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

Leaderboard Taking Shape
With the latest deluge of arrivals in the Rolex Fastnet Race, overall victory is currently looking like it might be claimed, in this 90th anniversary running of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship offshore race, by a fast boat in the 35-40ft range. Most promising at present is Gery Trentesaux's new JPK 10.80, Courrier Du Leon.

Overnight arrivals have caused the corrected times of Rambler 88 and Leopard to plummet down the IRC Overall leaderboard, leaving Dieter Schon's Maxi 72, Momo, strongest among the big boats.

American Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50, Privateer, winner of the 2013 RORC Caribbean 600, finished in Plymouth at 19:25:08 yesterday evening and looks set to be on for a top 10 position overall and is currently second in the IRC Canting Keel class behind Nicolas Groleau's Mach 45, Bretagne Telecom.

In IRC Zero, one of the race favourites - Piet Vroon's Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 - finished at 19:57:06 yesterday evening, but was unable to displace Momo from the top of the leaderboard.

In IRC 1 Samuel Prietz's Ker 39 GOA finished at 10:31:03 BST Thursday morning and currently leads from Mike Bartholomew's GP42 Tokoloshe II and Eric De Turkheim's Mini VO70-like A13 Teasing Machine.


Sam Matson Wins Figaro Class
After a string of competitive results on the Figaro circuit, British skipper Sam Matson recorded his first win of the year in the 603nm Rolex Fastnet Race.

Joining forces with Spanish Volvo Ocean Race Meteorologist and America's Cup competitor Gonzalo Infante, Matson won the five-strong Figaro class by 16nm.

Finishing on August 20th, the pair spent four days, 19 minutes and 47 seconds at sea battling light airs and miserable weather along the south coast of England aboard Matson's 33ft one-design Figaro 'Chatham'.

Fast becoming one of the UK's best hopes for a competitive entry in the 2020 Vendee Globe single-handed round the world race, Matson is set to compete in his third Solitaire du Figaro in 2016 under the guise of the Artemis Offshore Academy and with support of his title sponsor Chatham.

Matson is looking forward to the two-stage Generali Solo starting 20th September. A 774nm race between Sete, Nice and Barcelona, the Generali Solo is a race through unfamiliar waters and the final race in Sam's 2015 offshore racing calendar.

Margins Narrow At The Top Of The Leaderboard
Nieuwpoort, Belgium: The Long Inshore race of the Half Ton Classics Cup 2015 in Nieuwpoort proved to be a light airs affair requiring huge concentration and mental stamina of helms, tacticians and trimmers alike. With a 23 mile course which took the crews in a figure of eight pattern up and down the Belgian coast it presented both tide and wind challenges aplenty. The race carries a points weighting of 1.5 and cannot be discarded so a good showing was vital for those hoping to make the podium.

Overnight leader Checkmate XV, helmed by David Cullen, got a great start at the committee boat end and was looking very good up the first beat until they got involved on the loosing side of a port/starboard incident and were forced to take a penalty.

The regatta concludes Frida and with the forecast indicating light winds in the morning that are likely to die completely by early afternoon, the race committee has already brought forward the start of racing from 11.00 to 10.00 to give them the best possible chance of completing two further races to decide the championship.

Top five after 8 races:
1. Checkmate XV, IRL 2016 David Cullen Howth Yacht Club, IRL, 13.1 points
2. Miss Whiplash, Paul Pullen RCYC, GBR, 18.1
3. Per Elisa, R Robby Tregear, GBR, 23.5
4. Trastada, Roddy Angus / Dan Challis Fairlie Yacht Club, GBR, 32.7
5. Harmony, Jonny Swan Howth Yacht Club, IRL, 34.7

Full results

Dubarry Crosshaven - 'Race Face' Protection
Dubarry Crosshaven It’s pitch-black. We’re on the wind halfway across the Irish Sea, heading for ‘The Rock’ in a Force 6 - and it’s building. On the rail we might look like a troop of Japanese snow monkeys on valium but we’ve huddled into something like comfort when skip calls the headsail change we’ve been dreading for the last five minutes. Three minutes later I’m clipped on with my feet on the leeward toerail with an armful of changed foresail when a wave engulfs the foredeck. The water clears and I’m still onboard thanks to the combined efforts of my tether and the stanchion lodged in my crotch. Lucky me.

Sail change over I’m back on the rail but my feet are cold and wet and my enthusiasm for this caper ebbs quickly away, unlike the sea water - the boots were still wet a week after the finish in Plymouth. It’s 1989 and, though the stylishly weathered Shamrock boot is much in evidence, the Crosshaven is but a dream. Had I been wearing Crosshavens, the gaiter and drawstring would have kept my feet dry and my race face on. Funny how something so simple can be so incredibly effective.

