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/24 Worlds 2015: Japanese Crew In The Lead After 2 Races
Photo by Pepe Hartmann. Click on image for photo gallery.

J/24 Worlds Boltenhagen, Germany: Light winds dominated the first races of the J/24 championships. The key to success was to find free winds and to sail the boat as smooth as possible. Fumiya Kato (JPN 4886) showed the greatest skills on the water. He is on top of the leaderboard after 2 races, followed by Ian Southworth (GBR 5219) and Ignazio Bonanno (ITA 416).

After a short postponement, the first race of the J/24 worlds was started at 14:00 hrs in the bay of Boltenhagen. In very light wind conditions (5 to 10 knots from NW), Team "Rotoman" (GER 5420) helmed by Tobias Feuerherdt won the first race.

In the second race of the day, the J/24 class showed their favour for very aggressive starts. After 2 general recalls, PRO Klaus Lahme raised the black flag. The second race was also won by a German team: "Hungriger Wolf" (GER 5316) helmed by Johann Huhn took the line honours.

Overall, the Japanese crew "Lull & Hachi" with helmsman Fumiya Kato (JPN 4886) did a great job on the water. With a second and a third place, the crew of 6 are on top of the fleet, divided by a gap of 7 points from Ian Southworth (GBR 5219). -- Lina Nagel

Race Tracking to follow the races live

The Clipper Race Gets Underway
Photo by John Walton. Click on image to enlarge.

Clipper Start And they're off!! The Clipper 2015-16 Race is officially underway after a wet but wonderful start off the English coastal town of Southend.

For some crew, it felt like this day would never come after all the months of training and week of anticipation and excitement in the Race Village at St Katharine Docks, London.

The send-off yesterday was phenomenal, with crew past, present and future, plus tens of thousands of race supporters lining the banks of the River Thames for the Parade of Sail.

Amid all the celebrations and party atmosphere, there was a poignant moment during the Blessing of the Fleet when the Sailors' Society Chaplain read from a bible that Visit Seattle will be taking round the world. This bible was a gift from Sir Robin to Skipper Huw Fernie's grandfather before his own circumnavigation many years ago. Now Huw and Visit Seattle have the bible on board for its second round the world voyage, as a tribute to his grandfather.

A cannon was fired by officials from Benfleet Yacht Club to mark the start of the tenth edition of the Clipper Race and LMAX Exchange, led by our first ever French Skipper Olivier Cardin, was the first yacht over the start line. It was quickly followed by GREAT Britain and Da Nang - Viet Nam on this 5,186 nautical mile journey to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Clipper Race Crews Head Off With Ocean Safety Lifejackets
Ocean Safety Ocean Safety's lifejacket for the most demanding ocean racing crews is a custom Kru lifejacket designed especially for the 2015 Clipper Round the World Race. The fleet departed from London two days ago on the first leg of their race around the world, taking the lifejackets with them for every crew on every Clipper 70. Visitors to the Southampton Boat Show will get the chance to see the exclusive Clipper lifejacket on Ocean Safety's stand at the show in Ocean Hall, G125.

"We have meticulously studied the use and functionality of the lifejackets in the previous Clipper Race, whilst adding our knowledge gained from other maritime users in demanding conditions," explains Ocean Safety's Charlie Mill. "Combined with the application of emerging technology and new design ideas, we have been able to produce this new generation of lifejackets for the Clipper Race crews."

The lifejacket is designed for comfort and performance during those long and extreme periods at sea. It features a custom made spray hood, heavy duty outer cover and a bespoke crotch strap system. It also features a fitting point for the personal Kannad R10 AIS Survival Recovery System.

Visit Ocean Safety on Stand G125 at Southampton Boat Show from 11th-20th September.

Winners Decided J/70 UK National Championship
Ruairidh Scott, Ben Field, Ian Atkins. Click on image to enlarge.

J70 UK Championship Under leaden skies, solid pressure and strong tides, four races were completed on the last day of racing for the J/70 UK National Championship.

Under leaden skies, solid pressure and strong tides, four races were completed on the last day of racing for the J/70 UK National Championship. The 30 strong fleet enjoying 10-12 knots of breeze from the north, gusting up to 15 knots putting the powerful J/70s just up on the plane.

