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

J-Class Adds To Bicentenary Spectacle
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

J Class Today's Race Around the Island, part of the Royal Yacht Squadron's Bicentenary International Regatta, was the first chance for a long awaited sight of the three J-Class yachts getting together to race in the Solent.

Patient spectators on the shore and in a flotilla of boats had to wait an extra 20 minutes beyond the scheduled start time, when the J-Class start was postponed to wait for a huge car carrying ship to exit Southampton Water and pass through the start line.

But their patience was rewarded and the three yachts lined up for a spectacular downwind start, hoisting their huge spinnakers to set off to the east, clockwise around the Island.

Velsheda, one of the stars of Cowes' yachting history back in the early 1930s, was the J Class' shining star of today when they convincingly won the class in the Royal Yacht Squadron's Bicentenary International Regatta's 50 miles eastabout Race Around the Island in blustery, fresh conditions leaving Falmouth regatta winner Lionheart to second place.

Although the foundations of Velsheda's victory were laid only minutes after the fast, downwind start off the RYS line when they hooked into one, key favourable windshift, the crew of the older, navy blue hulled boat were later able to capitalise when Lionheart's jib halyard strop broke off Sandown Bay.

The Velsheda team never put a foot wrong and were acknowledged as deserved victors in the showcase distance race.

Hansen On The Early Charge At Energa Sopot Match Race
Sopot, Poland: The World Match Racing Tour's tenth stage of the 2015 season, the Energa Sopot Match Race, set sail today. The twelve competing teams finished the first half of Qualifying in a day of mixed and gusty conditions up to 25 knots. As racing finished for the day, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing topped the leaderboard with a confident 5-1 scoreline, ahead of national sailing hero and former America's Cup helmsman Karol Jablonski on 4-2, and fellow Swede Johnie Berntson, also on 4-2.

This is the 12th edition of the Sopot Match Race, this year sporting a new title sponsor, Polish energy company Energa. After last years blistering temperatures at the Polish seaside resort during the regatta, winds of up to 30knots are forecast for this weeks event with strong gusts testing the teams in their opening rounds today.

Defending Sopot Match Race Champion, Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar finished the day 3-2 after losing against his matches against Karol Jablonski, and then to Nicolai Sehested after an unexpected 'man overboard' incident at the second top mark which saw Williams' tactician Chris Main falling in the water after a halyad came loose, allowing Sehested to increase his lead to the finish.

Competing in his first Tour event of the 2015 season, Sehested had not realised what had happened as he crossed the line 2 minutes ahead.

Only A Few Weeks Left To Check Your Fastnet Race Safety List
Ocean Safety There are only a couple of weekends left on your boat to get ready for whatever the 600 mile epic might throw at you.

The Rolex Fastnet Race starts on Sunday 16th August, and the Royal Ocean Racing Club is leaving nothing to chance, with a whole raft of safety procedures to adhere to.

Ocean Safety can help with your last minute safety preparations of equipment required for the Rolex Fastnet Race. This is in accordance with the Category 2 Offshore Special Regulations and the incorporated RORC prescriptions. There are over 40 items that need to be carried on board that directly relate to safety, and it's useful to know that every one of them can be purchased from an Ocean Safety stockist. Plus you can enhance your personal safety with extra options with the personal Kannad R10 Survival Recovery System fitted to your Kru Sport Pro lifejacket.

Contact the Ocean Safety team on to discuss you kit or to find your nearest Ocean Safety stockist.

Paths To Success In The 48th Transpac
Honolulu, Hawaii: As the three remaining boats traverse the remaining 200 miles towards the finish line to come in sometime pre-dawn tonight, all nine division winners have been determined for the 48th edition of the 2225-mile biennial LA-Honolulu Transpac.

These include the following:

Division 1: Roy P. Disney and Robert Oately's R/P 100 Wild Oats
Division 2: Craig Reynolds's TP 52 Bolt
Division 3: James MacDowell's Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion
Division 4: Greg Slyngstad's J/125 Hamachi
Division 5: Eric Gray's Santa Cruz 50 Allure (who won by a mere 2 min 52 sec after nearly 7 days of racing!)
Division 6: John Chamberlain and Dean Fargo's Swan 651 Second Wind
Division 7: Harry Zanville's Santa Cruz 37 Celerity
Division 8: Tracy Obert's BBY Custom 59-foot ketch Marjorie
Multihull Division 0: Lloyd Thornburg's Gunboat 66 Phaedo

What was the pathway to success in this race, given the unusual weather patterns this year? The answers are somewhat varied for each division winner, but in general a northerly route without straying too far kept the right balance between sailing excess distance versus sailing faster by being in stronger winds.

For the overall win the Grand Illusion team will win the coveted King Kalakaua Trophy, one of dozens of beautiful and historic trophies awaiting presentation on Friday evening at the Awards Ceremony.

Grand Illusion has now equaled the record for most wins, joining the 88-foot Lurline which won the first two races in 1906 and 1908, and again in 1912. However, Grand Illusion holds the status alone for winning overall three times under the same Owner/Skipper.

Provisional results are available at, and for those that wish to follow finishers on the Yellowbrick tracker system for when they arrive within 100 miles of the finish, there is a real-time window set up at this link: For other entries still on the course the tracker has a 6-hour delay and is found at

'Honorary Kiwi' Glenn Ashby Appointed Team NZ's New Skipper
With a minimum of fanfare, Team New Zealand recently appointed just the third skipper in their 20-year existence.

The fact Glenn Ashby is not a New Zealander and not even a helmsman has created no ripples. Probably it is because the manner of his predecessor's departure captured all the headlines; possibly it is because he's such a driver of the team culture that he is viewed among his teammates as an honorary Kiwi.

