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

Walker's Get-Out-Of-Jail Card
For a man whose boat finished only fifth in the transatlantic Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker was sporting a surprisingly large smile on Thursday.

Thanks to Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) who took the third podium slot after what their skipper described as a "knife fight with spoons" against Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) in a slow-motion battle into port, Walker's mood remained buoyant.

The Chinese-backed boat's fourth place in a leg, which they had led for long periods, meant that Caudrelier and his crew only took one point away from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's six-point overall lead and Walker continues to occupy a very strong position indeed with two 'sprint' legs remaining.

Caudrelier was trying to find some comfort after watching a vital point slip through his fingers. "We are still second overall, and for sure, we will try to fight to keep this place and hopefully come back," he told the conference.

"Right now, I'm trying to control my anger. But I will see my family and try to forget everything and be positive for my team."

Vestas Returns To Sailing On May 30
Team Vestas Wind's Australian skipper Chris Nicholson was excited at the prospect of seeing his totally rebuilt boat returning to sailing on Saturday (May 30), after their collision with a reef in the Indian Ocean on Leg 2 on November 29.

He is still taking nothing for granted after being out of the water for so many stages while the reconstruction took place in Persico's boatyard in Bergamo, Italy.

"We need to be out on the water and make sure we're reliable for the race. At the moment, touch wood, everything looks on track for that," he said.

Nicholson's team has a week to prepare for the following Saturday's Lisbon In-Port Race before joining the rest of the fleet for the Leg 8 departure for Lorient on June 7.

Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour In Austria
Oman Sail's new GC32 "Sultanate of Oman", supported by the Ministry of Tourism of Oman and EFG Bank Monaco, had a magnificent first day of racing in Austria at the inaugural Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour.

With just four days of training, Leigh McMillan's crew took to the waters of Lake Traunsee in the Austrian Alps thinking it might take a few races to tune their brand new GC32 and find their feet. 

But after four races, in winds that varied from zero to light and shifty, "Sultanate of Oman" was tied on points with Swiss team Alinghi at the top of the leaderboard having posted four podium places, including an outright win in Race 3.

The difficult conditions actually played to their advantage, said McMillan who was feeling very upbeat after their first day's racing, although he underlined that the learning curve is steep for the team. 

The Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour continues Friday through to Sunday with five hours of action each day, starting at 11.00am CET. Live coverage at

Dubarry Ultima - Quality Always Lasts
It's amazing to think how sailing has changed since Dubarry started making boots in 1937. The first marina arrived in the 1930s but there were no plastic boats to park in it before the 1940s. There was no yacht radar before the 1950s, nor marine diesel engines before the 1960s, also when polyester sailcloth ousted linen and cotton. The 1970s brought instrumentation and the 1980s saw Decca come and go as GPS stole the show. Oiled canvas gave way to PVC, which yielded to GORE-TEX®. Much indeed has changed, yet one thing has stayed the same: nothing signifies a confident, experienced, discerning yachtie like a pair of Dubarry boots.

Developed as a more luxurious, classical and traditional interpretation of the legendary Shamrock, on which the company's reputation was built, the Ultima is Dubarry's flagship boot. Its sole delivers award-winning, sure-footed grip. Its GORE-TEX® liner is waterproof and breathable to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Its Dry-Fast-Dry-Soft water-resistant leather weathers with grace and distinction, recording every nautical mile of your experience in the gentle, tanned folds of its sumptuous hide. It's clearer than ever that, though times may change, quality always lasts.

Dubarry Ultima - Where will you go in yours?

Estate Master Takes Control Of Farr 40 West Coast Championship
San Pedro, California: It was a slow start for day two of the Farr 40 West Coast Championship, as light winds delayed racing before the seabreeze came in to allow for three more races to be completed. After reigning world champion Alex Roepers' Plenty won the first race, Martin Hill's Estate Master took over to win the second and third races to now lead the event. Hosted by Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, up to 11 races (no discard) are planned as racing continues through May 30.

Top five after 6 races:
1. Estate Master, Martin Hill, AUS, 19 points
2. Groovederci, John Demourkas, USA, 24
3. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, ITA, 29
4. Plenty, Alex Roepers, USA, 31
5. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, USA, 31

Exceptional Take Up of IRC at Weymouth & Portland
Weymouth Sailing Clubs have wholeheartedly adopted the IRC rating system for their racing in 2015.