Dubarry Crosshaven - Born at sea

Flash Gordon 6 Dominates at Farr 40 North Americans
Santa Barbara, California, USA: After an onshore postponement, the second day of the 2015 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship rolled on schedule with three more races for the 15 teams. When defending champ and day one leader Alex Roepers' Plenty team got bumped down the standings due to a disqualification yesterday, the meat was on the table today, and it was Helmut Jahn's Flash Gordon 6 team that are licking their chops with a 1-2-1 to now hold the lead.

Racing continues tomorrow and concludes Saturday, August 22.

Full report to be posted as soon as possible.

Top ten after 6 races:

1. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn , USA, 18 points
2. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi , ITA, 24
3. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer, GER, 25
4. Plenty, Alex Roepers , USA, 30
5. Estate Master, Martin Hill , AUS, 31
6. Voodoo Chile, Lloyd Clark , AUS, 37
7. Groovederci, John Demourkas , USA, 46
8. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil , USA, 47
9. Insanity, Rick Goebel , USA, 47
10. Temptress, Ray Godwin , USA, 53

Mini Transat
For the 20th edition and for the second time, the Mini Transat Îles de Guadeloupe returns to its origins with a start from Douarnenez (France). The Breton harbour will see the fleet of 74 solo sailors will set off on the 19th of September to Lanzarote, where the Mini 6,50 will stop before the Atlantic stage start on 31st October. The Mini Transat - Iles de Guadeloupe 2015 solo sailors are expected to finish some three weeks later in Pointe-a-Pitre to a warm Caribbean welcome. The 2,700 nautical mile race from France to the Caribbean is the longest solo race for the smallest of boats. Each solo sailor will be tested to the limit on this unique adventure: a trans-atlantic race in a small boat and confined space where you have just yourself to depend on.

The key numbers for the 20th edition
- 74 participants
- 28 prototypes to compete for the Eurovia / Cegelec Trophy
- 46 production boats to compete for the BIO-ACTIF Ocean Trophy
- 16 nationalities (AUS, BEL, CHN, ESP, EST, FRA, GBR, GER, HUN, IRL, ITA, NED, POL, POR, RUS, SUI)
- 4 Women / 70 Men
- Average age: 33 years old
The youngest: 22 years old at the start
Julien Hereu (FRA) and Quentin Vlamynck (FRA)
The eldest: 56 years old at the start
Carlos LIZANCOS, Spanish, born on 19/02/1959
- 54 sailors will compete on the Mini Transat Iles de Guadeloupe for the first time
- 20 return competitors, making up a total 24 Mini Transat participations

12 Teams From 5 Countries Compete At Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam
Chicago, Illinois: Twelve teams from five nations will be competing starting tomorrow on the third stop of the US GRAND SLAM series at the Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam. With nine of twelve teams ranked in the top 50, this is the most competitive line-up of skippers at CMRC this season. Racing will take place Friday through Sunday on courses set off Chicago's Belmont Harbor in CMRC's fleet of TOM 28 boats.

The winner of the event will earn valuable Grade 2 points not only on the ISAF Open Match Race Ranking List, but also towards overall scoring in the US GRAND SLAM series. This highly competitive series of four regattas features a variety of boat types at four separate venues:

Manhasset Bay Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup - August 6-9
Oakcliff International- August 13-16
Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam - August 21-23
Detroit Cup - August 27-30

Results from each event contributes to points totals in the US GRAND SLAM series, and the overall winner will receive an invitation to the oldest match racing event in the US, the 2016 Congressional Cup, held in Long Beach next Spring.

Another Sick Sailor
Olympic-caliber athletes continue to be sickened by the sewage-filled waters of Rio's Guanabara Bay, site of the aquatic events at next year's Olympics. This time it's South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho, who was hospitalized with dehydration, vomiting, headache and dizziness following an Olympic sailing test event this week.

His coach, Danny Ok, posted photos of Cho being loaded into an ambulance and of the brownish water to his Facebook page, while also decrying the venue's foul condition:

Speaking to the Associated Press, Ok called the water "smelly" and added, "Especially in the bay, it's terrible. I can't imagine how they can have racing in this area."

The AP published the results of a five-month independent analysis of the water at Rio's aquatic venues in June, finding dangerously high levels of viruses from human sewage at all of them. "Despite the scrutiny, brown sewage continues to flow into the Marina da Gloria at several points, which has drawn photos and videos from athletes that have been widely viewed on social media," the AP's Stephen Wade writes.

