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

2015 International 18 Regatta
San Francisco, California, USA: "It was no doubt, the most challenging, difficult Skiff sailing I have ever encountered" Lamented veteran local skiff sailor Daniel Roberts, skipper of Notorious P.I.G., a well loved, vintage 18' that actually was able to complete all 3 races during Tuesdays racing on San Francisco Bay

An unusual southerly windflow over Northern California had ushered in September, with brisk, yet warm airflow in the mid to high 20's in the early hours. The direction meant the wind would be forced over the steep hills of San Francisco, then plummet down like runaway freight trains, intermixing with the more traditional south westerlys creating 30 to 40 degree shifts, which tested crews and rigs like no day has before during a summer 18 event on San Francisco Bay.

The predetermined course, has a bit of wiggle room, but in general is designed to take advantage of the 99% reliable breezes that filter in from off the Ocean and into San Francisco bay before fanning out towards the Sacramento delta and points beyond. Tuesday's conditions lay testament that Mother Nature plays by her own rulebook and humans just need to adjust.

The sudden microbursts were in full effect by the noon 1st gun, as the fleet dispersed on port tack and were launched into mid bay with winds in the high teens, gusting and shifting at will.

Before the 2 lap of race 2 was even completed, 4 boats had retired to the beach, unable to compete any further during the day.

With 4 boats on the beach, the fleet was reduced to 7 for the rest of the day, an opportunity for the older boats to do some catching up or pass their less fortunate counterparts, and several of the top boats to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.

Wednesday is a lay day and action resumes on Thursday with the legendary Bridge to Bridge in the late afternoon and 3 additional races on Friday! -- Erik Simonson

Team SCA and Team Vestas Wind Go Head-To-Head Once More In Genoa
Alicante, Spain: Team SCA and Team Vestas Wind, rivals in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, go head-to-head once more in a series of pro-am races at the popular Genoa Boat Show from September 30 to October 5.

The six pro-am races will give the race's many Italian fans the first chance to see Volvo Ocean Race boats on home waters and provide an intriguing challenge for the crews of Team Vestas Wind and Team SCA which will be named at a later date.

The teams will be matched in two daily pro-am, in-port races on September 30, October 1 and 2 before they join a Genoa Boat Show fleet race on Saturday, October 3.

"The last time we were in Genoa, we were on our way to Persico Marine to repair our Volvo Ocean 65, so it's very special to be able to be back in Italy racing our boat," said Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson.

"The Vestas Wind is in great condition and the team still has much more to give, as fans saw when we returned ahead of Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lisbon. I'm proud to represent Vestas at the Genoa Boat Show and look forward to competing against Team SCA once more," he continued.

Quantum Key West Race Week Extends Early Entry Deadline To October 1
Quantum Key West Race Week A strong initial turnout for entries has prompted event organizers at the Storm Trysail Club to decide to extend the early discount deadline one month further to October 1st, 2015 for the 2016 edition of Quantum Key West Race Week. After October 1st, the entry fee increases by $4/foot of the overall length of the entered boat.

Already the majority of entries to the 2016 event have signed up for one-design competition in several classes: Melges 24, J/70, J/80, Farr 280, Viper 640, J/88, C&C 30, J/111, and J/122 classes. And there are other one-design classes also considering their entry plan to the event.

Among the handicap classes, IRC 1 and 2 have thusfar attracted 9 committed entries, with more expected, but the real growth is expected in three new class offerings at this year's event: ORC Club, Multihulls and Performance Cruisers.

Organizers are also exploring the option of having exhibition race classes at the event to give spectators on shore a taste of the excitement of competitive sailing.

Classes that may be interested in a reduced format of three days of racing over Wednesday-Friday, January 20-22nd, should as soon as possible contact event manager Bill Canfield at .

Entry form and race documents:

Growth and Stirring In Helsinki
Click on image to enlarge.

