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

Day 2 of J/24 World Championships: Ian Southworth Leads, Mike Ingham In Hot Pursuit
Boltenhagen, Germany: Winds of up to 20 knots with huge 20 to 30 degree shifts caused some big changes on the leader board. Ian Southworth (GBR 5219) and his seasoned crew sailed two excellent races and took the lead, followed by Mike Ingham (USA) and Pietro Diamanti (ITA).

In the first race of the day, the fleet faced easterly winds up to 20 knots which is the critical limit between too much wind for the genoa and too little wind for the jib. With a first place and a second place, Ian Southworth and his crew delivered a very consistent performance. Southworth, who has been racing with the same crew the last 10 years, has a team of very skilled sailors including tactician David Howlett, who is also head coach of the German Olympic team.

Southworth already has an impressive lead of 22 points over second-placed Mike Ingham who has the same number of points as third-placed Pietro Diamanti.

On Wednesday, the wind is expected to pick up even more, so racing will stay exciting. All races can be followed on the live tracker of the event partner TracTrac. -- Lina Nagel

Verdier / VPLP Unveil New IMOCA Designs For The Next Vendee Globe
Banque Populaire 7. Photo by Thierry Martinez, Click on image to enlarge.

New IMOCA Designs Safran and Banque Populaire set the ball rolling for this new collection from VPLP Verdier, with the teams sharing the investment prior to the new rules coming into force.

Hull shapes are radical and more powerful with a lower chine and a full bow, and are designed to sail heeled with minimum drag.

Structure is much more refined, more complex and lighter to compensate for the increased weight from the mast and the keel, the latter both being one-design components imposed by the new rules.

Adding foils is the natural evolution and continues to hold promise, but the IMOCA rule evolution makes things harder, indeed the number of appendages is limited to five.

This new rule with its one-design criteria has resulted in slightly heavier boats than those of previous generations. This is a disadvantage in light airs but in strong winds the boats will rely less on water ballast, which means less weight overall.

Six boats, some of which have already been launched, can be placed in three distinct categories.

The first category comprises Safran and Banque Populaire 7, both built by CDK Technologies, and Vento de Sardegna by Persico in Italy. All three are based on the same hull shape whose main characteristic is its capacity to produce power when reaching.

The design phase for the second category, comprising Multiplast builds Edmond de Rothschild and Saint-Michel Paprec, began six months later. Specifications focused on building a more versatile vessel rather than concentrating solely on power and maximum speed.

Nevertheless these five IMOCAs share the same foil philosophy as the previous ones and, in compliance with the rules, a similar sail plan. They all went for the one-design wing mast.

Category number three comprises Hugo Boss, built in England by Green Marine. Her skipper Alex Thomson and his technical team have put some unusual ideas into the mix and, once the design phase is complete, she should be the most radical of the six.

Choosing the "new wave" of foils, developed in house by Hugo Boss design office, dictated the main options, such as the breadth and the shape of the deck in the forward part of the vessel.

Launching schedule
Safran (Morgan Lagraviere) launched 5 March 2015
Banque Populaire VIII (Armel Le Cleach) launched 9 June 2015
Edmond de Rothschild (Sebastien Josse) launched 7 August 2015
Saint-Michel Paprec (Jean-Pierre Dick) launch September
Vento de Sardegna (Andrea Mura) launched 16 August 2015
Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson) launch next week

Trying It On With Hudson Wight at the Southampton Boat Show - Stand B012
Hudson Wight As an online retailer, exhibiting at the fabulous Southampton Boat Show gives us the opportunity to meet our customers face to face and gives you a rare chance to get up close and personal with our Performance Sailwear range.

Our tried and tested products continue to work their magic on numerous satisfied customers and Hudson Wight Performance Sailwear is now one of the most sought after sailing clothing brands in the market.

