alicudi and then returning north to Gaeta, leaving Capri to port. The total distance for the course is 398 miles.

Nine Maxis are entered in the Volcano Race, ranging in size from the 100ft maxi Esimit Europa 2 to several 60 footers such as the Hungarian canting keeler, Wild Joe, and the Wally 60, Good Job Guys.

Also returning is the Italian classic Swan 65, Shirlaf, which last year won the Trofeo Challenge Gianfranco Alberini, in memory of the late Secretary General of the IMA, Gianfranco Alberini. The trophy is set to be awarded again this year for any crew demonstrating exceptional sportsmanship.

Peter Tallberg
It is with great sadness that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of Peter Tallberg, IOC member in Finland, at the age of 77.

A five-time Olympic sailor, Peter Tallberg was the second-longest serving current IOC member, having been elected in 1976. Only Doyen Vitaly Smirnov, who was elected in 1971, has served longer.

During his 40-plus years working for the Olympic Movement, Mr Tallberg had a strong and far-reaching impact. He chaired the Athletes' Commission from its inception in 1981 until 2002, when he became an Honorary member of the commission.

Mr Tallberg was the President of the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU, later International Sailing Federation - ISAF) (1986-1994); President of the Finnish Yachting Association (1977-1983), and President of the Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union (1978-1981).

Before transitioning into the administrative side of sport, Tallberg was a decorated sailor who competed in five editions of the Olympic Games. His best performance at the Games was a fourth-place finish in Star at Tokyo 1964. He finished 15th in the 5.5m in Rome 1960, 11th in Star at Mexico City 1968, 12th in Soling at Munich 1972, and 11th in Star at Moscow 1980.

Tallberg was Junior European centreboard yachting champion (1953); Finnish champion in Finn (1969), in Soling (1970 and 1972), in H (1974); Nordic Finn champion (1969); Swedish champion (1963 and 1965) and European Star champion (1967).

The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Peter Tallberg's family.

Letters To The Editor -
Letters are limited to 350 words. No personal attacks are permitted. We do require your name but your email address will not be published without your permission.

* From Glenn T. McCarthy: A Brazilian wrote saying that no one has ever become sick sailing in Guanabara Bay for over 100 years, and that the water is clear without trash for racing.

He ignored that the SIX media reports of sailors becoming ill, the NINE media reports of sailors running into trash either damaging or capsizing their boats and slowing them down during competition was false. And he believes the "Super Bug" story was all made up.

But delivered no proof that the media has it all wrong. Read on -

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+44 (0) 1590 679222

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The Last Word
Dear Alcohol, we had a deal, you were going to make me funnier, sexier, more intelligent, and a better dancer. I saw the video. We need to talk. -- Anonymous

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