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

Stomach-Churning Opening Night
Instead of launching straight into a downhill sleigh ride, the 13 first starters in the Transatlantic Race 2015 have endured a tricky first night at sea. The course west to east across the North Atlantic between Newport, USA, to the Lizard, in southwest England, is renowned for conditions that allow fast sailing, but last night a significant left-over swell, combined with an absence of wind to the south of the island of Martha's Vineyard, instead left the fleet wallowing and rolling precariously.

These difficult conditions have left the boats scattered across the race course and, surprisingly, for the most part it is the 'classic' boats that are doing best, their heavier displacement helping them to carry their way better in the swell and light winds.

While it is too early to call on handicap, on the water Rives Potts' Carina (on which Richard DuMoulin replaced the New York Yacht Club Commodore as skipper at the 11th hour) was leading the charge in the north, shaving the exclusion zone, aimed at preventing the yachts from crossing the Nantucket Shoals. South of Scarlet Oyster, Pam Levy and Matt Brooks' Dorade was doing exceeding well too, while further south still was the biggest boat in the fleet, the 138-foot Herreshoff schooner, Mariette of 1915.

Tight At The Top
Photo by Max Ranchi, Click on image for photo gallery.

ORC Barcelona, Spain: A long and hot two-hour delay today was worth the wait in the first day of racing at the 2015 ORC World Championship, hosted by Real Club Nautico de Barcelona.

Under the hot sun a pleasant seabreeze filled in the late afternoon to produce close competitive racing on the two windward-leeward courses set today, with the margins between the top places measured in seconds of corrected time.

Teams from five nations - Spain, Italy, Latvia, Estonia and Switzerland - are in the top-three standings in all three classes after two races, with the leaders in Classes B and C tied in points. Ninety-eight teams from 22 nations are assembled here for racing through Saturday, July 4th.

After the long delay and with the thermal wind gradually filling in enough to race, a 8.6 mile two-lap course was set for Class A. In this race the TP52's led the way around the track, but it was those who found a big left shift in the breeze who prevailed.

The forecast for tomorrow looks more favorable for on-time racing, so race managers are planning for two more windward-leeward races.

Top three by class:

1. Enfant Terrible Minoan Lines, Alberto Rossi, TP52, ITA, 5 points
2. Xio, Marco Serafini Marco Serafini, ITA, TP52, 6
3. Team Vision Future, Jean Jacques Chaubard, SUI, GP42, 7

1. Pez De Abril, Jose Maria Meseguer, ESP, Swan 42 CS, 6
2. Movistar, Pedro Campos , ESP, Swan 42, 6
3. Amber Miles, Lakimenko Vadim, LAT, XP44 Sport, 8

1. Low Noise II, Giuseppe Giuffre, ITA, Italia 9.98 F, 5
2. Solventis, Alberto Moro, ESP, X-37, 5
3. Sugar 2, Ott Kikkas, EST, NM38S, 11

Fastnet Bundle - Check It Out
Hudson Wight Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear is promoting its impressive Fastnet Bundle Offer available from now until July 17th to celebrate the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race that starts from Cowes on 16th August.

Check out the following HW products using the code 'FASTNET' and make a saving of £150 per order:

HW1 Jacket
HW1 Salopettes
HW Padded Gilet
HW Micro Fleece
HW Sailing Gloves

Total: £449 inc. VAT

If you substitute the HW1 Jacket with an HW1 Smock the price falls to: £429 inc. VAT saving £130 overall.

Your branding requirements are also safe in our hands and we would be delighted to quote when we receive your order. Just email: or phone: +44 (0)1983 300144.

If you're ever in the market to try something new and innovative on the clothing front, your first port of call should always be Hudson Wight - check out our excellent prices either online or pop into our showroom at One The Parade, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7QJ.

Hansen Sets Pace In Marstrand
Marstrand, Sweden: Bjorn Hansen, defending champion and four-time winner of Stena Match Cup Sweden, has set the pace on day one of Qualifying at the third World Championship Event of the 2015 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT).