Check out the HW1 range comprising a Jacket or a Smock + Salopettes and our top-selling multi-faceted Performance Jacket with its smart new styling details added for 2015. We also have super cosy mid-layers and a range of polos and accessories.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Stand B012 from Friday 11th - Sunday 20th September. We're opposite the Media Centre on the right hand side of the Post House Hotel.

During the Show we are running a special Free Prize Draw for two of the cosiest fleeces in the world, our HW Microfleece. All we need is for you to visit the stand, give us your name and email address or a business card and you'll be in the Draw.

If you are unable to make it to the Boat Show to purchase our products, please visit our website

2015 Melges 20 European Championship
Trapani, Italy - The pinnacle event for the Audi Melges 20 2015 racing season in Europe takes place this weekend in lovely Trapani, Sicily, Italy. The European Championship, which also serves as Act 5 of the celebrated Audi-Tron Sailing Series, is proud to be welcoming over 30 teams to the starting line representing an impressive ten nations. Organized by B.Plan Sport & Events (BPSE) in cooperation with Melges Europe, three amazing days and a total of ten races are on schedule with a practice session on Wednesday, 2 September.

Familiar names such as current Series leader Dario Levi on Fremito D'Arja, Agusta Corrado's Customly, Guido Miani's Out of Reach, Alexander Ezhkov on Pirogovo Sailing and Richard Davies' Section 16 are all in attendance - ready to go as they also occupy the top five slots of the 2015 Audi Melges 20 World Ranking. This event will make all the difference. The list of adversaries is long and equally distinguished such as Wes Whitmyer's Slingshot, Mirko de Falco's Peccere, Claudio Dutto's Asante Sana and Marco Francini's Mezzaluna all are full of potential and could easily find themselves in the driver's seat of this top-notch event.

Bramble Bank Cricket Match Returns To The Solent
Photo by Ingrid Abery, Click on image for photo gallery.

Bramble Bank cricket match The Bramble Bank cricket match - played on a sandbank in the middle of the Solent - returned this weekend.

The annual eccentric escapade sees teams from the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Isle of Wight's Island Sailing Club, go head to head.

The rivalry dates back to the 1950s, but the teams take it in turns to 'win' the match, cheered on by spectators anchored around the pitch.

This year it was the turn of Island Sailing Club vice commodore Peter Bingham to captain the Isle of Wight team, which lost.

Wild Oats XI Gets The Chainsaw Chop
Photo by Andrea Francolini, Click on image to enlarge.

Wild Oats Australia's most successful ocean racing yacht, Bob Oatley's 30-metre supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, is 30-metres no more.

The sleek, silver-hulled beauty literally got the chop today at the hands of Bob Oatley and skipper Mark Richards.

Armed with a high-revving chainsaw, the pair took to the carbon fibre hull just forward of the mast, and by the time the job was finished one hour later, 10-metres of Wild Oats XI's bow had been lopped off.

It was the first stage of a three month program that will see the yacht back to being 30-metres long, but with a completely different profile: all part of a plan to bring a new lease of life to the record-breaking, 10-year-old yacht and make her more competitive against more recent supermaxi designs.

In a few days the hull will be shortened even more when an additional two metres is cut from the stern.

The next part of the schedule for Wild Oats XI will see her trucked to the McConaghy's boat building facility on Sydney's northern beaches. Once there a new transom will be fitted where the stern has been cut off. Simultaneously, shipwrights will fit a completely new bow to the yacht - two metres longer than what was cut off today - so that she returns to the same overall length.

Much of the design work for the new-look Wild Oats XI has been done by the original designers, Reichel-Pugh, based in California, USA. By extending the bow forward the yacht will have considerably more buoyancy, a feature which all design testing indicates will make her considerably faster. She will also be lighter.