Over 70 yachts from Castle Cove SC, Weymouth SC & Royal Dorset YC will racing under the IRC rating system this year in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Venue, the centre for Team GB Olympic Training and winter base for the British Keelboat Academy.

Over the winter months, Club members measured sails and gathered technical data on a wide range of yachts with help and guidance from their class captains to take advantage of the RORC's "start- up" discounting scheme for sailing clubs.

The take up of IRC Rating Certificates has been exceptional with a tenfold increase in certificates on last year with a measurable increase in enthusiasm for boat preparation and racing.

Under the start-up scheme, owners pay just 50% of the first year cost of their IRC certificate. At Weymouth SC this encouraged over 40 yachts to join the scheme. Recognising the appetite for fairer racing amongst its members, the Club then chose to further discount the cost making IRC certificates completely free to all owners this year with the aim to continue to reduce IRC certificate costs for following years.

Coutts Quarter Ton Cup
The Royal Ocean Racing Club incorporating the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club will host the 2015 edition of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup from Wednesday 8 to Friday 10 July. The revival Quarter Ton Class continues to go from strength to strength with a number of new boats and new owners joining the fleet for this eleventh edition of the regatta.

Among the new faces attending their first Coutts Quarter Ton Cup will be Julian Metherell, new owner of the hugely successful Espada (1980 Bruce Farr design), winner of the Coutts Quarter Ton Cup in 2007, 2011 and 2013. Also new to the fleet is Ben Daly, who now owns last year's Corinthian winner Illes Pitiuses (1983 Fauroux design), which he has renamed Cobh Pirate in honour of his Irish heritage.

Last year's overall winner Bullit (1978 Fauroux) also has a new skipper in charge as Peter Morton has handed her over to his wife Louise, Secretary of the Class, to replace her beloved Espada. Peter himself has purchased Tiger, formerly ASAP (1989 Fauroux), which won the Corinthian Quarter Ton Cup in 2011 and 2012, meaning he will now have challenged for the revival Quarter Ton Cup in no less than five different boats.

The Coutts Quarter Ton Cup incorporates boats built to all three iterations of the Quarter Ton Rule - the 15ft Rating RORC Rule (1967-1970), the 18ft Rating IOR (1971 to 1978) and the 18.55ft Rating IOR (1979 to 1996). The boats race under IRC to ensure fair racing and in addition to the overall trophy there are also trophies for the first Production/Series boat and the first Corinthian team. New for 2015 is the introduction of a Lower Rating Trophy to ensure competitive competition for the early built (lower rating) boats, which is open to all Quarter Tonners with a rating of 0.899 or below. This exciting new trophy is presented by Roger Swinney, who has been a staunch supporter of the Cup since it's revival owning and racing the Bolero, Ayanami and most recently Innuendo.

Express Ride Back To Normandy
The Normandy Channel Race always has a few surprises up its sleeve. At 10:05GMT Thursday morning, 12 miles to the south-east of Fastnet, Bretagne - Credit Mutuel and Carac - Advanced Energies crossed paths. After rounding the famous rock at 08:43GMT and setting a course for the Channel Islands, the leader came face to face with its closest rival as the latter were making headway upwind in big seas, yet to round the rock.

After a hellish afternoon yesterday and a tough night upwind in difficult seas, the fleet of Class40s found themselves off Fastnet this morning. By 1400GMT, 8 crews had rounded this latest course mark, immediately and delightedly launching onto a downwind sprint, which saw the majority of the boats suddenly making 14 knots of boat speed. -- Kate Jennings

 Provisional ranking on Day 4 of the race, at 1400 GMT:

1. Bretagne - Credit Mutuel
2. Carac - Advanced Energies, 38.49 miles from leader
3. Solidaires En Peloton - ARSEP, 39.52
4. Le Conservateur, 40.92
5. Serenis Consulting, 41.81

Dun Laoghaire Tall Ship Kaskelot Has Varied Past
Click on image to enlarge.

The visit today to Dun Laoghaire by the square rigger Kaskelot is the latest appearance here by a ship which has had a very varied career.

She was originally built as a wooden motor ship in Denmark in 1948, but was converted with deckhouse re-configurations and fitting of full rig to become a three-masted barque in 1952.