A complex tidal flow on Hill Head Plateau and Southampton Water, coupled with two big wind shifts, produced an aquatic conundrum for the fleet. On the final day, Steve Northmore's Waterjet Precision Cutting won Race 5, Patrick Liardet's Cosmic took the gun in Race 6, Russell Peters took Race 7 and won the last race.

After eight races were completed Ian Atkins', with Ruairidh Scott on the helm, was the overall winner becoming 2015 J/70 UK National Champions. Ian Atkins has been sailing with the same crew for two years.

Gill Race Team, helmed by Royal Southern YC Academy sailor, Will Goldsmith was runner up for the championship and top Under 30 crew, as well as top mixed crew. A notable achievement by a team all under 25, who had been lent the boat by its owner, Ian Wilson.

The winner of the Over 50 Prize was Chris Howarth and his team racing Django, who had travelled down from Lake Windermere with the boat to compete.

Russell Peters, racing for the Royal Thames Yacht Club, was the best Corinthian Boat and third overall.

Full results:

LaserPerformance Collegiate Cup
Click on image for photo gallery.

Laserperformance Collegiate Cup Branford, Connecticut, USA: Congratulations to the USA Women's All-Star team who locked in the win at the first ever LaserPerformance Collegiate Cup (LPCC). Seven countries, eight teams, nearly 80 sailors, and five days of fun on and off the water help round up the inaugural 2015 LPCC at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club.

The LPCC is truly a unique learning opportunity and event experience for university aged sailors to train at the top level, meet friends from around the world, and improve skills at a different world class sailing venue each year. Over the course of the week, with assistance and motivation from top coaches, Olympic Gold Medalist and the LPCC Event Ambassador Anna Tunnicliffe, sailors tuned their skills at an accelerated rate in Yale's fleet of Z420s. The teams offered a wide range of diverse sailing backgrounds, which made for exciting sailing from Day 1.

Final Results:
1. USA - ICSA Women's All-star team: 151 points
2. USA - Yale: 157
3. Japan: 209
4. Italy: 316
5. Oman: 326
6. Ireland: 345
7. Canada: 415
8. France: 421

In 2016, LPCC travels to Torbole, Italy. To learn more about participation and how to get involved, please contact Shaina Vlaun:

The Place To Be
Yacht Racing Forum The Yacht Racing Forum 2015 will take place 7-8 December in Geneva, Switzerland. Now under new management, the latest edition will gather together key personalities from within the yacht racing industry worldwide: athletes, event organisers, sponsors, designers and builders, insurance and financial companies, specialised media and much more...

The sailing world is changing fast, and faces new issues that impact its participants as well as anyone involved in the sport's organisation or funding, directly relating to - among other areas - general safety and the future commercial development of the sport. Indeed, flying boats, rigid sails, new events, venues, partners and sponsors are reshaping the face of the sport while raising many questions that will be debated in Geneva.

The 2015 Yacht Racing Forum is attracting key personalities from outside as well as within the yacht racing industry, as well as others who are involved or just interested in the business of yacht racing.

From Seahorse magazine:

Yacht Columbia
Photo by Kirk R. William. Click on image to enlarge.

Yacht Columbia COLUMBIA is steel, and a magnificent sight. Built by Eastern Shipbuilding in Florida for the Shipyard owner Brian D'Iserna, and launched a year ago, she's 141 feet on deck, 110 (or so) LWL, 25 foot plus beam, and draws about 11 to 12 feet. The original COLUMBIA was designed by W. Starling Burgess and launched, as you can see, from the Story shipyard in Essex, MA in 1923. She was lost with all hands off Sable Island in August of 1927. "Fast and able" she was one of the many GLoucester fishing schooners who plied their trade all over the waters from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia and beyond.

Currently located in Gloucester the second COLUMBIA was anchored out in Menemsha Bight for about a week in early July and we keep hoping that she'll come back. Personally, much as I love classic yachts (and wood) this had to have been one of the most beautiful boats I've ever seen, although, admittedly, only from a distance. You can find a 7 minute youtube video of her construction, launch and sea trials, if you do a bit of googling. Even those of you who prefer small boats, or [gasp] power boats, would get a thrill from looking at COLUMBIA under sail. Or at anchor for that matter!