The new-look Wild Oats XI is scheduled to be sailing again in November. -- Rob Mundle

We Love It Here! You Will To! - St. Thomas International Regatta, March 25-27, 2016
St. Thomas International Regatta Riding the rails in March might sound like a bone-chilling experience. Not so when you're hanging tough off a TP52 in nearly 20 knots of tropical tradewinds while racing round-the-rocks in the St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), with the rest of the fleet in red hot pursuit.

"We welcome European boats with open arms," says regatta director, Bill Canfield. "For the first time ever STIR will offer an ORC Club racing class. It's a great bang for your buck with Key West Race Week and STIR offering this rule at both events if you come across the pond. There's easy transport from Miami to St. Thomas right after Key West. So, put the Caribbean on your winter schedule this year."

New too, the STIR will run a one-day round-the-island race on March 24. This gives big boats especially a chance to tune-up and stretch their legs prior to the main event.

World-class racing, the chance to trade tacks with America's Cup, Volvo Ocean and Olympic crews and detune at nightly rum and reggae parties is what earns STIR its motto, 'We Love It Here' You will too.

Discount for Early Entry.

Register now!

Visit:, Email: , Call (340) 626-0239

Conch Republic Cup
Havana, Cuba: What is the "Conch Republic Cup"? Well, it's none other than the 8th Edition of Key West-Cuba Race Week! For the first time in history, American sailors can now have a blast sailing 90nm from Key West to Cuba and enjoy several days of sailing in just the most stupendously beautiful, unspoiled, Caribbean waters you will ever see.

The event is scheduled right after Quantum Key West Race Week finishes in the end of January. So, boats that are planning to continue their Florida winter getaway can add this one to their "bucket list" of fabulous regatta itineraries. And, for those boats contemplating heading further east into the Caribbean for the sextet of famous winter regattas (RORC 600, St Maarten, St Thomas, BVI, St Barths, Antigua); this week would be a natural one to start the winter-long celebration of fun-in-the-sun.

Three New U.S. National Champions
The 2015 49er, 49erFx and Nacra nationals are done. US National Champions are Michael Easton and Katie Pettibone in the Nacra, Judge Ryan and Hans Henken in the 49er and Emily Dellenbaugh & Elizabeth Barry in the 49erFX. This was the first national championship for all three teams in an Olympic Class.

A total of 4 races over 3 days were sailed. In most places the sea breeze fills in mid afternoon but in Oyster Bay especially with this unusually warm weather system, it was very late. Executive Director Dawn Riley commented, "this week we started calling it a 'happy hour breeze' instead of a sea breeze".

Of note in the 49erFX Class, Germans Leonie Myer and Elena Stoffers and Canadian's Erin Rafuse and Danielle Boyd were 1st and 2nd in the class.

Full Results:

Not Sailing But Very Cool
Big Shigir Idol Clearly one of The Fish's earliest whittling projects:

Shigir Idol is oldest wooden sculpture monument in the world, say scientists

One of Russia's greatest treasures, the Big Shigir Idol, has been dated by German scientists - and the results are 'sensational'.

More than twice the age of the Egyptian pyramids, the wooden monument - found in a peat bog in the Urals in 1890 - is 1,500 years older than previously suspected, according to the world's most advanced dating technology.

'The first attempt to date the idol was made 107 years after its discovery, in 1997. The first radiocarbon analyses showed that idol was 9,500 calendar years old, which led to disputes in scientific society. To exclude doubts, and to make the results known and accepted, a decision was made to use the most modern technologies to date the Idol again.

'Researches were conducted in Mannheim, Germany, at one of the world's most advanced laboratories using Accelerated Mass Spectrometry, on seven minuscule wooden samples. The results were astonishing, as samples from inside parts of the Idol showed its age as 11,000 calendar years, to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch. We also learned that the sculpture was made from a larch which was at least 157 years old.

'Clear cuts on the tree trunk leave no doubts that the Idol was made from a freshly cut tree, by stone tools'.

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Sam Pearson - Ancasta Port Hamble

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The Last Word
Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely. -- P. J. O'Rourke

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