M32 Helsinki With the M32 Series Scandinavia moving in to Finland for the first time ever the series has passed the halfway mark of the season. Team US One took a firm grip on the trophy in Copenhagen but with half of the seasons points to play for in the final two events, the Battle of Scandinavia is far from over.

In the two weeks since the previous event we've seen Rahm Racing and Wallen Racing spent quality time in Gothenburg training together with Americas Cup team Artemis Racing. Wallen Racing has made a crew change where he has substituted Jonas von Geijer, who has stepped down due to injury, for match racing ace Daniel Wallberg. Wallberg who helmed the Hydra Sailing Team in the Gothenburg event sailed last year with Freddy Loof in the series.

Other teams who have made some crew changes are the Hydra Sailing Team and Essiq Racing. Hydra has brought local knowledge to the team by flying the Finnish flag and adding Olympic gold medalist in 49er, Thomas Johansson, to the crew.

Fresh from a new Tea Clipper Trade Route record with Maserati Sailing Team Andreas Axelsson is joining Essiq Racing and filling in from Sebastian Vedel. Axelsson was last year floater for Loof Racing and is bringing loads of power to the young Swedish team in their hunt for a top spot.

GAC Pindar and five-times World Match Racing Champion, Ian Williams (GBR) have today announced their entry into the remainder of this year's M32 Scandinavia series.

Ian Williams will compete in the M32 Series in parallel with his bid to win his sixth Match Racing World title, in order to gain more competitive experience of multihull racing ahead of the new look 2016 World Match Racing Tour. He currently sits at the top of the 2015 World Match Racing Tour leader-board.

Following the announcement of Aston Harald AB's acquisition of the ISAF Sanctioned World Match Racing Tour in June, there has been a shift in emphasis towards M32 multihull boats for next year's championship. The Stena Match Cup has already announced that it will be raced in new M32 multihulls and James Pleasance, Executive Director of the World Match Racing Tour, has made clear his ambition to extend use of the M32 across more events on the series.

Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Comes To Bermuda October 16-18
The Race to Bermuda is on as six America's Cup teams are set to compete on the America's Cup race course on the Great Sound, with official racing on October 17 and 18.

This will be the first opportunity for people around the world to see these high-tech catamarans showcased in Bermuda, the Home of the 35th America's Cup. International broadcast coverage will extend to the US, Europe, China, Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean covering a total of more than 100 territories.

The Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Bermuda will be held from October 16-18 with Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR, ORACLE TEAM USA, SoftBank Team Japan, Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France taking in part in the competition that allows them to accumulate points for later stages of the America's Cup.

Along with the racing in the Great Sound, Hamilton's Front Street will play host to the free "Our Bermuda" Festival and Event Village. The Festival will feature the very best of Bermuda including food and drink vendors, exhibitors, family friendly activities both on land and on-water from Friday evening through to Sunday evening. Saturday evening will also include a concert at the Fan Zone featuring an exciting line-up of international and local artists.

The races will be held on Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 3:30pm with a "Dock Out Show" prior to the first race on both days and a "Dock In Show" after the second race on both days.

The first race of each day will start and finish in the Great Sound while the second race will start in the Great Sound but finish in Hamilton Harbour in front of the Event Village.

The Rebirth of a Classic
The first ever single-handed ocean yacht race, that was originally staged in 1960, is set to return in 2016 when some of the world's best solo sailors and most spectacular yachts will take on the classic 2,800-mile course of The Transat, from Britain to the United States.

Fittingly the 2016 edition is returning to its original course with the start from The City of Plymouth on May 2nd and the finish line off Manhattan, New York, for the first time since the inaugural race 55 years ago.

One of the classics of world sailing, The Transat has made the names of some of the greatest yachtsmen and women of the modern era, among them Sir Francis Chichester, Eric Tabarly, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Philippe Poupon, Loick Peyron and Michel Desjoyeaux. It offers a tough and unrelenting challenge to windward across the wastes of the north Atlantic where hazards include ferocious storms, icebergs, freezing fog, whales, and debris in the water.