Hansen and his Nautiska Racing posted 5 wins and 1 loss to finish on top of the leader-board. Eric Monnin Team SailBox from Switzerland and former World Champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One both posted 4-2, with defending World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) winning his first 3 matches.

"There is an old expression that says that if you win Qualifying you don't win the event. Things have gone our way today and that's not how we usually start this event. But we are really excited about our results today." commented Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing.

Up and coming Swedish match racer, Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) Essiq Racing also sailed impressively on his first day posting 3-1, with wins against Tour Card skipper Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing, and Phil Robertson (NZL) skippering for Team TREFOR.

25-year-old Dackhammar, a former Youth Gold medallist in the 470 class, is sailing in his first Stena Match Cup after securing one of two Wild Cards to the event. To gain some local experience, he has cleverly enlisted 2008 Stena Match Cup Sweden winner Mattias Rahm as tactician.

Julia Bailey Wins Dragon Scottish Championship
Photo by Fiona Brown, Click on image to enlarge.

Scottish Dragon Championship Largs, UK: Twenty of the top International Dragon crews are gathered in Largs for the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Dragon Scottish Championship and Edinburgh Cup. The regattas, which take place from 27 June to 3 July, have attracted competitors from across the UK and as far afield as Japan.

After three days and five thrilling races the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Dragon Scottish Championship concluded on Monday evening with the trophy being awarded to Julia Bailey, Keith Tippell, Will Heritage and Pedro Andrade sailing GBR720 Aimee. Team Aimee arrived in Largs as the defending Edinburgh Cup Champions having won both the overall and Corinthian Edinburgh Cup Trophies in Lymington in 2014 with Julia's husband Graham at the helm. Graham was unable to attend this year's regatta so it was Julia's turn to take the helm and she roped in old friend Pedro to complete their team.

On Tuesday morning the fleet will begin racing for the Edinburgh Cup, which was presented to the class by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1949 and is awarded annually to the British Open Dragon Champion. Racing will continue until Friday 3 July with up to six championship races plus a crew's race scheduled.

470 Europeans Gives Hat-Trick To Israel In 470 Women, Usa Dominate In 470 Men
Aarhus, Denmark: Race day 1 at the 2015 470 European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark got underway with sun, clouds and a shifty breeze. Story of the day goes to Israel's Gal Cohen/Danielle Maman who secured a perfect three race wins in the 470 Women.

The 107 boat 470 Men and 470 Women fleets field a mix of seasoned campaigners and Olympic contenders, joined by a new guard of younger teams, and transitions from the 420 Class. Three races for the 470 Women and two for the 470 Men gave an early indicator of form on the opening day of the qualification series. Adding to the intensity of racing, for some teams the event counts towards national selection for the 2016 Olympics.

The 470 Men were split into fleets on day 1, based on their past performance, in order to ensure an event split of form between the two fleets.

470 Men - Provisional Results after 2 Races
1. Stuart Mcnay/David Hughes (USA-1713) - 4 points
2. Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (GER-10) - 6
3. Johan Molund/Sebastian Östling (SWE-348) - 6

470 Women - Provisional Results after 3 Races 1. Gil Cohen/Danielle Maman (ISR-311) - 2
2. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL-75) - 2
3. Sophie Weguelin/Eilidh McIntyre (GBR-321) - 5

Racing Schedule for Tuesday 30 June
The 470 Women will race first with a warning signal of 1200 hours for the yellow fleet, followed by blue and two races scheduled. the 470 men have 3 races scheduled, with a warning signal of 1400 for the yellow fleet, followed by blue. With five races completed, the qualification series will be completed, after which the fleets will be split into gold and silver for the six race final series.

North Sails Chosen By Leading Teams In The Transatlantic Race
Photo by Rachel Jesperson / Team Phaedo

North Sails The battleground is set for an epic dash across the North Atlantic for a huge fleet of boats in the Transatlantic Race 2015. Ranging from the smallest competing yachts, the Class 40's, to the mighty Comanche and Rambler there will be boats vying for every inch of speed in what is set to be a fantastic spectacle.