Over the years her activities have included appearing in a number of noted films and TV series, and she has also achieved something of a reputation as an expedition vessel to Arctic regions. Afloat's W M Nixon came upon her having a major refit in Tomi Nielsen's famous boatyard in the Gloucester old docks on the Upper Severn Estuary in late July 2013.

This complex project was satisfactorily completed in just 8 months, since when Kaskelot has again been busy going about her business afloat under sail and power.

Kaskelot has been touring the British Isles for the summer season, departing Bristol on 14 March with stops in Plymouth, Poole, Weymouth and Fowey before a cross-channel jaunt to the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany, then back north to Liverpool for the Sound City Music Festival, from where she arrived into Dun Laoghaire into a stiff north-westerly last night.

The boat is berthed at berth number two in Dun Laoghaire on the south shore of Dublin Bay.

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

Mini escalation, plus Terry Hutchinson has a very special regatta in Annapolis, Julian Everitt wonders about the current obsession with one-design and Jack Griffin unravels the mystery of the ever-changing America's Cup Class

Are we chasing the America's Cup spectacle in the best direction and why a foiler Moth (really) could be the solution... Dave Hollom

(Very) big business
Building and then testing a 70-ton captive reel winch is not something for the faint of heart

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Kevin O'Regan 1926-2015
A Prince of the Royal Cork in all his glory - Kevin O'Regan with the full fig of Royal Cork YC ceremonial uniform for his grand-daughter's wedding. Click on image to enlarge.

Cork Harbour sailing has lost one of its most colourful characters with the death of Kevin O'Regan in Mallorca at the age of 89. His joy in boats and sailing remained undimmed, and he was all of 87 years old when he finally came ashore a couple of years ago, after spending his retirement years living aboard the distinctive ten metre Macwester ketch Bloody Mary.

Kevin's sailing skills had been honed in the Fife-designed Cork Harbour One Designs (founded 1896), in which his family involvement was unrivalled - his father the great Paddy O'Regan bought Cygnet, CHOD Number 5, in 1912, and it was sixty years later in 1972 that Kevin finally sold her.

But even after he and John Mansworth had bought Bloody Mary out in Mallorca, Kevin still returned home to Cork Harbour at least every other summer, and he was to be seen at the helm of Cygnet again, even though she was now - in the ownership of Barry Crockett who based her at East Ferry - converted to an attractive cruiser with a coachroof complete with doghouse, and Bermuda rig.

Nevertheless, in his final years Kevin derived satisfaction from knowing that Cygnet had returned to the original gaff rig which he knew and handled so ably, and she is now well on the way to a complete restoration in Crosshaven. But then, he came from a background in which skill in sailing in all sorts of boats came naturally to boys and young men growing up on the shores of Cork Harbour, and boats of all types were of interest to him.

WM Nixon's eloquent farewell to Kevin in Afloat:

Industry News
Activate Switch, a full service communications agency from Cowes, Isle of Wight, has been contracted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club to manage all of the shoreside festivities for the prestigious Rolex Fastnet Race for the third time.

The events team from Activate Switch will provide, on behalf of the Rolex Fastnet Race management team, 24 hour shoreside services for the 90th anniversary of the event which will see over 300 yachts sailing 600 nautical miles from Cowes to Plymouth in August 2015.

In 2013, Activate Switch worked closely with RORC to move the event's base from The Barbican to Mount Batten Peninsula so that all of the competing yachts could be berthed in one location, and in 2015 the plan is to build on the success of the last event. Activate will create an event village, with state-of-the-art facilities, including luxurious media and hospitality lounges for race organisers and sponsors, high quality catering, modern toilets and showers for the competitors and a 24 hour bar for everyone to enjoy.

Contact Joe Hall via or call +44 01983 200901


Dominion Marine Media (DMM) has announced that Kate Bray has joined its international division as director of client engagement. She will be based at DMM's offices in Fareham, in the UK.

Bray has over 15 years' experience in the marine and leisure travel industry, and has held senior management roles for high profile marine brands including Sunsail, The Moorings and Le Boat. She was previously distribution director for TUI Marine where she led an international team of sales and account managers.

Ian Atkins, president of DMM, comments: "As director of client engagement, Kate will be dedicated to ensuring our clients receive exceptional service. Her appointment underlines our commitment to and investment in, our relationships with all our 5,500 clients around the globe. Kate has a wealth of experience in the marine and leisure travel industry and we are delighted to welcome her to the DMM team."