If you do a bit more serious googling you will find other material about both the original COLUMBIA and her much younger sister which is officially COLUMBIA as well, but being called COLUMBIA II to keep her separate. Just FYI, Mr. D'Isernia has been so taken with the original schooner that he's got another one under construction back in Florida. She could be yours! -- Virginia Crowell Jones

Alastair Black 1927-2015
The world of sailing lost one of its best photographers when Alastair Black passed away in Cowes last week.

Born in Campbeltown, Scotland in 1927, he qualified as a dental surgeon in Glasgow and married his actress wife Elna. They moved down to England where by 1960 Alastair ran successful dental practices in Lee-on-Solent, on the coast opposite the Isle of Wight. Alastair played tennis (Elna was a fanatic), swam (he was an immensely strong swimmer), and took up sailing in first an Albacore, then a 505.

In his late 40s Alastair decided he had spent enough years peering into people's mouths, and chose instead to make a big switch, to take up marine photography professionally. He enrolled in a two-year course at London's Central School of Art during the week, during which period he and I shared a flat in Chelsea. Returning to the coast at weekends, he started shooting sailing boats with a very special creative eye. Soon he was selling his photos to sailing magazines, until one day his work was noticed by people at Nikon in London, who appreciated his fresh, colourful imagery, and started using it on posters and in advertisements.

His new career took off. In the years that followed he twice won the Sports Photographer of the Year award, and gained several other awards. He had a successful exhibition in London organised by Nikon, and started working closely with the Tony Stone picture agency, travelling all over the world creating new images. His favourite paradise was the Rangiroa atoll in French Polynesia.

Alastair was not the conventional magazine shooter: he was more concerned with making a strong image than just illustrating an article. He shot yachts large and small, finding unusual angles with emphasis on colour, shapes and action. He jumped into racing dinghies such as Finns and 505s armed with his Nikonos waterproof camera that had been custom fitted with a wide 21mm lens. Always closely involved with the sailors, he captured the essence of sailing a fast, wet dinghy better than anyone had done it before. In the process he influenced many of us marine photographers at the time - and many of those that followed, whether they realise it or not!

A few particularly happy memories of Alastair come to mind: watching him swimming a long, long way out from the beach at Kaneohe, Hawaii in rough seas, getting water-level images of windsurfers leaping off waves; sharing a room at the cheapest and nastiest hotel in America during an SORC (I teased him for years afterwards for his penny-pinching Scottish ways); the riotous tennis tournament for photographers which he organised at the tennis club in Porto Cervo during a Sardinia Cup. Above all one remembers his gracious manner, his delightful sense of humour, his passion for everything he did.

After 20 years or so of the photographic life, Alastair retired. He and Elna moved to the Isle of Wight, where he died peacefully on August 15. -- Guy Gurney

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 Paul Wells: The media coverage especially the live YouTube events of the San Francisco event re-ignited my flagging interest in the AC but the poor coverage on free to view (in the UK) and the ACWS/AC+ app has just about killed off that interest again.

For me and no doubt thousands of other sailors, sailing is a participation sport and watching it a poor second and I certainly wouldn't give up my day on the water to watch it live on TV or at a future ACWS event (tried that at Portsmouth).

Making it hard or expensive to view easily and freely at a time to suit the viewer is surely detrimental to the sponsors and will not I guess, encourage loads of new participants to the sport as is often claimed, but merely give all the subscribers to the Couch Sportatoes TV channels a new thrill (maybe).

It's about time "elite sailing" was hived off as a separate entity from ISAF and treated as a spectacle in the same way as monster truck racing or professional wrestling and let the rest of us enjoy our sport without the over blown hype around a few short races, and don't get me started about the no criticism rule!

Perhaps the new organising body could be called The Official Super Sailors and Elite Racers Society?

Featured Brokerage
Raceboats Only 2004 Ker 39. 110,000 GBP. Located in Cowes, IOW, UK.

The pocket rocket 'Erivale III' is now available.

From the drawing board of the Ker Yacht Design team, the Ker 39 is hugely successful under IRC racing and has been from its inception with the 39 being one of the top performing boats in the UK for the past 5 years. 'Erivale III' has been professionally maintained since new so presents very well. Currently based in Cowes she can be viewed or test sailed at any time.


Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble

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The Last Word
The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. -- Aldous Huxley

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