* Reports are now coming out that the U.S. women's rowing team has had several members fall ill since participating in a recent test event in Rio at Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. Thirteen rowers have been stricken with various gastrointestinal symptoms at the World Junior Rowing Championships and the team doctor said it is her "personal feeling it is due to the lake."

U.S. Rowing medical staff is not the only group to suspect a link between polluted waters in Rio and resulting athlete sickness. Recently, Michael Phelps' longtime coach Bob Bowman also expressed his concern in the water quality of open water swimming in Rio. Bowman described his personal connection to the issue stating, "I happened to coach a young lady at the 2007 Pan Am Games there, and she came back and has been sick the rest of her life with a life-altering illness."

Bowman was referring to 2007 Pan American Games 10k fourth place finisher Kalyn Keller, who was later diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, resulting in her early retirement in 2008. Chip Peterson, who also swam in the men's version of the race that same year has encountered ongoing health problems, including ulcerative colitis. From these experiences alone, Bowman said, "So I know first-hand that it's serious. They've got to do something about it."

52 Super Series Plans For 2016 and 2017
Two brand new venues feature on the 2016 calendar for the 52 Super Series and the world's leading performance monohull circuit enters a successful fifth year.

In May the 52 Super Series will open in Scarlino, Tuscany, Italy and in September the circuit's penultimate event will be raced from Mahon, Menorca.

The planned schedule for 2016:

24 - 29 May, Scarlino, Tuscany, Italy
27 June - 2 July, Porto Cervo, Sardinia
24 - 29 July, Puerto Portals, Mallorca
13 - 18 September, Mahon, Menorca
10 - 15 October, Cascais, Portugal

"The target for 2017 is to start the season back in the United States, opening at Quantum Key West Race Week and possibly a second race, maybe in Miami. The return to the United States corresponds with the international status of the class, returning to compete as a grand prix unit as we did successfully in 2013 and 2014."

Rob Weiland, Class Manager of the TP52 Class:
"I expect an average of eleven or twelve teams to race the 2016 season and 2017 in the US. Already we have the commitment from nine teams now for a 2017 start in Quantum Key West Race Week, which is the first time ever, in my experience, to see owners planning that far ahead. The majority of the fleet continues to be owner driver, but it will not get any easier as the teams will have learned from the 2015 season where they can improve and I have no doubt they will."

America's Cup Television
ESPN has acquired the exclusive multiplatform rights to the 35th America's Cup in more than 40 territories, including Mexico, Central America and South America, and non-exclusive rights in the Caribbean.

Under the agreement, ESPN International will air live racing and highlights of all events in the 35th America's Cup, including the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in 2015 and 2016; the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs; the Red Bull Youth America's Cup; and the America's Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton from Bermuda in May and June 2017.

ESPN will air the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden, with racing on August 29-30, 2015.


Australians can watch every regatta of the 35th America's Cup on FOX SPORTS Australia, which has acquired exclusive rights to the event.

FOX SPORTS will continue its coverage across this year's Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Gothenburg, Sweden (August 29-30) and Bermuda (October 17-18) plus Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs as well as the America's Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton in 2017.


nc+ platform has secured the broadcast rights to all events in the 35th America's Cup for Poland.

Under the new deal, the leading Polish platform will provide extensive coverage from all events across nc+ channels, including the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in 2015 and 2016 (beginning this weekend in Portsmouth, UK), the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs and the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, in June 2017.


CCTVSE acquires exclusive rights for China

CCTV Sports & Entertainment Co., Ltd. (CCTVSE), the only one wholly-owned subsidiary company under CCTV Sports Channel, has acquired the exclusive rights to the 35th America's Cup in a groundbreaking agreement.

CCTV, the flagship broadcaster in China will show racing from all stages of the event.

Beginning with the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth, UK this week, CCTV will broadcast all Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016 as well as the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs and the America's Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton from Bermuda in June 2017.

The racing will be broadcast on CCTV5+, which is China's free to air sports channel, to a mainland audience.


Portuguese broadcaster Sport TV has acquired the broadcast rights to all events in the 35th America's Cup for Portugal.

Under the new deal, Sport TV will broadcast live racing and highlights from all events, including the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in 2015 and 2016, the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs and the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, in June 2017.

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 1996 Eric Goetz Maxi 80. 395000 EUR. Location Kiel Germany.

One of the original Iconic Maxi yachts is now available.

She was originally built as the world famous 'Boomerang' under an IMS rating rule. Then converted to life in the Maxi fleet where she achieved first class honours for many years on the circuit.

Still maintained to the highest of quality, this is a really attractive all round proposition and offers a truly huge amount of bang for your buck!!


Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble

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The Last Word
I used to go missing a lot... Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World. -- George Best

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