Over the years, The Transat has proved a testbed for the latest innovations in yacht design and winning times have cascaded down from 40 days in 1960. The current monohull (IMOCA 60) record is 12 days, 11 hours and 45 minutes set by Loïck Peyron (FRA) on board Gitana in 2008. The multihull (60ft) record is an astonishing 8 days, 8 hours, 29 minutes set by Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) on board Geant in 2004.

Entries will open with the publication of the Notice of Race in the comings weeks, with organisers OC Sport expecting around 40 boats on the startline on 2nd May.

A Return To Sanya... And With Plenty To Discuss
The 2015 ISAF annual conference will take place in Sanya, China from 6 to 14 November where we will be joined by our MNAs, class associations, sailors, event organisers, boat manufacturers and many others. Sanya expects to receive more than 500 delegates.

Over 200 submissions have been sent by numerous committees, MNAs and class associations proposing changes to existing policies or rules, as well as looking to introduce new ones. All submissions and topics will be discussed at committee, sub-committee and commission meetings.

At conference ISAF will consider a large number of proposals to amend the Racing Rules of Sailing for 2017-2020. This is the last opportunity to put forward proposals for the next book, with the final text available from July 2016.

The Equipment Rules of Sailing (ERS) is the rulebook of equipment definitions commonly used in sailing and is updated every four years. This is the last year that modifications can be made before the 2017-2020 version is published. There are a number of submissions to the ISAF conference that include additional definitions for offshore sailing and yacht rating systems.

From Seahorse magazine:

Zhik Poole Week at Parkstone Yacht Club
After one of the wettest and windiest Poole Weeks anyone can remember, Friday dawned with barely a breath. But, true to form, it was raining.

Finally12-14 knots of breeze filled in from the south west, boats were launched, moorings were dropped and battle commenced.

Several classes couldn't have been tighter at the top. In some, the top two boats were tied on points and it was a simple who-beats-who situation in the final race or races. In the Flying Fifteens, Patrick Keats and Richard Whitworth took their third bullet of the week to finish on 12 points. Graham and Ben Scroggie finished third to take their total to 11 but crucially, in between, were Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts, whose second place gave them 10 points and overall victory.

After his two second places in the bay on Thursday, Roger Hakes was 6 points adrift of Bob Cudmore and hoping for a three-race day in the Lasers, together with a little less wind. In the event it was two races in 15-18 knots, but Hakes won both while Cudmore scored a third and a ninth. That levelled the points at 21 apiece, but Cudmore took the series by virtue of having won six of the 14 races.

While the results went to the wire in some classes, in others they were established long before the final day. Phil Atha won every race in the Shrimpers and Barry and Pat Harris made a clean sweep in the Dolphins. Willie McNeill continued his form from Thursday by winning again to finish third overall in the XODs despite having missed the first four races.

So that was Zhik Poole Week 2015: 146 boats and 18 classes representing 25 clubs. This was the first Poole Week to have a title sponsor, and Zhik's daily prizes of £200 vouchers, awarded in a draw open to all entrants, proved a massive hit. Also greatly appreciated were the sailors' suppers laid on after the racing and before the daily prize-giving.

Full results on

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 Rich Tomlinson: I was saddened to read that Alistair Black had passed away, he was a great photographer and an inspiration to many. In 1980 Alastair came to the Isle of Man to photograph Nick Keigs's trimaran Three Legs of Mann, I drove the Dory for a day with Alistair shooting (we hadnt heard of RIBs in the Isle of Man back then).

That day changed my life, I was 21 years old living on a small Island with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but that day I knew, I was going to be a professional yachting photographer.

I often think of Alistair, many of his pictures are imprinted in my mind, and his inspiration to think outside the box. The world has lost one of its greatest yachting photographers - Rick Tomlinson.

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Overall winning yacht in whole of Cowes Week 3 years in a row.

Sistership to recent Asian winner Jessandra.


John Corby

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The Last Word
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