Doyle Sails Auckland Stratis loft has launched a new product; Stratis Sail Art, which allows photo quality printing on sails for the first time.

The New Zealand production facility has pioneered custom printing on Stratis membranes before the sails are laminated, resulting in the most-detailed sail art to date.

Comar Yachts' Shadow is the first yacht to have been fitted with Stratis Sail Art sails. The 100' yacht, launched in 2011, was fitted with membranes made by Doyle Stratis in New Zealand, complete with photo-quality octopus, and finished by the Doyle Sails loft Palma team.

Moving away from the traditional technique of painting directly onto sail, Doyle Sails New Zealand's team printed onto the Stratis sail surfaces to create two octopi stretching down each sail on each side. That printing process meant detail, form and subtle nuances were transferred to the sail with unerring accuracy, making for the most detailed sail art to date.


Barcelona ORC World Championship 2015 has reached an agreement with Helly Hansen, the global leader in technical sailing apparel, as the Official Technical Apparel Supplier of the event, which will be held in Barcelona from 27th June to 4th July.

The Barcelona ORC World Championship 2015, organized by the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona and to be held on the coast of Barcelona from 27th June to 4th July, is in luck.

Helly Hansen, founded by captain Helly Juell Hansen in 1877 in Norway, has become the Official Supplier of Technical Apparel for the Barcelona ORC World Championship 2015.

With this agreement Helly Hansen will dress all the event management team involved at the Barcelona ORC World Championship 2015.


Premier Marinas will be hosting a New and Used Boat Show at Port Solent Marina on Saturday 11th July and Sunday 12th July from 1000 to 1600.

This year's show will be the first of its kind for several years and will feature a selection of new and used boats and marine products for the serious boater, along with a collection of luxury motorcars.

The RNLI will be at the event to run a free life-jacket safety clinic and to provide visitors with information and advice on boat safety and equipment that is required at sea. Other attractions include a collective line-up of prestige and luxury car brands, including Maserati and Porsche, which will complement the yachts, motorboats and RIBS on display.

Admission to the show is free with plenty of parking available.


The Portsmouth Harbour Multihull Show will be held at Haslar Marina in Gosport from 5-7 June

Visitors will also be able to see unique multihull designs from all the leading brands; Lagoon, Broadblue, Dragonfly, Fountaine Pajot, Gemini and Corsair. This is a great opportunity to see at least 12 trimarans and catamarans, ranging from 7.5m to 17m in length, in one location, on the water and side-­‐by-­‐side. All the multihulls on show will be open for public viewing and there will be opportunities to take a test sail on selected boats (after 4pm and by pre-­‐arranged appointment only).

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 Robin  Aisher: Well done Tom [Ehman].

At last we might see the real Americas Cup again not the Little Americas Cup as  proposed at the moment. A series that has been run for mamy years over here with great success, as it was not over-exposed. OK not on foils, but they have been around for at least 30 years. Even Lasers have them now, maybe bring that into the Olympics!! The new AC boats do look good on TV but they are not a match race configuration. Or the style of the past!!

* From Daniel Charles: Malcolm McKeag's idyllic portrait of sailing as it has to be remains unhappily the privilege of such blessed spots at the Royal Lymington YC - and maybe Great Britain as a whole, where the RYA never considered (contrarily to most countries) a competition-only federation.

The French sailing federation is involved in an extensive and expensive program of sailing schools which put nearly half a million kid on sailing boats every year; however the scope is only technical, not cultural and social; as a result only 5% of these kids ever sail again...

The facts are that sailing practice is losing ground worldwide at a rate of 6 to 8% a year (according to ISAF). From 1988 to 2004, according to the (US) National Sporting Goods Association, US sailing lost 61% of its sailors, from 6.7 millions down to 2.6 millions. In the emerging countries like China or India, the option of sailing for pleasure, as a way of life, is just not offered: sailing is abbreviated to a minor competitive activity and leisure boating is done on powerboats because the culture of sailing has not been transmitted.

Sailing authorities focus on sport. It is a truism that less than 5% of the sailors compete (actually quite a few detest competition). Therefore if the mass of leisure sailors is drastically reduced, the number of competitive sailors naturally follows. Most national federations, by neglecting all the non-competitive aspects of sailing, have thrown away the baby with the bath water...

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