Ashby's multihull pedigree - he was an Olympic silver medallist in the Tornado and the owner of eight consecutive A-Class world championships - and form meant he was a hot commodity after the last America's Cup.

Ashby said that as a wing trimmer, he had no aspirations to be skipper. Certainly the move has caught some by surprise, though its logic is hard to fault. While it is normal for the helmsman to be skipper, Team NZ bosses feel there is already enough pressure on Burling, 24, without him having to deal with the peripheral issues.

"The last America's Cup, that was tough how it ended, and the past 18 months have been tough, but that's sport, that's life, and I've never been one to shy away from a challenge."

Live TV!
Seahorse With solid investment the TV coverage of sailing is only getting better.

Over the past year the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has presented four live telecasts of Sailing World Cup competitions from Santander, Spain; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Hyères, France; and Weymouth, England. ISAF is committed to providing live coverage of future events. Viewers from all time zones want to see the action as it takes place. During the combined Olympic Classes World Championships in September, 23 broadcasters from around the world took the live feed. In territories without a host broadcaster ISAF distributed the programmes on our own World Sailing Television network using the internet.

ISAF plans to broadcast more live sailing events leading up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016. In the past two summer Olympic Games, in Qingdao, China in 2008 and Weymouth, England in 2012 our television broadcast received the award for best production by any sport from the International Olympic Committee. At the next Olympics onboard cameras will be added in several of the classes.

Full article in the September issue of Seahorse magazine:

From The ... Duh... Files
Rio 2016 organisers admit challenges over bay pollution

Organisers of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro face serious challenges over cleaning up the bay where the sailing competitions will be held, the IOC president Thomas Bach has admitted.

Sailors in Guanabara Bay have reported worrying amounts of rubbish and pollution including discarded furniture and floating animal carcasses. The state government has already admitted it will not be able to meet its original target of reducing pollution in the bay by 80 per cent.

Next week marks a year to go to Rio 2016 and Bach said the preparations were on course but challenges remained.

Bach, speaking after an IOC executive board meeting in Kuala Lumpur, said: "We have the issues which we discussed today again, the cleaning of the bay there were measures that have been presented and are two-fold: those which are starting already now and others which will be applied just before and during the Olympic Games to make sure that there is the safety and the health of the athletes.

"On the one hand we see great progress on the other there is no time to lose. But given the fact that the organising committee has acknowledged its challenges we are very confident we will have a great Games in one year because acknowledging challenges is the first and most important step to overcoming them."

Editor: The really important step would be to acknowledge reality and get the competition OUT of Guanabara Bay. But as the kids say on Twitter: na ga happan.

Argo Group Gold Cup Attracts World's Best Match Racers
Hamilton, Bermuda: Argo Group Gold Cup reigning champion Johnie Berntsson has one message to his rivals: Be prepared for a repeat.

Berntsson, the No. 10-ranked match race sailor in the world (based on the July 22, 2015, ISAF rankings), is among a stellar group of skippers who've confirmed their entry for the prestigious Argo Group Gold Cup, scheduled Oct. 6-11, and hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Entries have also been received from world No. 1 Ian Williams of Great Britain, No. 3 Eric Monnin of Switzerland, No. 5 Bjorn Hansen of Sweden and America's Cup teams Artemis Racing and Softbank Team Japan, which will be skippered by Dean Barker of New Zealand, who is a past match racing world champion.

"The early entry list is very impressive and confirms the special attraction the Gold Cup has with the world's top sailors," said Andy Cox, chairman of the Argo Group Gold Cup. "The lineup will be completed later in the summer with two qualification regattas, but we are hoping that another America's Cup team will also enter." The banner lineup will set Hamilton Harbour ablaze with close quarter racing in the tricky, 33-foot long IOD sloops. Williams, the 38-year-old five-time World Match Racing Tour champion (2006-'07, '08, '11, '12, '14-'15), knows the "rock-n-roll" boats all too well, so named because of the way the rock and roll from boom tip to the end of the spinnaker pole on windy downwind legs. The winner of the Gold Cup in 2006, Williams said it's a game of multi-tasking.

Kiteboarding Pulls Back From The Brink
Following the row between the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) which led to the termination of their contract and all World Championship rights for all kiteboarding disciplines including Freestyle, Big Air, Wave and Slalom immediately reverting to IKA. A meeting was held in London on Tuesday between representatives of ISAF, (IKA) and the Virgin Kitesurf World Championships (VKWC) to discuss the future of the class Championships.

In a press release by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) issued Wednesday, little meaningful was said, expect that all bodies are working together to conclude a long-term agreement to govern the future management and operations of the Championship.

Until a long term arrangement is in place, the upcoming Fuerteventura Kitesurfing World Championships will go ahead as planned by, and contracted with, the VKWC, as an IKA sanctioned event and with permission from ISAF for its "World" designation. ISAF and IKA will also be in attendance to provide support to the event promoter and assure riders of the fairness of competition.

The breakdown of relations beween IKA and the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) followed the new ownership of PKRA, currently known as Virgin Kitesurf World Championships. Who, IKA claimed, changed the branding of its competition, and continued to conduct competition events under this brand, in material and persistent breach of the existing contract. -- Gerald New in Sailweb

ISAF statement here:

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 Malcolm McKeag: I was amused by this morning's Last Word (Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?' -- Martin Luther King, Jr. ), as sanctimonious as it is trite, mainly because it immediately brought to mind W.H Auden's altogether more sanguine observation

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The Last Word
Here I go with the timid little woodland creature bit again. It's shameful, but...ehhh, it's a living. -- Bugs Bunny

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