Leading boats in the fleet including Comanche, Rambler, Phaedo, Paradox, Dorade and Maximizer have chosen North Sails to help them power the 2,800 miles from Newport, RI, USA to Lizard Point off the coast of the UK.

With no waiting for weather windows and a reliance on what Mother Nature turns up, sailors are unlikely to be talking about record breaking speeds yet. But who knows, anything is possible when you combine meticulous preparation and planning with raw power and technology and throw in a little bit of luck.

For more information visit:

Sir Ben's Tribute To 'Inspiration' Walker
Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor in history, has accepted the prestigious Magnus Olsson Award and revealed that new Volvo Ocean Race-winning skipper, Ian Walker, was a big inspiration at the start of his stellar caree

The prize is awarded annually in the memory of Olsson, one of the most recognisable figures in offshore sailing and a six-time competitor in the sport's leading round-the-world race.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben followed Brazilian Torben Grael, the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 champion, as recipient of the prize given to the sailor who has made the biggest contribution to the sport in the past year.

"Mange was an absolutely fantastic sailor but also a fantastic person, always inspiring young people into the sport and his foundation is continuing that work. Along with many other people I'm really proud to be supporting this," he said.

Sir Ben also revealed that Walker, 45, who was in the same British Olympic teams in 1996 and 2000, had fired his own ambition. Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, won silver medals in both those Games.

World's Oldest Dinghy Class Launches Water Wag No.46
Click on image to enlarge.

Water Wags Dublin Bay Sailing Club doyen Carmel Winkelmann officiated at the launch of the newest Water Wag dinghy, Mademoiselle, No. 46 on Sunday at the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

The new 12-foot clinker dinghy was built for Bay sailors Adam Winkelmann and Doug Smith. The boat was built in Skol Ar Mor, France.

The Water Wag is the oldest one design dinghy in existence, having been devised in 1886 and formalised as a one design class in Ireland in 1887. The design (last modified in 1900) is still sailed to this day on Dublin Bay and is one of the most popular dinghies sailed on the capital's waters recording some notable turnouts of late.

Immediately after the champagne launch ceremony, the Water Wag class held its annual picnic race (which has been running since 1887) with a pursuit down to Dalkey Island and back. An exciting race down to the Island with the end of the ebb tide. Mademoiselle led for most of the way but Mollie managed to overtake her coming into Dalkey sound, with David McFarland in third.

Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Last month's winner:

Brad Read (USA)
'Believe me, I hate to give my little brother credit for anything, but he hit it out the park with this one and also won the longterm support of the Rhode Island government for sailing' - Kenny Read; 'A good stop needs a village, but a village needs a leader' - Charlie Dana; 'And Brad also helps so many kids into sailing' - George Bekris; 'Definitely the best stopover of modern times' - Daniel Forster; '131,000 people at a sailing event. In the USA. That is some result…' - Gunther Buerman. 'Flawless job' - Mick Harvey.

This month's nominees:

Knut Frostad (NOR)
Newport's success was another endorsement of the remarkable tricks that Norway's former Volvo 60 skipper and now Volvo Race CEO, Frostad, pulled off in steering the event back from the brink with his series of risky and radical changes. Frostad reshaped the race totally; shared boatyard facilities, one-designs that were robust enough but also fast enough - it all came off perfectly

Ian Walker (GBR)
All that this two-time Olympic medallist ever asked for to burnish his round-the-world credentials was a boat that was 'no slower' than his rivals. That was certainly not the case the last time around and his previous - race debut - experience was even worse. This time however Walker got the level playing field he wanted and promptly delivered on his own expectations. At times Dongfeng threatened, but Walker the tactician kept control

Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Musto, Harken McLube & Dubarry. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!

Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at

To subscribe to Seahorse Digital £30 for one year with discount promo code SB2 click

Cousteau's Ship Now Rusts Into Oblivion
Concarneau, France: In its day, the Calypso was more than an oceanographic research vessel. It was the constant companion of the famed French explorer Jacques Cousteau, as the ship and its captain logged over a million nautical miles together from the Red Sea and the Amazon to Antarctica and the Indian Ocean.

Now, all that can be seen of it is a skeletal frame, extending outside a warehouse in this small port town on the coast of Brittany in western France.

It is difficult to recognize it as the same boat that starred in award-winning films and televised adventures beginning in the mid-1950s and extending into the 1980s.

Today, the Calypso rots in the warehouse where it was brought to be repaired in 2007. Stripped of the metal and wood that once encased it, weeds curling among the wooden beams of its frame, the ship is now a symbol of how Mr. Cousteau has faded in the collective memory and how despite France's sailing tradition, neither the government nor his heirs have found a solution for its restoration.

Melges 24 World Championship
The Melges 24 World Championship 2015 in Middelfart, Denmark starts Tuesday and concludes on Sunday. After a week of fine tuning, measurements and an accurate check of the racing course, Audi tron and its Audi Italia Sailing Team are ready to face a hard challenging fleet: around 100 teams are ready to race together with some of the top sailors of this widespread one design monohull. You can check the entry list here:

For the first time in the history of the Melges 24 class, the World Championship in Middelfart will be entirely live streamed with English commentary by Mauro Melandri.

Thanks to a cooperation of SportsXStream, with Zerogradinord and the International Melges 24 Class, three videocameras will be placed on the racing course: one on the Committee Boat, one on the close-hauled buoy and one on the customized catamaran.

We will also have a morning live streaming from the Middelfart Marina, logistics headquarter for this event organized by the International Melges 24 Class in cooperation with the Match Race Denmark. A morning briefing will be accompanied by interviews with the events main personalities.

You can follow the streaming on this link:

Hamble Stars Are Returning Home
Hamble Stars racing on the River Thames at Erith Yacht Club. Photo by Sarah Mees. Click on image to enlarge.

Hamble Star Created at Hamble in 1925 the Hamble Star one-design dinghy was the boat to race until Merlin Rockets and National 12's took over in the 1960's. Now the Hamble Stars are returning home after many years at Erith Yacht Club on the River Thames, this time to create a new fleet of eight boats at Old Bursledon.

Hamble River Sailing Club is where the Stars were originally based and Jonty Sherwill, a former commodore, had been tipped off by an old sailing friend David Munge (who learnt to sail in the Stars at Erith) that the club's beloved old boats were to be sold off just a week later. The deal fell into place on the morning of the sale when Mike phoned David with an offer to buy eight boats, sight unseen.

While members and visitors at Erith Yacht Club celebrated this most acceptable arrangement on that Sunday morning it also means that the memory of Michael Robinson will be rekindled on the River Hamble. He was the Hamble born man, brother of the legendary HRSC Commodore Nic Robinson, who arrived at Erith in 1945 with his own Hamble Star. Michael then built up the fleet with more Stars from Hamble, helping to teach countless children to sail in these safe and responsive dinghies.

With a new trophy for an annual team challenge already being discussed (six boats are remaining at Erith) look out for the Hamble Stars when they race again at this year's Bursledon Regatta.

Ed Burnett
Yacht designer Ed Burnett who designed the £1m royal jubilee barge, 'Gloriana' for the Queen has died.

Mr Burnett ran Burnett Yacht Design and Naval Architecture based in Totnes, specialising in new design - both yacht and power - and consultancy services.

He was chosen to create the historic barge and was also one of the rowers on board as it led the 1,000 strong flotilla along the Thames in 2012.

Mr Burnett was single and had been a member of the Dart-Totnes Rowing Club for several years and maintained the club's boats

His work included the design of the 56ft cutter Pegasus, built by the Bristol Classic Boat Company for the Island Trust, and the 83ft yacht Shindela, which he said represented the result of considerable development, balancing the requirements of hands on sailing and performance with family life on board.

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